An Equal-Size Hard EM Algorithm for Multi-Decoder Dialogue Generation

  • Author / Creator
    Wen, Yuqiao
  • Building intelligent open-domain dialogue systems is a long-standing goal of artificial intelligence. These systems, also known as chatbots, aim to hold conversations with humans in an open-ended fashion. However, it is well known that standard encoder-decoder dialogue systems tend to generate generic responses. A previous study hypothesizes that this phenomenon is due to the one-to-many mapping in the open-domain dialogue task, where the target distribution is multi-modal. As a result, standard cross-entropy training fails as it learns an overly smoothed function that causes the mode averaging problem.

    In this work, we address the mode averaging issue with a multi-decoder model, where each decoder can cover a subset of the modes. We treat the choice of the decoder as a latent variable and apply EM-like algorithms. However, we observe that
    traditional Hard-EM and Soft-EM may not perform well due to the collapse issue: the decoders fail to specialize and the multi-decoder model degenerates to a single-decoder model. To this end, we propose EqHard-EM, which is an EM variant that assigns an equal number of samples to every decoder to alleviate the collapse issue. Results show that our EqHard-EM algorithm achieves significant improvements over single-decoder models in terms of both response quality and diversity. In addition, extensive analyses show that our EqHard-EM algorithm indeed alleviates the collapse issue: different decoders are specialized and generate diverse responses.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2022
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Library with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.