Robert J. Ross


Energy-based Neural Modelling for Large-Scale Multiple Domain Dialogue State Tracking
Anh Duong Trinh | Robert J. Ross | John D. Kelleher
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Structured Prediction for NLP

Scaling up dialogue state tracking to multiple domains is challenging due to the growth in the number of variables being tracked. Furthermore, dialog state tracking models do not yet explicitly make use of relationships between dialogue variables, such as slots across domains. We propose using energy-based structure prediction methods for large-scale dialogue state tracking task in two multiple domain dialogue datasets. Our results indicate that: (i) modelling variable dependencies yields better results; and (ii) the structured prediction output aligns with the dialogue slot-value constraint principles. This leads to promising directions to improve state-of-the-art models by incorporating variable dependencies into their prediction process.


Bigger versus Similar: Selecting a Background Corpus for First Story Detection Based on Distributional Similarity
Fei Wang | Robert J. Ross | John D. Kelleher
Proceedings of the International Conference on Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing (RANLP 2019)

The current state of the art for First Story Detection (FSD) are nearest neighbour-based models with traditional term vector representations; however, one challenge faced by FSD models is that the document representation is usually defined by the vocabulary and term frequency from a background corpus. Consequently, the ideal background corpus should arguably be both large-scale to ensure adequate term coverage, and similar to the target domain in terms of the language distribution. However, given these two factors cannot always be mutually satisfied, in this paper we examine whether the distributional similarity of common terms is more important than the scale of common terms for FSD. As a basis for our analysis we propose a set of metrics to quantitatively measure the scale of common terms and the distributional similarity between corpora. Using these metrics we rank different background corpora relative to a target corpus. We also apply models based on different background corpora to the FSD task. Our results show that term distributional similarity is more predictive of good FSD performance than the scale of common terms; and, thus we demonstrate that a smaller recent domain-related corpus will be more suitable than a very large-scale general corpus for FSD.

Capturing Dialogue State Variable Dependencies with an Energy-based Neural Dialogue State Tracker
Anh Duong Trinh | Robert J. Ross | John D. Kelleher
Proceedings of the 20th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue

Dialogue state tracking requires the population and maintenance of a multi-slot frame representation of the dialogue state. Frequently, dialogue state tracking systems assume independence between slot values within a frame. In this paper we argue that treating the prediction of each slot value as an independent prediction task may ignore important associations between the slot values, and, consequently, we argue that treating dialogue state tracking as a structured prediction problem can help to improve dialogue state tracking performance. To support this argument, the research presented in this paper is structured into three stages: (i) analyzing variable dependencies in dialogue data; (ii) applying an energy-based methodology to model dialogue state tracking as a structured prediction task; and (iii) evaluating the impact of inter-slot relationships on model performance. Overall we demonstrate that modelling the associations between target slots with an energy-based formalism improves dialogue state tracking performance in a number of ways.