Jeffrey Zhao


Show, Don’t Tell: Demonstrations Outperform Descriptions for Schema-Guided Task-Oriented Dialogue
Raghav Gupta | Harrison Lee | Jeffrey Zhao | Yuan Cao | Abhinav Rastogi | Yonghui Wu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Building universal dialogue systems that operate across multiple domains/APIs and generalize to new ones with minimal overhead is a critical challenge. Recent works have leveraged natural language descriptions of schema elements to enable such systems; however, descriptions only indirectly convey schema semantics. In this work, we propose Show, Don’t Tell, which prompts seq2seq models with a labeled example dialogue to show the semantics of schema elements rather than tell the model through descriptions. While requiring similar effort from service developers as generating descriptions, we show that using short examples as schema representations with large language models results in state-of-the-art performance on two popular dialogue state tracking benchmarks designed to measure zero-shot generalization - the Schema-Guided Dialogue dataset and the MultiWOZ leave-one-out benchmark.


Effective Sequence-to-Sequence Dialogue State Tracking
Jeffrey Zhao | Mahdis Mahdieh | Ye Zhang | Yuan Cao | Yonghui Wu
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Sequence-to-sequence models have been applied to a wide variety of NLP tasks, but how to properly use them for dialogue state tracking has not been systematically investigated. In this paper, we study this problem from the perspectives of pre-training objectives as well as the formats of context representations. We demonstrate that the choice of pre-training objective makes a significant difference to the state tracking quality. In particular, we find that masked span prediction is more effective than auto-regressive language modeling. We also explore using Pegasus, a span prediction-based pre-training objective for text summarization, for the state tracking model. We found that pre-training for the seemingly distant summarization task works surprisingly well for dialogue state tracking. In addition, we found that while recurrent state context representation works also reasonably well, the model may have a hard time recovering from earlier mistakes. We conducted experiments on the MultiWOZ 2.1-2.4, WOZ 2.0, and DSTC2 datasets with consistent observations.