Tackling Sequence to Sequence Mapping Problems with Neural Networks

In Natural Language Processing (NLP), it is important to detect the relationship between two sequences or to generate a sequence of tokens given another observed sequence. We call the type of problems on modelling sequence pairs as sequence to sequence (seq2seq) mapping problems. A lot of research has been devoted to finding ways of tackling these problems, with traditional approaches relying on a combination of hand-crafted features, alignment models, segmentation heuristics, and external linguistic resources. Although great progress has been made, these traditional approaches suffer from various drawbacks, such as complicated pipeline, laborious feature engineering, and the difficulty for domain adaptation. Recently, neural networks emerged as a promising solution to many problems in NLP, speech recognition, and computer vision. Neural models are powerful because they can be trained end to end, generalise well to unseen examples, and the same framework can be easily adapted to a new domain.

The aim of this thesis is to advance the state-of-the-art in seq2seq mapping problems with neural networks. We explore solutions from three major aspects: investigating neural models for representing sequences, modelling interactions between sequences, and using unpaired data to boost the performance of neural models. For each aspect, we propose novel models and evaluate their efficacy on various tasks of seq2seq mapping.

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