Alexandru Coca


More Robust Schema-Guided Dialogue State Tracking via Tree-Based Paraphrase Ranking
Alexandru Coca | Bo-hsiang Tseng | Weizhe Lin | Bill Byrne
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EACL 2023

The schema-guided paradigm overcomes scalability issues inherent in building task-oriented dialogue (TOD) agents with static ontologies. Rather than operating on dialogue context alone, agents have access to hierarchical schemas containing task-relevant natural language descriptions. Fine-tuned language models excel at schema-guided dialogue state tracking (DST) but are sensitive to the writing style of the schemas. We explore methods for improving the robustness of DST models. We propose a framework for generating synthetic schemas which uses tree-based ranking to jointly optimise lexical diversity and semantic faithfulness. The robust generalisation of strong baselines is improved when augmenting their training data with prompts generated by our framework, as demonstrated by marked improvements in average Joint Goal Accuracy (JGA) and schema sensitivity (SS) on the SGD-X benchmark.


uFACT: Unfaithful Alien-Corpora Training for Semantically Consistent Data-to-Text Generation
Tisha Anders | Alexandru Coca | Bill Byrne
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

We propose uFACT (Un-Faithful Alien Corpora Training), a training corpus construction method for data-to-text (d2t) generation models. We show that d2t models trained on uFACT datasets generate utterances which represent the semantic content of the data sources more accurately compared to models trained on the target corpus alone. Our approach is to augment the training set of a given target corpus with alien corpora which have different semantic representations. We show that while it is important to have faithful data from the target corpus, the faithfulness of additional corpora only plays a minor role. Consequently, uFACT datasets can be constructed with large quantities of unfaithful data. We show how uFACT can be leveraged to obtain state-of-the-art results on the WebNLG benchmark using METEOR as our performance metric. Furthermore, we investigate the sensitivity of the generation faithfulness to the training corpus structure using the PARENT metric, and provide a baseline for this metric on the WebNLG (Gardent et al., 2017) benchmark to facilitate comparisons with future work.


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GCDF1: A Goal- and Context- Driven F-Score for Evaluating User Models
Alexandru Coca | Bo-Hsiang Tseng | Bill Byrne
The First Workshop on Evaluations and Assessments of Neural Conversation Systems

The evaluation of dialogue systems in interaction with simulated users has been proposed to improve turn-level, corpus-based metrics which can only evaluate test cases encountered in a corpus and cannot measure system’s ability to sustain multi-turn interactions. Recently, little emphasis was put on automatically assessing the quality of the user model itself, so unless correlations with human studies are measured, the reliability of user model based evaluation is unknown. We propose GCDF1, a simple but effective measure of the quality of semantic-level conversations between a goal-driven user agent and a system agent. In contrast with previous approaches we measure the F-score at dialogue level and consider user and system behaviours to improve recall and precision estimation. We facilitate scores interpretation by providing a rich hierarchical structure with information about conversational patterns present in the test data and tools to efficiently query the conversations generated. We apply our framework to assess the performance and weaknesses of a Convlab2 user model.