Kan Li


Diversifying Neural Dialogue Generation via Negative Distillation
Yiwei Li | Shaoxiong Feng | Bin Sun | Kan Li
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Generative dialogue models suffer badly from the generic response problem, limiting their applications to a few toy scenarios. Recently, an interesting approach, namely negative training, has been proposed to alleviate this problem by reminding the model not to generate high-frequency responses during training. However, its performance is hindered by two issues, ignoring low-frequency but generic responses and bringing low-frequency but meaningless responses. In this paper, we propose a novel negative training paradigm, called negative distillation, to keep the model away from the undesirable generic responses while avoiding the above problems. First, we introduce a negative teacher model that can produce query-wise generic responses, and then the student model is required to maximize the distance with multi-level negative knowledge. Empirical results show that our method outperforms previous negative training methods significantly.

Hierarchical Inductive Transfer for Continual Dialogue Learning
Shaoxiong Feng | Xuancheng Ren | Kan Li | Xu Sun
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Pre-trained models have achieved excellent performance on the dialogue task. However, for the continual increase of online chit-chat scenarios, directly fine-tuning these models for each of the new tasks not only explodes the capacity of the dialogue system on the embedded devices but also causes knowledge forgetting on pre-trained models and knowledge interference among diverse dialogue tasks. In this work, we propose a hierarchical inductive transfer framework to learn and deploy the dialogue skills continually and efficiently. First, we introduce the adapter module into pre-trained models for learning new dialogue tasks. As the only trainable module, it is beneficial for the dialogue system on the embedded devices to acquire new dialogue skills with negligible additional parameters. Then, for alleviating knowledge interference between tasks yet benefiting the regularization between them, we further design hierarchical inductive transfer that enables new tasks to use general knowledge in the base adapter without being misled by diverse knowledge in task-specific adapters. Empirical evaluation and analysis indicate that our framework obtains comparable performance under deployment-friendly model capacity.

Modeling Complex Dialogue Mappings via Sentence Semantic Segmentation Guided Conditional Variational Auto-Encoder
Bin Sun | Shaoxiong Feng | Yiwei Li | Weichao Wang | Fei Mi | Yitong Li | Kan Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Complex dialogue mappings (CDM), including one-to-many and many-to-one mappings, tend to make dialogue models generate incoherent or dull responses, and modeling these mappings remains a huge challenge for neural dialogue systems. To alleviate these problems, methods like introducing external information, reconstructing the optimization function, and manipulating data samples are proposed, while they primarily focus on avoiding training with CDM, inevitably weakening the model’s ability of understanding CDM in human conversations and limiting further improvements in model performance. This paper proposes a Sentence Semantic Segmentation guided Conditional Variational Auto-Encoder (SegCVAE) method which can model and take advantages of the CDM data. Specifically, to tackle the incoherent problem caused by one-to-many, SegCVAE uses response-related prominent semantics to constrained the latent variable. To mitigate the non-diverse problem brought by many-to-one, SegCVAE segments multiple prominent semantics to enrich the latent variables. Three novel components, Internal Separation, External Guidance, and Semantic Norms, are proposed to achieve SegCVAE. On dialogue generation tasks, both the automatic and human evaluation results show that SegCVAE achieves new state-of-the-art performance.


Generating Relevant and Coherent Dialogue Responses using Self-Separated Conditional Variational AutoEncoders
Bin Sun | Shaoxiong Feng | Yiwei Li | Jiamou Liu | Kan Li
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Conditional Variational AutoEncoder (CVAE) effectively increases the diversity and informativeness of responses in open-ended dialogue generation tasks through enriching the context vector with sampled latent variables. However, due to the inherent one-to-many and many-to-one phenomena in human dialogues, the sampled latent variables may not correctly reflect the contexts’ semantics, leading to irrelevant and incoherent generated responses. To resolve this problem, we propose Self-separated Conditional Variational AutoEncoder (abbreviated as SepaCVAE) that introduces group information to regularize the latent variables, which enhances CVAE by improving the responses’ relevance and coherence while maintaining their diversity and informativeness. SepaCVAE actively divides the input data into groups, and then widens the absolute difference between data pairs from distinct groups, while narrowing the relative distance between data pairs in the same group. Empirical results from automatic evaluation and detailed analysis demonstrate that SepaCVAE can significantly boost responses in well-established open-domain dialogue datasets.


Regularizing Dialogue Generation by Imitating Implicit Scenarios
Shaoxiong Feng | Xuancheng Ren | Hongshen Chen | Bin Sun | Kan Li | Xu Sun
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Human dialogues are scenario-based and appropriate responses generally relate to the latent context knowledge entailed by the specific scenario. To enable responses that are more meaningful and context-specific, we propose to improve generative dialogue systems from the scenario perspective, where both dialogue history and future conversation are taken into account to implicitly reconstruct the scenario knowledge. More importantly, the conversation scenarios are further internalized using imitation learning framework, where the conventional dialogue model that has no access to future conversations is effectively regularized by transferring the scenario knowledge contained in hierarchical supervising signals from the scenario-based dialogue model, so that the future conversation is not required in actual inference. Extensive evaluations show that our approach significantly outperforms state-of-the-art baselines on diversity and relevance, and expresses scenario-specific knowledge.