Conceptual overview

Our goal is to enable AI-application developers and researchers with:

  • set of pre-trained NLP models, pre-defined dialog system components (ML/DL/Rule-based) and pipeline templates;
  • a framework for implementing and testing their own dialog models;
  • tools for application integration with adjacent infrastructure (messengers, helpdesk software etc.);
  • benchmarking environment for conversational models and uniform access to relevant datasets.

Key Concepts

  • Agent is a conversational agent communicating with users in natural language (text).
  • Skill fulfills user’s goal in some domain. Typically, this is accomplished by presenting information or completing transaction (e.g. answer question by FAQ, booking tickets etc.). However, for some tasks a success of interaction is defined as continuous engagement (e.g. chit-chat).
  • Component is a reusable functional part of Skill.
  • Rule-based Models cannot be trained.
  • Machine Learning Models can be trained only stand alone.
  • Deep Learning Models can be trained independently and in an end-to-end mode being joined in a chain.
  • Skill Manager performs selection of the Skill to generate response.
  • Chainer builds an agent/component pipeline from heterogeneous components (Rule-based/ML/DL). It allows to train and infer models in a pipeline as a whole.

The smallest building block of the library is Component. Component stands for any kind of function in an NLP pipeline. It can be implemented as a neural network, a non-neural ML model or a rule-based system. Besides that, Component can have nested structure, i.e. a Component can include other Component s.

Component s can be joined into a Skill. Skill solves a larger NLP task compared to Component. However, in terms of implementation Skills are not different from Components. The only restriction of Skills is that their input and output should both be strings. Therefore, Skills are usually associated with dialogue tasks.

Agent is supposed to be a multi-purpose dialogue system that comprises several Skills and can switch between them. It can be a dialogue system that contains a goal-oriented and chatbot skills and chooses which one to use for generating the answer depending on user input.

DeepPavlov is built on top of machine learning frameworks TensorFlow and Keras. Other external libraries can be used to build basic components.