Georgios Spithourakis


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PolyResponse: A Rank-based Approach to Task-Oriented Dialogue with Application in Restaurant Search and Booking
Matthew Henderson | Ivan Vulić | Iñigo Casanueva | Paweł Budzianowski | Daniela Gerz | Sam Coope | Georgios Spithourakis | Tsung-Hsien Wen | Nikola Mrkšić | Pei-Hao Su
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP): System Demonstrations

We present PolyResponse, a conversational search engine that supports task-oriented dialogue. It is a retrieval-based approach that bypasses the complex multi-component design of traditional task-oriented dialogue systems and the use of explicit semantics in the form of task-specific ontologies. The PolyResponse engine is trained on hundreds of millions of examples extracted from real conversations: it learns what responses are appropriate in different conversational contexts. It then ranks a large index of text and visual responses according to their similarity to the given context, and narrows down the list of relevant entities during the multi-turn conversation. We introduce a restaurant search and booking system powered by the PolyResponse engine, currently available in 8 different languages.

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Training Neural Response Selection for Task-Oriented Dialogue Systems
Matthew Henderson | Ivan Vulić | Daniela Gerz | Iñigo Casanueva | Paweł Budzianowski | Sam Coope | Georgios Spithourakis | Tsung-Hsien Wen | Nikola Mrkšić | Pei-Hao Su
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Despite their popularity in the chatbot literature, retrieval-based models have had modest impact on task-oriented dialogue systems, with the main obstacle to their application being the low-data regime of most task-oriented dialogue tasks. Inspired by the recent success of pretraining in language modelling, we propose an effective method for deploying response selection in task-oriented dialogue. To train response selection models for task-oriented dialogue tasks, we propose a novel method which: 1) pretrains the response selection model on large general-domain conversational corpora; and then 2) fine-tunes the pretrained model for the target dialogue domain, relying only on the small in-domain dataset to capture the nuances of the given dialogue domain. Our evaluation on five diverse application domains, ranging from e-commerce to banking, demonstrates the effectiveness of the proposed training method.

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A Repository of Conversational Datasets
Matthew Henderson | Paweł Budzianowski | Iñigo Casanueva | Sam Coope | Daniela Gerz | Girish Kumar | Nikola Mrkšić | Georgios Spithourakis | Pei-Hao Su | Ivan Vulić | Tsung-Hsien Wen
Proceedings of the First Workshop on NLP for Conversational AI

Progress in Machine Learning is often driven by the availability of large datasets, and consistent evaluation metrics for comparing modeling approaches. To this end, we present a repository of conversational datasets consisting of hundreds of millions of examples, and a standardised evaluation procedure for conversational response selection models using 1-of-100 accuracy. The repository contains scripts that allow researchers to reproduce the standard datasets, or to adapt the pre-processing and data filtering steps to their needs. We introduce and evaluate several competitive baselines for conversational response selection, whose implementations are shared in the repository, as well as a neural encoder model that is trained on the entire training set.


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Numeracy for Language Models: Evaluating and Improving their Ability to Predict Numbers
Georgios Spithourakis | Sebastian Riedel
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Numeracy is the ability to understand and work with numbers. It is a necessary skill for composing and understanding documents in clinical, scientific, and other technical domains. In this paper, we explore different strategies for modelling numerals with language models, such as memorisation and digit-by-digit composition, and propose a novel neural architecture that uses a continuous probability density function to model numerals from an open vocabulary. Our evaluation on clinical and scientific datasets shows that using hierarchical models to distinguish numerals from words improves a perplexity metric on the subset of numerals by 2 and 4 orders of magnitude, respectively, over non-hierarchical models. A combination of strategies can further improve perplexity. Our continuous probability density function model reduces mean absolute percentage errors by 18% and 54% in comparison to the second best strategy for each dataset, respectively.


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Image-Grounded Conversations: Multimodal Context for Natural Question and Response Generation
Nasrin Mostafazadeh | Chris Brockett | Bill Dolan | Michel Galley | Jianfeng Gao | Georgios Spithourakis | Lucy Vanderwende
Proceedings of the Eighth International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

The popularity of image sharing on social media and the engagement it creates between users reflect the important role that visual context plays in everyday conversations. We present a novel task, Image Grounded Conversations (IGC), in which natural-sounding conversations are generated about a shared image. To benchmark progress, we introduce a new multiple reference dataset of crowd-sourced, event-centric conversations on images. IGC falls on the continuum between chit-chat and goal-directed conversation models, where visual grounding constrains the topic of conversation to event-driven utterances. Experiments with models trained on social media data show that the combination of visual and textual context enhances the quality of generated conversational turns. In human evaluation, the gap between human performance and that of both neural and retrieval architectures suggests that multi-modal IGC presents an interesting challenge for dialog research.


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Numerically Grounded Language Models for Semantic Error Correction
Georgios Spithourakis | Isabelle Augenstein | Sebastian Riedel
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

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A Persona-Based Neural Conversation Model
Jiwei Li | Michel Galley | Chris Brockett | Georgios Spithourakis | Jianfeng Gao | Bill Dolan
Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

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Clinical Text Prediction with Numerically Grounded Conditional Language Models
Georgios Spithourakis | Steffen Petersen | Sebastian Riedel
Proceedings of the Seventh International Workshop on Health Text Mining and Information Analysis