Using SigOpt yielded up to 63 percent improvement in inference time beyond baseline performance for pretrained AI transformers.1
LTIMindtree is an Indian multinational service provider with decades of deep engineering experience, specializing in the delivery of agile and comprehensive enterprise solutions that use novel artificial intelligence (AI) technology. One of the cornerstones in the LTIMindtree AI suite of products is its AI-powered call summarizer, which helps call center agents summarize completed customer calls, a complex task that requires AI models to be both current and consistently improved at a granular level. LTIMindtree is committed to continuous improvement of AI model performance and response times to ensure superior products for their customers. In this case, the goal was to enable faster and more accurate call summaries using AI tools.
For LTIMindtree, improving call summarization meant meticulously fine-tuning AI models for use with individual customers. However, manually fine-tuning AI models for every individual customer was time consuming and introduced operational bottlenecks to the process. The LTIMindtree team sought a tool to overcome these challenges and settled on using SigOpt to automate the entire fine-tuning workflow.
“The investment with the SigOpt Intelligent Experimentation Platform was definitely worth the results LTIMindtree has achieved.”—Bhanu Prakash Aladahallinanjappa, program architect, LTIMindtree2
By using SigOpt, a world-class solution for operationalizing the production of AI models, Mindtree saw not just a reduction in the operational cost but also a significant performance gain in both accuracy and inference time. This SigOpt-enabled workflow ultimately translated to an up to 63 percent reduction in inference time when compared with the performance of the pre-trained HuggingFace transformer BART.1 More importantly, this model performance gain translated to a better, more productive customer experience.
LTIMindtree is focused on delivering operational efficiency by using avant-garde AI models tailored to customer needs and data. In this case, LTIMindtree’s expertise was intended for application in the telecommunications industry, where AI-enabled chatbots can help reduce voluntary customer churn, increase average revenue per user, and deliver cost-effective customer convenience. When customers interact with a chatbot, it needs to be a positive, efficient, and accurate experience for long-term customer retention and minimal need for human assistance.3
Chatbots help provide better customer experiences through quick resolutions while increasing employee efficiency and productivity. Speed, responsiveness, and accuracy are key to improving customer service. In a telecom, as well as in most other customer service environments, call accuracy is measured by the Recall-Oriented Understudy for Gisting Evaluation (ROUGE) score.
Comparing SigOpt to Other Methods
Conventional hyperparameter tuning methods like grid search and random search are tedious and time consuming. LTIMindtree was confronted with this challenge when fine-tuning hyperparameters to improve chatbot performance in call responses and summaries. Specifically, they wanted to select the right deep learning architecture to give chatbot exchanges a measurable improvement in performance. Through the following experiments, LTIMindtree sought to determine whether the SigOpt Intelligent Experimentation Platform was the right tool to facilitate the fine-tuning of hyperparameters.
Rather than manually interpreting and optimizing its AI models or combining multiple tools within LTIMindtree’s existing infrastructure, the SigOpt Intelligent Experimentation Platform gave LTIMindtree step-by-step clarity with a model-agnostic cloud-based solution.
Figure 1. LTIMindtree’s workflow for fine-tuning AI models using the SAMSum data set.
SigOpt optimizes AI models through a combination of Bayesian and other global optimization algorithms to boost model performance while reducing costs and saving time. With SigOpt, LTIMindtree experts implemented their model optimization experiments with a few lines of code using LTIMindtree’s existing environments and tools. SigOpt brings together data management, optimization, analytics, transparency, and scalability so modelers can track runs, visualize training curves, and optimize hyperparameters via an integrated dashboard designed exclusively for intelligent experimentation. LTIMindtree could easily see what did and didn’t work within their experiments, as well as a history of what had been done and how the different models were performing.
“Model customization and accuracy improvements are what our customers are insisting on instead of using available cloud solutions in the contact center space. We will definitely recommend or offer our service around customization using the SigOpt Intelligent Experimentation Platform.”—Bhanu Prakash Aladahallinanjappa, program architect, LTIMindtree
Before tackling the project, LTIMindtree chose to become familiar with SigOpt by comparing the SigOpt optimization algorithms to other standard approaches for hyperparameter optimization.
“LTIMindtree’s cognitive contact center solution now offers unprecedented accuracy and performance of the summarization model to customers, courtesy of the features in the SigOpt Intelligent Experimentation Platform”—Lakshmi Ranganathan, technical consulting engineering lead, Intel India
For the comparison, LTIMindtree used grid search, random search, and the SciPy optimization library and compared performance on the eggholder function. The eggholder function is considered a classic function within the optimization literature. The resulting comparison gave quick insight into how SigOpt was able to find the best value in fewer iterations compared to the other approaches.
Figure 2. The LTIMindtree team tried conventional tuning methods like grid search and random search. This image displays the results comparison with SigOpt.1
Overall, running these two test cases gave LTIMindtree the confidence to continue with SigOpt for this project.
Choosing the Right Deep Learning Architecture That Aligns with Modeling and Business Objectives
One of the challenges when building deep learning models is to choose the right architecture. Choosing the right architecture means finding the architecture that is not just ensuring the best model performance but is also satisfying the requirements for going into production. Once LTIMindtree verified the effectiveness of SigOpt, LTIMindtree used the platform to help build a case for determining which AI transformer model architecture to use for their customers.
To select the right transformer model architecture, LTIMindtree experimented using a GPU-enabled machine. To identify a model candidate, LTIMindtree tested a Pegasus model and a BART model, both from Hugging Face. They also chose the SAMSum Corpus data set for abstractive summarization.
LTIMindtree’s goal was to fine-tune a pretrained model—optimizing batch size and learning rate—to understand if the SigOpt Intelligent Experimentation Platform could select new and better hyperparameter values and improve transformer models.
Initially, LTIMindtree tried to optimize the Pegasus model by minimizing evaluation loss. Seeing the early results gave the LTIMindtree team the confidence to rule out the Pegasus model as a potential model candidate.
After ruling out the Pegasus model, LTIMindtree switched their attention to the BART model. They also switched from looking at evaluation loss to looking at the ROUGE score metrics to better compare the pretrained baseline models. The ROUGE score comes in three different forms:
- ROUGE 1 – Number of matching unigrams in sentence/total unigrams in sentence
- ROUGE 2 – Number of matching bigrams in sentence/total bigrams in sentence
- ROUGE L – Length of longest common subsequence/total words in sentence
The metrics measure the difference between the true sentence and the generated sentence—in this case, for summarization. As a baseline, LTIMindtree used the pretrained BART model and got a ROUGE 1 score of 54.39. This is also the model the team decided to use for weight initialization for the fine-tuning.
Figure 3. LTIMindtree’s solution block diagram.
Operationalizing the Production of AI Models to Optimize the End Customer Experience
For summarization of the call conversation, a pretrained Facebook/BART-large-XSum model was used as the base model. The model was fine-tuned on the SAMSum Corpus data set, a human-annotated dialogue data set for abstractive summarization. Hyperparameter optimization was carried out using SigOpt with the ROUGE score as the performance metric.
With dual goals of maximizing the ROUGE score and minimizing inference time, LTIMindtree used SigOpt’s multimeric optimization advanced feature to visualize possible design solutions. Using SigOpt’s web application, LTIMindTree was able to visualize how these two competing metrics performed after running multiple experiments and created a Pareto Frontier visualizing the best outcomes for each metric combination. From here, LTIMindtree was able to select the best configuration for their models to bring into production.
Figure 4. The Pareto Frontier provided by SigOpt’s visualization tools.
As a result of using SigOpt, LTIMindtree optimized its AI models to achieve 63 percent faster responsiveness and better call summarization through contact center bots. The models not only automate the task of post-call summarization but also provide text summaries that are consistent and accurate, thereby improving productivity and performance. Below is a summary from the baseline model and a summary from the model fine-tuned using SigOpt.
Figure 5. The summary from the fine-tuned model is more concise and efficient.1
Improving Model Accuracy and Realizing Significant CPU Performance Benefits to Boost Inference by Up to 63 Percent
Getting a more concise reference report of customer engagements is a key success criterion for any abstractive summary model. On average, LTIMindtree found that manual summary extraction takes five to ten minutes, depending upon call length, and is subject to the potential for human error. Additionally, the increased speed through efficiency helps agents switch from one call to the next. Both the chatbot responsiveness and engagement summaries have now been vastly improved due to working with SigOpt.
SigOpt was able to find models that performed well and have lower inference times despite the industry trend for the opposite to occur. Keep in mind, also, the inference improvements shown here are multiplicative with hardware performance improvements. Meaning a more efficient processor will accelerate these gains even further. For reference, the Intel hardware configuration LTIMindtree used was 3rd Gen Intel® Xeon® processors.4 The following results show this reduced inference time.5
As a result of using SigOpt, LTIMindtree now has a framework that enables them to transfer knowledge from one project to the next.
Figure 6. Transcript files with summary example.
“We intended to use the SigOpt Intelligent Experimentation Platform to improve model accuracy (ROUGE score), but we also got significant CPU performance benefits.”—Bhanu Prakash Aladahallinanjappa, program architect, LTIMindtree
Summary: SigOpt’s Intelligent Experimentation Value for LTIMindtree’s Future Use Cases
- Sample efficiency: A key component of building out deep learning models is optimizing for performance. When using approaches such as grid search and other less-sample-efficient optimization methods, one of the challenges often becomes narrowing down the search space to avoid applying infinite computational resources. SigOpt, on the other hand, provides a set of Bayesian and other global optimization algorithms that are specifically designed to be as sample-efficient as possible and to reduce the computational resources needed to optimize a model.
- Advanced experimentation features: SigOpt offers a wide variety of advanced experimentation features that help modelers to better align their modeling objectives with business objectives. One of these features is multimetric optimization, which allows the modeler to optimize multiple competing metrics at the same time.
- Ease of use: SigOpt offers an easy-to-use client library that allows modelers to easily integrate SigOpt into what they are doing today. In addition, an intuitive web dashboard experience allows the user to store artifacts, visualize results, and work closely with other members of the modeling team and other key stakeholders.
- Standardized modeling workflow: Just as importantly, SigOpt standardizes the modeling workflow, which leads to better overall model performance because it allows modelers to focus on applying domain knowledge to the problem instead of investing in developing a modeling experimentation process.
LTIMindtree’s telecommunications project objective was to reduce call agent time by optimizing their call center automated call response and summarization system. The goal was to improve the chatbot capabilities to deliver a faster, smoother, and more natural response as well as to summarize each engagement more concisely.
The SigOpt Intelligent Experimentation Platform helped LTIMindtree achieve chatbot performance improvement through an organized viewpoint with automatic optimizations to easily find the experiments that yielded the best customized results. LTIMindtree was able to easily track their chosen metrics and visualize which optimizations best achieved those metrics. This experiment helped LTIMindtree choose the most appropriate deep learning model architecture for improved chatbot performance for both responses and engagement summaries, using customized models and metrics.
The inference time it took for the chatbot to summarize a customer call before working with SigOpt was 16.75 seconds; by using SigOpt, the inference time was reduced to 6.86 seconds.5 This improvement reduced the chatbot response time, meaning a faster response to telecommunications customers and a more than 50 percent decrease in human agent time on routine tasks, yielding more human agent time to support customers on calls. The engagement summaries were also improved significantly by reducing the word count and smoothing the phrasing to effectively document the customer engagement.
Additionally, LTIMindtree not only delivered on improving chatbot performance but also experienced an unexpected benefit of significant CPU performance benefits, enabled by SigOpt.
Lastly, due to the measured impact of the improvements to accuracy and inference time, LTIMindtree will now offer an AI model optimization service for call centers as a product in its marketing catalog for current and future customers.
To learn more about LTIMindtree and its work on call center automation, watch the SigOpt Summit presentation.