Collaborating Authors


Domain-Independent turn-level Dialogue Quality Evaluation via User Satisfaction Estimation Artificial Intelligence

An automated metric to evaluate dialogue quality is vital for optimizing data driven dialogue management. The common approach of relying on explicit user feedback during a conversation is intrusive and sparse. Current models to estimate user satisfaction use limited feature sets and rely on annotation schemes with low inter-rater reliability, limiting generalizability to conversations spanning multiple domains. To address these gaps, we created a new Response Quality annotation scheme, based on which we developed turn-level User Satisfaction metric. We introduced five new domain-independent feature sets and experimented with six machine learning models to estimate the new satisfaction metric. Using Response Quality annotation scheme, across randomly sampled single and multi-turn conversations from 26 domains, we achieved high inter-annotator agreement (Spearman's rho 0.94). The Response Quality labels were highly correlated (0.76) with explicit turn-level user ratings. Gradient boosting regression achieved best correlation of ~0.79 between predicted and annotated user satisfaction labels. Multi Layer Perceptron and Gradient Boosting regression models generalized to an unseen domain better (linear correlation 0.67) than other models. Finally, our ablation study verified that our novel features significantly improved model performance.

Touchdown: Natural Language Navigation and Spatial Reasoning in Visual Street Environments Artificial Intelligence

We study the problem of jointly reasoning about language and vision through a navigation and spatial reasoning task. We introduce the Touchdown task and dataset, where an agent must first follow navigation instructions in a real-life visual urban environment to a goal position, and then identify in the observed image a location described in natural language to find a hidden object. The data contains 9,326 examples of English instructions and spatial descriptions paired with demonstrations. We perform qualitative linguistic analysis, and show that the data displays richer use of spatial reasoning compared to related resources. Empirical analysis shows the data presents an open challenge to existing methods.

Improving Variational Encoder-Decoders in Dialogue Generation

AAAI Conferences

Variational encoder-decoders (VEDs) have shown promising results in dialogue generation. However, the latent variable distributions are usually approximated by a much simpler model than the powerful RNN structure used for encoding and decoding, yielding the KL-vanishing problem and inconsistent training objective. In this paper, we separate the training step into two phases: The first phase learns to autoencode discrete texts into continuous embeddings, from which the second phase learns to generalize latent representations by reconstructing the encoded embedding.  In this case, latent variables are sampled by transforming Gaussian noise through multi-layer perceptrons and are trained with a separate VED model, which has the potential of realizing a much more flexible distribution. We compare our model with current popular models and the experiment demonstrates substantial improvement in both metric-based and human evaluations.

Inferring Interpersonal Relations in Narrative Summaries

AAAI Conferences

Characterizing relationships between people is fundamental for the understanding of narratives. In this work, we address the problem of inferring the polarity of relationships between people in narrative summaries. We formulate the problem as a joint structured prediction for each narrative, and present a general model that combines evidence from linguistic and semantic features, as well as features based on the structure of the social community in the text. We additionally provide a clustering-based approach that can exploit regularities in narrative types. e.g., learn an affinity for love-triangles in romantic stories. On a dataset of movie summaries from Wikipedia, our structured models provide more than 30% error-reduction over a competitive baseline that considers pairs of characters in isolation.

Joint Anaphoricity Detection and Coreference Resolution with Constrained Latent Structures

AAAI Conferences

This paper introduces a new structured model for learning anaphoricity detection and coreference resolution in a joint fashion. Specifically,we use a latent tree to represent the full coreference and anaphoric structure of a document at a global level, and we jointly learn the parameters of the two models using a version of the structured perceptron algorithm. Our joint structured model is further refined by the use of pairwise constraints which help the model to capture accurately certain patterns of coreference. Our experiments on the CoNLL-2012 English datasets show large improvements in both coreference resolution and anaphoricity detection, compared to various competing architectures. Our best coreference system obtains a CoNLL score of 81.97 on gold mentions, which is to date the best score reported on this setting.

Convolution Kernels for Natural Language

Neural Information Processing Systems

We describe the application of kernel methods to Natural Language Processing (NLP)problems. In many NLP tasks the objects being modeled are strings, trees, graphs or other discrete structures which require some mechanism to convert them into feature vectors. We describe kernels for various natural language structures, allowing rich, high dimensional representations ofthese structures. We show how a kernel over trees can be applied to parsing using the voted perceptron algorithm, and we give experimental results on the ATIS corpus of parse trees.