Submodularity-Inspired Data Selection for Goal-Oriented Chatbot Training Based on Sentence Embeddings


Spoken language understanding (SLU) systems, such as goal-oriented chatbots or personal assistants, rely on an initial natural language understanding (NLU) module to determine the intent and to extract the relevant information from the user queries they take as input. SLU systems usually help users to solve problems in relatively narrow domains and require a large amount of in-domain training data. This leads to significant data availability issues that inhibit the development of successful systems. To alleviate this problem, we propose a technique of data selection in the low-data regime that enables us to train with fewer labeled sentences, thus smaller labelling costs. We propose a submodularity-inspired data ranking function, the ratio-penalty marginal gain, for selecting data points to label based only on the information extracted from the textual embedding space. We show that the distances in the embedding space are a viable source of information that can be used for data selection. Our method outperforms two known active learning techniques and enables cost-efficient training of the NLU unit. Moreover, our proposed selection technique does not need the model to be retrained in between the selection steps, making it time efficient as well.


Publication info

February 2018
Andreea Hossmann
Principal Product Manager

Vladimir Ilievski
ex-Master Student

Mladen Dimovski
ex-Master Student

Claudiu Musat
Director of Research for Data, Analytics & AI

IJCAI 2018