Igor Shalyminov


2019

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Data-Efficient Goal-Oriented Conversation with Dialogue Knowledge Transfer Networks
Igor Shalyminov | Sungjin Lee | Arash Eshghi | Oliver Lemon
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Goal-oriented dialogue systems are now being widely adopted in industry where it is of key importance to maintain a rapid prototyping cycle for new products and domains. Data-driven dialogue system development has to be adapted to meet this requirement — therefore, reducing the amount of data and annotations necessary for training such systems is a central research problem. In this paper, we present the Dialogue Knowledge Transfer Network (DiKTNet), a state-of-the-art approach to goal-oriented dialogue generation which only uses a few example dialogues (i.e. few-shot learning), none of which has to be annotated. We achieve this by performing a 2-stage training. Firstly, we perform unsupervised dialogue representation pre-training on a large source of goal-oriented dialogues in multiple domains, the MetaLWOz corpus. Secondly, at the transfer stage, we train DiKTNet using this representation together with 2 other textual knowledge sources with different levels of generality: ELMo encoder and the main dataset’s source domains. Our main dataset is the Stanford Multi-Domain dialogue corpus. We evaluate our model on it in terms of BLEU and Entity F1 scores, and show that our approach significantly and consistently improves upon a series of baseline models as well as over the previous state-of-the-art dialogue generation model, ZSDG. The improvement upon the latter — up to 10% in Entity F1 and the average of 3% in BLEU score — is achieved using only 10% equivalent of ZSDG’s in-domain training data.

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Few-Shot Dialogue Generation Without Annotated Data: A Transfer Learning Approach
Igor Shalyminov | Sungjin Lee | Arash Eshghi | Oliver Lemon
Proceedings of the 20th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue

Learning with minimal data is one of the key challenges in the development of practical, production-ready goal-oriented dialogue systems. In a real-world enterprise setting where dialogue systems are developed rapidly and are expected to work robustly for an ever-growing variety of domains, products, and scenarios, efficient learning from a limited number of examples becomes indispensable. In this paper, we introduce a technique to achieve state-of-the-art dialogue generation performance in a few-shot setup, without using any annotated data. We do this by leveraging background knowledge from a larger, more highly represented dialogue source — namely, the MetaLWOz dataset. We evaluate our model on the Stanford Multi-Domain Dialogue Dataset, consisting of human-human goal-oriented dialogues in in-car navigation, appointment scheduling, and weather information domains. We show that our few-shot approach achieves state-of-the art results on that dataset by consistently outperforming the previous best model in terms of BLEU and Entity F1 scores, while being more data-efficient than it by not requiring any data annotation.

2018

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Neural Response Ranking for Social Conversation: A Data-Efficient Approach
Igor Shalyminov | Ondřej Dušek | Oliver Lemon
Proceedings of the 2018 EMNLP Workshop SCAI: The 2nd International Workshop on Search-Oriented Conversational AI

The overall objective of ‘social’ dialogue systems is to support engaging, entertaining, and lengthy conversations on a wide variety of topics, including social chit-chat. Apart from raw dialogue data, user-provided ratings are the most common signal used to train such systems to produce engaging responses. In this paper we show that social dialogue systems can be trained effectively from raw unannotated data. Using a dataset of real conversations collected in the 2017 Alexa Prize challenge, we developed a neural ranker for selecting ‘good’ system responses to user utterances, i.e. responses which are likely to lead to long and engaging conversations. We show that (1) our neural ranker consistently outperforms several strong baselines when trained to optimise for user ratings; (2) when trained on larger amounts of data and only using conversation length as the objective, the ranker performs better than the one trained using ratings – ultimately reaching a Precision@1 of 0.87. This advance will make data collection for social conversational agents simpler and less expensive in the future.

2017

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Bootstrapping incremental dialogue systems from minimal data: the generalisation power of dialogue grammars
Arash Eshghi | Igor Shalyminov | Oliver Lemon
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We investigate an end-to-end method for automatically inducing task-based dialogue systems from small amounts of unannotated dialogue data. It combines an incremental semantic grammar - Dynamic Syntax and Type Theory with Records (DS-TTR) - with Reinforcement Learning (RL), where language generation and dialogue management are a joint decision problem. The systems thus produced are incremental: dialogues are processed word-by-word, shown previously to be essential in supporting natural, spontaneous dialogue. We hypothesised that the rich linguistic knowledge within the grammar should enable a combinatorially large number of dialogue variations to be processed, even when trained on very few dialogues. Our experiments show that our model can process 74% of the Facebook AI bAbI dataset even when trained on only 0.13% of the data (5 dialogues). It can in addition process 65% of bAbI+, a corpus we created by systematically adding incremental dialogue phenomena such as restarts and self-corrections to bAbI. We compare our model with a state-of-the-art retrieval model, MEMN2N. We find that, in terms of semantic accuracy, the MEMN2N model shows very poor robustness to the bAbI+ transformations even when trained on the full bAbI dataset.