Advances in natural language processing, such as transfer learning from pre-trained language models, have impacted how models are trained for programming language tasks too. Previous research primarily explored code pre-training and expanded it through multi-modality and multi-tasking, yet the data for downstream tasks remain modest in size. Focusing on data utilization for downstream tasks, we propose and adapt augmentation methods that yield consistent improvements in code translation and summarization by up to 6.9% and 7.5% respectively. Further analysis suggests that our methods work orthogonally and show benefits in output code style and numeric consistency. We also discuss test data imperfections.
To alleviate the problem of structured databases' limited coverage, recent task-oriented dialogue systems incorporate external unstructured knowledge to guide the generation of system responses. However, these usually use word or sentence level similarities to detect the relevant knowledge context, which only partially capture the topical level relevance. In this paper, we examine how to better integrate topical information in knowledge grounded task-oriented dialogue and propose ``Topic-Aware Response Generation'' (TARG), an end-to-end response generation model. TARG incorporates multiple topic-aware attention mechanisms to derive the importance weighting scheme over dialogue utterances and external knowledge sources towards a better understanding of the dialogue history. Experimental results indicate that TARG achieves state-of-the-art performance in knowledge selection and response generation, outperforming previous state-of-the-art by 3.2, 3.6, and 4.2 points in EM, F1 and BLEU-4 respectively on Doc2Dial, and performing comparably with previous work on DSTC9; both being knowledge-grounded task-oriented dialogue datasets.
Curriculum Learning (CL) is a technique of training models via ranking examples in a typically increasing difficulty trend with the aim of accelerating convergence and improving generalisability. Current approaches for Natural Language Understanding (NLU) tasks use CL to improve in-distribution data performance often via heuristic-oriented or task-agnostic difficulties. In this work, instead, we employ CL for NLU by taking advantage of training dynamics as difficulty metrics, i.e., statistics that measure the behavior of the model at hand on specific task-data instances during training and propose modifications of existing CL schedulers based on these statistics. Differently from existing works, we focus on evaluating models on in-distribution (ID), out-of-distribution (OOD) as well as zero-shot (ZS) cross-lingual transfer datasets. We show across several NLU tasks that CL with training dynamics can result in better performance mostly on zero-shot cross-lingual transfer and OOD settings with improvements up by 8.5% in certain cases. Overall, experiments indicate that training dynamics can lead to better performing models with smoother training compared to other difficulty metrics while being 20% faster on average. In addition, through analysis we shed light on the correlations of task-specific versus task-agnostic metrics.
We present PanGu-Coder, a pretrained decoder-only language model adopting the PanGu-Alpha architecture for text-to-code generation, i.e. the synthesis of programming language solutions given a natural language problem description. We train PanGu-Coder using a two-stage strategy: the first stage employs Causal Language Modelling (CLM) to pre-train on raw programming language data, while the second stage uses a combination of Causal Language Modelling and Masked Language Modelling (MLM) training objectives that focus on the downstream task of text-to-code generation and train on loosely curated pairs of natural language program definitions and code functions. Finally, we discuss PanGu-Coder-FT, which is fine-tuned on a combination of competitive programming problems and code with continuous integration tests. We evaluate PanGu-Coder with a focus on whether it generates functionally correct programs and demonstrate that it achieves equivalent or better performance than similarly sized models, such as CodeX, while attending a smaller context window and training on less data.
Concept-to-text Natural Language Generation is the task of expressing an input meaning representation in natural language. Previous approaches in this task have been able to generalise to rare or unseen instances by relying on a delexicalisation of the input. However, this often requires that the input appears verbatim in the output text. This poses challenges in multilingual settings, where the task expands to generate the output text in multiple languages given the same input. In this paper, we explore the application of multilingual models in concept-to-text and propose Language Agnostic Delexicalisation, a novel delexicalisation method that uses multilingual pretrained embeddings, and employs a character-level post-editing model to inflect words in their correct form during relexicalisation. Our experiments across five datasets and five languages show that multilingual models outperform monolingual models in concept-to-text and that our framework outperforms previous approaches, especially for low resource languages.
Task-oriented dialogue systems typically rely on large amounts of high-quality training data or require complex handcrafted rules. However, existing datasets are often limited in size considering the complexity of the dialogues. Additionally, conventional training signal inference is not suitable for non-deterministic agent behaviour, i.e. considering multiple actions as valid in identical dialogue states. We propose the Conversation Graph (ConvGraph), a graph-based representation of dialogues that can be exploited for data augmentation, multi-reference training and evaluation of non-deterministic agents. ConvGraph generates novel dialogue paths to augment data volume and diversity. Intrinsic and extrinsic evaluation across three datasets shows that data augmentation and/or multi-reference training with ConvGraph can improve dialogue success rates by up to 6.4%.
Deep-learning models for language generation tasks tend to produce repetitive output. Various methods have been proposed to encourage lexical diversity during decoding, but this often comes at a cost to the perceived fluency and adequacy of the output. In this work, we propose to ameliorate this cost by using an Imitation Learning approach to explore the level of diversity that a language generation model can safely produce. Specifically, we augment the decoding process with a meta-classifier trained to distinguish which words at any given timestep will lead to high-quality output. We focus our experiments on concept-to-text generation where models are sensitive to the inclusion of irrelevant words due to the strict relation between input and output. Our analysis shows that previous methods for diversity underperform in this setting, while human evaluation suggests that our proposed method achieves a high level of diversity with minimal effect to the output's fluency and adequacy.
We present our submission to the End-to-End Multi-Domain Dialog Challenge Track of the Eighth Dialog System Technology Challenge. Our proposed dialog system adopts a pipeline architecture, with distinct components for Natural Language Understanding, Dialog State Tracking, Dialog Management and Natural Language Generation. At the core of our system is a reinforcement learning algorithm which uses Deep Q-learning from Demonstrations to learn a dialog policy with the help of expert examples. We find that demonstrations are essential to training an accurate dialog policy where both state and action spaces are large. Evaluation of our Dialog Management component shows that our approach is effective - beating supervised and reinforcement learning baselines.
Concept-to-text generation typically employs a pipeline architecture, which often leads to suboptimal texts. Content selection, for example, may greedily select the most important facts, which may require, however, too many words to express, and this may be undesirable when space is limited or expensive. Selecting other facts, possibly only slightly less important, may allow the lexicalization stage to use much fewer words, or to report more facts in the same space. Decisions made during content selection and lexicalization may also lead to more or fewer sentence aggregation opportunities, affecting the length and readability of the resulting texts. Building upon on a publicly available state of the art natural language generator for Semantic Web ontologies, this article presents an Integer Linear Programming model that, unlike pipeline architectures, jointly considers choices available in content selection, lexicalization, and sentence aggregation to avoid greedy local decisions and produce more compact texts, i.e., texts that report more facts per word. Compact texts are desirable, for example, when generating advertisements to be included in Web search results, or when summarizing structured information in limited space. An extended version of the proposed model also considers a limited form of referring expression generation and avoids redundant sentences. An approximation of the two models can be used when longer texts need to be generated. Experiments with three ontologies confirm that the proposed models lead to more compact texts, compared to pipeline systems, with no deterioration or with improvements in the perceived quality of the generated texts.