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This is the implementation of ConceptFlow described in ACL 2020 paper Grounded Conversation Generation as Guided Traverses in Commonsense Knowledge Graphs.


The recommended way to install the required packages is using pip and the provided requirements.txt file. Create the environment by running the following command:

  • Mac OS: pip install -r requirements.txt
  • Linux: Will be released soon.

Download Dataset

  • Due to the policy of Reddit, we are not able to release the data in a public repo. Please send email to to request data.
  • By default, we expect the data to be stored in ./data.

Train and inference

For training, edit config.yml and set is_train: True. Run python Training result will be output to ./training_output.

For inference, edit config.yml, set is_train: False and test_model_path: 'Your Model Path'. Run python Generated responses will be output to ./inference_output.

Concept Selection

For concept selection, edit config.yml set is_train: False, test_model_path: 'Your Selector Path' and is_select: True. Run python The sorted two-hop concepts will be output to selected_concept.txt with ascending order.


To evaluate the generated response, we use the metrics and the scripts of DSTC7. Also, we use this implementation to calculate ROUGE.

Overall Results

  • Relevance Between Generated and Golden Responses. The PPL results of GPT-2 is not directly comparable because of its different tokenization.
Model Bleu-4 Nist-4 Rouge-1 Rouge-2 Rouge-L Meteor PPL
Seq2seq 0.0098 1.1069 0.1441 0.0189 0.1146 0.0611 48.79
MemNet 0.0112 1.1977 0.1523 0.0215 0.1213 0.0632 47.38
CopyNet 0.0106 1.0788 0.1472 0.0211 0.1153 0.0610 43.28
CCM 0.0084 0.9095 0.1538 0.0211 0.1245 0.0630 42.91
GPT-2 (lang) 0.0162 1.0844 0.1321 0.0117 0.1046 0.0637 29.08
GPT-2 (conv) 0.0124 1.1763 0.1514 0.0222 0.1212 0.0629 24.55
ConceptFlow 0.0246 1.8329 0.2280 0.0469 0.1888 0.0942 29.90
  • Diversity of Generated Response.
Model Dist-1 Dist-2 Ent-4
Seq2seq 0.0123 0.0525 7.665
MemNet 0.0211 0.0931 8.418
CopyNet 0.0223 0.0988 8.422
CCM 0.0146 0.0643 7.847
GPT-2 (lang) 0.0325 0.2461 11.65
GPT-2 (conv) 0.0266 0.1218 8.546
ConceptFlow 0.0223 0.1228 10.27


    title = "Grounded Conversation Generation as Guided Traverses in Commonsense Knowledge Graphs",
    author = "Zhang, Houyu  and
      Liu, Zhenghao  and
      Xiong, Chenyan  and
      Liu, Zhiyuan",
    booktitle = "Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics",
    month = jul,
    year = "2020",
    address = "Online",
    publisher = "Association for Computational Linguistics",
    url = "",
    pages = "2031--2043",
    abstract = "Human conversations naturally evolve around related concepts and hop to distant concepts. This paper presents a new conversation generation model, ConceptFlow, which leverages commonsense knowledge graphs to explicitly model conversation flows. By grounding conversations to the concept space, ConceptFlow represents the potential conversation flow as traverses in the concept space along commonsense relations. The traverse is guided by graph attentions in the concept graph, moving towards more meaningful directions in the concept space, in order to generate more semantic and informative responses. Experiments on Reddit conversations demonstrate ConceptFlow{'}s effectiveness over previous knowledge-aware conversation models and GPT-2 based models while using 70{\%} fewer parameters, confirming the advantage of explicit modeling conversation structures. All source codes of this work are available at",


This code was based in part on the source code of CCM and GraftNet.


If you have any question or suggestion, please send email to:


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