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Title: Attentive History Selection for Conversational Question Answering
Conversational AI is a rapidly developing research field in both industry and academia. As one of the major branches of conversational AI, question answering and conversational search has attracted significant attention of researchers in the information retrieval community. It has been a long overdue feature for search engines or conversational assistants to retrieve information iteratively and interactively in a conversational manner. Previous work argues that conversational question answering (ConvQA) is a simplified but concrete setting of conversational search. In this setting, one of the major challenges is to leverage the conversation history to understand and answer the current question. In this work, we propose a novel solution for ConvQA that involves three aspects. First, we propose a positional history answer embedding method to encode conversation history with position information using BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) in a natural way. BERT is a powerful technique for text representation. Second, we design a history attention mechanism (HAM) to conduct a "soft selection" for conversation histories. This method attends to history turns with different weights based on how helpful they are on answering the current question. Third, in addition to handling conversation history, we take advantage of multi-task learning (MTL) to do more » answer prediction along with another essential conversation task (dialog act prediction) using a uniform model architecture. MTL is able to learn more expressive and generic representations to improve the performance of ConvQA. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our model with extensive experimental evaluations on QuAC, a large-scale ConvQA dataset. We show that position information plays an important role in conversation history modeling. We also visualize the history attention and provide new insights into conversation history understanding. The complete implementation of our model will be open-sourced. « less
Authors:
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Award ID(s):
1715095
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10143774
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the 28th ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management - CIKM '19
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
1391 to 1400
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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