Structured Attention for Unsupervised Dialogue Structure Induction

Liang Qiu, Yizhou Zhao, Weiyan Shi, Yuan Liang, Feng Shi, Tao Yuan, Zhou Yu, Song-Chun Zhu

Dialog and Interactive Systems Long Paper

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Abstract: Inducing a meaningful structural representation from one or a set of dialogues is a crucial but challenging task in computational linguistics. Advancement made in this area is critical for dialogue system design and discourse analysis. It can also be extended to solve grammatical inference. In this work, we propose to incorporate structured attention layers into a Variational Recurrent Neural Network (VRNN) model with discrete latent states to learn dialogue structure in an unsupervised fashion. Compared to a vanilla VRNN, structured attention enables a model to focus on different parts of the source sentence embeddings while enforcing a structural inductive bias. Experiments show that on two-party dialogue datasets, VRNN with structured attention learns semantic structures that are similar to templates used to generate this dialogue corpus. While on multi-party dialogue datasets, our model learns an interactive structure demonstrating its capability of distinguishing speakers or addresses, automatically disentangling dialogues without explicit human annotation.
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