Alexander Miller


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Language Models as Knowledge Bases?
Fabio Petroni | Tim Rocktäschel | Sebastian Riedel | Patrick Lewis | Anton Bakhtin | Yuxiang Wu | Alexander Miller
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Recent progress in pretraining language models on large textual corpora led to a surge of improvements for downstream NLP tasks. Whilst learning linguistic knowledge, these models may also be storing relational knowledge present in the training data, and may be able to answer queries structured as “fill-in-the-blank” cloze statements. Language models have many advantages over structured knowledge bases: they require no schema engineering, allow practitioners to query about an open class of relations, are easy to extend to more data, and require no human supervision to train. We present an in-depth analysis of the relational knowledge already present (without fine-tuning) in a wide range of state-of-the-art pretrained language models. We find that (i) without fine-tuning, BERT contains relational knowledge competitive with traditional NLP methods that have some access to oracle knowledge, (ii) BERT also does remarkably well on open-domain question answering against a supervised baseline, and (iii) certain types of factual knowledge are learned much more readily than others by standard language model pretraining approaches. The surprisingly strong ability of these models to recall factual knowledge without any fine-tuning demonstrates their potential as unsupervised open-domain QA systems. The code to reproduce our analysis is available at

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Importance of Search and Evaluation Strategies in Neural Dialogue Modeling
Ilia Kulikov | Alexander Miller | Kyunghyun Cho | Jason Weston
Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Natural Language Generation

We investigate the impact of search strategies in neural dialogue modeling. We first compare two standard search algorithms, greedy and beam search, as well as our newly proposed iterative beam search which produces a more diverse set of candidate responses. We evaluate these strategies in realistic full conversations with humans and propose a model-based Bayesian calibration to address annotator bias. These conversations are analyzed using two automatic metrics: log-probabilities assigned by the model and utterance diversity. Our experiments reveal that better search algorithms lead to higher rated conversations. However, finding the optimal selection mechanism to choose from a more diverse set of candidates is still an open question.


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Retrieve and Refine: Improved Sequence Generation Models For Dialogue
Jason Weston | Emily Dinan | Alexander Miller
Proceedings of the 2018 EMNLP Workshop SCAI: The 2nd International Workshop on Search-Oriented Conversational AI

Sequence generation models for dialogue are known to have several problems: they tend to produce short, generic sentences that are uninformative and unengaging. Retrieval models on the other hand can surface interesting responses, but are restricted to the given retrieval set leading to erroneous replies that cannot be tuned to the specific context. In this work we develop a model that combines the two approaches to avoid both their deficiencies: first retrieve a response and then refine it – the final sequence generator treating the retrieval as additional context. We show on the recent ConvAI2 challenge task our approach produces responses superior to both standard retrieval and generation models in human evaluations.


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ParlAI: A Dialog Research Software Platform
Alexander Miller | Will Feng | Dhruv Batra | Antoine Bordes | Adam Fisch | Jiasen Lu | Devi Parikh | Jason Weston
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

We introduce ParlAI (pronounced “par-lay”), an open-source software platform for dialog research implemented in Python, available at Its goal is to provide a unified framework for sharing, training and testing dialog models; integration of Amazon Mechanical Turk for data collection, human evaluation, and online/reinforcement learning; and a repository of machine learning models for comparing with others’ models, and improving upon existing architectures. Over 20 tasks are supported in the first release, including popular datasets such as SQuAD, bAbI tasks, MCTest, WikiQA, QACNN, QADailyMail, CBT, bAbI Dialog, Ubuntu, OpenSubtitles and VQA. Several models are integrated, including neural models such as memory networks, seq2seq and attentive LSTMs.


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Key-Value Memory Networks for Directly Reading Documents
Alexander Miller | Adam Fisch | Jesse Dodge | Amir-Hossein Karimi | Antoine Bordes | Jason Weston
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing