Yucheng Cai


Advancing Semi-Supervised Task Oriented Dialog Systems by JSA Learning of Discrete Latent Variable Models
Yucheng Cai | Hong Liu | Zhijian Ou | Yi Huang | Junlan Feng
Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

Developing semi-supervised task-oriented dialog (TOD) systems by leveraging unlabeled dialog data has attracted increasing interests. For semi-supervised learning of latent state TOD models, variational learning is often used, but suffers from the annoying high-variance of the gradients propagated through discrete latent variables and the drawback of indirectly optimizing the target log-likelihood. Recently, an alternative algorithm, called joint stochastic approximation (JSA), has emerged for learning discrete latent variable models with impressive performances. In this paper, we propose to apply JSA to semi-supervised learning of the latent state TOD models, which is referred to as JSA-TOD. To our knowledge, JSA-TOD represents the first work in developing JSA based semi-supervised learning of discrete latent variable conditional models for such long sequential generation problems like in TOD systems. Extensive experiments show that JSA-TOD significantly outperforms its variational learning counterpart. Remarkably, semi-supervised JSA-TOD using 20% labels performs close to the full-supervised baseline on MultiWOZ2.1.

A Generative User Simulator with GPT-based Architecture and Goal State Tracking for Reinforced Multi-Domain Dialog Systems
Hong Liu | Yucheng Cai | Zhijian Ou | Yi Huang | Junlan Feng
Proceedings of the Towards Semi-Supervised and Reinforced Task-Oriented Dialog Systems (SereTOD)

Building user simulators (USs) for reinforcement learning (RL) of task-oriented dialog systems (DSs) has gained more and more attention, which, however, still faces several fundamental challenges. First, it is unclear whether we can leverage pretrained language models to design, for example, GPT-2 based USs, to catch up and interact with the recently advanced GPT- 2 based DSs. Second, an important ingredient in a US is that the user goal can be effectively incorporated and tracked; but how to flexibly integrate goal state tracking and develop an end-to-end trainable US for multi-domains has remained to be a challenge. In this work, we propose a generative user simulator (GUS) with GPT-2 based architecture and goal state tracking towards addressing the above two challenges. Extensive experiments are conducted on MultiWOZ2.1. Different DSs are trained via RL with GUS, the classic agenda-based user simulator (ABUS) and other ablation simulators respectively, and are compared for crossmodel evaluation, corpus-based evaluation and human evaluation. The GUS achieves superior results in all three evaluation tasks.