UBAR: Towards Fully End-to-End Task-Oriented Dialog Systems with GPT-2

Yunyi Yang, Yunhao Li, Xiaojun Quan

This paper presents our task-oriented dialog system UBAR which models task-oriented dialogs on a dialog session level. Specifically, UBAR is acquired by fine-tuning the large pre-trained unidirectional language model GPT-2 on the sequence of the entire dialog session which is composed of user utterance, belief state, database result, system act, and system response of every dialog turn. Additionally, UBAR is evaluated in a more realistic setting, where its dialog context has access to user utterances and all content it generated such as belief states, system acts, and system responses. Experimental results on the MultiWOZ datasets show that UBAR achieves state-of-the-art performances in multiple settings, improving the combined score of response generation, policy optimization, and end-to-end modeling by 4.7, 3.5, and 9.4 points respectively. % especially in end-to-end modeling, where we improve the combined score by 9.4 points. Thorough analyses demonstrate that the session-level training sequence formulation and the generated dialog context are essential for UBAR to operate as a fully end-to-end task-oriented dialog system in real life. We also examine the transfer ability of UBAR to new domains with limited data and provide visualization and a case study to illustrate the advantages of UBAR in modeling on a dialog session level.

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