Xinting Huang


Robust Task-Oriented Dialogue Generation with Contrastive Pre-training and Adversarial Filtering
Shiquan Yang | Xinting Huang | Jey Han Lau | Sarah Erfani
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Data artifacts incentivize machine learning models to learn non-transferable generalizations by taking advantage of shortcuts in the data, andthere is growing evidence that data artifacts play a role for the strong results that deep learning models achieve in recent natural language processing benchmarks.In this paper, we focus on task-oriented dialogue and investigate whether popular datasets such as MultiWOZ contain such data artifacts.We found that by only keeping frequent phrases in the trainingexamples, state-of-the-art models perform similarly compared to the variant trained with full data, suggesting they exploit these spurious correlationsto solve the task. Motivated by this, we propose a contrastive learning based framework to encourage the model to ignore these cues and focus on learning generalisable patterns. We also experiment with adversarial filtering to remove easy training instances so that the model would focus on learning from the harder instances. We conduct a number of generalization experiments — e.g., cross-domain/dataset and adversarial tests — to assess the robustness of our approach and found that it works exceptionally well.


Latent Reasoning for Low-Resource Question Generation
Xinting Huang | Jianzhong Qi | Yu Sun | Rui Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021


Generalizable and Explainable Dialogue Generation via Explicit Action Learning
Xinting Huang | Jianzhong Qi | Yu Sun | Rui Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Response generation for task-oriented dialogues implicitly optimizes two objectives at the same time: task completion and language quality. Conditioned response generation serves as an effective approach to separately and better optimize these two objectives. Such an approach relies on system action annotations which are expensive to obtain. To alleviate the need of action annotations, latent action learning is introduced to map each utterance to a latent representation. However, this approach is prone to over-dependence on the training data, and the generalization capability is thus restricted. To address this issue, we propose to learn natural language actions that represent utterances as a span of words. This explicit action representation promotes generalization via the compositional structure of language. It also enables an explainable generation process. Our proposed unsupervised approach learns a memory component to summarize system utterances into a short span of words. To further promote a compact action representation, we propose an auxiliary task that restores state annotations as the summarized dialogue context using the memory component. Our proposed approach outperforms latent action baselines on MultiWOZ, a benchmark multi-domain dataset.

KaLM at SemEval-2020 Task 4: Knowledge-aware Language Models for Comprehension and Generation
Jiajing Wan | Xinting Huang
Proceedings of the Fourteenth Workshop on Semantic Evaluation

This paper presents our strategies in SemEval 2020 Task 4: Commonsense Validation and Explanation. We propose a novel way to search for evidence and choose the different large-scale pre-trained models as the backbone for three subtasks. The results show that our evidence-searching approach improves model performance on commonsense explanation task. Our team ranks 2nd in subtask C according to human evaluation score.

Semi-Supervised Dialogue Policy Learning via Stochastic Reward Estimation
Xinting Huang | Jianzhong Qi | Yu Sun | Rui Zhang
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Dialogue policy optimization often obtains feedback until task completion in task-oriented dialogue systems. This is insufficient for training intermediate dialogue turns since supervision signals (or rewards) are only provided at the end of dialogues. To address this issue, reward learning has been introduced to learn from state-action pairs of an optimal policy to provide turn-by-turn rewards. This approach requires complete state-action annotations of human-to-human dialogues (i.e., expert demonstrations), which is labor intensive. To overcome this limitation, we propose a novel reward learning approach for semi-supervised policy learning. The proposed approach learns a dynamics model as the reward function which models dialogue progress (i.e., state-action sequences) based on expert demonstrations, either with or without annotations. The dynamics model computes rewards by predicting whether the dialogue progress is consistent with expert demonstrations. We further propose to learn action embeddings for a better generalization of the reward function. The proposed approach outperforms competitive policy learning baselines on MultiWOZ, a benchmark multi-domain dataset.