This project aims to overcome the major hurdles that prevent current state-of-the-art models for natural language generation (NLG) from real-world deployment. While deep learning and neural networks brought considerable progress in many areas of natural language processing, neural approaches to NLG remain confined to experimental use and production NLG systems are handcrafted. The reason for this is that despite the very natural and fluent outputs of recent neural systems, neural NLG still has major drawbacks:
On the other hand, handcrafted models are safe, transparent and fast, but produce less fluent outputs and are expensive to adapt to new languages and domains (topics). As a result, usefulness of NLG models in general is limited. In addition, current methods for automatic evaluation of NLG outputs are unreliable, hampering system development.
The main aims of this project, directly addressing the above drawbacks, are:
We will test our approaches on multiple NLG applications – data-to-text generation (e.g., weather or sports reports), summarization, and dialogue response generation. For example, our approach will make it possible to deploy a new data reporting system for a given domain based on a few dozen example input-output pairs, compared to thousands needed by current methods.