Collaborating Authors

Survey on Evaluation Methods for Dialogue Systems Artificial Intelligence

In this paper we survey the methods and concepts developed for the evaluation of dialogue systems. Evaluation is a crucial part during the development process. Often, dialogue systems are evaluated by means of human evaluations and questionnaires. However, this tends to be very cost and time intensive. Thus, much work has been put into finding methods, which allow to reduce the involvement of human labour. In this survey, we present the main concepts and methods. For this, we differentiate between the various classes of dialogue systems (task-oriented dialogue systems, conversational dialogue systems, and question-answering dialogue systems). We cover each class by introducing the main technologies developed for the dialogue systems and then by presenting the evaluation methods regarding this class.

Salesforce research


Deep learning has significantly improved state-of-the-art performance for natural language processing tasks like machine translation, summarization, question answering, and text classification. Each of these tasks is typically studied with a specific metric, and performance is often measured on a set of standard benchmark datasets. This has led to the development of architectures designed specifically for those tasks and metrics, but it does not necessarily promote the emergence of general NLP models, those which can perform well across a wide variety of NLP tasks. In order to explore the possibility of such models as well as the tradeoffs that arise in optimizing for them, we introduce the Natural Language Decathlon (decaNLP). The goal of the Decathlon is to explore models that generalize to all ten tasks and investigate how such models differ from those trained for single tasks.

Reasoning-Driven Question-Answering for Natural Language Understanding Artificial Intelligence

Natural language understanding (NLU) of text is a fundamental challenge in AI, and it has received significant attention throughout the history of NLP research. This primary goal has been studied under different tasks, such as Question Answering (QA) and Textual Entailment (TE). In this thesis, we investigate the NLU problem through the QA task and focus on the aspects that make it a challenge for the current state-of-the-art technology. This thesis is organized into three main parts: In the first part, we explore multiple formalisms to improve existing machine comprehension systems. We propose a formulation for abductive reasoning in natural language and show its effectiveness, especially in domains with limited training data. Additionally, to help reasoning systems cope with irrelevant or redundant information, we create a supervised approach to learn and detect the essential terms in questions. In the second part, we propose two new challenge datasets. In particular, we create two datasets of natural language questions where (i) the first one requires reasoning over multiple sentences; (ii) the second one requires temporal common sense reasoning. We hope that the two proposed datasets will motivate the field to address more complex problems. In the final part, we present the first formal framework for multi-step reasoning algorithms, in the presence of a few important properties of language use, such as incompleteness, ambiguity, etc. We apply this framework to prove fundamental limitations for reasoning algorithms. These theoretical results provide extra intuition into the existing empirical evidence in the field.

ClassiNet -- Predicting Missing Features for Short-Text Classification Artificial Intelligence

The fundamental problem in short-text classification is \emph{feature sparseness} -- the lack of feature overlap between a trained model and a test instance to be classified. We propose \emph{ClassiNet} -- a network of classifiers trained for predicting missing features in a given instance, to overcome the feature sparseness problem. Using a set of unlabeled training instances, we first learn binary classifiers as feature predictors for predicting whether a particular feature occurs in a given instance. Next, each feature predictor is represented as a vertex $v_i$ in the ClassiNet where a one-to-one correspondence exists between feature predictors and vertices. The weight of the directed edge $e_{ij}$ connecting a vertex $v_i$ to a vertex $v_j$ represents the conditional probability that given $v_i$ exists in an instance, $v_j$ also exists in the same instance. We show that ClassiNets generalize word co-occurrence graphs by considering implicit co-occurrences between features. We extract numerous features from the trained ClassiNet to overcome feature sparseness. In particular, for a given instance $\vec{x}$, we find similar features from ClassiNet that did not appear in $\vec{x}$, and append those features in the representation of $\vec{x}$. Moreover, we propose a method based on graph propagation to find features that are indirectly related to a given short-text. We evaluate ClassiNets on several benchmark datasets for short-text classification. Our experimental results show that by using ClassiNet, we can statistically significantly improve the accuracy in short-text classification tasks, without having to use any external resources such as thesauri for finding related features.

A Survey of Cross-lingual Word Embedding Models

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Cross-lingual representations of words enable us to reason about word meaning in multilingual contexts and are a key facilitator of cross-lingual transfer when developing natural language processing models for low-resource languages. In this survey, we provide a comprehensive typology of cross-lingual word embedding models. We compare their data requirements and objective functions. The recurring theme of the survey is that many of the models presented in the literature optimize for the same objectives, and that seemingly different models are often equivalent, modulo optimization strategies, hyper-parameters, and such. We also discuss the different ways cross-lingual word embeddings are evaluated, as well as future challenges and research horizons.