Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (2019)


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Proceedings of the 23rd Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL)

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Proceedings of the 23rd Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL)
Mohit Bansal | Aline Villavicencio

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Analysing Neural Language Models: Contextual Decomposition Reveals Default Reasoning in Number and Gender Assignment
Jaap Jumelet | Willem Zuidema | Dieuwke Hupkes

Extensive research has recently shown that recurrent neural language models are able to process a wide range of grammatical phenomena. How these models are able to perform these remarkable feats so well, however, is still an open question. To gain more insight into what information LSTMs base their decisions on, we propose a generalisation of Contextual Decomposition (GCD). In particular, this setup enables us to accurately distil which part of a prediction stems from semantic heuristics, which part truly emanates from syntactic cues and which part arise from the model biases themselves instead. We investigate this technique on tasks pertaining to syntactic agreement and co-reference resolution and discover that the model strongly relies on a default reasoning effect to perform these tasks.

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Deconstructing Supertagging into Multi-Task Sequence Prediction
Zhenqi Zhu | Anoop Sarkar

Supertagging is a sequence prediction task where each word is assigned a piece of complex syntactic structure called a supertag. We provide a novel approach to multi-task learning for Tree Adjoining Grammar (TAG) supertagging by deconstructing these complex supertags in order to define a set of related but auxiliary sequence prediction tasks. Our multi-task prediction framework is trained over the exactly same training data used to train the original supertagger where each auxiliary task provides an alternative view on the original prediction task. Our experimental results show that our multi-task approach significantly improves TAG supertagging with a new state-of-the-art accuracy score of 91.39% on the Penn Treebank supertagging dataset.

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Multilingual Model Using Cross-Task Embedding Projection
Jin Sakuma | Naoki Yoshinaga

We present a method for applying a neural network trained on one (resource-rich) language for a given task to other (resource-poor) languages. We accomplish this by inducing a mapping from pre-trained cross-lingual word embeddings to the embedding layer of the neural network trained on the resource-rich language. To perform element-wise cross-task embedding projection, we invent locally linear mapping which assumes and preserves the local topology across the semantic spaces before and after the projection. Experimental results on topic classification task and sentiment analysis task showed that the fully task-specific multilingual model obtained using our method outperformed the existing multilingual models with embedding layers fixed to pre-trained cross-lingual word embeddings.

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Investigating Cross-Lingual Alignment Methods for Contextualized Embeddings with Token-Level Evaluation
Qianchu Liu | Diana McCarthy | Ivan Vulić | Anna Korhonen

In this paper, we present a thorough investigation on methods that align pre-trained contextualized embeddings into shared cross-lingual context-aware embedding space, providing strong reference benchmarks for future context-aware crosslingual models. We propose a novel and challenging task, Bilingual Token-level Sense Retrieval (BTSR). It specifically evaluates the accurate alignment of words with the same meaning in cross-lingual non-parallel contexts, currently not evaluated by existing tasks such as Bilingual Contextual Word Similarity and Sentence Retrieval. We show how the proposed BTSR task highlights the merits of different alignment methods. In particular, we find that using context average type-level alignment is effective in transferring monolingual contextualized embeddings cross-lingually especially in non-parallel contexts, and at the same time improves the monolingual space. Furthermore, aligning independently trained models yields better performance than aligning multilingual embeddings with shared vocabulary.

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Large-Scale, Diverse, Paraphrastic Bitexts via Sampling and Clustering
J. Edward Hu | Abhinav Singh | Nils Holzenberger | Matt Post | Benjamin Van Durme

Producing diverse paraphrases of a sentence is a challenging task. Natural paraphrase corpora are scarce and limited, while existing large-scale resources are automatically generated via back-translation and rely on beam search, which tends to lack diversity. We describe ParaBank 2, a new resource that contains multiple diverse sentential paraphrases, produced from a bilingual corpus using negative constraints, inference sampling, and clustering. We show that ParaBank 2 significantly surpasses prior work in both lexical and syntactic diversity while being meaning-preserving, as measured by human judgments and standardized metrics. Further, we illustrate how such paraphrastic resources may be used to refine contextualized encoders, leading to improvements in downstream tasks.

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Large-Scale Representation Learning from Visually Grounded Untranscribed Speech
Gabriel Ilharco | Yuan Zhang | Jason Baldridge

Systems that can associate images with their spoken audio captions are an important step towards visually grounded language learning. We describe a scalable method to automatically generate diverse audio for image captioning datasets. This supports pretraining deep networks for encoding both audio and images, which we do via a dual encoder that learns to align latent representations from both modalities. We show that a masked margin softmax loss for such models is superior to the standard triplet loss. We fine-tune these models on the Flickr8k Audio Captions Corpus and obtain state-of-the-art results—improving recall in the top 10 from 29.6% to 49.5%. We also obtain human ratings on retrieval outputs to better assess the impact of incidentally matching image-caption pairs that were not associated in the data, finding that automatic evaluation substantially underestimates the quality of the retrieved results.

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Using Priming to Uncover the Organization of Syntactic Representations in Neural Language Models
Grusha Prasad | Marten van Schijndel | Tal Linzen

Neural language models (LMs) perform well on tasks that require sensitivity to syntactic structure. Drawing on the syntactic priming paradigm from psycholinguistics, we propose a novel technique to analyze the representations that enable such success. By establishing a gradient similarity metric between structures, this technique allows us to reconstruct the organization of the LMs’ syntactic representational space. We use this technique to demonstrate that LSTM LMs’ representations of different types of sentences with relative clauses are organized hierarchically in a linguistically interpretable manner, suggesting that the LMs track abstract properties of the sentence.

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Say Anything: Automatic Semantic Infelicity Detection in L2 English Indefinite Pronouns
Ella Rabinovich | Julia Watson | Barend Beekhuizen | Suzanne Stevenson

Computational research on error detection in second language speakers has mainly addressed clear grammatical anomalies typical to learners at the beginner-to-intermediate level. We focus instead on acquisition of subtle semantic nuances of English indefinite pronouns by non-native speakers at varying levels of proficiency. We first lay out theoretical, linguistically motivated hypotheses, and supporting empirical evidence, on the nature of the challenges posed by indefinite pronouns to English learners. We then suggest and evaluate an automatic approach for detection of atypical usage patterns, demonstrating that deep learning architectures are promising for this task involving nuanced semantic anomalies.

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Compositional Generalization in Image Captioning
Mitja Nikolaus | Mostafa Abdou | Matthew Lamm | Rahul Aralikatte | Desmond Elliott

Image captioning models are usually evaluated on their ability to describe a held-out set of images, not on their ability to generalize to unseen concepts. We study the problem of compositional generalization, which measures how well a model composes unseen combinations of concepts when describing images. State-of-the-art image captioning models show poor generalization performance on this task. We propose a multi-task model to address the poor performance, that combines caption generation and image–sentence ranking, and uses a decoding mechanism that re-ranks the captions according their similarity to the image. This model is substantially better at generalizing to unseen combinations of concepts compared to state-of-the-art captioning models.

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Representing Movie Characters in Dialogues
Mahmoud Azab | Noriyuki Kojima | Jia Deng | Rada Mihalcea

We introduce a new embedding model to represent movie characters and their interactions in a dialogue by encoding in the same representation the language used by these characters as well as information about the other participants in the dialogue. We evaluate the performance of these new character embeddings on two tasks: (1) character relatedness, using a dataset we introduce consisting of a dense character interaction matrix for 4,378 unique character pairs over 22 hours of dialogue from eighteen movies; and (2) character relation classification, for fine- and coarse-grained relations, as well as sentiment relations. Our experiments show that our model significantly outperforms the traditional Word2Vec continuous bag-of-words and skip-gram models, demonstrating the effectiveness of the character embeddings we introduce. We further show how these embeddings can be used in conjunction with a visual question answering system to improve over previous results.

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Cross-Lingual Word Embeddings and the Structure of the Human Bilingual Lexicon
Paola Merlo | Maria Andueza Rodriguez

Research on the bilingual lexicon has uncovered fascinating interactions between the lexicons of the native language and of the second language in bilingual speakers. In particular, it has been found that the lexicon of the underlying native language affects the organisation of the second language. In the spirit of interpreting current distributed representations, this paper investigates two models of cross-lingual word embeddings, comparing them to the shared-translation effect and the cross-lingual coactivation effects of false and true friends (cognates) found in humans. We find that the similarity structure of the cross-lingual word embeddings space yields the same effects as the human bilingual lexicon.

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Federated Learning of N-Gram Language Models
Mingqing Chen | Ananda Theertha Suresh | Rajiv Mathews | Adeline Wong | Cyril Allauzen | Françoise Beaufays | Michael Riley

We propose algorithms to train production-quality n-gram language models using federated learning. Federated learning is a distributed computation platform that can be used to train global models for portable devices such as smart phones. Federated learning is especially relevant for applications handling privacy-sensitive data, such as virtual keyboards, because training is performed without the users’ data ever leaving their devices. While the principles of federated learning are fairly generic, its methodology assumes that the underlying models are neural networks. However, virtual keyboards are typically powered by n-gram language models for latency reasons. We propose to train a recurrent neural network language model using the decentralized FederatedAveraging algorithm and to approximate this federated model server-side with an n-gram model that can be deployed to devices for fast inference. Our technical contributions include ways of handling large vocabularies, algorithms to correct capitalization errors in user data, and efficient finite state transducer algorithms to convert word language models to word-piece language models and vice versa. The n-gram language models trained with federated learning are compared to n-grams trained with traditional server-based algorithms using A/B tests on tens of millions of users of a virtual keyboard. Results are presented for two languages, American English and Brazilian Portuguese. This work demonstrates that high-quality n-gram language models can be trained directly on client mobile devices without sensitive training data ever leaving the devices.

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Learning Conceptual Spaces with Disentangled Facets
Rana Alshaikh | Zied Bouraoui | Steven Schockaert

Conceptual spaces are geometric representations of meaning that were proposed by G ̈ardenfors (2000). They share many similarities with the vector space embeddings that are commonly used in natural language processing. However, rather than representing entities in a single vector space, conceptual spaces are usually decomposed into several facets, each of which is then modelled as a relatively low dimensional vector space. Unfortunately, the problem of learning such conceptual spaces has thus far only received limited attention. To address this gap, we analyze how, and to what extent, a given vector space embedding can be decomposed into meaningful facets in an unsupervised fashion. While this problem is highly challenging, we show that useful facets can be discovered by relying on word embeddings to group semantically related features.

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Weird Inflects but OK: Making Sense of Morphological Generation Errors
Kyle Gorman | Arya D. McCarthy | Ryan Cotterell | Ekaterina Vylomova | Miikka Silfverberg | Magdalena Markowska

We conduct a manual error analysis of the CoNLL-SIGMORPHON Shared Task on Morphological Reinflection. This task involves natural language generation: systems are given a word in citation form (e.g., hug) and asked to produce the corresponding inflected form (e.g., the simple past hugged). We propose an error taxonomy and use it to annotate errors made by the top two systems across twelve languages. Many of the observed errors are related to inflectional patterns sensitive to inherent linguistic properties such as animacy or affect; many others are failures to predict truly unpredictable inflectional behaviors. We also find nearly one quarter of the residual “errors” reflect errors in the gold data.

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Learning to Represent Bilingual Dictionaries
Muhao Chen | Yingtao Tian | Haochen Chen | Kai-Wei Chang | Steven Skiena | Carlo Zaniolo

Bilingual word embeddings have been widely used to capture the correspondence of lexical semantics in different human languages. However, the cross-lingual correspondence between sentences and words is less studied, despite that this correspondence can significantly benefit many applications such as crosslingual semantic search and textual inference. To bridge this gap, we propose a neural embedding model that leverages bilingual dictionaries. The proposed model is trained to map the lexical definitions to the cross-lingual target words, for which we explore with different sentence encoding techniques. To enhance the learning process on limited resources, our model adopts several critical learning strategies, including multi-task learning on different bridges of languages, and joint learning of the dictionary model with a bilingual word embedding model. We conduct experiments on two new tasks. In the cross-lingual reverse dictionary retrieval task, we demonstrate that our model is capable of comprehending bilingual concepts based on descriptions, and the proposed learning strategies are effective. In the bilingual paraphrase identification task, we show that our model effectively associates sentences in different languages via a shared embedding space, and outperforms existing approaches in identifying bilingual paraphrases.

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Improving Natural Language Understanding by Reverse Mapping Bytepair Encoding
Chaodong Tong | Huailiang Peng | Qiong Dai | Lei Jiang | Jianghua Huang

We propose a method called reverse mapping bytepair encoding, which maps named-entity information and other word-level linguistic features back to subwords during the encoding procedure of bytepair encoding (BPE). We employ this method to the Generative Pre-trained Transformer (OpenAI GPT) by adding a weighted linear layer after the embedding layer. We also propose a new model architecture named as the multi-channel separate transformer to employ a training process without parameter-sharing. Evaluation on Stories Cloze, RTE, SciTail and SST-2 datasets demonstrates the effectiveness of our approach.

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Made for Each Other: Broad-Coverage Semantic Structures Meet Preposition Supersenses
Jakob Prange | Nathan Schneider | Omri Abend

Universal Conceptual Cognitive Annotation (UCCA; Abend and Rappoport, 2013) is a typologically-informed, broad-coverage semantic annotation scheme that describes coarse-grained predicate-argument structure but currently lacks semantic roles. We argue that lexicon-free annotation of the semantic roles marked by prepositions, as formulated by Schneider et al. (2018), is complementary and suitable for integration within UCCA. We show empirically for English that the schemes, though annotated independently, are compatible and can be combined in a single semantic graph. A comparison of several approaches to parsing the integrated representation lays the groundwork for future research on this task.

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Generating Timelines by Modeling Semantic Change
Guy D. Rosin | Kira Radinsky

Though languages can evolve slowly, they can also react strongly to dramatic world events. By studying the connection between words and events, it is possible to identify which events change our vocabulary and in what way. In this work, we tackle the task of creating timelines - records of historical “turning points”, represented by either words or events, to understand the dynamics of a target word. Our approach identifies these points by leveraging both static and time-varying word embeddings to measure the influence of words and events. In addition to quantifying changes, we show how our technique can help isolate semantic changes. Our qualitative and quantitative evaluations show that we are able to capture this semantic change and event influence.

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Diversify Your Datasets: Analyzing Generalization via Controlled Variance in Adversarial Datasets
Ohad Rozen | Vered Shwartz | Roee Aharoni | Ido Dagan

Phenomenon-specific “adversarial” datasets have been recently designed to perform targeted stress-tests for particular inference types. Recent work (Liu et al., 2019a) proposed that such datasets can be utilized for training NLI and other types of models, often allowing to learn the phenomenon in focus and improve on the challenge dataset, indicating a “blind spot” in the original training data. Yet, although a model can improve in such a training process, it might still be vulnerable to other challenge datasets targeting the same phenomenon but drawn from a different distribution, such as having a different syntactic complexity level. In this work, we extend this method to drive conclusions about a model’s ability to learn and generalize a target phenomenon rather than to “learn” a dataset, by controlling additional aspects in the adversarial datasets. We demonstrate our approach on two inference phenomena – dative alternation and numerical reasoning, elaborating, and in some cases contradicting, the results of Liu et al.. Our methodology enables building better challenge datasets for creating more robust models, and may yield better model understanding and subsequent overarching improvements.

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Fully Unsupervised Crosslingual Semantic Textual Similarity Metric Based on BERT for Identifying Parallel Data
Chi-kiu Lo | Michel Simard

We present a fully unsupervised crosslingual semantic textual similarity (STS) metric, based on contextual embeddings extracted from BERT – Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (Devlin et al., 2019). The goal of crosslingual STS is to measure to what degree two segments of text in different languages express the same meaning. Not only is it a key task in crosslingual natural language understanding (XLU), it is also particularly useful for identifying parallel resources for training and evaluating downstream multilingual natural language processing (NLP) applications, such as machine translation. Most previous crosslingual STS methods relied heavily on existing parallel resources, thus leading to a circular dependency problem. With the advent of massively multilingual context representation models such as BERT, which are trained on the concatenation of non-parallel data from each language, we show that the deadlock around parallel resources can be broken. We perform intrinsic evaluations on crosslingual STS data sets and extrinsic evaluations on parallel corpus filtering and human translation equivalence assessment tasks. Our results show that the unsupervised crosslingual STS metric using BERT without fine-tuning achieves performance on par with supervised or weakly supervised approaches.

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On the Importance of Subword Information for Morphological Tasks in Truly Low-Resource Languages
Yi Zhu | Benjamin Heinzerling | Ivan Vulić | Michael Strube | Roi Reichart | Anna Korhonen

Recent work has validated the importance of subword information for word representation learning. Since subwords increase parameter sharing ability in neural models, their value should be even more pronounced in low-data regimes. In this work, we therefore provide a comprehensive analysis focused on the usefulness of subwords for word representation learning in truly low-resource scenarios and for three representative morphological tasks: fine-grained entity typing, morphological tagging, and named entity recognition. We conduct a systematic study that spans several dimensions of comparison: 1) type of data scarcity which can stem from the lack of task-specific training data, or even from the lack of unannotated data required to train word embeddings, or both; 2) language type by working with a sample of 16 typologically diverse languages including some truly low-resource ones (e.g. Rusyn, Buryat, and Zulu); 3) the choice of the subword-informed word representation method. Our main results show that subword-informed models are universally useful across all language types, with large gains over subword-agnostic embeddings. They also suggest that the effective use of subwords largely depends on the language (type) and the task at hand, as well as on the amount of available data for training the embeddings and task-based models, where having sufficient in-task data is a more critical requirement.

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Comparing Top-Down and Bottom-Up Neural Generative Dependency Models
Austin Matthews | Graham Neubig | Chris Dyer

Recurrent neural network grammars generate sentences using phrase-structure syntax and perform very well on both parsing and language modeling. To explore whether generative dependency models are similarly effective, we propose two new generative models of dependency syntax. Both models use recurrent neural nets to avoid making explicit independence assumptions, but they differ in the order used to construct the trees: one builds the tree bottom-up and the other top-down, which profoundly changes the estimation problem faced by the learner. We evaluate the two models on three typologically different languages: English, Arabic, and Japanese. While both generative models improve parsing performance over a discriminative baseline, they are significantly less effective than non-syntactic LSTM language models. Surprisingly, little difference between the construction orders is observed for either parsing or language modeling.

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Representation Learning and Dynamic Programming for Arc-Hybrid Parsing
Joseph Le Roux | Antoine Rozenknop | Mathieu Lacroix

We present a new method for transition-based parsing where a solution is a pair made of a dependency tree and a derivation graph describing the construction of the former. From this representation we are able to derive an efficient parsing algorithm and design a neural network that learns vertex representations and arc scores. Experimentally, although we only train via local classifiers, our approach improves over previous arc-hybrid systems and reach state-of-the-art parsing accuracy.

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Policy Preference Detection in Parliamentary Debate Motions
Gavin Abercrombie | Federico Nanni | Riza Batista-Navarro | Simone Paolo Ponzetto

Debate motions (proposals) tabled in the UK Parliament contain information about the stated policy preferences of the Members of Parliament who propose them, and are key to the analysis of all subsequent speeches given in response to them. We attempt to automatically label debate motions with codes from a pre-existing coding scheme developed by political scientists for the annotation and analysis of political parties’ manifestos. We develop annotation guidelines for the task of applying these codes to debate motions at two levels of granularity and produce a dataset of manually labelled examples. We evaluate the annotation process and the reliability and utility of the labelling scheme, finding that inter-annotator agreement is comparable with that of other studies conducted on manifesto data. Moreover, we test a variety of ways of automatically labelling motions with the codes, ranging from similarity matching to neural classification methods, and evaluate them against the gold standard labels. From these experiments, we note that established supervised baselines are not always able to improve over simple lexical heuristics. At the same time, we detect a clear and evident benefit when employing BERT, a state-of-the-art deep language representation model, even in classification scenarios with over 30 different labels and limited amounts of training data.

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Improving Neural Machine Translation by Achieving Knowledge Transfer with Sentence Alignment Learning
Xuewen Shi | Heyan Huang | Wenguan Wang | Ping Jian | Yi-Kun Tang

Neural Machine Translation (NMT) optimized by Maximum Likelihood Estimation (MLE) lacks the guarantee of translation adequacy. To alleviate this problem, we propose an NMT approach that heightens the adequacy in machine translation by transferring the semantic knowledge learned from bilingual sentence alignment. Specifically, we first design a discriminator that learns to estimate sentence aligning score over translation candidates, and then the learned semantic knowledge is transfered to the NMT model under an adversarial learning framework. We also propose a gated self-attention based encoder for sentence embedding. Furthermore, an N-pair training loss is introduced in our framework to aid the discriminator in better capturing lexical evidence in translation candidates. Experimental results show that our proposed method outperforms baseline NMT models on Chinese-to-English and English-to-German translation tasks. Further analysis also indicates the detailed semantic knowledge transfered from the discriminator to the NMT model.

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Code-Switched Language Models Using Neural Based Synthetic Data from Parallel Sentences
Genta Indra Winata | Andrea Madotto | Chien-Sheng Wu | Pascale Fung

Training code-switched language models is difficult due to lack of data and complexity in the grammatical structure. Linguistic constraint theories have been used for decades to generate artificial code-switching sentences to cope with this issue. However, this require external word alignments or constituency parsers that create erroneous results on distant languages. We propose a sequence-to-sequence model using a copy mechanism to generate code-switching data by leveraging parallel monolingual translations from a limited source of code-switching data. The model learns how to combine words from parallel sentences and identifies when to switch one language to the other. Moreover, it captures code-switching constraints by attending and aligning the words in inputs, without requiring any external knowledge. Based on experimental results, the language model trained with the generated sentences achieves state-of-the-art performance and improves end-to-end automatic speech recognition.

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Unsupervised Neural Machine Translation with Future Rewarding
Xiangpeng Wei | Yue Hu | Luxi Xing | Li Gao

In this paper, we alleviate the local optimality of back-translation by learning a policy (takes the form of an encoder-decoder and is defined by its parameters) with future rewarding under the reinforcement learning framework, which aims to optimize the global word predictions for unsupervised neural machine translation. To this end, we design a novel reward function to characterize high-quality translations from two aspects: n-gram matching and semantic adequacy. The n-gram matching is defined as an alternative for the discrete BLEU metric, and the semantic adequacy is used to measure the adequacy of conveying the meaning of the source sentence to the target. During training, our model strives for earning higher rewards by learning to produce grammatically more accurate and semantically more adequate translations. Besides, a variational inference network (VIN) is proposed to constrain the corresponding sentences in two languages have the same or similar latent semantic code. On the widely used WMT’14 English-French, WMT’16 English-German and NIST Chinese-to-English benchmarks, our models respectively obtain 27.59/27.15, 19.65/23.42 and 22.40 BLEU points without using any labeled data, demonstrating consistent improvements over previous unsupervised NMT models.

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Automatically Extracting Challenge Sets for Non-Local Phenomena in Neural Machine Translation
Leshem Choshen | Omri Abend

We show that the state-of-the-art Transformer MT model is not biased towards monotonic reordering (unlike previous recurrent neural network models), but that nevertheless, long-distance dependencies remain a challenge for the model. Since most dependencies are short-distance, common evaluation metrics will be little influenced by how well systems perform on them. We therefore propose an automatic approach for extracting challenge sets rich with long-distance dependencies, and argue that evaluation using this methodology provides a complementary perspective on system performance. To support our claim, we compile challenge sets for English-German and German-English, which are much larger than any previously released challenge set for MT. The extracted sets are large enough to allow reliable automatic evaluation, which makes the proposed approach a scalable and practical solution for evaluating MT performance on the long-tail of syntactic phenomena.

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Low-Resource Parsing with Crosslingual Contextualized Representations
Phoebe Mulcaire | Jungo Kasai | Noah A. Smith

Despite advances in dependency parsing, languages with small treebanks still present challenges. We assess recent approaches to multilingual contextual word representations (CWRs), and compare them for crosslingual transfer from a language with a large treebank to a language with a small or nonexistent treebank, by sharing parameters between languages in the parser itself. We experiment with a diverse selection of languages in both simulated and truly low-resource scenarios, and show that multilingual CWRs greatly facilitate low-resource dependency parsing even without crosslingual supervision such as dictionaries or parallel text. Furthermore, we examine the non-contextual part of the learned language models (which we call a “decontextual probe”) to demonstrate that polyglot language models better encode crosslingual lexical correspondence compared to aligned monolingual language models. This analysis provides further evidence that polyglot training is an effective approach to crosslingual transfer.

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Improving Pre-Trained Multilingual Model with Vocabulary Expansion
Hai Wang | Dian Yu | Kai Sun | Jianshu Chen | Dong Yu

Recently, pre-trained language models have achieved remarkable success in a broad range of natural language processing tasks. However, in multilingual setting, it is extremely resource-consuming to pre-train a deep language model over large-scale corpora for each language. Instead of exhaustively pre-training monolingual language models independently, an alternative solution is to pre-train a powerful multilingual deep language model over large-scale corpora in hundreds of languages. However, the vocabulary size for each language in such a model is relatively small, especially for low-resource languages. This limitation inevitably hinders the performance of these multilingual models on tasks such as sequence labeling, wherein in-depth token-level or sentence-level understanding is essential. In this paper, inspired by previous methods designed for monolingual settings, we investigate two approaches (i.e., joint mapping and mixture mapping) based on a pre-trained multilingual model BERT for addressing the out-of-vocabulary (OOV) problem on a variety of tasks, including part-of-speech tagging, named entity recognition, machine translation quality estimation, and machine reading comprehension. Experimental results show that using mixture mapping is more promising. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work that attempts to address and discuss the OOV issue in multilingual settings.

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On the Relation between Position Information and Sentence Length in Neural Machine Translation
Masato Neishi | Naoki Yoshinaga

Long sentences have been one of the major challenges in neural machine translation (NMT). Although some approaches such as the attention mechanism have partially remedied the problem, we found that the current standard NMT model, Transformer, has difficulty in translating long sentences compared to the former standard, Recurrent Neural Network (RNN)-based model. One of the key differences of these NMT models is how the model handles position information which is essential to process sequential data. In this study, we focus on the position information type of NMT models, and hypothesize that relative position is better than absolute position. To examine the hypothesis, we propose RNN-Transformer which replaces positional encoding layer of Transformer by RNN, and then compare RNN-based model and four variants of Transformer. Experiments on ASPEC English-to-Japanese and WMT2014 English-to-German translation tasks demonstrate that relative position helps translating sentences longer than those in the training data. Further experiments on length-controlled training data reveal that absolute position actually causes overfitting to the sentence length.

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Word Recognition, Competition, and Activation in a Model of Visually Grounded Speech
William N. Havard | Jean-Pierre Chevrot | Laurent Besacier

In this paper, we study how word-like units are represented and activated in a recurrent neural model of visually grounded speech. The model used in our experiments is trained to project an image and its spoken description in a common representation space. We show that a recurrent model trained on spoken sentences implicitly segments its input into word-like units and reliably maps them to their correct visual referents. We introduce a methodology originating from linguistics to analyse the representation learned by neural networks – the gating paradigm – and show that the correct representation of a word is only activated if the network has access to first phoneme of the target word, suggesting that the network does not rely on a global acoustic pattern. Furthermore, we find out that not all speech frames (MFCC vectors in our case) play an equal role in the final encoded representation of a given word, but that some frames have a crucial effect on it. Finally we suggest that word representation could be activated through a process of lexical competition.

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EQUATE: A Benchmark Evaluation Framework for Quantitative Reasoning in Natural Language Inference
Abhilasha Ravichander | Aakanksha Naik | Carolyn Rose | Eduard Hovy

Quantitative reasoning is a higher-order reasoning skill that any intelligent natural language understanding system can reasonably be expected to handle. We present EQUATE (Evaluating Quantitative Understanding Aptitude in Textual Entailment), a new framework for quantitative reasoning in textual entailment. We benchmark the performance of 9 published NLI models on EQUATE, and find that on average, state-of-the-art methods do not achieve an absolute improvement over a majority-class baseline, suggesting that they do not implicitly learn to reason with quantities. We establish a new baseline Q-REAS that manipulates quantities symbolically. In comparison to the best performing NLI model, it achieves success on numerical reasoning tests (+24.2 %), but has limited verbal reasoning capabilities (-8.1 %). We hope our evaluation framework will support the development of models of quantitative reasoning in language understanding.

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Linguistic Analysis Improves Neural Metaphor Detection
Kevin Stowe | Sarah Moeller | Laura Michaelis | Martha Palmer

In the field of metaphor detection, deep learning systems are the ubiquitous and achieve strong performance on many tasks. However, due to the complicated procedures for manually identifying metaphors, the datasets available are relatively small and fraught with complications. We show that using syntactic features and lexical resources can automatically provide additional high-quality training data for metaphoric language, and this data can cover gaps and inconsistencies in metaphor annotation, improving state-of-the-art word-level metaphor identification. This novel application of automatically improving training data improves classification across numerous tasks, and reconfirms the necessity of high-quality data for deep learning frameworks.

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Cross-Lingual Dependency Parsing with Unlabeled Auxiliary Languages
Wasi Uddin Ahmad | Zhisong Zhang | Xuezhe Ma | Kai-Wei Chang | Nanyun Peng

Cross-lingual transfer learning has become an important weapon to battle the unavailability of annotated resources for low-resource languages. One of the fundamental techniques to transfer across languages is learning language-agnostic representations, in the form of word embeddings or contextual encodings. In this work, we propose to leverage unannotated sentences from auxiliary languages to help learning language-agnostic representations. Specifically, we explore adversarial training for learning contextual encoders that produce invariant representations across languages to facilitate cross-lingual transfer. We conduct experiments on cross-lingual dependency parsing where we train a dependency parser on a source language and transfer it to a wide range of target languages. Experiments on 28 target languages demonstrate that adversarial training significantly improves the overall transfer performances under several different settings. We conduct a careful analysis to evaluate the language-agnostic representations resulted from adversarial training.

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A Dual-Attention Hierarchical Recurrent Neural Network for Dialogue Act Classification
Ruizhe Li | Chenghua Lin | Matthew Collinson | Xiao Li | Guanyi Chen

Recognising dialogue acts (DA) is important for many natural language processing tasks such as dialogue generation and intention recognition. In this paper, we propose a dual-attention hierarchical recurrent neural network for DA classification. Our model is partially inspired by the observation that conversational utterances are normally associated with both a DA and a topic, where the former captures the social act and the latter describes the subject matter. However, such a dependency between DAs and topics has not been utilised by most existing systems for DA classification. With a novel dual task-specific attention mechanism, our model is able, for utterances, to capture information about both DAs and topics, as well as information about the interactions between them. Experimental results show that by modelling topic as an auxiliary task, our model can significantly improve DA classification, yielding better or comparable performance to the state-of-the-art method on three public datasets.

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Mimic and Rephrase: Reflective Listening in Open-Ended Dialogue
Justin Dieter | Tian Wang | Arun Tejasvi Chaganty | Gabor Angeli | Angel X. Chang

Reflective listening–demonstrating that you have heard your conversational partner–is key to effective communication. Expert human communicators often mimic and rephrase their conversational partner, e.g., when responding to sentimental stories or to questions they don’t know the answer to. We introduce a new task and an associated dataset wherein dialogue agents similarly mimic and rephrase a user’s request to communicate sympathy (I’m sorry to hear that) or lack of knowledge (I do not know that). We study what makes a rephrasal response good against a set of qualitative metrics. We then evaluate three models for generating responses: a syntax-aware rule-based system, a seq2seq LSTM neural models with attention (S2SA), and the same neural model augmented with a copy mechanism (S2SA+C). In a human evaluation, we find that S2SA+C and the rule-based system are comparable and approach human-generated response quality. In addition, experiences with a live deployment of S2SA+C in a customer support setting suggest that this generation task is a practical contribution to real world conversational agents.

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Automated Pyramid Summarization Evaluation
Yanjun Gao | Chen Sun | Rebecca J. Passonneau

Pyramid evaluation was developed to assess the content of paragraph length summaries of source texts. A pyramid lists the distinct units of content found in several reference summaries, weights content units by how many reference summaries they occur in, and produces three scores based on the weighted content of new summaries. We present an automated method that is more efficient, more transparent, and more complete than previous automated pyramid methods. It is tested on a new dataset of student summaries, and historical NIST data from extractive summarizers.

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A Case Study on Combining ASR and Visual Features for Generating Instructional Video Captions
Jack Hessel | Bo Pang | Zhenhai Zhu | Radu Soricut

Instructional videos get high-traffic on video sharing platforms, and prior work suggests that providing time-stamped, subtask annotations (e.g., “heat the oil in the pan”) improves user experiences. However, current automatic annotation methods based on visual features alone perform only slightly better than constant prediction. Taking cues from prior work, we show that we can improve performance significantly by considering automatic speech recognition (ASR) tokens as input. Furthermore, jointly modeling ASR tokens and visual features results in higher performance compared to training individually on either modality. We find that unstated background information is better explained by visual features, whereas fine-grained distinctions (e.g., “add oil” vs. “add olive oil”) are disambiguated more easily via ASR tokens.

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Leveraging Past References for Robust Language Grounding
Subhro Roy | Michael Noseworthy | Rohan Paul | Daehyung Park | Nicholas Roy

Grounding referring expressions to objects in an environment has traditionally been considered a one-off, ahistorical task. However, in realistic applications of grounding, multiple users will repeatedly refer to the same set of objects. As a result, past referring expressions for objects can provide strong signals for grounding subsequent referring expressions. We therefore reframe the grounding problem from the perspective of coreference detection and propose a neural network that detects when two expressions are referring to the same object. The network combines information from vision and past referring expressions to resolve which object is being referred to. Our experiments show that detecting referring expression coreference is an effective way to ground objects described by subtle visual properties, which standard visual grounding models have difficulty capturing. We also show the ability to detect object coreference allows the grounding model to perform well even when it encounters object categories not seen in the training data.

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Procedural Reasoning Networks for Understanding Multimodal Procedures
Mustafa Sercan Amac | Semih Yagcioglu | Aykut Erdem | Erkut Erdem

This paper addresses the problem of comprehending procedural commonsense knowledge. This is a challenging task as it requires identifying key entities, keeping track of their state changes, and understanding temporal and causal relations. Contrary to most of the previous work, in this study, we do not rely on strong inductive bias and explore the question of how multimodality can be exploited to provide a complementary semantic signal. Towards this end, we introduce a new entity-aware neural comprehension model augmented with external relational memory units. Our model learns to dynamically update entity states in relation to each other while reading the text instructions. Our experimental analysis on the visual reasoning tasks in the recently proposed RecipeQA dataset reveals that our approach improves the accuracy of the previously reported models by a large margin. Moreover, we find that our model learns effective dynamic representations of entities even though we do not use any supervision at the level of entity states.

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On the Limits of Learning to Actively Learn Semantic Representations
Omri Koshorek | Gabriel Stanovsky | Yichu Zhou | Vivek Srikumar | Jonathan Berant

One of the goals of natural language understanding is to develop models that map sentences into meaning representations. However, training such models requires expensive annotation of complex structures, which hinders their adoption. Learning to actively-learn(LTAL) is a recent paradigm for reducing the amount of labeled data by learning a policy that selects which samples should be labeled. In this work, we examine LTAL for learning semantic representations, such as QA-SRL. We show that even an oracle policy that is allowed to pick examples that maximize performance on the test set (and constitutes an upper bound on the potential of LTAL), does not substantially improve performance compared to a random policy. We investigate factors that could explain this finding and show that a distinguishing characteristic of successful applications of LTAL is the interaction between optimization and the oracle policy selection process. In successful applications of LTAL, the examples selected by the oracle policy do not substantially depend on the optimization procedure, while in our setup the stochastic nature of optimization strongly affects the examples selected by the oracle. We conclude that the current applicability of LTAL for improving data efficiency in learning semantic meaning representations is limited.

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How Does Grammatical Gender Affect Noun Representations in Gender-Marking Languages?
Hila Gonen | Yova Kementchedjhieva | Yoav Goldberg

Many natural languages assign grammatical gender also to inanimate nouns in the language. In such languages, words that relate to the gender-marked nouns are inflected to agree with the noun’s gender. We show that this affects the word representations of inanimate nouns, resulting in nouns with the same gender being closer to each other than nouns with different gender. While “embedding debiasing” methods fail to remove the effect, we demonstrate that a careful application of methods that neutralize grammatical gender signals from the words’ context when training word embeddings is effective in removing it. Fixing the grammatical gender bias yields a positive effect on the quality of the resulting word embeddings, both in monolingual and cross-lingual settings. We note that successfully removing gender signals, while achievable, is not trivial to do and that a language-specific morphological analyzer, together with careful usage of it, are essential for achieving good results.

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Active Learning via Membership Query Synthesis for Semi-Supervised Sentence Classification
Raphael Schumann | Ines Rehbein

Active learning (AL) is a technique for reducing manual annotation effort during the annotation of training data for machine learning classifiers. For NLP tasks, pool-based and stream-based sampling techniques have been used to select new instances for AL while gen erating new, artificial instances via Membership Query Synthesis was, up to know, considered to be infeasible for NLP problems. We present the first successfull attempt to use Membership Query Synthesis for generating AL queries, using Variational Autoencoders for query generation. We evaluate our approach in a text classification task and demonstrate that query synthesis shows competitive performance to pool-based AL strategies while substantially reducing annotation time

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A General-Purpose Algorithm for Constrained Sequential Inference
Daniel Deutsch | Shyam Upadhyay | Dan Roth

Inference in structured prediction involves finding the best output structure for an input, subject to certain constraints. Many current approaches use sequential inference, which constructs the output in a left-to-right manner. However, there is no general framework to specify constraints in these approaches. We present a principled approach for incorporating constraints into sequential inference algorithms. Our approach expresses constraints using an automaton, which is traversed in lock-step during inference, guiding the search to valid outputs. We show that automata can express commonly used constraints and are easily incorporated into sequential inference. When it is more natural to represent constraints as a set of automata, our algorithm uses an active set method for demonstrably fast and efficient inference. We experimentally show the benefits of our algorithm on constituency parsing and semantic role labeling. For parsing, unlike unconstrained approaches, our algorithm always generates valid output, incurring only a small drop in performance. For semantic role labeling, imposing constraints using our algorithm corrects common errors, improving F1 by 1.5 points. These benefits increase in low-resource settings. Our active set method achieves a 5.2x relative speed-up over a naive approach.

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A Richly Annotated Corpus for Different Tasks in Automated Fact-Checking
Andreas Hanselowski | Christian Stab | Claudia Schulz | Zile Li | Iryna Gurevych

Automated fact-checking based on machine learning is a promising approach to identify false information distributed on the web. In order to achieve satisfactory performance, machine learning methods require a large corpus with reliable annotations for the different tasks in the fact-checking process. Having analyzed existing fact-checking corpora, we found that none of them meets these criteria in full. They are either too small in size, do not provide detailed annotations, or are limited to a single domain. Motivated by this gap, we present a new substantially sized mixed-domain corpus with annotations of good quality for the core fact-checking tasks: document retrieval, evidence extraction, stance detection, and claim validation. To aid future corpus construction, we describe our methodology for corpus creation and annotation, and demonstrate that it results in substantial inter-annotator agreement. As baselines for future research, we perform experiments on our corpus with a number of model architectures that reach high performance in similar problem settings. Finally, to support the development of future models, we provide a detailed error analysis for each of the tasks. Our results show that the realistic, multi-domain setting defined by our data poses new challenges for the existing models, providing opportunities for considerable improvement by future systems.

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Detecting Frames in News Headlines and Its Application to Analyzing News Framing Trends Surrounding U.S. Gun Violence
Siyi Liu | Lei Guo | Kate Mays | Margrit Betke | Derry Tanti Wijaya

Different news articles about the same topic often offer a variety of perspectives: an article written about gun violence might emphasize gun control, while another might promote 2nd Amendment rights, and yet a third might focus on mental health issues. In communication research, these different perspectives are known as “frames”, which, when used in news media will influence the opinion of their readers in multiple ways. In this paper, we present a method for effectively detecting frames in news headlines. Our training and performance evaluation is based on a new dataset of news headlines related to the issue of gun violence in the United States. This Gun Violence Frame Corpus (GVFC) was curated and annotated by journalism and communication experts. Our proposed approach sets a new state-of-the-art performance for multiclass news frame detection, significantly outperforming a recent baseline by 35.9% absolute difference in accuracy. We apply our frame detection approach in a large scale study of 88k news headlines about the coverage of gun violence in the U.S. between 2016 and 2018.

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Learning a Unified Named Entity Tagger from Multiple Partially Annotated Corpora for Efficient Adaptation
Xiao Huang | Li Dong | Elizabeth Boschee | Nanyun Peng

Named entity recognition (NER) identifies typed entity mentions in raw text. While the task is well-established, there is no universally used tagset: often, datasets are annotated for use in downstream applications and accordingly only cover a small set of entity types relevant to a particular task. For instance, in the biomedical domain, one corpus might annotate genes, another chemicals, and another diseases—despite the texts in each corpus containing references to all three types of entities. In this paper, we propose a deep structured model to integrate these “partially annotated” datasets to jointly identify all entity types appearing in the training corpora. By leveraging multiple datasets, the model can learn robust input representations; by building a joint structured model, it avoids potential conflicts caused by combining several models’ predictions at test time. Experiments show that the proposed model significantly outperforms strong multi-task learning baselines when training on multiple, partially annotated datasets and testing on datasets that contain tags from more than one of the training corpora.

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Learning Dense Representations for Entity Retrieval
Daniel Gillick | Sayali Kulkarni | Larry Lansing | Alessandro Presta | Jason Baldridge | Eugene Ie | Diego Garcia-Olano

We show that it is feasible to perform entity linking by training a dual encoder (two-tower) model that encodes mentions and entities in the same dense vector space, where candidate entities are retrieved by approximate nearest neighbor search. Unlike prior work, this setup does not rely on an alias table followed by a re-ranker, and is thus the first fully learned entity retrieval model. We show that our dual encoder, trained using only anchor-text links in Wikipedia, outperforms discrete alias table and BM25 baselines, and is competitive with the best comparable results on the standard TACKBP-2010 dataset. In addition, it can retrieve candidates extremely fast, and generalizes well to a new dataset derived from Wikinews. On the modeling side, we demonstrate the dramatic value of an unsupervised negative mining algorithm for this task.

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CogniVal: A Framework for Cognitive Word Embedding Evaluation
Nora Hollenstein | Antonio de la Torre | Nicolas Langer | Ce Zhang

An interesting method of evaluating word representations is by how much they reflect the semantic representations in the human brain. However, most, if not all, previous works only focus on small datasets and a single modality. In this paper, we present the first multi-modal framework for evaluating English word representations based on cognitive lexical semantics. Six types of word embeddings are evaluated by fitting them to 15 datasets of eye-tracking, EEG and fMRI signals recorded during language processing. To achieve a global score over all evaluation hypotheses, we apply statistical significance testing accounting for the multiple comparisons problem. This framework is easily extensible and available to include other intrinsic and extrinsic evaluation methods. We find strong correlations in the results between cognitive datasets, across recording modalities and to their performance on extrinsic NLP tasks.

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KnowSemLM: A Knowledge Infused Semantic Language Model
Haoruo Peng | Qiang Ning | Dan Roth

Story understanding requires developing expectations of what events come next in text. Prior knowledge – both statistical and declarative – is essential in guiding such expectations. While existing semantic language models (SemLM) capture event co-occurrence information by modeling event sequences as semantic frames, entities, and other semantic units, this paper aims at augmenting them with causal knowledge (i.e., one event is likely to lead to another). Such knowledge is modeled at the frame and entity level, and can be obtained either statistically from text or stated declaratively. The proposed method, KnowSemLM, infuses this knowledge into a semantic LM by joint training and inference, and is shown to be effective on both the event cloze test and story/referent prediction tasks.

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Neural Attentive Bag-of-Entities Model for Text Classification
Ikuya Yamada | Hiroyuki Shindo

This study proposes a Neural Attentive Bag-of-Entities model, which is a neural network model that performs text classification using entities in a knowledge base. Entities provide unambiguous and relevant semantic signals that are beneficial for text classification. We combine simple high-recall entity detection based on a dictionary, to detect entities in a document, with a novel neural attention mechanism that enables the model to focus on a small number of unambiguous and relevant entities. We tested the effectiveness of our model using two standard text classification datasets (i.e., the 20 Newsgroups and R8 datasets) and a popular factoid question answering dataset based on a trivia quiz game. As a result, our model achieved state-of-the-art results on all datasets. The source code of the proposed model is available online at

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Roll Call Vote Prediction with Knowledge Augmented Models
Pallavi Patil | Kriti Myer | Ronak Zala | Arpit Singh | Sheshera Mysore | Andrew McCallum | Adrian Benton | Amanda Stent

The official voting records of United States congresspeople are preserved as roll call votes. Prediction of voting behavior of politicians for whom no voting record exists, such as individuals running for office, is important for forecasting key political decisions. Prior work has relied on past votes cast to predict future votes, and thus fails to predict voting patterns for politicians without voting records. We address this by augmenting a prior state of the art model with multiple sources of external knowledge so as to enable prediction on unseen politicians. The sources of knowledge we use are news text and Freebase, a manually curated knowledge base. We propose augmentations based on unigram features for news text, and a knowledge base embedding method followed by a neural network composition for relations from Freebase. Empirical evaluation of these approaches indicate that the proposed models outperform the prior system for politicians with complete historical voting records by 1.0% point of accuracy (8.7% error reduction) and for politicians without voting records by 33.4% points of accuracy (66.7% error reduction). We also show that the knowledge base augmented approach outperforms the news text augmented approach by 4.2% points of accuracy.

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BeamSeg: A Joint Model for Multi-Document Segmentation and Topic Identification
Pedro Mota | Maxine Eskenazi | Luísa Coheur

We propose BeamSeg, a joint model for segmentation and topic identification of documents from the same domain. The model assumes that lexical cohesion can be observed across documents, meaning that segments describing the same topic use a similar lexical distribution over the vocabulary. The model implements lexical cohesion in an unsupervised Bayesian setting by drawing from the same language model segments with the same topic. Contrary to previous approaches, we assume that language models are not independent, since the vocabulary changes in consecutive segments are expected to be smooth and not abrupt. We achieve this by using a dynamic Dirichlet prior that takes into account data contributions from other topics. BeamSeg also models segment length properties of documents based on modality (textbooks, slides, etc.). The evaluation is carried out in three datasets. In two of them, improvements of up to 4.8% and 7.3% are obtained in the segmentation and topic identifications tasks, indicating that both tasks should be jointly modeled.

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MrMep: Joint Extraction of Multiple Relations and Multiple Entity Pairs Based on Triplet Attention
Jiayu Chen | Caixia Yuan | Xiaojie Wang | Ziwei Bai

This paper focuses on how to extract multiple relational facts from unstructured text. Neural encoder-decoder models have provided a viable new approach for jointly extracting relations and entity pairs. However, these models either fail to deal with entity overlapping among relational facts, or neglect to produce the whole entity pairs. In this work, we propose a novel architecture that augments the encoder and decoder in two elegant ways. First, we apply a binary CNN classifier for each relation, which identifies all possible relations maintained in the text, while retaining the target relation representation to aid entity pair recognition. Second, we perform a multi-head attention over the text and a triplet attention with the target relation interacting with every token of the text to precisely produce all possible entity pairs in a sequential manner. Experiments on three benchmark datasets show that our proposed method successfully addresses the multiple relations and multiple entity pairs even with complex overlapping and significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art methods.

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Effective Attention Modeling for Neural Relation Extraction
Tapas Nayak | Hwee Tou Ng

Relation extraction is the task of determining the relation between two entities in a sentence. Distantly-supervised models are popular for this task. However, sentences can be long and two entities can be located far from each other in a sentence. The pieces of evidence supporting the presence of a relation between two entities may not be very direct, since the entities may be connected via some indirect links such as a third entity or via co-reference. Relation extraction in such scenarios becomes more challenging as we need to capture the long-distance interactions among the entities and other words in the sentence. Also, the words in a sentence do not contribute equally in identifying the relation between the two entities. To address this issue, we propose a novel and effective attention model which incorporates syntactic information of the sentence and a multi-factor attention mechanism. Experiments on the New York Times corpus show that our proposed model outperforms prior state-of-the-art models.

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Exploiting the Entity Type Sequence to Benefit Event Detection
Yuze Ji | Youfang Lin | Jianwei Gao | Huaiyu Wan

Event Detection (ED) is one of the most important task in the field of information extraction. The goal of ED is to find triggers in sentences and classify them into different event types. In previous works, the information of entity types are commonly utilized to benefit event detection. However, the sequential features of entity types have not been well utilized yet in the existing ED methods. In this paper, we propose a novel ED approach which learns sequential features from word sequences and entity type sequences separately, and combines these two types of sequential features with the help of a trigger-entity interaction learning module. The experimental results demonstrate that our proposed approach outperforms the state-of-the-art methods.

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Named Entity Recognition - Is There a Glass Ceiling?
Tomasz Stanislawek | Anna Wróblewska | Alicja Wójcicka | Daniel Ziembicki | Przemyslaw Biecek

Recent developments in Named Entity Recognition (NER) have resulted in better and better models. However, is there a glass ceiling? Do we know which types of errors are still hard or even impossible to correct? In this paper, we present a detailed analysis of the types of errors in state-of-the-art machine learning (ML) methods. Our study illustrates weak and strong points of the Stanford, CMU, FLAIR, ELMO and BERT models, as well as their shared limitations. We also introduce new techniques for improving annotation, training process, and for checking model quality and stability.

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Low-Rank Approximations of Second-Order Document Representations
Jarkko Lagus | Janne Sinkkonen | Arto Klami

Document embeddings, created with methods ranging from simple heuristics to statistical and deep models, are widely applicable. Bag-of-vectors models for documents include the mean and quadratic approaches (Torki, 2018). We present evidence that quadratic statistics alone, without the mean information, can offer superior accuracy, fast document comparison, and compact document representations. In matching news articles to their comment threads, low-rank representations of only 3-4 times the size of the mean vector give most accurate matching, and in standard sentence comparison tasks, results are state of the art despite faster computation. Similarity measures are discussed, and the Frobenius product implicit in the proposed method is contrasted to Wasserstein or Bures metric from the transportation theory. We also shortly demonstrate matching of unordered word lists to documents, to measure topicality or sentiment of documents.

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Named Entity Recognition with Partially Annotated Training Data
Stephen Mayhew | Snigdha Chaturvedi | Chen-Tse Tsai | Dan Roth

Supervised machine learning assumes the availability of fully-labeled data, but in many cases, such as low-resource languages, the only data available is partially annotated. We study the problem of Named Entity Recognition (NER) with partially annotated training data in which a fraction of the named entities are labeled, and all other tokens, entities or otherwise, are labeled as non-entity by default. In order to train on this noisy dataset, we need to distinguish between the true and false negatives. To this end, we introduce a constraint-driven iterative algorithm that learns to detect false negatives in the noisy set and downweigh them, resulting in a weighted training set. With this set, we train a weighted NER model. We evaluate our algorithm with weighted variants of neural and non-neural NER models on data in 8 languages from several language and script families, showing strong ability to learn from partial data. Finally, to show real-world efficacy, we evaluate on a Bengali NER corpus annotated by non-speakers, outperforming the prior state-of-the-art by over 5 points F1.

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Contextualized Cross-Lingual Event Trigger Extraction with Minimal Resources
Meryem M’hamdi | Marjorie Freedman | Jonathan May

Event trigger extraction is an information extraction task of practical utility, yet it is challenging due to the difficulty of disambiguating word sense meaning. Previous approaches rely extensively on hand-crafted language-specific features and are applied mainly to English for which annotated datasets and Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools are available. However, the availability of such resources varies from one language to another. Recently, contextualized Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) models have established state-of-the-art performance for a variety of NLP tasks. However, there has not been much effort in exploring language transfer using BERT for event extraction. In this work, we treat event trigger extraction as a sequence tagging problem and propose a cross-lingual framework for training it without any hand-crafted features. We experiment with different flavors of transfer learning from high-resourced to low-resourced languages and compare the performance of different multilingual embeddings for event trigger extraction. Our results show that training in a multilingual setting outperforms language-specific models for both English and Chinese. Our work is the first to experiment with two event architecture variants in a cross-lingual setting, to show the effectiveness of contextualized embeddings obtained using BERT, and to explore and analyze its performance on Arabic.

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Deep Structured Neural Network for Event Temporal Relation Extraction
Rujun Han | I-Hung Hsu | Mu Yang | Aram Galstyan | Ralph Weischedel | Nanyun Peng

We propose a novel deep structured learning framework for event temporal relation extraction. The model consists of 1) a recurrent neural network (RNN) to learn scoring functions for pair-wise relations, and 2) a structured support vector machine (SSVM) to make joint predictions. The neural network automatically learns representations that account for long-term contexts to provide robust features for the structured model, while the SSVM incorporates domain knowledge such as transitive closure of temporal relations as constraints to make better globally consistent decisions. By jointly training the two components, our model combines the benefits of both data-driven learning and knowledge exploitation. Experimental results on three high-quality event temporal relation datasets (TCR, MATRES, and TB-Dense) demonstrate that incorporated with pre-trained contextualized embeddings, the proposed model achieves significantly better performances than the state-of-the-art methods on all three datasets. We also provide thorough ablation studies to investigate our model.

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Investigating Entity Knowledge in BERT with Simple Neural End-To-End Entity Linking
Samuel Broscheit

A typical architecture for end-to-end entity linking systems consists of three steps: mention detection, candidate generation and entity disambiguation. In this study we investigate the following questions: (a) Can all those steps be learned jointly with a model for contextualized text-representations, i.e. BERT? (b) How much entity knowledge is already contained in pretrained BERT? (c) Does additional entity knowledge improve BERT’s performance in downstream tasks? To this end we propose an extreme simplification of the entity linking setup that works surprisingly well: simply cast it as a per token classification over the entire entity vocabulary (over 700K classes in our case). We show on an entity linking benchmark that (i) this model improves the entity representations over plain BERT, (ii) that it outperforms entity linking architectures that optimize the tasks separately and (iii) that it only comes second to the current state-of-the-art that does mention detection and entity disambiguation jointly. Additionally, we investigate the usefulness of entity-aware token-representations in the text-understanding benchmark GLUE, as well as the question answering benchmarks SQUAD~V2 and SWAG and also the EN-DE WMT14 machine translation benchmark. To our surprise, we find that most of those benchmarks do not benefit from additional entity knowledge, except for a task with very small training data, the RTE task in GLUE, which improves by 2%.

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Unsupervised Adversarial Domain Adaptation for Implicit Discourse Relation Classification
Hsin-Ping Huang | Junyi Jessy Li

Implicit discourse relations are not only more challenging to classify, but also to annotate, than their explicit counterparts. We tackle situations where training data for implicit relations are lacking, and exploit domain adaptation from explicit relations (Ji et al., 2015). We present an unsupervised adversarial domain adaptive network equipped with a reconstruction component. Our system outperforms prior works and other adversarial benchmarks for unsupervised domain adaptation. Additionally, we extend our system to take advantage of labeled data if some are available.

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Evidence Sentence Extraction for Machine Reading Comprehension
Hai Wang | Dian Yu | Kai Sun | Jianshu Chen | Dong Yu | David McAllester | Dan Roth

Remarkable success has been achieved in the last few years on some limited machine reading comprehension (MRC) tasks. However, it is still difficult to interpret the predictions of existing MRC models. In this paper, we focus on extracting evidence sentences that can explain or support the answers of multiple-choice MRC tasks, where the majority of answer options cannot be directly extracted from reference documents. Due to the lack of ground truth evidence sentence labels in most cases, we apply distant supervision to generate imperfect labels and then use them to train an evidence sentence extractor. To denoise the noisy labels, we apply a recently proposed deep probabilistic logic learning framework to incorporate both sentence-level and cross-sentence linguistic indicators for indirect supervision. We feed the extracted evidence sentences into existing MRC models and evaluate the end-to-end performance on three challenging multiple-choice MRC datasets: MultiRC, RACE, and DREAM, achieving comparable or better performance than the same models that take as input the full reference document. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work extracting evidence sentences for multiple-choice MRC.

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SimVecs: Similarity-Based Vectors for Utterance Representation in Conversational AI Systems
Ashraf Mahgoub | Youssef Shahin | Riham Mansour | Saurabh Bagchi

Conversational AI systems are gaining a lot of attention recently in both industrial and scientific domains, providing a natural way of interaction between customers and adaptive intelligent systems. A key requirement in these systems is the ability to understand the user’s intent and provide adequate responses to them. One of the greatest challenges of language understanding (LU) services is efficient utterance (sentence) representation in vector space, which is an essential step for most ML tasks. In this paper, we propose a novel approach for generating vector space representations of utterances using pair-wise similarity metrics. The proposed approach uses only a few corpora to tune the weights of the similarity metric without relying on external general purpose ontologies. Our experiments confirm that the generated vectors can improve the performance of LU services in unsupervised, semi-supervised and supervised learning tasks.

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Incorporating Interlocutor-Aware Context into Response Generation on Multi-Party Chatbots
Cao Liu | Kang Liu | Shizhu He | Zaiqing Nie | Jun Zhao

Conventional chatbots focus on two-party response generation, which simplifies the real dialogue scene. In this paper, we strive toward a novel task of Response Generation on Multi-Party Chatbot (RGMPC), where the generated responses heavily rely on the interlocutors’ roles (e.g., speaker and addressee) and their utterances. Unfortunately, complex interactions among the interlocutors’ roles make it challenging to precisely capture conversational contexts and interlocutors’ information. Facing this challenge, we present a response generation model which incorporates Interlocutor-aware Contexts into Recurrent Encoder-Decoder frameworks (ICRED) for RGMPC. Specifically, we employ interactive representations to capture dialogue contexts for different interlocutors. Moreover, we leverage an addressee memory to enhance contextual interlocutor information for the target addressee. Finally, we construct a corpus for RGMPC based on an existing open-access dataset. Automatic and manual evaluations demonstrate that the ICRED remarkably outperforms strong baselines.

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Memory Graph Networks for Explainable Memory-grounded Question Answering
Seungwhan Moon | Pararth Shah | Anuj Kumar | Rajen Subba

We introduce Episodic Memory QA, the task of answering personal user questions grounded on memory graph (MG), where episodic memories and related entity nodes are connected via relational edges. We create a new benchmark dataset first by generating synthetic memory graphs with simulated attributes, and by composing 100K QA pairs for the generated MG with bootstrapped scripts. To address the unique challenges for the proposed task, we propose Memory Graph Networks (MGN), a novel extension of memory networks to enable dynamic expansion of memory slots through graph traversals, thus able to answer queries in which contexts from multiple linked episodes and external knowledge are required. We then propose the Episodic Memory QA Net with multiple module networks to effectively handle various question types. Empirical results show improvement over the QA baselines in top-k answer prediction accuracy in the proposed task. The proposed model also generates a graph walk path and attention vectors for each predicted answer, providing a natural way to explain its QA reasoning.

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TripleNet: Triple Attention Network for Multi-Turn Response Selection in Retrieval-Based Chatbots
Wentao Ma | Yiming Cui | Nan Shao | Su He | Wei-Nan Zhang | Ting Liu | Shijin Wang | Guoping Hu

We consider the importance of different utterances in the context for selecting the response usually depends on the current query. In this paper, we propose the model TripleNet to fully model the task with the triple <context, query, response> instead of <context, response > in previous works. The heart of TripleNet is a novel attention mechanism named triple attention to model the relationships within the triple at four levels. The new mechanism updates the representation of each element based on the attention with the other two concurrently and symmetrically. We match the triple <C, Q, R> centered on the response from char to context level for prediction. Experimental results on two large-scale multi-turn response selection datasets show that the proposed model can significantly outperform the state-of-the-art methods.

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Relation Module for Non-Answerable Predictions on Reading Comprehension
Kevin Huang | Yun Tang | Jing Huang | Xiaodong He | Bowen Zhou

Machine reading comprehension (MRC) has attracted significant amounts of research attention recently, due to an increase of challenging reading comprehension datasets. In this paper, we aim to improve a MRC model’s ability to determine whether a question has an answer in a given context (e.g. the recently proposed SQuAD 2.0 task). The relation module consists of both semantic extraction and relational information. We first extract high level semantics as objects from both question and context with multi-head self-attentive pooling. These semantic objects are then passed to a relation network, which generates relationship scores for each object pair in a sentence. These scores are used to determine whether a question is non-answerable. We test the relation module on the SQuAD 2.0 dataset using both the BiDAF and BERT models as baseline readers. We obtain 1.8% gain of F1 accuracy on top of the BiDAF reader, and 1.0% on top of the BERT base model. These results show the effectiveness of our relation module on MRC.

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Slot Tagging for Task Oriented Spoken Language Understanding in Human-to-Human Conversation Scenarios
Kunho Kim | Rahul Jha | Kyle Williams | Alex Marin | Imed Zitouni

Task oriented language understanding (LU) in human-to-machine (H2M) conversations has been extensively studied for personal digital assistants. In this work, we extend the task oriented LU problem to human-to-human (H2H) conversations, focusing on the slot tagging task. Recent advances on LU in H2M conversations have shown accuracy improvements by adding encoded knowledge from different sources. Inspired by this, we explore several variants of a bidirectional LSTM architecture that relies on different knowledge sources, such as Web data, search engine click logs, expert feedback from H2M models, as well as previous utterances in the conversation. We also propose ensemble techniques that aggregate these different knowledge sources into a single model. Experimental evaluation on a four-turn Twitter dataset in the restaurant and music domains shows improvements in the slot tagging F1-score of up to 6.09% compared to existing approaches.

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Window-Based Neural Tagging for Shallow Discourse Argument Labeling
René Knaebel | Manfred Stede | Sebastian Stober

This paper describes a novel approach for the task of end-to-end argument labeling in shallow discourse parsing. Our method describes a decomposition of the overall labeling task into subtasks and a general distance-based aggregation procedure. For learning these subtasks, we train a recurrent neural network and gradually replace existing components of our baseline by our model. The model is trained and evaluated on the Penn Discourse Treebank 2 corpus. While it is not as good as knowledge-intense approaches, it clearly outperforms other models that are also trained without additional linguistic features.

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TILM: Neural Language Models with Evolving Topical Influence
Shubhra Kanti Karmaker Santu | Kalyan Veeramachaneni | Chengxiang Zhai

Content of text data are often influenced by contextual factors which often evolve over time (e.g., content of social media are often influenced by topics covered in the major news streams). Existing language models do not consider the influence of such related evolving topics, and thus are not optimal. In this paper, we propose to incorporate such topical-influence into a language model to both improve its accuracy and enable cross-stream analysis of topical influences. Specifically, we propose a novel language model called Topical Influence Language Model (TILM), which is a novel extension of a neural language model to capture the influences on the contents in one text stream by the evolving topics in another related (or possibly same) text stream. Experimental results on six different text stream data comprised of conference paper titles show that the incorporation of evolving topical influence into a language model is beneficial and TILM outperforms multiple baselines in a challenging task of text forecasting. In addition to serving as a language model, TILM further enables interesting analysis of topical influence among multiple text streams.

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Pretraining-Based Natural Language Generation for Text Summarization
Haoyu Zhang | Jingjing Cai | Jianjun Xu | Ji Wang

In this paper, we propose a novel pretraining-based encoder-decoder framework, which can generate the output sequence based on the input sequence in a two-stage manner. For the encoder of our model, we encode the input sequence into context representations using BERT. For the decoder, there are two stages in our model, in the first stage, we use a Transformer-based decoder to generate a draft output sequence. In the second stage, we mask each word of the draft sequence and feed it to BERT, then by combining the input sequence and the draft representation generated by BERT, we use a Transformer-based decoder to predict the refined word for each masked position. To the best of our knowledge, our approach is the first method which applies the BERT into text generation tasks. As the first step in this direction, we evaluate our proposed method on the text summarization task. Experimental results show that our model achieves new state-of-the-art on both CNN/Daily Mail and New York Times datasets.

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Goal-Embedded Dual Hierarchical Model for Task-Oriented Dialogue Generation
Yi-An Lai | Arshit Gupta | Yi Zhang

Hierarchical neural networks are often used to model inherent structures within dialogues. For goal-oriented dialogues, these models miss a mechanism adhering to the goals and neglect the distinct conversational patterns between two interlocutors. In this work, we propose Goal-Embedded Dual Hierarchical Attentional Encoder-Decoder (G-DuHA) able to center around goals and capture interlocutor-level disparity while modeling goal-oriented dialogues. Experiments on dialogue generation, response generation, and human evaluations demonstrate that the proposed model successfully generates higher-quality, more diverse and goal-centric dialogues. Moreover, we apply data augmentation via goal-oriented dialogue generation for task-oriented dialog systems with better performance achieved.

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Putting the Horse before the Cart: A Generator-Evaluator Framework for Question Generation from Text
Vishwajeet Kumar | Ganesh Ramakrishnan | Yuan-Fang Li

Automatic question generation (QG) is a useful yet challenging task in NLP. Recent neural network-based approaches represent the state-of-the-art in this task. In this work, we attempt to strengthen them significantly by adopting a holistic and novel generator-evaluator framework that directly optimizes objectives that reward semantics and structure. The generator is a sequence-to-sequence model that incorporates the structure and semantics of the question being generated. The generator predicts an answer in the passage that the question can pivot on. Employing the copy and coverage mechanisms, it also acknowledges other contextually important (and possibly rare) keywords in the passage that the question needs to conform to, while not redundantly repeating words. The evaluator model evaluates and assigns a reward to each predicted question based on its conformity to the structure of ground-truth questions. We propose two novel QG-specific reward functions for text conformity and answer conformity of the generated question. The evaluator also employs structure-sensitive rewards based on evaluation measures such as BLEU, GLEU, and ROUGE-L, which are suitable for QG. In contrast, most of the previous works only optimize the cross-entropy loss, which can induce inconsistencies between training (objective) and testing (evaluation) measures. Our evaluation shows that our approach significantly outperforms state-of-the-art systems on the widely-used SQuAD benchmark as per both automatic and human evaluation.

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In Conclusion Not Repetition: Comprehensive Abstractive Summarization with Diversified Attention Based on Determinantal Point Processes
Lei Li | Wei Liu | Marina Litvak | Natalia Vanetik | Zuying Huang

Various Seq2Seq learning models designed for machine translation were applied for abstractive summarization task recently. Despite these models provide high ROUGE scores, they are limited to generate comprehensive summaries with a high level of abstraction due to its degenerated attention distribution. We introduce Diverse Convolutional Seq2Seq Model(DivCNN Seq2Seq) using Determinantal Point Processes methods(Micro DPPs and Macro DPPs) to produce attention distribution considering both quality and diversity. Without breaking the end to end architecture, DivCNN Seq2Seq achieves a higher level of comprehensiveness compared to vanilla models and strong baselines. All the reproducible codes and datasets are available online.

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Generating Formality-Tuned Summaries Using Input-Dependent Rewards
Kushal Chawla | Balaji Vasan Srinivasan | Niyati Chhaya

Abstractive text summarization aims at generating human-like summaries by understanding and paraphrasing the given input content. Recent efforts based on sequence-to-sequence networks only allow the generation of a single summary. However, it is often desirable to accommodate the psycho-linguistic preferences of the intended audience while generating the summaries. In this work, we present a reinforcement learning based approach to generate formality-tailored summaries for an input article. Our novel input-dependent reward function aids in training the model with stylistic feedback on sampled and ground-truth summaries together. Once trained, the same model can generate formal and informal summary variants. Our automated and qualitative evaluations show the viability of the proposed framework.

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Do Massively Pretrained Language Models Make Better Storytellers?
Abigail See | Aneesh Pappu | Rohun Saxena | Akhila Yerukola | Christopher D. Manning

Large neural language models trained on massive amounts of text have emerged as a formidable strategy for Natural Language Understanding tasks. However, the strength of these models as Natural Language Generators is less clear. Though anecdotal evidence suggests that these models generate better quality text, there has been no detailed study characterizing their generation abilities. In this work, we compare the performance of an extensively pretrained model, OpenAI GPT2-117 (Radford et al., 2019), to a state-of-the-art neural story generation model (Fan et al., 2018). By evaluating the generated text across a wide variety of automatic metrics, we characterize the ways in which pretrained models do, and do not, make better storytellers. We find that although GPT2-117 conditions more strongly on context, is more sensitive to ordering of events, and uses more unusual words, it is just as likely to produce repetitive and under-diverse text when using likelihood-maximizing decoding algorithms.

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Self-Adaptive Scaling for Learnable Residual Structure
Fenglin Liu | Meng Gao | Yuanxin Liu | Kai Lei

Residual has been widely applied to build deep neural networks with enhanced feature propagation and improved accuracy. In the literature, multiple variants of residual structure are proposed. However, most of them are manually designed for particular tasks and datasets and the combination of existing residual structures has not been well studied. In this work, we propose the Self-Adaptive Scaling (SAS) approach that automatically learns the design of residual structure from data. The proposed approach makes the best of various residual structures, resulting in a general architecture covering several existing ones. In this manner, we construct a learnable residual structure which can be easily integrated into a wide range of residual-based models. We evaluate our approach on various tasks concerning different modalities, including machine translation (IWSLT-2015 EN-VI and WMT-2014 EN-DE, EN-FR), image classification (CIFAR-10 and CIFAR-100), and image captioning (MSCOCO). Empirical results show that the proposed approach consistently improves the residual-based models and exhibits desirable generalization ability. In particular, by incorporating the proposed approach to the Transformer model, we establish new state-of-the-arts on the IWSLT-2015 EN-VI low-resource machine translation dataset.

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BIOfid Dataset: Publishing a German Gold Standard for Named Entity Recognition in Historical Biodiversity Literature
Sajawel Ahmed | Manuel Stoeckel | Christine Driller | Adrian Pachzelt | Alexander Mehler

The Specialized Information Service Biodiversity Research (BIOfid) has been launched to mobilize valuable biological data from printed literature hidden in German libraries for over the past 250 years. In this project, we annotate German texts converted by OCR from historical scientific literature on the biodiversity of plants, birds, moths and butterflies. Our work enables the automatic extraction of biological information previously buried in the mass of papers and volumes. For this purpose, we generated training data for the tasks of Named Entity Recognition (NER) and Taxa Recognition (TR) in biological documents. We use this data to train a number of leading machine learning tools and create a gold standard for TR in biodiversity literature. More specifically, we perform a practical analysis of our newly generated BIOfid dataset through various downstream-task evaluations and establish a new state of the art for TR with 80.23% F-score. In this sense, our paper lays the foundations for future work in the field of information extraction in biology texts.

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Slang Detection and Identification
Zhengqi Pei | Zhewei Sun | Yang Xu

The prevalence of informal language such as slang presents challenges for natural language systems, particularly in the automatic discovery of flexible word usages. Previous work has explored slang in terms of dictionary construction, sentiment analysis, word formation, and interpretation, but scarce research has attempted the basic problem of slang detection and identification. We examine the extent to which deep learning methods support automatic detection and identification of slang from natural sentences using a combination of bidirectional recurrent neural networks, conditional random field, and multilayer perceptron. We test these models based on a comprehensive set of linguistic features in sentence-level detection and token-level identification of slang. We found that a prominent feature of slang is the surprising use of words across syntactic categories or syntactic shift (e.g., verb-noun). Our best models detect the presence of slang at the sentence level with an F1-score of 0.80 and identify its exact position at the token level with an F1-Score of 0.50.

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Alleviating Sequence Information Loss with Data Overlapping and Prime Batch Sizes
Noémien Kocher | Christian Scuito | Lorenzo Tarantino | Alexandros Lazaridis | Andreas Fischer | Claudiu Musat

In sequence modeling tasks the token order matters, but this information can be partially lost due to the discretization of the sequence into data points. In this paper, we study the imbalance between the way certain token pairs are included in data points and others are not. We denote this a token order imbalance (TOI) and we link the partial sequence information loss to a diminished performance of the system as a whole, both in text and speech processing tasks. We then provide a mechanism to leverage the full token order information—Alleviated TOI—by iteratively overlapping the token composition of data points. For recurrent networks, we use prime numbers for the batch size to avoid redundancies when building batches from overlapped data points. The proposed method achieved state of the art performance in both text and speech related tasks.

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Global Autoregressive Models for Data-Efficient Sequence Learning
Tetiana Parshakova | Jean-Marc Andreoli | Marc Dymetman

Standard autoregressive seq2seq models are easily trained by max-likelihood, but tend to show poor results under small-data conditions. We introduce a class of seq2seq models, GAMs (Global Autoregressive Models), which combine an autoregressive component with a log-linear component, allowing the use of global a priori features to compensate for lack of data. We train these models in two steps. In the first step, we obtain an unnormalized GAM that maximizes the likelihood of the data, but is improper for fast inference or evaluation. In the second step, we use this GAM to train (by distillation) a second autoregressive model that approximates the normalized distribution associated with the GAM, and can be used for fast inference and evaluation. Our experiments focus on language modelling under synthetic conditions and show a strong perplexity reduction of using the second autoregressive model over the standard one.

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Learning Analogy-Preserving Sentence Embeddings for Answer Selection
Aïssatou Diallo | Markus Zopf | Johannes Fürnkranz

Answer selection aims at identifying the correct answer for a given question from a set of potentially correct answers. Contrary to previous works, which typically focus on the semantic similarity between a question and its answer, our hypothesis is that question-answer pairs are often in analogical relation to each other. Using analogical inference as our use case, we propose a framework and a neural network architecture for learning dedicated sentence embeddings that preserve analogical properties in the semantic space. We evaluate the proposed method on benchmark datasets for answer selection and demonstrate that our sentence embeddings indeed capture analogical properties better than conventional embeddings, and that analogy-based question answering outperforms a comparable similarity-based technique.

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A Simple and Effective Method for Injecting Word-Level Information into Character-Aware Neural Language Models
Yukun Feng | Hidetaka Kamigaito | Hiroya Takamura | Manabu Okumura

We propose a simple and effective method to inject word-level information into character-aware neural language models. Unlike previous approaches which usually inject word-level information at the input of a long short-term memory (LSTM) network, we inject it into the softmax function. The resultant model can be seen as a combination of character-aware language model and simple word-level language model. Our injection method can also be used together with previous methods. Through the experiments on 14 typologically diverse languages, we empirically show that our injection method, when used together with the previous methods, works better than the previous methods, including a gating mechanism, averaging, and concatenation of word vectors. We also provide a comprehensive comparison of these injection methods.

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On Model Stability as a Function of Random Seed
Pranava Madhyastha | Rishabh Jain

In this paper, we focus on quantifying model stability as a function of random seed by investigating the effects of the induced randomness on model performance and the robustness of the model in general. We specifically perform a controlled study on the effect of random seeds on the behaviour of attention, gradient-based and surrogate model based (LIME) interpretations. Our analysis suggests that random seeds can adversely affect the consistency of models resulting in counterfactual interpretations. We propose a technique called Aggressive Stochastic Weight Averaging (ASWA) and an extension called Norm-filtered Aggressive Stochastic Weight Averaging (NASWA) which improves the stability of models over random seeds. With our ASWA and NASWA based optimization, we are able to improve the robustness of the original model, on average reducing the standard deviation of the model’s performance by 72%.

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Studying Generalisability across Abusive Language Detection Datasets
Steve Durairaj Swamy | Anupam Jamatia | Björn Gambäck

Work on Abusive Language Detection has tackled a wide range of subtasks and domains. As a result of this, there exists a great deal of redundancy and non-generalisability between datasets. Through experiments on cross-dataset training and testing, the paper reveals that the preconceived notion of including more non-abusive samples in a dataset (to emulate reality) may have a detrimental effect on the generalisability of a model trained on that data. Hence a hierarchical annotation model is utilised here to reveal redundancies in existing datasets and to help reduce redundancy in future efforts.

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Reduce & Attribute: Two-Step Authorship Attribution for Large-Scale Problems
Michael Tschuggnall | Benjamin Murauer | Günther Specht

Authorship attribution is an active research area which has been prevalent for many decades. Nevertheless, the majority of approaches consider problem sizes of a few candidate authors only, making them difficult to apply to recent scenarios incorporating thousands of authors emerging due to the manifold means to digitally share text. In this study, we focus on such large-scale problems and propose to effectively reduce the number of candidate authors before applying common attribution techniques. By utilizing document embeddings, we show on a novel, comprehensive dataset collection that the set of candidate authors can be reduced with high accuracy. Moreover, we show that common authorship attribution methods substantially benefit from a preliminary reduction if thousands of authors are involved.

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Variational Semi-Supervised Aspect-Term Sentiment Analysis via Transformer
Xingyi Cheng | Weidi Xu | Taifeng Wang | Wei Chu | Weipeng Huang | Kunlong Chen | Junfeng Hu

Aspect-term sentiment analysis (ATSA) is a long-standing challenge in natural language process. It requires fine-grained semantical reasoning about a target entity appeared in the text. As manual annotation over the aspects is laborious and time-consuming, the amount of labeled data is limited for supervised learning. This paper proposes a semi-supervised method for the ATSA problem by using the Variational Autoencoder based on Transformer. The model learns the latent distribution via variational inference. By disentangling the latent representation into the aspect-specific sentiment and the lexical context, our method induces the underlying sentiment prediction for the unlabeled data, which then benefits the ATSA classifier. Our method is classifier-agnostic, i.e., the classifier is an independent module and various supervised models can be integrated. Experimental results are obtained on the SemEval 2014 task 4 and show that our method is effective with different the five specific classifiers and outperforms these models by a significant margin.

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Learning to Detect Opinion Snippet for Aspect-Based Sentiment Analysis
Mengting Hu | Shiwan Zhao | Honglei Guo | Renhong Cheng | Zhong Su

Aspect-based sentiment analysis (ABSA) is to predict the sentiment polarity towards a particular aspect in a sentence. Recently, this task has been widely addressed by the neural attention mechanism, which computes attention weights to softly select words for generating aspect-specific sentence representations. The attention is expected to concentrate on opinion words for accurate sentiment prediction. However, attention is prone to be distracted by noisy or misleading words, or opinion words from other aspects. In this paper, we propose an alternative hard-selection approach, which determines the start and end positions of the opinion snippet, and selects the words between these two positions for sentiment prediction. Specifically, we learn deep associations between the sentence and aspect, and the long-term dependencies within the sentence by leveraging the pre-trained BERT model. We further detect the opinion snippet by self-critical reinforcement learning. Especially, experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of our method and prove that our hard-selection approach outperforms soft-selection approaches when handling multi-aspect sentences.

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Multi-Level Sentiment Analysis of PolEmo 2.0: Extended Corpus of Multi-Domain Consumer Reviews
Jan Kocoń | Piotr Miłkowski | Monika Zaśko-Zielińska

In this article we present an extended version of PolEmo – a corpus of consumer reviews from 4 domains: medicine, hotels, products and school. Current version (PolEmo 2.0) contains 8,216 reviews having 57,466 sentences. Each text and sentence was manually annotated with sentiment in 2+1 scheme, which gives a total of 197,046 annotations. We obtained a high value of Positive Specific Agreement, which is 0.91 for texts and 0.88 for sentences. PolEmo 2.0 is publicly available under a Creative Commons copyright license. We explored recent deep learning approaches for the recognition of sentiment, such as Bi-directional Long Short-Term Memory (BiLSTM) and Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT).

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A Personalized Sentiment Model with Textual and Contextual Information
Siwen Guo | Sviatlana Höhn | Christoph Schommer

In this paper, we look beyond the traditional population-level sentiment modeling and consider the individuality in a person’s expressions by discovering both textual and contextual information. In particular, we construct a hierarchical neural network that leverages valuable information from a person’s past expressions, and offer a better understanding of the sentiment from the expresser’s perspective. Additionally, we investigate how a person’s sentiment changes over time so that recent incidents or opinions may have more effect on the person’s current sentiment than the old ones. Psychological studies have also shown that individual variation exists in how easily people change their sentiments. In order to model such traits, we develop a modified attention mechanism with Hawkes process applied on top of a recurrent network for a user-specific design. Implemented with automatically labeled Twitter data, the proposed model has shown positive results employing different input formulations for representing the concerned information.

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Cluster-Gated Convolutional Neural Network for Short Text Classification
Haidong Zhang | Wancheng Ni | Meijing Zhao | Ziqi Lin

Text classification plays a crucial role for understanding natural language in a wide range of applications. Most existing approaches mainly focus on long text classification (e.g., blogs, documents, paragraphs). However, they cannot easily be applied to short text because of its sparsity and lack of context. In this paper, we propose a new model called cluster-gated convolutional neural network (CGCNN), which jointly explores word-level clustering and text classification in an end-to-end manner. Specifically, the proposed model firstly uses a bi-directional long short-term memory to learn word representations. Then, it leverages a soft clustering method to explore their semantic relation with the cluster centers, and takes linear transformation on text representations. It develops a cluster-dependent gated convolutional layer to further control the cluster-dependent feature flows. Experimental results on five commonly used datasets show that our model outperforms state-of-the-art models.

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Coherence-based Modeling of Clinical Concepts Inferred from Heterogeneous Clinical Notes for ICU Patient Risk Stratification
Tushaar Gangavarapu | Gokul S Krishnan | Sowmya Kamath S

In hospitals, critical care patients are often susceptible to various complications that adversely affect their morbidity and mortality. Digitized patient data from Electronic Health Records (EHRs) can be utilized to facilitate risk stratification accurately and provide prioritized care. Existing clinical decision support systems are heavily reliant on the structured nature of the EHRs. However, the valuable patient-specific data contained in unstructured clinical notes are often manually transcribed into EHRs. The prolific use of extensive medical jargon, heterogeneity, sparsity, rawness, inconsistent abbreviations, and complex structure of the clinical notes poses significant challenges, and also results in a loss of information during the manual conversion process. In this work, we employ two coherence-based topic modeling approaches to model the free-text in the unstructured clinical nursing notes and capture its semantic textual features with the emphasis on human interpretability. Furthermore, we present FarSight, a long-term aggregation mechanism intended to detect the onset of disease with the earliest recorded symptoms and infections. We utilize the predictive capabilities of deep neural models for the clinical task of risk stratification through ICD-9 code group prediction. Our experimental validation on MIMIC-III (v1.4) database underlined the efficacy of FarSight with coherence-based topic modeling, in extracting discriminative clinical features from the unstructured nursing notes. The proposed approach achieved a superior predictive performance when benchmarked against the structured EHR data based state-of-the-art model, with an improvement of 11.50% in AUPRC and 1.16% in AUROC.

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Predicting the Role of Political Trolls in Social Media
Atanas Atanasov | Gianmarco De Francisci Morales | Preslav Nakov

We investigate the political roles of “Internet trolls” in social media. Political trolls, such as the ones linked to the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA), have recently gained enormous attention for their ability to sway public opinion and even influence elections. Analysis of the online traces of trolls has shown different behavioral patterns, which target different slices of the population. However, this analysis is manual and labor-intensive, thus making it impractical as a first-response tool for newly-discovered troll farms. In this paper, we show how to automate this analysis by using machine learning in a realistic setting. In particular, we show how to classify trolls according to their political role —left, news feed, right— by using features extracted from social media, i.e., Twitter, in two scenarios: (i) in a traditional supervised learning scenario, where labels for trolls are available, and (ii) in a distant supervision scenario, where labels for trolls are not available, and we rely on more-commonly-available labels for news outlets mentioned by the trolls. Technically, we leverage the community structure and the text of the messages in the online social network of trolls represented as a graph, from which we extract several types of learned representations, i.e., embeddings, for the trolls. Experiments on the “IRA Russian Troll” dataset show that our methodology improves over the state-of-the-art in the first scenario, while providing a compelling case for the second scenario, which has not been explored in the literature thus far.

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Towards a Unified End-to-End Approach for Fully Unsupervised Cross-Lingual Sentiment Analysis
Yanlin Feng | Xiaojun Wan

Sentiment analysis in low-resource languages suffers from the lack of training data. Cross-lingual sentiment analysis (CLSA) aims to improve the performance on these languages by leveraging annotated data from other languages. Recent studies have shown that CLSA can be performed in a fully unsupervised manner, without exploiting either target language supervision or cross-lingual supervision. However, these methods rely heavily on unsupervised cross-lingual word embeddings (CLWE), which has been shown to have serious drawbacks on distant language pairs (e.g. English - Japanese). In this paper, we propose an end-to-end CLSA model by leveraging unlabeled data in multiple languages and multiple domains and eliminate the need for unsupervised CLWE. Our model applies to two CLSA settings: the traditional cross-lingual in-domain setting and the more challenging cross-lingual cross-domain setting. We empirically evaluate our approach on the multilingual multi-domain Amazon review dataset. Experimental results show that our model outperforms the baselines by a large margin despite its minimal resource requirement.


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Proceedings of the Shared Task on Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing at the 2019 Conference on Natural Language Learning

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Proceedings of the Shared Task on Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing at the 2019 Conference on Natural Language Learning
Stephan Oepen | Omri Abend | Jan Hajic | Daniel Hershcovich | Marco Kuhlmann | Tim O’Gorman | Nianwen Xue

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MRP 2019: Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing
Stephan Oepen | Omri Abend | Jan Hajic | Daniel Hershcovich | Marco Kuhlmann | Tim O’Gorman | Nianwen Xue | Jayeol Chun | Milan Straka | Zdenka Uresova

The 2019 Shared Task at the Conference for Computational Language Learning (CoNLL) was devoted to Meaning Representation Parsing (MRP) across frameworks. Five distinct approaches to the representation of sentence meaning in the form of directed graph were represented in the training and evaluation data for the task, packaged in a uniform abstract graph representation and serialization. The task received submissions from eighteen teams, of which five do not participate in the official ranking because they arrived after the closing deadline, made use of additional training data, or involved one of the task co-organizers. All technical information regarding the task, including system submissions, official results, and links to supporting resources and software are available from the task web site at:

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TUPA at MRP 2019: A Multi-Task Baseline System
Daniel Hershcovich | Ofir Arviv

This paper describes the TUPA system submission to the shared task on Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing (MRP) at the 2019 Conference for Computational Language Learning (CoNLL). Because it was prepared by one of the task co-organizers, TUPA provides a baseline point of comparison and is not considered in the official ranking of participating systems. While originally developed for UCCA only, TUPA has been generalized to support all MRP frameworks included in the task, and trained using multi-task learning to parse them all with a shared model. It is a transition-based parser with a BiLSTM encoder, augmented with BERT contextualized embeddings.

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The ERG at MRP 2019: Radically Compositional Semantic Dependencies
Stephan Oepen | Dan Flickinger

The English Resource Grammar (ERG) is a broad-coverage computational grammar of English that outputs underspecified logical-form representations of meaning in a framework dubbed English Resource Semantics (ERS). Two of the target representations in the the 2019 Shared Task on Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing (MRP 2019) derive graph-based simplifications of ERS, viz. Elementary Dependency Structures (EDS) and DELPH-IN MRS Bi-Lexical Dependencies (DM). As a point of reference outside the official MRP competition, we parsed the evaluation strings using the ERG and converted the resulting meaning representations to EDS and DM. These graphs yield higher evaluation scores than the purely data-driven parsers in the actual shared task, suggesting that the general-purpose linguistic knowledge about English grammar encoded in the ERG can add value when parsing into these meaning representations.

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SJTU-NICT at MRP 2019: Multi-Task Learning for End-to-End Uniform Semantic Graph Parsing
Zuchao Li | Hai Zhao | Zhuosheng Zhang | Rui Wang | Masao Utiyama | Eiichiro Sumita

This paper describes our SJTU-NICT’s system for participating in the shared task on Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing (MRP) at the 2019 Conference for Computational Language Learning (CoNLL). Our system uses a graph-based approach to model a variety of semantic graph parsing tasks. Our main contributions in the submitted system are summarized as follows: 1. Our model is fully end-to-end and is capable of being trained only on the given training set which does not rely on any other extra training source including the companion data provided by the organizer; 2. We extend our graph pruning algorithm to a variety of semantic graphs, solving the problem of excessive semantic graph search space; 3. We introduce multi-task learning for multiple objectives within the same framework. The evaluation results show that our system achieved second place in the overall F1 score and achieved the best F1 score on the DM framework.

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ShanghaiTech at MRP 2019: Sequence-to-Graph Transduction with Second-Order Edge Inference for Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing
Xinyu Wang | Yixian Liu | Zixia Jia | Chengyue Jiang | Kewei Tu

This paper presents the system used in our submission to the CoNLL 2019 shared task: Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing. Our system is a graph-based parser which combines an extended pointer-generator network that generates nodes and a second-order mean field variational inference module that predicts edges. Our system achieved 1st and 2nd place for the DM and PSD frameworks respectively on the in-framework ranks and achieved 3rd place for the DM framework on the cross-framework ranks.

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Saarland at MRP 2019: Compositional parsing across all graphbanks
Lucia Donatelli | Meaghan Fowlie | Jonas Groschwitz | Alexander Koller | Matthias Lindemann | Mario Mina | Pia Weißenhorn

We describe the Saarland University submission to the shared task on Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing (MRP) at the 2019 Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL).

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HIT-SCIR at MRP 2019: A Unified Pipeline for Meaning Representation Parsing via Efficient Training and Effective Encoding
Wanxiang Che | Longxu Dou | Yang Xu | Yuxuan Wang | Yijia Liu | Ting Liu

This paper describes our system (HIT-SCIR) for CoNLL 2019 shared task: Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing. We extended the basic transition-based parser with two improvements: a) Efficient Training by realizing Stack LSTM parallel training; b) Effective Encoding via adopting deep contextualized word embeddings BERT. Generally, we proposed a unified pipeline to meaning representation parsing, including framework-specific transition-based parsers, BERT-enhanced word representation, and post-processing. In the final evaluation, our system was ranked first according to ALL-F1 (86.2%) and especially ranked first in UCCA framework (81.67%).

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SJTU at MRP 2019: A Transition-Based Multi-Task Parser for Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing
Hongxiao Bai | Hai Zhao

This paper describes the system of our team SJTU for our participation in the CoNLL 2019 Shared Task: Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing. The goal of the task is to advance data-driven parsing into graph-structured representations of sentence meaning. This task includes five meaning representation frameworks: DM, PSD, EDS, UCCA, and AMR. These frameworks have different properties and structures. To tackle all the frameworks in one model, it is needed to find out the commonality of them. In our work, we define a set of the transition actions to once-for-all tackle all the frameworks and train a transition-based model to parse the meaning representation. The adopted multi-task model also can allow learning for one framework to benefit the others. In the final official evaluation of the shared task, our system achieves 42% F1 unified MRP metric score.

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JBNU at MRP 2019: Multi-level Biaffine Attention for Semantic Dependency Parsing
Seung-Hoon Na | Jinwoon Min | Kwanghyeon Park | Jong-Hun Shin | Young-Kil Kim

This paper describes Jeonbuk National University (JBNU)’s system for the 2019 shared task on Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing (MRP 2019) at the Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning. Of the five frameworks, we address only the DELPH-IN MRS Bi-Lexical Dependencies (DP), Prague Semantic Dependencies (PSD), and Universal Conceptual Cognitive Annotation (UCCA) frameworks. We propose a unified parsing model using biaffine attention (Dozat and Manning, 2017), consisting of 1) a BERT-BiLSTM encoder and 2) a biaffine attention decoder. First, the BERT-BiLSTM for sentence encoder uses BERT to compose a sentence’s wordpieces into word-level embeddings and subsequently applies BiLSTM to word-level representations. Second, the biaffine attention decoder determines the scores for an edge’s existence and its labels based on biaffine attention functions between roledependent representations. We also present multi-level biaffine attention models by combining all the role-dependent representations that appear at multiple intermediate layers.

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CUHK at MRP 2019: Transition-Based Parser with Cross-Framework Variable-Arity Resolve Action
Sunny Lai | Chun Hei Lo | Kwong Sak Leung | Yee Leung

This paper describes our system (RESOLVER) submitted to the CoNLL 2019 shared task on Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing (MRP). Our system implements a transition-based parser with a directed acyclic graph (DAG) to tree preprocessor and a novel cross-framework variable-arity resolve action that generalizes over five different representations. Although we ranked low in the competition, we have shown the current limitations and potentials of including variable-arity action in MRP and concluded with directions for improvements in the future.

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Hitachi at MRP 2019: Unified Encoder-to-Biaffine Network for Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing
Yuta Koreeda | Gaku Morio | Terufumi Morishita | Hiroaki Ozaki | Kohsuke Yanai

This paper describes the proposed system of the Hitachi team for the Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing (MRP 2019) shared task. In this shared task, the participating systems were asked to predict nodes, edges and their attributes for five frameworks, each with different order of “abstraction” from input tokens. We proposed a unified encoder-to-biaffine network for all five frameworks, which effectively incorporates a shared encoder to extract rich input features, decoder networks to generate anchorless nodes in UCCA and AMR, and biaffine networks to predict edges. Our system was ranked fifth with the macro-averaged MRP F1 score of 0.7604, and outperformed the baseline unified transition-based MRP. Furthermore, post-evaluation experiments showed that we can boost the performance of the proposed system by incorporating multi-task learning, whereas the baseline could not. These imply efficacy of incorporating the biaffine network to the shared architecture for MRP and that learning heterogeneous meaning representations at once can boost the system performance.

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ÚFAL MRPipe at MRP 2019: UDPipe Goes Semantic in the Meaning Representation Parsing Shared Task
Milan Straka | Jana Straková

We present a system description of our contribution to the CoNLL 2019 shared task, CrossFramework Meaning Representation Parsing (MRP 2019). The proposed architecture is our first attempt towards a semantic parsing extension of the UDPipe 2.0, a lemmatization, POS tagging and dependency parsing pipeline. For the MRP 2019, which features five formally and linguistically different approaches to meaning representation (DM, PSD, EDS, UCCA and AMR), we propose a uniform, language and framework agnostic graph-tograph neural network architecture. Without any knowledge about the graph structure, and specifically without any linguistically or framework motivated features, our system implicitly models the meaning representation graphs. After fixing a human error (we used earlier incorrect version of provided test set analyses), our submission would score third in the competition evaluation. The source code of our system is available at

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Amazon at MRP 2019: Parsing Meaning Representations with Lexical and Phrasal Anchoring
Jie Cao | Yi Zhang | Adel Youssef | Vivek Srikumar

This paper describes the system submission of our team Amazon to the shared task on Cross Framework Meaning Representation Parsing (MRP) at the 2019 Conference for Computational Language Learning (CoNLL). Via extensive analysis of implicit alignments in AMR, we recategorize five meaning representations (MRs) into two classes: Lexical- Anchoring and Phrasal-Anchoring. Then we propose a unified graph-based parsing framework for the lexical-anchoring MRs, and a phrase-structure parsing for one of the phrasal- anchoring MRs, UCCA. Our system submission ranked 1st in the AMR subtask, and later improvements show promising results on other frameworks as well.

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SUDA-Alibaba at MRP 2019: Graph-Based Models with BERT
Yue Zhang | Wei Jiang | Qingrong Xia | Junjie Cao | Rui Wang | Zhenghua Li | Min Zhang

In this paper, we describe our participating systems in the shared task on Cross- Framework Meaning Representation Parsing (MRP) at the 2019 Conference for Computational Language Learning (CoNLL). The task includes five frameworks for graph-based meaning representations, i.e., DM, PSD, EDS, UCCA, and AMR. One common characteristic of our systems is that we employ graph-based methods instead of transition-based methods when predicting edges between nodes. For SDP, we jointly perform edge prediction, frame tagging, and POS tagging via multi-task learning (MTL). For UCCA, we also jointly model a constituent tree parsing and a remote edge recovery task. For both EDS and AMR, we produce nodes first and edges second in a pipeline fashion. External resources like BERT are found helpful for all frameworks except AMR. Our final submission ranks the third on the overall MRP evaluation metric, the first on EDS and the second on UCCA.

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ÚFAL-Oslo at MRP 2019: Garage Sale Semantic Parsing
Kira Droganova | Andrey Kutuzov | Nikita Mediankin | Daniel Zeman

This paper describes the ÚFAL--Oslo system submission to the shared task on Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing (MRP, Oepen et al. 2019). The submission is based on several third-party parsers. Within the official shared task results, the submission ranked 11th out of 13 participating systems.

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Peking at MRP 2019: Factorization- and Composition-Based Parsing for Elementary Dependency Structures
Yufei Chen | Yajie Ye | Weiwei Sun

We design, implement and evaluate two semantic parsers, which represent factorization- and composition-based approaches respectively, for Elementary Dependency Structures (EDS) at the CoNLL 2019 Shared Task on Cross-Framework Meaning Representation Parsing. The detailed evaluation of the two parsers gives us a new perception about parsing into linguistically enriched meaning representations: current neural EDS parsers are able to reach an accuracy at the inter-annotator agreement level in the same-epoch-and-domain setup.