Hierarchically-Structured Variational Autoencoders for Long Text Generation

Dinghan Shen, Asli Celikyilmaz, Yizhe Zhang, Liqun Chen, Xin Wang, Lawrence Carin

Sep 27, 2018 ICLR 2019 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Variational autoencoders (VAEs) have received much attention recently as an end-to-end architecture for text generation. Existing methods primarily focus on synthesizing relatively short sentences (with less than twenty words). In this paper, we propose a novel framework, hierarchically-structured variational autoencoder (hier-VAE), for generating long and coherent units of text. To enhance the model’s plan-ahead ability, intermediate sentence representations are introduced into the generative networks to guide the word-level predictions. To alleviate the typical optimization challenges associated with textual VAEs, we further employ a hierarchy of stochastic layers between the encoder and decoder networks. Extensive experiments are conducted to evaluate the proposed method, where hier-VAE is shown to make effective use of the latent codes and achieve lower perplexity relative to language models. Moreover, the generated samples from hier-VAE also exhibit superior quality according to both automatic and human evaluations.
  • Keywords: Natural Language Processing, Text Generation, Variational Autoencoders
  • TL;DR: Propose a hierarchically-structured variational autoencoder for generating long and coherent units of text
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