Jianpeng Cheng


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A Generative Model for Joint Natural Language Understanding and Generation
Bo-Hsiang Tseng | Jianpeng Cheng | Yimai Fang | David Vandyke
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Natural language understanding (NLU) and natural language generation (NLG) are two fundamental and related tasks in building task-oriented dialogue systems with opposite objectives: NLU tackles the transformation from natural language to formal representations, whereas NLG does the reverse. A key to success in either task is parallel training data which is expensive to obtain at a large scale. In this work, we propose a generative model which couples NLU and NLG through a shared latent variable. This approach allows us to explore both spaces of natural language and formal representations, and facilitates information sharing through the latent space to eventually benefit NLU and NLG. Our model achieves state-of-the-art performance on two dialogue datasets with both flat and tree-structured formal representations. We also show that the model can be trained in a semi-supervised fashion by utilising unlabelled data to boost its performance.

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Conversational Semantic Parsing for Dialog State Tracking
Jianpeng Cheng | Devang Agrawal | Héctor Martínez Alonso | Shruti Bhargava | Joris Driesen | Federico Flego | Dain Kaplan | Dimitri Kartsaklis | Lin Li | Dhivya Piraviperumal | Jason D. Williams | Hong Yu | Diarmuid Ó Séaghdha | Anders Johannsen
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

We consider a new perspective on dialog state tracking (DST), the task of estimating a user’s goal through the course of a dialog. By formulating DST as a semantic parsing task over hierarchical representations, we can incorporate semantic compositionality, cross-domain knowledge sharing and co-reference. We present TreeDST, a dataset of 27k conversations annotated with tree-structured dialog states and system acts. We describe an encoder-decoder framework for DST with hierarchical representations, which leads to ~20% improvement over state-of-the-art DST approaches that operate on a flat meaning space of slot-value pairs.


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Learning an Executable Neural Semantic Parser
Jianpeng Cheng | Siva Reddy | Vijay Saraswat | Mirella Lapata
Computational Linguistics, Volume 45, Issue 1 - March 2019

This article describes a neural semantic parser that maps natural language utterances onto logical forms that can be executed against a task-specific environment, such as a knowledge base or a database, to produce a response. The parser generates tree-structured logical forms with a transition-based approach, combining a generic tree-generation algorithm with domain-general grammar defined by the logical language. The generation process is modeled by structured recurrent neural networks, which provide a rich encoding of the sentential context and generation history for making predictions. To tackle mismatches between natural language and logical form tokens, various attention mechanisms are explored. Finally, we consider different training settings for the neural semantic parser, including fully supervised training where annotated logical forms are given, weakly supervised training where denotations are provided, and distant supervision where only unlabeled sentences and a knowledge base are available. Experiments across a wide range of data sets demonstrate the effectiveness of our parser.


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Weakly-Supervised Neural Semantic Parsing with a Generative Ranker
Jianpeng Cheng | Mirella Lapata
Proceedings of the 22nd Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning

Weakly-supervised semantic parsers are trained on utterance-denotation pairs, treating logical forms as latent. The task is challenging due to the large search space and spuriousness of logical forms. In this paper we introduce a neural parser-ranker system for weakly-supervised semantic parsing. The parser generates candidate tree-structured logical forms from utterances using clues of denotations. These candidates are then ranked based on two criterion: their likelihood of executing to the correct denotation, and their agreement with the utterance semantics. We present a scheduled training procedure to balance the contribution of the two objectives. Furthermore, we propose to use a neurally encoded lexicon to inject prior domain knowledge to the model. Experiments on three Freebase datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our semantic parser, achieving results within the state-of-the-art range.


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Learning Structured Natural Language Representations for Semantic Parsing
Jianpeng Cheng | Siva Reddy | Vijay Saraswat | Mirella Lapata
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We introduce a neural semantic parser which is interpretable and scalable. Our model converts natural language utterances to intermediate, domain-general natural language representations in the form of predicate-argument structures, which are induced with a transition system and subsequently mapped to target domains. The semantic parser is trained end-to-end using annotated logical forms or their denotations. We achieve the state of the art on SPADES and GRAPHQUESTIONS and obtain competitive results on GEOQUERY and WEBQUESTIONS. The induced predicate-argument structures shed light on the types of representations useful for semantic parsing and how these are different from linguistically motivated ones.

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A Generative Parser with a Discriminative Recognition Algorithm
Jianpeng Cheng | Adam Lopez | Mirella Lapata
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Generative models defining joint distributions over parse trees and sentences are useful for parsing and language modeling, but impose restrictions on the scope of features and are often outperformed by discriminative models. We propose a framework for parsing and language modeling which marries a generative model with a discriminative recognition model in an encoder-decoder setting. We provide interpretations of the framework based on expectation maximization and variational inference, and show that it enables parsing and language modeling within a single implementation. On the English Penn Treen-bank, our framework obtains competitive performance on constituency parsing while matching the state-of-the-art single-model language modeling score.

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Dependency Parsing as Head Selection
Xingxing Zhang | Jianpeng Cheng | Mirella Lapata
Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Volume 1, Long Papers

Conventional graph-based dependency parsers guarantee a tree structure both during training and inference. Instead, we formalize dependency parsing as the problem of independently selecting the head of each word in a sentence. Our model which we call DENSE (as shorthand for Dependency Neural Selection) produces a distribution over possible heads for each word using features obtained from a bidirectional recurrent neural network. Without enforcing structural constraints during training, DeNSe generates (at inference time) trees for the overwhelming majority of sentences, while non-tree outputs can be adjusted with a maximum spanning tree algorithm. We evaluate DeNSe on four languages (English, Chinese, Czech, and German) with varying degrees of non-projectivity. Despite the simplicity of the approach, our parsers are on par with the state of the art.


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Long Short-Term Memory-Networks for Machine Reading
Jianpeng Cheng | Li Dong | Mirella Lapata
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

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Neural Summarization by Extracting Sentences and Words
Jianpeng Cheng | Mirella Lapata
Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)


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Syntax-Aware Multi-Sense Word Embeddings for Deep Compositional Models of Meaning
Jianpeng Cheng | Dimitri Kartsaklis
Proceedings of the 2015 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing