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Few-shot dialogue state tracking (DST) with Large Language Models (LLM) relies on an effective and efficient conversation retriever to find similar in-context examples for prompt learning. Previous works use raw dialogue context as search keys and queries, and a retriever is fine-tuned with annotated dialogues to achieve superior performance. However, the approach is less suited for scaling to new domains or new annotation languages, where fine-tuning data is unavailable. To address this problem, we handle the task of conversation retrieval based on text summaries of the conversations. A LLM-based conversation summarizer is adopted for query and key generation, which enables effective maximum inner product search. To avoid the extra inference cost brought by LLM-based conversation summarization, we further distill a light-weight conversation encoder which produces query embeddings without decoding summaries for test conversations. We validate our retrieval approach on MultiWOZ datasets with GPT-Neo-2.7B and LLaMA-7B/30B. The experimental results show a significant improvement over relevant baselines in real few-shot DST settings.

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