Cheng Chang


2018

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Cost-Sensitive Active Learning for Dialogue State Tracking
Kaige Xie | Cheng Chang | Liliang Ren | Lu Chen | Kai Yu
Proceedings of the 19th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue

Dialogue state tracking (DST), when formulated as a supervised learning problem, relies on labelled data. Since dialogue state annotation usually requires labelling all turns of a single dialogue and utilizing context information, it is very expensive to annotate all available unlabelled data. In this paper, a novel cost-sensitive active learning framework is proposed based on a set of new dialogue-level query strategies. This is the first attempt to apply active learning for dialogue state tracking. Experiments on DSTC2 show that active learning with mixed data query strategies can effectively achieve the same DST performance with significantly less data annotation compared to traditional training approaches.

2017

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On-line Dialogue Policy Learning with Companion Teaching
Lu Chen | Runzhe Yang | Cheng Chang | Zihao Ye | Xiang Zhou | Kai Yu
Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Volume 2, Short Papers

On-line dialogue policy learning is the key for building evolvable conversational agent in real world scenarios. Poor initial policy can easily lead to bad user experience and consequently fail to attract sufficient users for policy training. A novel framework, companion teaching, is proposed to include a human teacher in the dialogue policy training loop to address the cold start problem. Here, dialogue policy is trained using not only user’s reward, but also teacher’s example action as well as estimated immediate reward at turn level. Simulation experiments showed that, with small number of human teaching dialogues, the proposed approach can effectively improve user experience at the beginning and smoothly lead to good performance with more user interaction data.

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Affordable On-line Dialogue Policy Learning
Cheng Chang | Runzhe Yang | Lu Chen | Xiang Zhou | Kai Yu
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The key to building an evolvable dialogue system in real-world scenarios is to ensure an affordable on-line dialogue policy learning, which requires the on-line learning process to be safe, efficient and economical. But in reality, due to the scarcity of real interaction data, the dialogue system usually grows slowly. Besides, the poor initial dialogue policy easily leads to bad user experience and incurs a failure of attracting users to contribute training data, so that the learning process is unsustainable. To accurately depict this, two quantitative metrics are proposed to assess safety and efficiency issues. For solving the unsustainable learning problem, we proposed a complete companion teaching framework incorporating the guidance from the human teacher. Since the human teaching is expensive, we compared various teaching schemes answering the question how and when to teach, to economically utilize teaching budget, so that make the online learning process affordable.

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Agent-Aware Dropout DQN for Safe and Efficient On-line Dialogue Policy Learning
Lu Chen | Xiang Zhou | Cheng Chang | Runzhe Yang | Kai Yu
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Hand-crafted rules and reinforcement learning (RL) are two popular choices to obtain dialogue policy. The rule-based policy is often reliable within predefined scope but not self-adaptable, whereas RL is evolvable with data but often suffers from a bad initial performance. We employ a companion learning framework to integrate the two approaches for on-line dialogue policy learning, in which a pre-defined rule-based policy acts as a “teacher” and guides a data-driven RL system by giving example actions as well as additional rewards. A novel agent-aware dropout Deep Q-Network (AAD-DQN) is proposed to address the problem of when to consult the teacher and how to learn from the teacher’s experiences. AAD-DQN, as a data-driven student policy, provides (1) two separate experience memories for student and teacher, (2) an uncertainty estimated by dropout to control the timing of consultation and learning. Simulation experiments showed that the proposed approach can significantly improve both safetyand efficiency of on-line policy optimization compared to other companion learning approaches as well as supervised pre-training using static dialogue corpus.