Shuying Zhang


Topic-relevant Response Generation using Optimal Transport for an Open-domain Dialog System
Shuying Zhang | Tianyu Zhao | Tatsuya Kawahara
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Conventional neural generative models tend to generate safe and generic responses which have little connection with previous utterances semantically and would disengage users in a dialog system. To generate relevant responses, we propose a method that employs two types of constraints - topical constraint and semantic constraint. Under the hypothesis that a response and its context have higher relevance when they share the same topics, the topical constraint encourages the topics of a response to match its context by conditioning response decoding on topic words’ embeddings. The semantic constraint, which encourages a response to be semantically related to its context by regularizing the decoding objective function with semantic distance, is proposed. Optimal transport is applied to compute a weighted semantic distance between the representation of a response and the context. Generated responses are evaluated by automatic metrics, as well as human judgment, showing that the proposed method can generate more topic-relevant and content-rich responses than conventional models.