Language Generation via Combinatorial Constraint Satisfaction: A Tree Search Enhanced Monte-Carlo Approach

Maosen Zhang, Nan Jiang, Lei li, Yexiang Xue

Generating natural language under complex constraints is a principled formulation towards controllable text generation. We present a framework to allow specification of combinatorial constraints for sentence generation. We propose TSMH, an efficient method to generate high likelihood sentences with respect to a pre-trained language model while satisfying the constraints. Our approach is highly flexible, requires no task-specific training, and leverages efficient constraint satisfaction solving techniques. To better handle the combinatorial constraints, a tree search algorithm is embedded into the proposal process of the Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) to explore candidates that satisfy more constraints. Compared to existing MCMC approaches, our sampling approach has a better mixing performance. Experiments show that TSMH achieves consistent and significant improvement on multiple language generation tasks.

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