North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (2018)



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Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long Papers)

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Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long Papers)
Marilyn Walker | Heng Ji | Amanda Stent

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Label-Aware Double Transfer Learning for Cross-Specialty Medical Named Entity Recognition
Zhenghui Wang | Yanru Qu | Liheng Chen | Jian Shen | Weinan Zhang | Shaodian Zhang | Yimei Gao | Gen Gu | Ken Chen | Yong Yu

We study the problem of named entity recognition (NER) from electronic medical records, which is one of the most fundamental and critical problems for medical text mining. Medical records which are written by clinicians from different specialties usually contain quite different terminologies and writing styles. The difference of specialties and the cost of human annotation makes it particularly difficult to train a universal medical NER system. In this paper, we propose a label-aware double transfer learning framework (La-DTL) for cross-specialty NER, so that a medical NER system designed for one specialty could be conveniently applied to another one with minimal annotation efforts. The transferability is guaranteed by two components: (i) we propose label-aware MMD for feature representation transfer, and (ii) we perform parameter transfer with a theoretical upper bound which is also label aware. We conduct extensive experiments on 12 cross-specialty NER tasks. The experimental results demonstrate that La-DTL provides consistent accuracy improvement over strong baselines. Besides, the promising experimental results on non-medical NER scenarios indicate that La-DTL is potential to be seamlessly adapted to a wide range of NER tasks.

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Neural Fine-Grained Entity Type Classification with Hierarchy-Aware Loss
Peng Xu | Denilson Barbosa

The task of Fine-grained Entity Type Classification (FETC) consists of assigning types from a hierarchy to entity mentions in text. Existing methods rely on distant supervision and are thus susceptible to noisy labels that can be out-of-context or overly-specific for the training sentence. Previous methods that attempt to address these issues do so with heuristics or with the help of hand-crafted features. Instead, we propose an end-to-end solution with a neural network model that uses a variant of cross-entropy loss function to handle out-of-context labels, and hierarchical loss normalization to cope with overly-specific ones. Also, previous work solve FETC a multi-label classification followed by ad-hoc post-processing. In contrast, our solution is more elegant: we use public word embeddings to train a single-label that jointly learns representations for entity mentions and their context. We show experimentally that our approach is robust against noise and consistently outperforms the state-of-the-art on established benchmarks for the task.

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Joint Bootstrapping Machines for High Confidence Relation Extraction
Pankaj Gupta | Benjamin Roth | Hinrich Schütze

Semi-supervised bootstrapping techniques for relationship extraction from text iteratively expand a set of initial seed instances. Due to the lack of labeled data, a key challenge in bootstrapping is semantic drift: if a false positive instance is added during an iteration, then all following iterations are contaminated. We introduce BREX, a new bootstrapping method that protects against such contamination by highly effective confidence assessment. This is achieved by using entity and template seeds jointly (as opposed to just one as in previous work), by expanding entities and templates in parallel and in a mutually constraining fashion in each iteration and by introducing higherquality similarity measures for templates. Experimental results show that BREX achieves an F1 that is 0.13 (0.87 vs. 0.74) better than the state of the art for four relationships.

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A Deep Generative Model of Vowel Formant Typology
Ryan Cotterell | Jason Eisner

What makes some types of languages more probable than others? For instance, we know that almost all spoken languages contain the vowel phoneme /i/; why should that be? The field of linguistic typology seeks to answer these questions and, thereby, divine the mechanisms that underlie human language. In our work, we tackle the problem of vowel system typology, i.e., we propose a generative probability model of which vowels a language contains. In contrast to previous work, we work directly with the acoustic information—the first two formant values—rather than modeling discrete sets of symbols from the international phonetic alphabet. We develop a novel generative probability model and report results on over 200 languages.

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Fortification of Neural Morphological Segmentation Models for Polysynthetic Minimal-Resource Languages
Katharina Kann | Jesus Manuel Mager Hois | Ivan Vladimir Meza-Ruiz | Hinrich Schütze

Morphological segmentation for polysynthetic languages is challenging, because a word may consist of many individual morphemes and training data can be extremely scarce. Since neural sequence-to-sequence (seq2seq) models define the state of the art for morphological segmentation in high-resource settings and for (mostly) European languages, we first show that they also obtain competitive performance for Mexican polysynthetic languages in minimal-resource settings. We then propose two novel multi-task training approaches—one with, one without need for external unlabeled resources—, and two corresponding data augmentation methods, improving over the neural baseline for all languages. Finally, we explore cross-lingual transfer as a third way to fortify our neural model and show that we can train one single multi-lingual model for related languages while maintaining comparable or even improved performance, thus reducing the amount of parameters by close to 75%. We provide our morphological segmentation datasets for Mexicanero, Nahuatl, Wixarika and Yorem Nokki for future research.

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Improving Character-Based Decoding Using Target-Side Morphological Information for Neural Machine Translation
Peyman Passban | Qun Liu | Andy Way

Recently, neural machine translation (NMT) has emerged as a powerful alternative to conventional statistical approaches. However, its performance drops considerably in the presence of morphologically rich languages (MRLs). Neural engines usually fail to tackle the large vocabulary and high out-of-vocabulary (OOV) word rate of MRLs. Therefore, it is not suitable to exploit existing word-based models to translate this set of languages. In this paper, we propose an extension to the state-of-the-art model of Chung et al. (2016), which works at the character level and boosts the decoder with target-side morphological information. In our architecture, an additional morphology table is plugged into the model. Each time the decoder samples from a target vocabulary, the table sends auxiliary signals from the most relevant affixes in order to enrich the decoder’s current state and constrain it to provide better predictions. We evaluated our model to translate English into German, Russian, and Turkish as three MRLs and observed significant improvements.

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Parsing Speech: a Neural Approach to Integrating Lexical and Acoustic-Prosodic Information
Trang Tran | Shubham Toshniwal | Mohit Bansal | Kevin Gimpel | Karen Livescu | Mari Ostendorf

In conversational speech, the acoustic signal provides cues that help listeners disambiguate difficult parses. For automatically parsing spoken utterances, we introduce a model that integrates transcribed text and acoustic-prosodic features using a convolutional neural network over energy and pitch trajectories coupled with an attention-based recurrent neural network that accepts text and prosodic features. We find that different types of acoustic-prosodic features are individually helpful, and together give statistically significant improvements in parse and disfluency detection F1 scores over a strong text-only baseline. For this study with known sentence boundaries, error analyses show that the main benefit of acoustic-prosodic features is in sentences with disfluencies, attachment decisions are most improved, and transcription errors obscure gains from prosody.

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Tied Multitask Learning for Neural Speech Translation
Antonios Anastasopoulos | David Chiang

We explore multitask models for neural translation of speech, augmenting them in order to reflect two intuitive notions. First, we introduce a model where the second task decoder receives information from the decoder of the first task, since higher-level intermediate representations should provide useful information. Second, we apply regularization that encourages transitivity and invertibility. We show that the application of these notions on jointly trained models improves performance on the tasks of low-resource speech transcription and translation. It also leads to better performance when using attention information for word discovery over unsegmented input.

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Please Clap: Modeling Applause in Campaign Speeches
Jon Gillick | David Bamman

This work examines the rhetorical techniques that speakers employ during political campaigns. We introduce a new corpus of speeches from campaign events in the months leading up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election and develop new models for predicting moments of audience applause. In contrast to existing datasets, we tackle the challenge of working with transcripts that derive from uncorrected closed captioning, using associated audio recordings to automatically extract and align labels for instances of audience applause. In prediction experiments, we find that lexical features carry the most information, but that a variety of features are predictive, including prosody, long-term contextual dependencies, and theoretically motivated features designed to capture rhetorical techniques.

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Attentive Interaction Model: Modeling Changes in View in Argumentation
Yohan Jo | Shivani Poddar | Byungsoo Jeon | Qinlan Shen | Carolyn Rosé | Graham Neubig

We present a neural architecture for modeling argumentative dialogue that explicitly models the interplay between an Opinion Holder’s (OH’s) reasoning and a challenger’s argument, with the goal of predicting if the argument successfully changes the OH’s view. The model has two components: (1) vulnerable region detection, an attention model that identifies parts of the OH’s reasoning that are amenable to change, and (2) interaction encoding, which identifies the relationship between the content of the OH’s reasoning and that of the challenger’s argument. Based on evaluation on discussions from the Change My View forum on Reddit, the two components work together to predict an OH’s change in view, outperforming several baselines. A posthoc analysis suggests that sentences picked out by the attention model are addressed more frequently by successful arguments than by unsuccessful ones.

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Automatic Focus Annotation: Bringing Formal Pragmatics Alive in Analyzing the Information Structure of Authentic Data
Ramon Ziai | Detmar Meurers

Analyzing language in context, both from a theoretical and from a computational perspective, is receiving increased interest. Complementing the research in linguistics on discourse and information structure, in computational linguistics identifying discourse concepts was also shown to improve the performance of certain applications, for example, Short Answer Assessment systems (Ziai and Meurers, 2014). Building on the research that established detailed annotation guidelines for manual annotation of information structural concepts for written (Dipper et al., 2007; Ziai and Meurers, 2014) and spoken language data (Calhoun et al., 2010), this paper presents the first approach automating the analysis of focus in authentic written data. Our classification approach combines a range of lexical, syntactic, and semantic features to achieve an accuracy of 78.1% for identifying focus.

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Dear Sir or Madam, May I Introduce the GYAFC Dataset: Corpus, Benchmarks and Metrics for Formality Style Transfer
Sudha Rao | Joel Tetreault

Style transfer is the task of automatically transforming a piece of text in one particular style into another. A major barrier to progress in this field has been a lack of training and evaluation datasets, as well as benchmarks and automatic metrics. In this work, we create the largest corpus for a particular stylistic transfer (formality) and show that techniques from the machine translation community can serve as strong baselines for future work. We also discuss challenges of using automatic metrics.

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Improving Implicit Discourse Relation Classification by Modeling Inter-dependencies of Discourse Units in a Paragraph
Zeyu Dai | Ruihong Huang

We argue that semantic meanings of a sentence or clause can not be interpreted independently from the rest of a paragraph, or independently from all discourse relations and the overall paragraph-level discourse structure. With the goal of improving implicit discourse relation classification, we introduce a paragraph-level neural networks that model inter-dependencies between discourse units as well as discourse relation continuity and patterns, and predict a sequence of discourse relations in a paragraph. Experimental results show that our model outperforms the previous state-of-the-art systems on the benchmark corpus of PDTB.

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A Deep Ensemble Model with Slot Alignment for Sequence-to-Sequence Natural Language Generation
Juraj Juraska | Panagiotis Karagiannis | Kevin Bowden | Marilyn Walker

Natural language generation lies at the core of generative dialogue systems and conversational agents. We describe an ensemble neural language generator, and present several novel methods for data representation and augmentation that yield improved results in our model. We test the model on three datasets in the restaurant, TV and laptop domains, and report both objective and subjective evaluations of our best model. Using a range of automatic metrics, as well as human evaluators, we show that our approach achieves better results than state-of-the-art models on the same datasets.

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A Melody-Conditioned Lyrics Language Model
Kento Watanabe | Yuichiroh Matsubayashi | Satoru Fukayama | Masataka Goto | Kentaro Inui | Tomoyasu Nakano

This paper presents a novel, data-driven language model that produces entire lyrics for a given input melody. Previously proposed models for lyrics generation suffer from the inability of capturing the relationship between lyrics and melody partly due to the unavailability of lyrics-melody aligned data. In this study, we first propose a new practical method for creating a large collection of lyrics-melody aligned data and then create a collection of 1,000 lyrics-melody pairs augmented with precise syllable-note alignments and word/sentence/paragraph boundaries. We then provide a quantitative analysis of the correlation between word/sentence/paragraph boundaries in lyrics and melodies. We then propose an RNN-based lyrics language model conditioned on a featurized melody. Experimental results show that the proposed model generates fluent lyrics while maintaining the compatibility between boundaries of lyrics and melody structures.

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Discourse-Aware Neural Rewards for Coherent Text Generation
Antoine Bosselut | Asli Celikyilmaz | Xiaodong He | Jianfeng Gao | Po-Sen Huang | Yejin Choi

In this paper, we investigate the use of discourse-aware rewards with reinforcement learning to guide a model to generate long, coherent text. In particular, we propose to learn neural rewards to model cross-sentence ordering as a means to approximate desired discourse structure. Empirical results demonstrate that a generator trained with the learned reward produces more coherent and less repetitive text than models trained with cross-entropy or with reinforcement learning with commonly used scores as rewards.

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Natural Answer Generation with Heterogeneous Memory
Yao Fu | Yansong Feng

Memory augmented encoder-decoder framework has achieved promising progress for natural language generation tasks. Such frameworks enable a decoder to retrieve from a memory during generation. However, less research has been done to take care of the memory contents from different sources, which are often of heterogeneous formats. In this work, we propose a novel attention mechanism to encourage the decoder to actively interact with the memory by taking its heterogeneity into account. Our solution attends across the generated history and memory to explicitly avoid repetition, and introduce related knowledge to enrich our generated sentences. Experiments on the answer sentence generation task show that our method can effectively explore heterogeneous memory to produce readable and meaningful answer sentences while maintaining high coverage for given answer information.

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Query and Output: Generating Words by Querying Distributed Word Representations for Paraphrase Generation
Shuming Ma | Xu Sun | Wei Li | Sujian Li | Wenjie Li | Xuancheng Ren

Most recent approaches use the sequence-to-sequence model for paraphrase generation. The existing sequence-to-sequence model tends to memorize the words and the patterns in the training dataset instead of learning the meaning of the words. Therefore, the generated sentences are often grammatically correct but semantically improper. In this work, we introduce a novel model based on the encoder-decoder framework, called Word Embedding Attention Network (WEAN). Our proposed model generates the words by querying distributed word representations (i.e. neural word embeddings), hoping to capturing the meaning of the according words. Following previous work, we evaluate our model on two paraphrase-oriented tasks, namely text simplification and short text abstractive summarization. Experimental results show that our model outperforms the sequence-to-sequence baseline by the BLEU score of 6.3 and 5.5 on two English text simplification datasets, and the ROUGE-2 F1 score of 5.7 on a Chinese summarization dataset. Moreover, our model achieves state-of-the-art performances on these three benchmark datasets.

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Simplification Using Paraphrases and Context-Based Lexical Substitution
Reno Kriz | Eleni Miltsakaki | Marianna Apidianaki | Chris Callison-Burch

Lexical simplification involves identifying complex words or phrases that need to be simplified, and recommending simpler meaning-preserving substitutes that can be more easily understood. We propose a complex word identification (CWI) model that exploits both lexical and contextual features, and a simplification mechanism which relies on a word-embedding lexical substitution model to replace the detected complex words with simpler paraphrases. We compare our CWI and lexical simplification models to several baselines, and evaluate the performance of our simplification system against human judgments. The results show that our models are able to detect complex words with higher accuracy than other commonly used methods, and propose good simplification substitutes in context. They also highlight the limited contribution of context features for CWI, which nonetheless improve simplification compared to context-unaware models.

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Zero-Shot Question Generation from Knowledge Graphs for Unseen Predicates and Entity Types
Hady Elsahar | Christophe Gravier | Frederique Laforest

We present a neural model for question generation from knowledge graphs triples in a “Zero-shot” setup, that is generating questions for predicate, subject types or object types that were not seen at training time. Our model leverages triples occurrences in the natural language corpus in a encoder-decoder architecture, paired with an original part-of-speech copy action mechanism to generate questions. Benchmark and human evaluation show that our model outperforms state-of-the-art on this task.

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Automated Essay Scoring in the Presence of Biased Ratings
Evelin Amorim | Marcia Cançado | Adriano Veloso

Studies in Social Sciences have revealed that when people evaluate someone else, their evaluations often reflect their biases. As a result, rater bias may introduce highly subjective factors that make their evaluations inaccurate. This may affect automated essay scoring models in many ways, as these models are typically designed to model (potentially biased) essay raters. While there is sizeable literature on rater effects in general settings, it remains unknown how rater bias affects automated essay scoring. To this end, we present a new annotated corpus containing essays and their respective scores. Different from existing corpora, our corpus also contains comments provided by the raters in order to ground their scores. We present features to quantify rater bias based on their comments, and we found that rater bias plays an important role in automated essay scoring. We investigated the extent to which rater bias affects models based on hand-crafted features. Finally, we propose to rectify the training set by removing essays associated with potentially biased scores while learning the scoring model.

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Content-Based Citation Recommendation
Chandra Bhagavatula | Sergey Feldman | Russell Power | Waleed Ammar

We present a content-based method for recommending citations in an academic paper draft. We embed a given query document into a vector space, then use its nearest neighbors as candidates, and rerank the candidates using a discriminative model trained to distinguish between observed and unobserved citations. Unlike previous work, our method does not require metadata such as author names which can be missing, e.g., during the peer review process. Without using metadata, our method outperforms the best reported results on PubMed and DBLP datasets with relative improvements of over 18% in F1@20 and over 22% in MRR. We show empirically that, although adding metadata improves the performance on standard metrics, it favors self-citations which are less useful in a citation recommendation setup. We release an online portal for citation recommendation based on our method, (URL: and a new dataset OpenCorpus of 7 million research articles to facilitate future research on this task.

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Looking Beyond the Surface: A Challenge Set for Reading Comprehension over Multiple Sentences
Daniel Khashabi | Snigdha Chaturvedi | Michael Roth | Shyam Upadhyay | Dan Roth

We present a reading comprehension challenge in which questions can only be answered by taking into account information from multiple sentences. We solicit and verify questions and answers for this challenge through a 4-step crowdsourcing experiment. Our challenge dataset contains 6,500+ questions for 1000+ paragraphs across 7 different domains (elementary school science, news, travel guides, fiction stories, etc) bringing in linguistic diversity to the texts and to the questions wordings. On a subset of our dataset, we found human solvers to achieve an F1-score of 88.1%. We analyze a range of baselines, including a recent state-of-art reading comprehension system, and demonstrate the difficulty of this challenge, despite a high human performance. The dataset is the first to study multi-sentence inference at scale, with an open-ended set of question types that requires reasoning skills.

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Neural Automated Essay Scoring and Coherence Modeling for Adversarially Crafted Input
Youmna Farag | Helen Yannakoudakis | Ted Briscoe

We demonstrate that current state-of-the-art approaches to Automated Essay Scoring (AES) are not well-suited to capturing adversarially crafted input of grammatical but incoherent sequences of sentences. We develop a neural model of local coherence that can effectively learn connectedness features between sentences, and propose a framework for integrating and jointly training the local coherence model with a state-of-the-art AES model. We evaluate our approach against a number of baselines and experimentally demonstrate its effectiveness on both the AES task and the task of flagging adversarial input, further contributing to the development of an approach that strengthens the validity of neural essay scoring models.

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QuickEdit: Editing Text & Translations by Crossing Words Out
David Grangier | Michael Auli

We propose a framework for computer-assisted text editing. It applies to translation post-editing and to paraphrasing. Our proposal relies on very simple interactions: a human editor modifies a sentence by marking tokens they would like the system to change. Our model then generates a new sentence which reformulates the initial sentence by avoiding marked words. The approach builds upon neural sequence-to-sequence modeling and introduces a neural network which takes as input a sentence along with change markers. Our model is trained on translation bitext by simulating post-edits. We demonstrate the advantage of our approach for translation post-editing through simulated post-edits. We also evaluate our model for paraphrasing through a user study.

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Tempo-Lexical Context Driven Word Embedding for Cross-Session Search Task Extraction
Procheta Sen | Debasis Ganguly | Gareth Jones

Task extraction is the process of identifying search intents over a set of queries potentially spanning multiple search sessions. Most existing research on task extraction has focused on identifying tasks within a single session, where the notion of a session is defined by a fixed length time window. By contrast, in this work we seek to identify tasks that span across multiple sessions. To identify tasks, we conduct a global analysis of a query log in its entirety without restricting analysis to individual temporal windows. To capture inherent task semantics, we represent queries as vectors in an abstract space. We learn the embedding of query words in this space by leveraging the temporal and lexical contexts of queries. Embedded query vectors are then clustered into tasks. Experiments demonstrate that task extraction effectiveness is improved significantly with our proposed method of query vector embedding in comparison to existing approaches that make use of documents retrieved from a collection to estimate semantic similarities between queries.

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Zero-Shot Sequence Labeling: Transferring Knowledge from Sentences to Tokens
Marek Rei | Anders Søgaard

Can attention- or gradient-based visualization techniques be used to infer token-level labels for binary sequence tagging problems, using networks trained only on sentence-level labels? We construct a neural network architecture based on soft attention, train it as a binary sentence classifier and evaluate against token-level annotation on four different datasets. Inferring token labels from a network provides a method for quantitatively evaluating what the model is learning, along with generating useful feedback in assistance systems. Our results indicate that attention-based methods are able to predict token-level labels more accurately, compared to gradient-based methods, sometimes even rivaling the supervised oracle network.

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Variable Typing: Assigning Meaning to Variables in Mathematical Text
Yiannos Stathopoulos | Simon Baker | Marek Rei | Simone Teufel

Information about the meaning of mathematical variables in text is useful in NLP/IR tasks such as symbol disambiguation, topic modeling and mathematical information retrieval (MIR). We introduce variable typing, the task of assigning one mathematical type (multi-word technical terms referring to mathematical concepts) to each variable in a sentence of mathematical text. As part of this work, we also introduce a new annotated data set composed of 33,524 data points extracted from scientific documents published on arXiv. Our intrinsic evaluation demonstrates that our data set is sufficient to successfully train and evaluate current classifiers from three different model architectures. The best performing model is evaluated on an extrinsic task: MIR, by producing a typed formula index. Our results show that the best performing MIR models make use of our typed index, compared to a formula index only containing raw symbols, thereby demonstrating the usefulness of variable typing.

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Learning beyond Datasets: Knowledge Graph Augmented Neural Networks for Natural Language Processing
Annervaz K M | Somnath Basu Roy Chowdhury | Ambedkar Dukkipati

Machine Learning has been the quintessential solution for many AI problems, but learning models are heavily dependent on specific training data. Some learning models can be incorporated with prior knowledge using a Bayesian setup, but these learning models do not have the ability to access any organized world knowledge on demand. In this work, we propose to enhance learning models with world knowledge in the form of Knowledge Graph (KG) fact triples for Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks. Our aim is to develop a deep learning model that can extract relevant prior support facts from knowledge graphs depending on the task using attention mechanism. We introduce a convolution-based model for learning representations of knowledge graph entity and relation clusters in order to reduce the attention space. We show that the proposed method is highly scalable to the amount of prior information that has to be processed and can be applied to any generic NLP task. Using this method we show significant improvement in performance for text classification with 20Newsgroups (News20) & DBPedia datasets, and natural language inference with Stanford Natural Language Inference (SNLI) dataset. We also demonstrate that a deep learning model can be trained with substantially less amount of labeled training data, when it has access to organized world knowledge in the form of a knowledge base.

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Comparing Constraints for Taxonomic Organization
Anne Cocos | Marianna Apidianaki | Chris Callison-Burch

Building a taxonomy from the ground up involves several sub-tasks: selecting terms to include, predicting semantic relations between terms, and selecting a subset of relational instances to keep, given constraints on the taxonomy graph. Methods for this final step – taxonomic organization – vary both in terms of the constraints they impose, and whether they enable discovery of synonymous terms. It is hard to isolate the impact of these factors on the quality of the resulting taxonomy because organization methods are rarely compared directly. In this paper, we present a head-to-head comparison of six taxonomic organization algorithms that vary with respect to their structural and transitivity constraints, and treatment of synonymy. We find that while transitive algorithms out-perform their non-transitive counterparts, the top-performing transitive algorithm is prohibitively slow for taxonomies with as few as 50 entities. We propose a simple modification to a non-transitive optimum branching algorithm to explicitly incorporate synonymy, resulting in a method that is substantially faster than the best transitive algorithm while giving complementary performance.

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Improving Lexical Choice in Neural Machine Translation
Toan Nguyen | David Chiang

We explore two solutions to the problem of mistranslating rare words in neural machine translation. First, we argue that the standard output layer, which computes the inner product of a vector representing the context with all possible output word embeddings, rewards frequent words disproportionately, and we propose to fix the norms of both vectors to a constant value. Second, we integrate a simple lexical module which is jointly trained with the rest of the model. We evaluate our approaches on eight language pairs with data sizes ranging from 100k to 8M words, and achieve improvements of up to +4.3 BLEU, surpassing phrase-based translation in nearly all settings.

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Universal Neural Machine Translation for Extremely Low Resource Languages
Jiatao Gu | Hany Hassan | Jacob Devlin | Victor O.K. Li

In this paper, we propose a new universal machine translation approach focusing on languages with a limited amount of parallel data. Our proposed approach utilizes a transfer-learning approach to share lexical and sentence level representations across multiple source languages into one target language. The lexical part is shared through a Universal Lexical Representation to support multi-lingual word-level sharing. The sentence-level sharing is represented by a model of experts from all source languages that share the source encoders with all other languages. This enables the low-resource language to utilize the lexical and sentence representations of the higher resource languages. Our approach is able to achieve 23 BLEU on Romanian-English WMT2016 using a tiny parallel corpus of 6k sentences, compared to the 18 BLEU of strong baseline system which uses multi-lingual training and back-translation. Furthermore, we show that the proposed approach can achieve almost 20 BLEU on the same dataset through fine-tuning a pre-trained multi-lingual system in a zero-shot setting.

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Classical Structured Prediction Losses for Sequence to Sequence Learning
Sergey Edunov | Myle Ott | Michael Auli | David Grangier | Marc’Aurelio Ranzato

There has been much recent work on training neural attention models at the sequence-level using either reinforcement learning-style methods or by optimizing the beam. In this paper, we survey a range of classical objective functions that have been widely used to train linear models for structured prediction and apply them to neural sequence to sequence models. Our experiments show that these losses can perform surprisingly well by slightly outperforming beam search optimization in a like for like setup. We also report new state of the art results on both IWSLT’14 German-English translation as well as Gigaword abstractive summarization. On the large WMT’14 English-French task, sequence-level training achieves 41.5 BLEU which is on par with the state of the art.

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Deep Dirichlet Multinomial Regression
Adrian Benton | Mark Dredze

Dirichlet Multinomial Regression (DMR) and other supervised topic models can incorporate arbitrary document-level features to inform topic priors. However, their ability to model corpora are limited by the representation and selection of these features – a choice the topic modeler must make. Instead, we seek models that can learn the feature representations upon which to condition topic selection. We present deep Dirichlet Multinomial Regression (dDMR), a generative topic model that simultaneously learns document feature representations and topics. We evaluate dDMR on three datasets: New York Times articles with fine-grained tags, Amazon product reviews with product images, and Reddit posts with subreddit identity. dDMR learns representations that outperform DMR and LDA according to heldout perplexity and are more effective at downstream predictive tasks as the number of topics grows. Additionally, human subjects judge dDMR topics as being more representative of associated document features. Finally, we find that supervision leads to faster convergence as compared to an LDA baseline and that dDMR’s model fit is less sensitive to training parameters than DMR.

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Microblog Conversation Recommendation via Joint Modeling of Topics and Discourse
Xingshan Zeng | Jing Li | Lu Wang | Nicholas Beauchamp | Sarah Shugars | Kam-Fai Wong

Millions of conversations are generated every day on social media platforms. With limited attention, it is challenging for users to select which discussions they would like to participate in. Here we propose a new method for microblog conversation recommendation. While much prior work has focused on post-level recommendation, we exploit both the conversational context, and user content and behavior preferences. We propose a statistical model that jointly captures: (1) topics for representing user interests and conversation content, and (2) discourse modes for describing user replying behavior and conversation dynamics. Experimental results on two Twitter datasets demonstrate that our system outperforms methods that only model content without considering discourse.

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Before Name-Calling: Dynamics and Triggers of Ad Hominem Fallacies in Web Argumentation
Ivan Habernal | Henning Wachsmuth | Iryna Gurevych | Benno Stein

Arguing without committing a fallacy is one of the main requirements of an ideal debate. But even when debating rules are strictly enforced and fallacious arguments punished, arguers often lapse into attacking the opponent by an ad hominem argument. As existing research lacks solid empirical investigation of the typology of ad hominem arguments as well as their potential causes, this paper fills this gap by (1) performing several large-scale annotation studies, (2) experimenting with various neural architectures and validating our working hypotheses, such as controversy or reasonableness, and (3) providing linguistic insights into triggers of ad hominem using explainable neural network architectures.

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Scene Graph Parsing as Dependency Parsing
Yu-Siang Wang | Chenxi Liu | Xiaohui Zeng | Alan Yuille

In this paper, we study the problem of parsing structured knowledge graphs from textual descriptions. In particular, we consider the scene graph representation that considers objects together with their attributes and relations: this representation has been proved useful across a variety of vision and language applications. We begin by introducing an alternative but equivalent edge-centric view of scene graphs that connect to dependency parses. Together with a careful redesign of label and action space, we combine the two-stage pipeline used in prior work (generic dependency parsing followed by simple post-processing) into one, enabling end-to-end training. The scene graphs generated by our learned neural dependency parser achieve an F-score similarity of 49.67% to ground truth graphs on our evaluation set, surpassing best previous approaches by 5%. We further demonstrate the effectiveness of our learned parser on image retrieval applications.

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Learning Visually Grounded Sentence Representations
Douwe Kiela | Alexis Conneau | Allan Jabri | Maximilian Nickel

We investigate grounded sentence representations, where we train a sentence encoder to predict the image features of a given caption—i.e., we try to “imagine” how a sentence would be depicted visually—and use the resultant features as sentence representations. We examine the quality of the learned representations on a variety of standard sentence representation quality benchmarks, showing improved performance for grounded models over non-grounded ones. In addition, we thoroughly analyze the extent to which grounding contributes to improved performance, and show that the system also learns improved word embeddings.

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Comparatives, Quantifiers, Proportions: a Multi-Task Model for the Learning of Quantities from Vision
Sandro Pezzelle | Ionut-Teodor Sorodoc | Raffaella Bernardi

The present work investigates whether different quantification mechanisms (set comparison, vague quantification, and proportional estimation) can be jointly learned from visual scenes by a multi-task computational model. The motivation is that, in humans, these processes underlie the same cognitive, non-symbolic ability, which allows an automatic estimation and comparison of set magnitudes. We show that when information about lower-complexity tasks is available, the higher-level proportional task becomes more accurate than when performed in isolation. Moreover, the multi-task model is able to generalize to unseen combinations of target/non-target objects. Consistently with behavioral evidence showing the interference of absolute number in the proportional task, the multi-task model no longer works when asked to provide the number of target objects in the scene.

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Being Negative but Constructively: Lessons Learnt from Creating Better Visual Question Answering Datasets
Wei-Lun Chao | Hexiang Hu | Fei Sha

Visual question answering (Visual QA) has attracted a lot of attention lately, seen essentially as a form of (visual) Turing test that artificial intelligence should strive to achieve. In this paper, we study a crucial component of this task: how can we design good datasets for the task? We focus on the design of multiple-choice based datasets where the learner has to select the right answer from a set of candidate ones including the target (i.e., the correct one) and the decoys (i.e., the incorrect ones). Through careful analysis of the results attained by state-of-the-art learning models and human annotators on existing datasets, we show that the design of the decoy answers has a significant impact on how and what the learning models learn from the datasets. In particular, the resulting learner can ignore the visual information, the question, or both while still doing well on the task. Inspired by this, we propose automatic procedures to remedy such design deficiencies. We apply the procedures to re-construct decoy answers for two popular Visual QA datasets as well as to create a new Visual QA dataset from the Visual Genome project, resulting in the largest dataset for this task. Extensive empirical studies show that the design deficiencies have been alleviated in the remedied datasets and the performance on them is likely a more faithful indicator of the difference among learning models. The datasets are released and publicly available via

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Abstract Meaning Representation for Paraphrase Detection
Fuad Issa | Marco Damonte | Shay B. Cohen | Xiaohui Yan | Yi Chang

Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) parsing aims at abstracting away from the syntactic realization of a sentence, and denote only its meaning in a canonical form. As such, it is ideal for paraphrase detection, a problem in which one is required to specify whether two sentences have the same meaning. We show that naïve use of AMR in paraphrase detection is not necessarily useful, and turn to describe a technique based on latent semantic analysis in combination with AMR parsing that significantly advances state-of-the-art results in paraphrase detection for the Microsoft Research Paraphrase Corpus. Our best results in the transductive setting are 86.6% for accuracy and 90.0% for F1 measure.

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attr2vec: Jointly Learning Word and Contextual Attribute Embeddings with Factorization Machines
Fabio Petroni | Vassilis Plachouras | Timothy Nugent | Jochen L. Leidner

The widespread use of word embeddings is associated with the recent successes of many natural language processing (NLP) systems. The key approach of popular models such as word2vec and GloVe is to learn dense vector representations from the context of words. More recently, other approaches have been proposed that incorporate different types of contextual information, including topics, dependency relations, n-grams, and sentiment. However, these models typically integrate only limited additional contextual information, and often in ad hoc ways. In this work, we introduce attr2vec, a novel framework for jointly learning embeddings for words and contextual attributes based on factorization machines. We perform experiments with different types of contextual information. Our experimental results on a text classification task demonstrate that using attr2vec to jointly learn embeddings for words and Part-of-Speech (POS) tags improves results compared to learning the embeddings independently. Moreover, we use attr2vec to train dependency-based embeddings and we show that they exhibit higher similarity between functionally related words compared to traditional approaches.

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Can Network Embedding of Distributional Thesaurus Be Combined with Word Vectors for Better Representation?
Abhik Jana | Pawan Goyal

Distributed representations of words learned from text have proved to be successful in various natural language processing tasks in recent times. While some methods represent words as vectors computed from text using predictive model (Word2vec) or dense count based model (GloVe), others attempt to represent these in a distributional thesaurus network structure where the neighborhood of a word is a set of words having adequate context overlap. Being motivated by recent surge of research in network embedding techniques (DeepWalk, LINE, node2vec etc.), we turn a distributional thesaurus network into dense word vectors and investigate the usefulness of distributional thesaurus embedding in improving overall word representation. This is the first attempt where we show that combining the proposed word representation obtained by distributional thesaurus embedding with the state-of-the-art word representations helps in improving the performance by a significant margin when evaluated against NLP tasks like word similarity and relatedness, synonym detection, analogy detection. Additionally, we show that even without using any handcrafted lexical resources we can come up with representations having comparable performance in the word similarity and relatedness tasks compared to the representations where a lexical resource has been used.

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Deep Neural Models of Semantic Shift
Alex Rosenfeld | Katrin Erk

Diachronic distributional models track changes in word use over time. In this paper, we propose a deep neural network diachronic distributional model. Instead of modeling lexical change via a time series as is done in previous work, we represent time as a continuous variable and model a word’s usage as a function of time. Additionally, we have also created a novel synthetic task which measures a model’s ability to capture the semantic trajectory. This evaluation quantitatively measures how well a model captures the semantic trajectory of a word over time. Finally, we explore how well the derivatives of our model can be used to measure the speed of lexical change.

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Distributional Inclusion Vector Embedding for Unsupervised Hypernymy Detection
Haw-Shiuan Chang | Ziyun Wang | Luke Vilnis | Andrew McCallum

Modeling hypernymy, such as poodle is-a dog, is an important generalization aid to many NLP tasks, such as entailment, relation extraction, and question answering. Supervised learning from labeled hypernym sources, such as WordNet, limits the coverage of these models, which can be addressed by learning hypernyms from unlabeled text. Existing unsupervised methods either do not scale to large vocabularies or yield unacceptably poor accuracy. This paper introduces distributional inclusion vector embedding (DIVE), a simple-to-implement unsupervised method of hypernym discovery via per-word non-negative vector embeddings which preserve the inclusion property of word contexts. In experimental evaluations more comprehensive than any previous literature of which we are aware—evaluating on 11 datasets using multiple existing as well as newly proposed scoring functions—we find that our method provides up to double the precision of previous unsupervised methods, and the highest average performance, using a much more compact word representation, and yielding many new state-of-the-art results.

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Mining Possessions: Existence, Type and Temporal Anchors
Dhivya Chinnappa | Eduardo Blanco

This paper presents a corpus and experiments to mine possession relations from text. Specifically, we target alienable and control possessions, and assign temporal anchors indicating when the possession holds between possessor and possessee. We present new annotations for this task, and experimental results using both traditional classifiers and neural networks. Results show that the three subtasks (predicting possession existence, possession type and temporal anchors) can be automated.

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Neural Tensor Networks with Diagonal Slice Matrices
Takahiro Ishihara | Katsuhiko Hayashi | Hitoshi Manabe | Masashi Shimbo | Masaaki Nagata

Although neural tensor networks (NTNs) have been successful in many NLP tasks, they require a large number of parameters to be estimated, which often leads to overfitting and a long training time. We address these issues by applying eigendecomposition to each slice matrix of a tensor to reduce its number of paramters. First, we evaluate our proposed NTN models on knowledge graph completion. Second, we extend the models to recursive NTNs (RNTNs) and evaluate them on logical reasoning tasks. These experiments show that our proposed models learn better and faster than the original (R)NTNs.

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Post-Specialisation: Retrofitting Vectors of Words Unseen in Lexical Resources
Ivan Vulić | Goran Glavaš | Nikola Mrkšić | Anna Korhonen

Word vector specialisation (also known as retrofitting) is a portable, light-weight approach to fine-tuning arbitrary distributional word vector spaces by injecting external knowledge from rich lexical resources such as WordNet. By design, these post-processing methods only update the vectors of words occurring in external lexicons, leaving the representations of all unseen words intact. In this paper, we show that constraint-driven vector space specialisation can be extended to unseen words. We propose a novel post-specialisation method that: a) preserves the useful linguistic knowledge for seen words; while b) propagating this external signal to unseen words in order to improve their vector representations as well. Our post-specialisation approach explicits a non-linear specialisation function in the form of a deep neural network by learning to predict specialised vectors from their original distributional counterparts. The learned function is then used to specialise vectors of unseen words. This approach, applicable to any post-processing model, yields considerable gains over the initial specialisation models both in intrinsic word similarity tasks, and in two downstream tasks: dialogue state tracking and lexical text simplification. The positive effects persist across three languages, demonstrating the importance of specialising the full vocabulary of distributional word vector spaces.

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Unsupervised Learning of Sentence Embeddings Using Compositional n-Gram Features
Matteo Pagliardini | Prakhar Gupta | Martin Jaggi

The recent tremendous success of unsupervised word embeddings in a multitude of applications raises the obvious question if similar methods could be derived to improve embeddings (i.e. semantic representations) of word sequences as well. We present a simple but efficient unsupervised objective to train distributed representations of sentences. Our method outperforms the state-of-the-art unsupervised models on most benchmark tasks, highlighting the robustness of the produced general-purpose sentence embeddings.

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Learning Domain Representation for Multi-Domain Sentiment Classification
Qi Liu | Yue Zhang | Jiangming Liu

Training data for sentiment analysis are abundant in multiple domains, yet scarce for other domains. It is useful to leveraging data available for all existing domains to enhance performance on different domains. We investigate this problem by learning domain-specific representations of input sentences using neural network. In particular, a descriptor vector is learned for representing each domain, which is used to map adversarially trained domain-general Bi-LSTM input representations into domain-specific representations. Based on this model, we further expand the input representation with exemplary domain knowledge, collected by attending over a memory network of domain training data. Results show that our model outperforms existing methods on multi-domain sentiment analysis significantly, giving the best accuracies on two different benchmarks.

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Learning Sentence Representations over Tree Structures for Target-Dependent Classification
Junwen Duan | Xiao Ding | Ting Liu

Target-dependent classification tasks, such as aspect-level sentiment analysis, perform fine-grained classifications towards specific targets. Semantic compositions over tree structures are promising for such tasks, as they can potentially capture long-distance interactions between targets and their contexts. However, previous work that operates on tree structures resorts to syntactic parsers or Treebank annotations, which are either subject to noise in informal texts or highly expensive to obtain. To address above issues, we propose a reinforcement learning based approach, which automatically induces target-specific sentence representations over tree structures. The underlying model is a RNN encoder-decoder that explores possible binary tree structures and a reward mechanism that encourages structures that improve performances on downstream tasks. We evaluate our approach on two benchmark tasks: firm-specific cumulative abnormal return prediction (based on formal news texts) and aspect-level sentiment analysis (based on informal social media texts). Experimental results show that our model gives superior performances compared to previous work that operates on parsed trees. Moreover, our approach gives some intuitions on how target-specific sentence representations can be achieved from its word constituents.

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Relevant Emotion Ranking from Text Constrained with Emotion Relationships
Deyu Zhou | Yang Yang | Yulan He

Text might contain or invoke multiple emotions with varying intensities. As such, emotion detection, to predict multiple emotions associated with a given text, can be cast into a multi-label classification problem. We would like to go one step further so that a ranked list of relevant emotions are generated where top ranked emotions are more intensely associated with text compared to lower ranked emotions, whereas the rankings of irrelevant emotions are not important. A novel framework of relevant emotion ranking is proposed to tackle the problem. In the framework, the objective loss function is designed elaborately so that both emotion prediction and rankings of only relevant emotions can be achieved. Moreover, we observe that some emotions co-occur more often while other emotions rarely co-exist. Such information is incorporated into the framework as constraints to improve the accuracy of emotion detection. Experimental results on two real-world corpora show that the proposed framework can effectively deal with emotion detection and performs remarkably better than the state-of-the-art emotion detection approaches and multi-label learning methods.

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Solving Data Sparsity for Aspect Based Sentiment Analysis Using Cross-Linguality and Multi-Linguality
Md Shad Akhtar | Palaash Sawant | Sukanta Sen | Asif Ekbal | Pushpak Bhattacharyya

Efficient word representations play an important role in solving various problems related to Natural Language Processing (NLP), data mining, text mining etc. The issue of data sparsity poses a great challenge in creating efficient word representation model for solving the underlying problem. The problem is more intensified in resource-poor scenario due to the absence of sufficient amount of corpus. In this work we propose to minimize the effect of data sparsity by leveraging bilingual word embeddings learned through a parallel corpus. We train and evaluate Long Short Term Memory (LSTM) based architecture for aspect level sentiment classification. The neural network architecture is further assisted by the hand-crafted features for the prediction. We show the efficacy of the proposed model against state-of-the-art methods in two experimental setups i.e. multi-lingual and cross-lingual.

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SRL4ORL: Improving Opinion Role Labeling Using Multi-Task Learning with Semantic Role Labeling
Ana Marasović | Anette Frank

For over a decade, machine learning has been used to extract opinion-holder-target structures from text to answer the question “Who expressed what kind of sentiment towards what?”. Recent neural approaches do not outperform the state-of-the-art feature-based models for Opinion Role Labeling (ORL). We suspect this is due to the scarcity of labeled training data and address this issue using different multi-task learning (MTL) techniques with a related task which has substantially more data, i.e. Semantic Role Labeling (SRL). We show that two MTL models improve significantly over the single-task model for labeling of both holders and targets, on the development and the test sets. We found that the vanilla MTL model, which makes predictions using only shared ORL and SRL features, performs the best. With deeper analysis we determine what works and what might be done to make further improvements for ORL.

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Approaching Neural Grammatical Error Correction as a Low-Resource Machine Translation Task
Marcin Junczys-Dowmunt | Roman Grundkiewicz | Shubha Guha | Kenneth Heafield

Previously, neural methods in grammatical error correction (GEC) did not reach state-of-the-art results compared to phrase-based statistical machine translation (SMT) baselines. We demonstrate parallels between neural GEC and low-resource neural MT and successfully adapt several methods from low-resource MT to neural GEC. We further establish guidelines for trustable results in neural GEC and propose a set of model-independent methods for neural GEC that can be easily applied in most GEC settings. Proposed methods include adding source-side noise, domain-adaptation techniques, a GEC-specific training-objective, transfer learning with monolingual data, and ensembling of independently trained GEC models and language models. The combined effects of these methods result in better than state-of-the-art neural GEC models that outperform previously best neural GEC systems by more than 10% M² on the CoNLL-2014 benchmark and 5.9% on the JFLEG test set. Non-neural state-of-the-art systems are outperformed by more than 2% on the CoNLL-2014 benchmark and by 4% on JFLEG.

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Robust Cross-Lingual Hypernymy Detection Using Dependency Context
Shyam Upadhyay | Yogarshi Vyas | Marine Carpuat | Dan Roth

Cross-lingual Hypernymy Detection involves determining if a word in one language (“fruit”) is a hypernym of a word in another language (“pomme” i.e. apple in French). The ability to detect hypernymy cross-lingually can aid in solving cross-lingual versions of tasks such as textual entailment and event coreference. We propose BiSparse-Dep, a family of unsupervised approaches for cross-lingual hypernymy detection, which learns sparse, bilingual word embeddings based on dependency contexts. We show that BiSparse-Dep can significantly improve performance on this task, compared to approaches based only on lexical context. Our approach is also robust, showing promise for low-resource settings: our dependency-based embeddings can be learned using a parser trained on related languages, with negligible loss in performance. We also crowd-source a challenging dataset for this task on four languages – Russian, French, Arabic, and Chinese. Our embeddings and datasets are publicly available.

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Noising and Denoising Natural Language: Diverse Backtranslation for Grammar Correction
Ziang Xie | Guillaume Genthial | Stanley Xie | Andrew Ng | Dan Jurafsky

Translation-based methods for grammar correction that directly map noisy, ungrammatical text to their clean counterparts are able to correct a broad range of errors; however, such techniques are bottlenecked by the need for a large parallel corpus of noisy and clean sentence pairs. In this paper, we consider synthesizing parallel data by noising a clean monolingual corpus. While most previous approaches introduce perturbations using features computed from local context windows, we instead develop error generation processes using a neural sequence transduction model trained to translate clean examples to their noisy counterparts. Given a corpus of clean examples, we propose beam search noising procedures to synthesize additional noisy examples that human evaluators were nearly unable to discriminate from nonsynthesized examples. Surprisingly, when trained on additional data synthesized using our best-performing noising scheme, our model approaches the same performance as when trained on additional nonsynthesized data.

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Self-Training for Jointly Learning to Ask and Answer Questions
Mrinmaya Sachan | Eric Xing

Building curious machines that can answer as well as ask questions is an important challenge for AI. The two tasks of question answering and question generation are usually tackled separately in the NLP literature. At the same time, both require significant amounts of supervised data which is hard to obtain in many domains. To alleviate these issues, we propose a self-training method for jointly learning to ask as well as answer questions, leveraging unlabeled text along with labeled question answer pairs for learning. We evaluate our approach on four benchmark datasets: SQUAD, MS MARCO, WikiQA and TrecQA, and show significant improvements over a number of established baselines on both question answering and question generation tasks. We also achieved new state-of-the-art results on two competitive answer sentence selection tasks: WikiQA and TrecQA.

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The Web as a Knowledge-Base for Answering Complex Questions
Alon Talmor | Jonathan Berant

Answering complex questions is a time-consuming activity for humans that requires reasoning and integration of information. Recent work on reading comprehension made headway in answering simple questions, but tackling complex questions is still an ongoing research challenge. Conversely, semantic parsers have been successful at handling compositionality, but only when the information resides in a target knowledge-base. In this paper, we present a novel framework for answering broad and complex questions, assuming answering simple questions is possible using a search engine and a reading comprehension model. We propose to decompose complex questions into a sequence of simple questions, and compute the final answer from the sequence of answers. To illustrate the viability of our approach, we create a new dataset of complex questions, ComplexWebQuestions, and present a model that decomposes questions and interacts with the web to compute an answer. We empirically demonstrate that question decomposition improves performance from 20.8 precision@1 to 27.5 precision@1 on this new dataset.

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A Meaning-Based Statistical English Math Word Problem Solver
Chao-Chun Liang | Yu-Shiang Wong | Yi-Chung Lin | Keh-Yih Su

We introduce MeSys, a meaning-based approach, for solving English math word problems (MWPs) via understanding and reasoning in this paper. It first analyzes the text, transforms both body and question parts into their corresponding logic forms, and then performs inference on them. The associated context of each quantity is represented with proposed role-tags (e.g., nsubj, verb, etc.), which provides the flexibility for annotating an extracted math quantity with its associated context information (i.e., the physical meaning of this quantity). Statistical models are proposed to select the operator and operands. A noisy dataset is designed to assess if a solver solves MWPs mainly via understanding or mechanical pattern matching. Experimental results show that our approach outperforms existing systems on both benchmark datasets and the noisy dataset, which demonstrates that the proposed approach understands the meaning of each quantity in the text more.

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Fine-Grained Temporal Orientation and its Relationship with Psycho-Demographic Correlates
Sabyasachi Kamila | Mohammed Hasanuzzaman | Asif Ekbal | Pushpak Bhattacharyya | Andy Way

Temporal orientation refers to an individual’s tendency to connect to the psychological concepts of past, present or future, and it affects personality, motivation, emotion, decision making and stress coping processes. The study of the social media users’ psycho-demographic attributes from the perspective of human temporal orientation can be of utmost interest and importance to the business and administrative decision makers as it can provide an extra precious information for them to make informed decisions. In this paper, we propose a very first study to demonstrate the association between the sentiment view of the temporal orientation of the users and their different psycho-demographic attributes by analyzing their tweets. We first create a temporal orientation classifier in a minimally supervised way which classifies each tweet of the users in one of the three temporal categories, namely past, present, and future. A deep Bi-directional Long Short Term Memory (BLSTM) is used for the tweet classification task. Our tweet classifier achieves an accuracy of 78.27% when tested on a manually created test set. We then determine the users’ overall temporal orientation based on their tweets on the social media. The sentiment is added to the tweets at the fine-grained level where each temporal tweet is given a sentiment with either of the positive, negative or neutral. Our experiment reveals that depending upon the sentiment view of temporal orientation, a user’s attributes vary. We finally measure the correlation between the users’ sentiment view of temporal orientation and their different psycho-demographic factors using regression.

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Querying Word Embeddings for Similarity and Relatedness
Fatemeh Torabi Asr | Robert Zinkov | Michael Jones

Word embeddings obtained from neural network models such as Word2Vec Skipgram have become popular representations of word meaning and have been evaluated on a variety of word similarity and relatedness norming data. Skipgram generates a set of word and context embeddings, the latter typically discarded after training. We demonstrate the usefulness of context embeddings in predicting asymmetric association between words from a recently published dataset of production norms (Jouravlev & McRae, 2016). Our findings suggest that humans respond with words closer to the cue within the context embedding space (rather than the word embedding space), when asked to generate thematically related words.

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Semantic Structural Evaluation for Text Simplification
Elior Sulem | Omri Abend | Ari Rappoport

Current measures for evaluating text simplification systems focus on evaluating lexical text aspects, neglecting its structural aspects. In this paper we propose the first measure to address structural aspects of text simplification, called SAMSA. It leverages recent advances in semantic parsing to assess simplification quality by decomposing the input based on its semantic structure and comparing it to the output. SAMSA provides a reference-less automatic evaluation procedure, avoiding the problems that reference-based methods face due to the vast space of valid simplifications for a given sentence. Our human evaluation experiments show both SAMSA’s substantial correlation with human judgments, as well as the deficiency of existing reference-based measures in evaluating structural simplification.

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Entity Commonsense Representation for Neural Abstractive Summarization
Reinald Kim Amplayo | Seonjae Lim | Seung-won Hwang

A major proportion of a text summary includes important entities found in the original text. These entities build up the topic of the summary. Moreover, they hold commonsense information once they are linked to a knowledge base. Based on these observations, this paper investigates the usage of linked entities to guide the decoder of a neural text summarizer to generate concise and better summaries. To this end, we leverage on an off-the-shelf entity linking system (ELS) to extract linked entities and propose Entity2Topic (E2T), a module easily attachable to a sequence-to-sequence model that transforms a list of entities into a vector representation of the topic of the summary. Current available ELS’s are still not sufficiently effective, possibly introducing unresolved ambiguities and irrelevant entities. We resolve the imperfections of the ELS by (a) encoding entities with selective disambiguation, and (b) pooling entity vectors using firm attention. By applying E2T to a simple sequenceto-sequence model with attention mechanism as base model, we see significant improvements of the performance in the Gigaword (sentence to title) and CNN (long document to multi-sentence highlights) summarization datasets by at least 2 ROUGE points.

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Newsroom: A Dataset of 1.3 Million Summaries with Diverse Extractive Strategies
Max Grusky | Mor Naaman | Yoav Artzi

We present NEWSROOM, a summarization dataset of 1.3 million articles and summaries written by authors and editors in newsrooms of 38 major news publications. Extracted from search and social media metadata between 1998 and 2017, these high-quality summaries demonstrate high diversity of summarization styles. In particular, the summaries combine abstractive and extractive strategies, borrowing words and phrases from articles at varying rates. We analyze the extraction strategies used in NEWSROOM summaries against other datasets to quantify the diversity and difficulty of our new data, and train existing methods on the data to evaluate its utility and challenges. The dataset is available online at

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Polyglot Semantic Parsing in APIs
Kyle Richardson | Jonathan Berant | Jonas Kuhn

Traditional approaches to semantic parsing (SP) work by training individual models for each available parallel dataset of text-meaning pairs. In this paper, we explore the idea of polyglot semantic translation, or learning semantic parsing models that are trained on multiple datasets and natural languages. In particular, we focus on translating text to code signature representations using the software component datasets of Richardson and Kuhn (2017b,a). The advantage of such models is that they can be used for parsing a wide variety of input natural languages and output programming languages, or mixed input languages, using a single unified model. To facilitate modeling of this type, we develop a novel graph-based decoding framework that achieves state-of-the-art performance on the above datasets, and apply this method to two other benchmark SP tasks.

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Neural Models of Factuality
Rachel Rudinger | Aaron Steven White | Benjamin Van Durme

We present two neural models for event factuality prediction, which yield significant performance gains over previous models on three event factuality datasets: FactBank, UW, and MEANTIME. We also present a substantial expansion of the It Happened portion of the Universal Decompositional Semantics dataset, yielding the largest event factuality dataset to date. We report model results on this extended factuality dataset as well.

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Accurate Text-Enhanced Knowledge Graph Representation Learning
Bo An | Bo Chen | Xianpei Han | Le Sun

Previous representation learning techniques for knowledge graph representation usually represent the same entity or relation in different triples with the same representation, without considering the ambiguity of relations and entities. To appropriately handle the semantic variety of entities/relations in distinct triples, we propose an accurate text-enhanced knowledge graph representation learning method, which can represent a relation/entity with different representations in different triples by exploiting additional textual information. Specifically, our method enhances representations by exploiting the entity descriptions and triple-specific relation mention. And a mutual attention mechanism between relation mention and entity description is proposed to learn more accurate textual representations for further improving knowledge graph representation. Experimental results show that our method achieves the state-of-the-art performance on both link prediction and triple classification tasks, and significantly outperforms previous text-enhanced knowledge representation models.

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Acquisition of Phrase Correspondences Using Natural Deduction Proofs
Hitomi Yanaka | Koji Mineshima | Pascual Martínez-Gómez | Daisuke Bekki

How to identify, extract, and use phrasal knowledge is a crucial problem for the task of Recognizing Textual Entailment (RTE). To solve this problem, we propose a method for detecting paraphrases via natural deduction proofs of semantic relations between sentence pairs. Our solution relies on a graph reformulation of partial variable unifications and an algorithm that induces subgraph alignments between meaning representations. Experiments show that our method can automatically detect various paraphrases that are absent from existing paraphrase databases. In addition, the detection of paraphrases using proof information improves the accuracy of RTE tasks.

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Automatic Stance Detection Using End-to-End Memory Networks
Mitra Mohtarami | Ramy Baly | James Glass | Preslav Nakov | Lluís Màrquez | Alessandro Moschitti

We present an effective end-to-end memory network model that jointly (i) predicts whether a given document can be considered as relevant evidence for a given claim, and (ii) extracts snippets of evidence that can be used to reason about the factuality of the target claim. Our model combines the advantages of convolutional and recurrent neural networks as part of a memory network. We further introduce a similarity matrix at the inference level of the memory network in order to extract snippets of evidence for input claims more accurately. Our experiments on a public benchmark dataset, FakeNewsChallenge, demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach.

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Collective Entity Disambiguation with Structured Gradient Tree Boosting
Yi Yang | Ozan Irsoy | Kazi Shefaet Rahman

We present a gradient-tree-boosting-based structured learning model for jointly disambiguating named entities in a document. Gradient tree boosting is a widely used machine learning algorithm that underlies many top-performing natural language processing systems. Surprisingly, most works limit the use of gradient tree boosting as a tool for regular classification or regression problems, despite the structured nature of language. To the best of our knowledge, our work is the first one that employs the structured gradient tree boosting (SGTB) algorithm for collective entity disambiguation. By defining global features over previous disambiguation decisions and jointly modeling them with local features, our system is able to produce globally optimized entity assignments for mentions in a document. Exact inference is prohibitively expensive for our globally normalized model. To solve this problem, we propose Bidirectional Beam Search with Gold path (BiBSG), an approximate inference algorithm that is a variant of the standard beam search algorithm. BiBSG makes use of global information from both past and future to perform better local search. Experiments on standard benchmark datasets show that SGTB significantly improves upon published results. Specifically, SGTB outperforms the previous state-of-the-art neural system by near 1% absolute accuracy on the popular AIDA-CoNLL dataset.

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DeepAlignment: Unsupervised Ontology Matching with Refined Word Vectors
Prodromos Kolyvakis | Alexandros Kalousis | Dimitris Kiritsis

Ontologies compartmentalize types and relations in a target domain and provide the semantic backbone needed for a plethora of practical applications. Very often different ontologies are developed independently for the same domain. Such “parallel” ontologies raise the need for a process that will establish alignments between their entities in order to unify and extend the existing knowledge. In this work, we present a novel entity alignment method which we dub DeepAlignment. DeepAlignment refines pre-trained word vectors aiming at deriving ontological entity descriptions which are tailored to the ontology matching task. The absence of explicit information relevant to the ontology matching task during the refinement process makes DeepAlignment completely unsupervised. We empirically evaluate our method using standard ontology matching benchmarks. We present significant performance improvements over the current state-of-the-art, demonstrating the advantages that representation learning techniques bring to ontology matching.

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Efficient Sequence Learning with Group Recurrent Networks
Fei Gao | Lijun Wu | Li Zhao | Tao Qin | Xueqi Cheng | Tie-Yan Liu

Recurrent neural networks have achieved state-of-the-art results in many artificial intelligence tasks, such as language modeling, neural machine translation, speech recognition and so on. One of the key factors to these successes is big models. However, training such big models usually takes days or even weeks of time even if using tens of GPU cards. In this paper, we propose an efficient architecture to improve the efficiency of such RNN model training, which adopts the group strategy for recurrent layers, while exploiting the representation rearrangement strategy between layers as well as time steps. To demonstrate the advantages of our models, we conduct experiments on several datasets and tasks. The results show that our architecture achieves comparable or better accuracy comparing with baselines, with a much smaller number of parameters and at a much lower computational cost.

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FEVER: a Large-scale Dataset for Fact Extraction and VERification
James Thorne | Andreas Vlachos | Christos Christodoulopoulos | Arpit Mittal

In this paper we introduce a new publicly available dataset for verification against textual sources, FEVER: Fact Extraction and VERification. It consists of 185,445 claims generated by altering sentences extracted from Wikipedia and subsequently verified without knowledge of the sentence they were derived from. The claims are classified as Supported, Refuted or NotEnoughInfo by annotators achieving 0.6841 in Fleiss kappa. For the first two classes, the annotators also recorded the sentence(s) forming the necessary evidence for their judgment. To characterize the challenge of the dataset presented, we develop a pipeline approach and compare it to suitably designed oracles. The best accuracy we achieve on labeling a claim accompanied by the correct evidence is 31.87%, while if we ignore the evidence we achieve 50.91%. Thus we believe that FEVER is a challenging testbed that will help stimulate progress on claim verification against textual sources.

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Global Relation Embedding for Relation Extraction
Yu Su | Honglei Liu | Semih Yavuz | Izzeddin Gür | Huan Sun | Xifeng Yan

We study the problem of textual relation embedding with distant supervision. To combat the wrong labeling problem of distant supervision, we propose to embed textual relations with global statistics of relations, i.e., the co-occurrence statistics of textual and knowledge base relations collected from the entire corpus. This approach turns out to be more robust to the training noise introduced by distant supervision. On a popular relation extraction dataset, we show that the learned textual relation embedding can be used to augment existing relation extraction models and significantly improve their performance. Most remarkably, for the top 1,000 relational facts discovered by the best existing model, the precision can be improved from 83.9% to 89.3%.

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Implicit Argument Prediction with Event Knowledge
Pengxiang Cheng | Katrin Erk

Implicit arguments are not syntactically connected to their predicates, and are therefore hard to extract. Previous work has used models with large numbers of features, evaluated on very small datasets. We propose to train models for implicit argument prediction on a simple cloze task, for which data can be generated automatically at scale. This allows us to use a neural model, which draws on narrative coherence and entity salience for predictions. We show that our model has superior performance on both synthetic and natural data.

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Improving Temporal Relation Extraction with a Globally Acquired Statistical Resource
Qiang Ning | Hao Wu | Haoruo Peng | Dan Roth

Extracting temporal relations (before, after, overlapping, etc.) is a key aspect of understanding events described in natural language. We argue that this task would gain from the availability of a resource that provides prior knowledge in the form of the temporal order that events usually follow. This paper develops such a resource – a probabilistic knowledge base acquired in the news domain – by extracting temporal relations between events from the New York Times (NYT) articles over a 20-year span (1987–2007). We show that existing temporal extraction systems can be improved via this resource. As a byproduct, we also show that interesting statistics can be retrieved from this resource, which can potentially benefit other time-aware tasks. The proposed system and resource are both publicly available.

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Multimodal Named Entity Recognition for Short Social Media Posts
Seungwhan Moon | Leonardo Neves | Vitor Carvalho

We introduce a new task called Multimodal Named Entity Recognition (MNER) for noisy user-generated data such as tweets or Snapchat captions, which comprise short text with accompanying images. These social media posts often come in inconsistent or incomplete syntax and lexical notations with very limited surrounding textual contexts, bringing significant challenges for NER. To this end, we create a new dataset for MNER called SnapCaptions (Snapchat image-caption pairs submitted to public and crowd-sourced stories with fully annotated named entities). We then build upon the state-of-the-art Bi-LSTM word/character based NER models with 1) a deep image network which incorporates relevant visual context to augment textual information, and 2) a generic modality-attention module which learns to attenuate irrelevant modalities while amplifying the most informative ones to extract contexts from, adaptive to each sample and token. The proposed MNER model with modality attention significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art text-only NER models by successfully leveraging provided visual contexts, opening up potential applications of MNER on myriads of social media platforms.

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Nested Named Entity Recognition Revisited
Arzoo Katiyar | Claire Cardie

We propose a novel recurrent neural network-based approach to simultaneously handle nested named entity recognition and nested entity mention detection. The model learns a hypergraph representation for nested entities using features extracted from a recurrent neural network. In evaluations on three standard data sets, we show that our approach significantly outperforms existing state-of-the-art methods, which are feature-based. The approach is also efficient: it operates linearly in the number of tokens and the number of possible output labels at any token. Finally, we present an extension of our model that jointly learns the head of each entity mention.

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Simultaneously Self-Attending to All Mentions for Full-Abstract Biological Relation Extraction
Patrick Verga | Emma Strubell | Andrew McCallum

Most work in relation extraction forms a prediction by looking at a short span of text within a single sentence containing a single entity pair mention. This approach often does not consider interactions across mentions, requires redundant computation for each mention pair, and ignores relationships expressed across sentence boundaries. These problems are exacerbated by the document- (rather than sentence-) level annotation common in biological text. In response, we propose a model which simultaneously predicts relationships between all mention pairs in a document. We form pairwise predictions over entire paper abstracts using an efficient self-attention encoder. All-pairs mention scores allow us to perform multi-instance learning by aggregating over mentions to form entity pair representations. We further adapt to settings without mention-level annotation by jointly training to predict named entities and adding a corpus of weakly labeled data. In experiments on two Biocreative benchmark datasets, we achieve state of the art performance on the Biocreative V Chemical Disease Relation dataset for models without external KB resources. We also introduce a new dataset an order of magnitude larger than existing human-annotated biological information extraction datasets and more accurate than distantly supervised alternatives.

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Supervised Open Information Extraction
Gabriel Stanovsky | Julian Michael | Luke Zettlemoyer | Ido Dagan

We present data and methods that enable a supervised learning approach to Open Information Extraction (Open IE). Central to the approach is a novel formulation of Open IE as a sequence tagging problem, addressing challenges such as encoding multiple extractions for a predicate. We also develop a bi-LSTM transducer, extending recent deep Semantic Role Labeling models to extract Open IE tuples and provide confidence scores for tuning their precision-recall tradeoff. Furthermore, we show that the recently released Question-Answer Meaning Representation dataset can be automatically converted into an Open IE corpus which significantly increases the amount of available training data. Our supervised model outperforms the existing state-of-the-art Open IE systems on benchmark datasets.

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Embedding Syntax and Semantics of Prepositions via Tensor Decomposition
Hongyu Gong | Suma Bhat | Pramod Viswanath

Prepositions are among the most frequent words in English and play complex roles in the syntax and semantics of sentences. Not surprisingly, they pose well-known difficulties in automatic processing of sentences (prepositional attachment ambiguities and idiosyncratic uses in phrases). Existing methods on preposition representation treat prepositions no different from content words (e.g., word2vec and GloVe). In addition, recent studies aiming at solving prepositional attachment and preposition selection problems depend heavily on external linguistic resources and use dataset-specific word representations. In this paper we use word-triple counts (one of the triples being a preposition) to capture a preposition’s interaction with its attachment and complement. We then derive preposition embeddings via tensor decomposition on a large unlabeled corpus. We reveal a new geometry involving Hadamard products and empirically demonstrate its utility in paraphrasing phrasal verbs. Furthermore, our preposition embeddings are used as simple features in two challenging downstream tasks: preposition selection and prepositional attachment disambiguation. We achieve results comparable to or better than the state-of-the-art on multiple standardized datasets.

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From Phonology to Syntax: Unsupervised Linguistic Typology at Different Levels with Language Embeddings
Johannes Bjerva | Isabelle Augenstein

A core part of linguistic typology is the classification of languages according to linguistic properties, such as those detailed in the World Atlas of Language Structure (WALS). Doing this manually is prohibitively time-consuming, which is in part evidenced by the fact that only 100 out of over 7,000 languages spoken in the world are fully covered in WALS. We learn distributed language representations, which can be used to predict typological properties on a massively multilingual scale. Additionally, quantitative and qualitative analyses of these language embeddings can tell us how language similarities are encoded in NLP models for tasks at different typological levels. The representations are learned in an unsupervised manner alongside tasks at three typological levels: phonology (grapheme-to-phoneme prediction, and phoneme reconstruction), morphology (morphological inflection), and syntax (part-of-speech tagging). We consider more than 800 languages and find significant differences in the language representations encoded, depending on the target task. For instance, although Norwegian Bokmål and Danish are typologically close to one another, they are phonologically distant, which is reflected in their language embeddings growing relatively distant in a phonological task. We are also able to predict typological features in WALS with high accuracies, even for unseen language families.

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Monte Carlo Syntax Marginals for Exploring and Using Dependency Parses
Katherine Keith | Su Lin Blodgett | Brendan O’Connor

Dependency parsing research, which has made significant gains in recent years, typically focuses on improving the accuracy of single-tree predictions. However, ambiguity is inherent to natural language syntax, and communicating such ambiguity is important for error analysis and better-informed downstream applications. In this work, we propose a transition sampling algorithm to sample from the full joint distribution of parse trees defined by a transition-based parsing model, and demonstrate the use of the samples in probabilistic dependency analysis. First, we define the new task of dependency path prediction, inferring syntactic substructures over part of a sentence, and provide the first analysis of performance on this task. Second, we demonstrate the usefulness of our Monte Carlo syntax marginal method for parser error analysis and calibration. Finally, we use this method to propagate parse uncertainty to two downstream information extraction applications: identifying persons killed by police and semantic role assignment.

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Neural Particle Smoothing for Sampling from Conditional Sequence Models
Chu-Cheng Lin | Jason Eisner

We introduce neural particle smoothing, a sequential Monte Carlo method for sampling annotations of an input string from a given probability model. In contrast to conventional particle filtering algorithms, we train a proposal distribution that looks ahead to the end of the input string by means of a right-to-left LSTM. We demonstrate that this innovation can improve the quality of the sample. To motivate our formal choices, we explain how neural transduction models and our sampler can be viewed as low-dimensional but nonlinear approximations to working with HMMs over very large state spaces.

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Neural Syntactic Generative Models with Exact Marginalization
Jan Buys | Phil Blunsom

We present neural syntactic generative models with exact marginalization that support both dependency parsing and language modeling. Exact marginalization is made tractable through dynamic programming over shift-reduce parsing and minimal RNN-based feature sets. Our algorithms complement previous approaches by supporting batched training and enabling online computation of next word probabilities. For supervised dependency parsing, our model achieves a state-of-the-art result among generative approaches. We also report empirical results on unsupervised syntactic models and their role in language modeling. We find that our model formulation of latent dependencies with exact marginalization do not lead to better intrinsic language modeling performance than vanilla RNNs, and that parsing accuracy is not correlated with language modeling perplexity in stack-based models.

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Noise-Robust Morphological Disambiguation for Dialectal Arabic
Nasser Zalmout | Alexander Erdmann | Nizar Habash

User-generated text tends to be noisy with many lexical and orthographic inconsistencies, making natural language processing (NLP) tasks more challenging. The challenging nature of noisy text processing is exacerbated for dialectal content, where in addition to spelling and lexical differences, dialectal text is characterized with morpho-syntactic and phonetic variations. These issues increase sparsity in NLP models and reduce accuracy. We present a neural morphological tagging and disambiguation model for Egyptian Arabic, with various extensions to handle noisy and inconsistent content. Our models achieve about 5% relative error reduction (1.1% absolute improvement) for full morphological analysis, and around 22% relative error reduction (1.8% absolute improvement) for part-of-speech tagging, over a state-of-the-art baseline.

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Parsing Tweets into Universal Dependencies
Yijia Liu | Yi Zhu | Wanxiang Che | Bing Qin | Nathan Schneider | Noah A. Smith

We study the problem of analyzing tweets with universal dependencies (UD). We extend the UD guidelines to cover special constructions in tweets that affect tokenization, part-of-speech tagging, and labeled dependencies. Using the extended guidelines, we create a new tweet treebank for English (Tweebank v2) that is four times larger than the (unlabeled) Tweebank v1 introduced by Kong et al. (2014). We characterize the disagreements between our annotators and show that it is challenging to deliver consistent annotation due to ambiguity in understanding and explaining tweets. Nonetheless, using the new treebank, we build a pipeline system to parse raw tweets into UD. To overcome the annotation noise without sacrificing computational efficiency, we propose a new method to distill an ensemble of 20 transition-based parsers into a single one. Our parser achieves an improvement of 2.2 in LAS over the un-ensembled baseline and outperforms parsers that are state-of-the-art on other treebanks in both accuracy and speed.

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Robust Multilingual Part-of-Speech Tagging via Adversarial Training
Michihiro Yasunaga | Jungo Kasai | Dragomir Radev

Adversarial training (AT) is a powerful regularization method for neural networks, aiming to achieve robustness to input perturbations. Yet, the specific effects of the robustness obtained from AT are still unclear in the context of natural language processing. In this paper, we propose and analyze a neural POS tagging model that exploits AT. In our experiments on the Penn Treebank WSJ corpus and the Universal Dependencies (UD) dataset (27 languages), we find that AT not only improves the overall tagging accuracy, but also 1) prevents over-fitting well in low resource languages and 2) boosts tagging accuracy for rare / unseen words. We also demonstrate that 3) the improved tagging performance by AT contributes to the downstream task of dependency parsing, and that 4) AT helps the model to learn cleaner word representations. 5) The proposed AT model is generally effective in different sequence labeling tasks. These positive results motivate further use of AT for natural language tasks.

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Universal Dependency Parsing for Hindi-English Code-Switching
Irshad Bhat | Riyaz A. Bhat | Manish Shrivastava | Dipti Sharma

Code-switching is a phenomenon of mixing grammatical structures of two or more languages under varied social constraints. The code-switching data differ so radically from the benchmark corpora used in NLP community that the application of standard technologies to these data degrades their performance sharply. Unlike standard corpora, these data often need to go through additional processes such as language identification, normalization and/or back-transliteration for their efficient processing. In this paper, we investigate these indispensable processes and other problems associated with syntactic parsing of code-switching data and propose methods to mitigate their effects. In particular, we study dependency parsing of code-switching data of Hindi and English multilingual speakers from Twitter. We present a treebank of Hindi-English code-switching tweets under Universal Dependencies scheme and propose a neural stacking model for parsing that efficiently leverages the part-of-speech tag and syntactic tree annotations in the code-switching treebank and the preexisting Hindi and English treebanks. We also present normalization and back-transliteration models with a decoding process tailored for code-switching data. Results show that our neural stacking parser is 1.5% LAS points better than the augmented parsing model and 3.8% LAS points better than the one which uses first-best normalization and/or back-transliteration.

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What’s Going On in Neural Constituency Parsers? An Analysis
David Gaddy | Mitchell Stern | Dan Klein

A number of differences have emerged between modern and classic approaches to constituency parsing in recent years, with structural components like grammars and feature-rich lexicons becoming less central while recurrent neural network representations rise in popularity. The goal of this work is to analyze the extent to which information provided directly by the model structure in classical systems is still being captured by neural methods. To this end, we propose a high-performance neural model (92.08 F1 on PTB) that is representative of recent work and perform a series of investigative experiments. We find that our model implicitly learns to encode much of the same information that was explicitly provided by grammars and lexicons in the past, indicating that this scaffolding can largely be subsumed by powerful general-purpose neural machinery.

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Deep Generative Model for Joint Alignment and Word Representation
Miguel Rios | Wilker Aziz | Khalil Sima’an

This work exploits translation data as a source of semantically relevant learning signal for models of word representation. In particular, we exploit equivalence through translation as a form of distributional context and jointly learn how to embed and align with a deep generative model. Our EmbedAlign model embeds words in their complete observed context and learns by marginalisation of latent lexical alignments. Besides, it embeds words as posterior probability densities, rather than point estimates, which allows us to compare words in context using a measure of overlap between distributions (e.g. KL divergence). We investigate our model’s performance on a range of lexical semantics tasks achieving competitive results on several standard benchmarks including natural language inference, paraphrasing, and text similarity.

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Learning Word Embeddings for Low-Resource Languages by PU Learning
Chao Jiang | Hsiang-Fu Yu | Cho-Jui Hsieh | Kai-Wei Chang

Word embedding is a key component in many downstream applications in processing natural languages. Existing approaches often assume the existence of a large collection of text for learning effective word embedding. However, such a corpus may not be available for some low-resource languages. In this paper, we study how to effectively learn a word embedding model on a corpus with only a few million tokens. In such a situation, the co-occurrence matrix is sparse as the co-occurrences of many word pairs are unobserved. In contrast to existing approaches often only sample a few unobserved word pairs as negative samples, we argue that the zero entries in the co-occurrence matrix also provide valuable information. We then design a Positive-Unlabeled Learning (PU-Learning) approach to factorize the co-occurrence matrix and validate the proposed approaches in four different languages.

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Exploring the Role of Prior Beliefs for Argument Persuasion
Esin Durmus | Claire Cardie

Public debate forums provide a common platform for exchanging opinions on a topic of interest. While recent studies in natural language processing (NLP) have provided empirical evidence that the language of the debaters and their patterns of interaction play a key role in changing the mind of a reader, research in psychology has shown that prior beliefs can affect our interpretation of an argument and could therefore constitute a competing alternative explanation for resistance to changing one’s stance. To study the actual effect of language use vs. prior beliefs on persuasion, we provide a new dataset and propose a controlled setting that takes into consideration two reader-level factors: political and religious ideology. We find that prior beliefs affected by these reader-level factors play a more important role than language use effects and argue that it is important to account for them in NLP studies of persuasion.

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Inducing a Lexicon of Abusive Words – a Feature-Based Approach
Michael Wiegand | Josef Ruppenhofer | Anna Schmidt | Clayton Greenberg

We address the detection of abusive words. The task is to identify such words among a set of negative polar expressions. We propose novel features employing information from both corpora and lexical resources. These features are calibrated on a small manually annotated base lexicon which we use to produce a large lexicon. We show that the word-level information we learn cannot be equally derived from a large dataset of annotated microposts. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our (domain-independent) lexicon in the cross-domain detection of abusive microposts.

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Author Commitment and Social Power: Automatic Belief Tagging to Infer the Social Context of Interactions
Vinodkumar Prabhakaran | Premkumar Ganeshkumar | Owen Rambow

Understanding how social power structures affect the way we interact with one another is of great interest to social scientists who want to answer fundamental questions about human behavior, as well as to computer scientists who want to build automatic methods to infer the social contexts of interactions. In this paper, we employ advancements in extra-propositional semantics extraction within NLP to study how author commitment reflects the social context of an interactions. Specifically, we investigate whether the level of commitment expressed by individuals in an organizational interaction reflects the hierarchical power structures they are part of. We find that subordinates use significantly more instances of non-commitment than superiors. More importantly, we also find that subordinates attribute propositions to other agents more often than superiors do — an aspect that has not been studied before. Finally, we show that enriching lexical features with commitment labels captures important distinctions in social meanings.

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Comparing Automatic and Human Evaluation of Local Explanations for Text Classification
Dong Nguyen

Text classification models are becoming increasingly complex and opaque, however for many applications it is essential that the models are interpretable. Recently, a variety of approaches have been proposed for generating local explanations. While robust evaluations are needed to drive further progress, so far it is unclear which evaluation approaches are suitable. This paper is a first step towards more robust evaluations of local explanations. We evaluate a variety of local explanation approaches using automatic measures based on word deletion. Furthermore, we show that an evaluation using a crowdsourcing experiment correlates moderately with these automatic measures and that a variety of other factors also impact the human judgements.

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Deep Temporal-Recurrent-Replicated-Softmax for Topical Trends over Time
Pankaj Gupta | Subburam Rajaram | Hinrich Schütze | Bernt Andrassy

Dynamic topic modeling facilitates the identification of topical trends over time in temporal collections of unstructured documents. We introduce a novel unsupervised neural dynamic topic model named as Recurrent Neural Network-Replicated Softmax Model (RNNRSM), where the discovered topics at each time influence the topic discovery in the subsequent time steps. We account for the temporal ordering of documents by explicitly modeling a joint distribution of latent topical dependencies over time, using distributional estimators with temporal recurrent connections. Applying RNN-RSM to 19 years of articles on NLP research, we demonstrate that compared to state-of-the art topic models, RNNRSM shows better generalization, topic interpretation, evolution and trends. We also introduce a metric (named as SPAN) to quantify the capability of dynamic topic model to capture word evolution in topics over time.

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Lessons from the Bible on Modern Topics: Low-Resource Multilingual Topic Model Evaluation
Shudong Hao | Jordan Boyd-Graber | Michael J. Paul

Multilingual topic models enable document analysis across languages through coherent multilingual summaries of the data. However, there is no standard and effective metric to evaluate the quality of multilingual topics. We introduce a new intrinsic evaluation of multilingual topic models that correlates well with human judgments of multilingual topic coherence as well as performance in downstream applications. Importantly, we also study evaluation for low-resource languages. Because standard metrics fail to accurately measure topic quality when robust external resources are unavailable, we propose an adaptation model that improves the accuracy and reliability of these metrics in low-resource settings.

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Explainable Prediction of Medical Codes from Clinical Text
James Mullenbach | Sarah Wiegreffe | Jon Duke | Jimeng Sun | Jacob Eisenstein

Clinical notes are text documents that are created by clinicians for each patient encounter. They are typically accompanied by medical codes, which describe the diagnosis and treatment. Annotating these codes is labor intensive and error prone; furthermore, the connection between the codes and the text is not annotated, obscuring the reasons and details behind specific diagnoses and treatments. We present an attentional convolutional network that predicts medical codes from clinical text. Our method aggregates information across the document using a convolutional neural network, and uses an attention mechanism to select the most relevant segments for each of the thousands of possible codes. The method is accurate, achieving precision@8 of 0.71 and a Micro-F1 of 0.54, which are both better than the prior state of the art. Furthermore, through an interpretability evaluation by a physician, we show that the attention mechanism identifies meaningful explanations for each code assignment.

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A Broad-Coverage Challenge Corpus for Sentence Understanding through Inference
Adina Williams | Nikita Nangia | Samuel Bowman

This paper introduces the Multi-Genre Natural Language Inference (MultiNLI) corpus, a dataset designed for use in the development and evaluation of machine learning models for sentence understanding. At 433k examples, this resource is one of the largest corpora available for natural language inference (a.k.a. recognizing textual entailment), improving upon available resources in both its coverage and difficulty. MultiNLI accomplishes this by offering data from ten distinct genres of written and spoken English, making it possible to evaluate systems on nearly the full complexity of the language, while supplying an explicit setting for evaluating cross-genre domain adaptation. In addition, an evaluation using existing machine learning models designed for the Stanford NLI corpus shows that it represents a substantially more difficult task than does that corpus, despite the two showing similar levels of inter-annotator agreement.

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Filling Missing Paths: Modeling Co-occurrences of Word Pairs and Dependency Paths for Recognizing Lexical Semantic Relations
Koki Washio | Tsuneaki Kato

Recognizing lexical semantic relations between word pairs is an important task for many applications of natural language processing. One of the mainstream approaches to this task is to exploit the lexico-syntactic paths connecting two target words, which reflect the semantic relations of word pairs. However, this method requires that the considered words co-occur in a sentence. This requirement is hardly satisfied because of Zipf’s law, which states that most content words occur very rarely. In this paper, we propose novel methods with a neural model of P(path|w1,w2) to solve this problem. Our proposed model of P (path|w1, w2 ) can be learned in an unsupervised manner and can generalize the co-occurrences of word pairs and dependency paths. This model can be used to augment the path data of word pairs that do not co-occur in the corpus, and extract features capturing relational information from word pairs. Our experimental results demonstrate that our methods improve on previous neural approaches based on dependency paths and successfully solve the focused problem.

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Specialising Word Vectors for Lexical Entailment
Ivan Vulić | Nikola Mrkšić

We present LEAR (Lexical Entailment Attract-Repel), a novel post-processing method that transforms any input word vector space to emphasise the asymmetric relation of lexical entailment (LE), also known as the IS-A or hyponymy-hypernymy relation. By injecting external linguistic constraints (e.g., WordNet links) into the initial vector space, the LE specialisation procedure brings true hyponymy-hypernymy pairs closer together in the transformed Euclidean space. The proposed asymmetric distance measure adjusts the norms of word vectors to reflect the actual WordNet-style hierarchy of concepts. Simultaneously, a joint objective enforces semantic similarity using the symmetric cosine distance, yielding a vector space specialised for both lexical relations at once. LEAR specialisation achieves state-of-the-art performance in the tasks of hypernymy directionality, hypernymy detection, and graded lexical entailment, demonstrating the effectiveness and robustness of the proposed asymmetric specialisation model.

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Cross-Lingual Abstract Meaning Representation Parsing
Marco Damonte | Shay B. Cohen

Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) research has mostly focused on English. We show that it is possible to use AMR annotations for English as a semantic representation for sentences written in other languages. We exploit an AMR parser for English and parallel corpora to learn AMR parsers for Italian, Spanish, German and Chinese. Qualitative analysis show that the new parsers overcome structural differences between the languages. We further propose a method to evaluate the parsers that does not require gold standard data in the target languages. This method highly correlates with the gold standard evaluation, obtaining a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.95.

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Sentences with Gapping: Parsing and Reconstructing Elided Predicates
Sebastian Schuster | Joakim Nivre | Christopher D. Manning

Sentences with gapping, such as Paul likes coffee and Mary tea, lack an overt predicate to indicate the relation between two or more arguments. Surface syntax representations of such sentences are often produced poorly by parsers, and even if correct, not well suited to downstream natural language understanding tasks such as relation extraction that are typically designed to extract information from sentences with canonical clause structure. In this paper, we present two methods for parsing to a Universal Dependencies graph representation that explicitly encodes the elided material with additional nodes and edges. We find that both methods can reconstruct elided material from dependency trees with high accuracy when the parser correctly predicts the existence of a gap. We further demonstrate that one of our methods can be applied to other languages based on a case study on Swedish.

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A Structured Syntax-Semantics Interface for English-AMR Alignment
Ida Szubert | Adam Lopez | Nathan Schneider

Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) annotations are often assumed to closely mirror dependency syntax, but AMR explicitly does not require this, and the assumption has never been tested. To test it, we devise an expressive framework to align AMR graphs to dependency graphs, which we use to annotate 200 AMRs. Our annotation explains how 97% of AMR edges are evoked by words or syntax. Previously existing AMR alignment frameworks did not allow for mapping AMR onto syntax, and as a consequence they explained at most 23%. While we find that there are indeed many cases where AMR annotations closely mirror syntax, there are also pervasive differences. We use our annotations to test a baseline AMR-to-syntax aligner, finding that this task is more difficult than AMR-to-string alignment; and to pinpoint errors in an AMR parser. We make our data and code freely available for further research on AMR parsing and generation, and the relationship of AMR to syntax.

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End-to-End Graph-Based TAG Parsing with Neural Networks
Jungo Kasai | Robert Frank | Pauli Xu | William Merrill | Owen Rambow

We present a graph-based Tree Adjoining Grammar (TAG) parser that uses BiLSTMs, highway connections, and character-level CNNs. Our best end-to-end parser, which jointly performs supertagging, POS tagging, and parsing, outperforms the previously reported best results by more than 2.2 LAS and UAS points. The graph-based parsing architecture allows for global inference and rich feature representations for TAG parsing, alleviating the fundamental trade-off between transition-based and graph-based parsing systems. We also demonstrate that the proposed parser achieves state-of-the-art performance in the downstream tasks of Parsing Evaluation using Textual Entailments (PETE) and Unbounded Dependency Recovery. This provides further support for the claim that TAG is a viable formalism for problems that require rich structural analysis of sentences.

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Colorless Green Recurrent Networks Dream Hierarchically
Kristina Gulordava | Piotr Bojanowski | Edouard Grave | Tal Linzen | Marco Baroni

Recurrent neural networks (RNNs) achieved impressive results in a variety of linguistic processing tasks, suggesting that they can induce non-trivial properties of language. We investigate to what extent RNNs learn to track abstract hierarchical syntactic structure. We test whether RNNs trained with a generic language modeling objective in four languages (Italian, English, Hebrew, Russian) can predict long-distance number agreement in various constructions. We include in our evaluation nonsensical sentences where RNNs cannot rely on semantic or lexical cues (“The colorless green ideas I ate with the chair sleep furiously”), and, for Italian, we compare model performance to human intuitions. Our language-model-trained RNNs make reliable predictions about long-distance agreement, and do not lag much behind human performance. We thus bring support to the hypothesis that RNNs are not just shallow-pattern extractors, but they also acquire deeper grammatical competence.

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Diverse Few-Shot Text Classification with Multiple Metrics
Mo Yu | Xiaoxiao Guo | Jinfeng Yi | Shiyu Chang | Saloni Potdar | Yu Cheng | Gerald Tesauro | Haoyu Wang | Bowen Zhou

We study few-shot learning in natural language domains. Compared to many existing works that apply either metric-based or optimization-based meta-learning to image domain with low inter-task variance, we consider a more realistic setting, where tasks are diverse. However, it imposes tremendous difficulties to existing state-of-the-art metric-based algorithms since a single metric is insufficient to capture complex task variations in natural language domain. To alleviate the problem, we propose an adaptive metric learning approach that automatically determines the best weighted combination from a set of metrics obtained from meta-training tasks for a newly seen few-shot task. Extensive quantitative evaluations on real-world sentiment analysis and dialog intent classification datasets demonstrate that the proposed method performs favorably against state-of-the-art few shot learning algorithms in terms of predictive accuracy. We make our code and data available for further study.

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Early Text Classification Using Multi-Resolution Concept Representations
Adrian Pastor López-Monroy | Fabio A. González | Manuel Montes | Hugo Jair Escalante | Thamar Solorio

The intensive use of e-communications in everyday life has given rise to new threats and risks. When the vulnerable asset is the user, detecting these potential attacks before they cause serious damages is extremely important. This paper proposes a novel document representation to improve the early detection of risks in social media sources. The goal is to effectively identify the potential risk using as few text as possible and with as much anticipation as possible. Accordingly, we devise a Multi-Resolution Representation (MulR), which allows us to generate multiple “views” of the analyzed text. These views capture different semantic meanings for words and documents at different levels of detail, which is very useful in early scenarios to model the variable amounts of evidence. Intuitively, the representation captures better the content of short documents (very early stages) in low resolutions, whereas large documents (medium/large stages) are better modeled with higher resolutions. We evaluate the proposed ideas in two different tasks where anticipation is critical: sexual predator detection and depression detection. The experimental evaluation for these early tasks revealed that the proposed approach outperforms previous methodologies by a considerable margin.

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Multinomial Adversarial Networks for Multi-Domain Text Classification
Xilun Chen | Claire Cardie

Many text classification tasks are known to be highly domain-dependent. Unfortunately, the availability of training data can vary drastically across domains. Worse still, for some domains there may not be any annotated data at all. In this work, we propose a multinomial adversarial network (MAN) to tackle this real-world problem of multi-domain text classification (MDTC) in which labeled data may exist for multiple domains, but in insufficient amounts to train effective classifiers for one or more of the domains. We provide theoretical justifications for the MAN framework, proving that different instances of MANs are essentially minimizers of various f-divergence metrics (Ali and Silvey, 1966) among multiple probability distributions. MANs are thus a theoretically sound generalization of traditional adversarial networks that discriminate over two distributions. More specifically, for the MDTC task, MAN learns features that are invariant across multiple domains by resorting to its ability to reduce the divergence among the feature distributions of each domain. We present experimental results showing that MANs significantly outperform the prior art on the MDTC task. We also show that MANs achieve state-of-the-art performance for domains with no labeled data.

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Pivot Based Language Modeling for Improved Neural Domain Adaptation
Yftah Ziser | Roi Reichart

Representation learning with pivot-based methods and with Neural Networks (NNs) have lead to significant progress in domain adaptation for Natural Language Processing. However, most previous work that follows these approaches does not explicitly exploit the structure of the input text, and its output is most often a single representation vector for the entire text. In this paper we present the Pivot Based Language Model (PBLM), a representation learning model that marries together pivot-based and NN modeling in a structure aware manner. Particularly, our model processes the information in the text with a sequential NN (LSTM) and its output consists of a representation vector for every input word. Unlike most previous representation learning models in domain adaptation, PBLM can naturally feed structure aware text classifiers such as LSTM and CNN. We experiment with the task of cross-domain sentiment classification on 20 domain pairs and show substantial improvements over strong baselines.

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Reinforced Co-Training
Jiawei Wu | Lei Li | William Yang Wang

Co-training is a popular semi-supervised learning framework to utilize a large amount of unlabeled data in addition to a small labeled set. Co-training methods exploit predicted labels on the unlabeled data and select samples based on prediction confidence to augment the training. However, the selection of samples in existing co-training methods is based on a predetermined policy, which ignores the sampling bias between the unlabeled and the labeled subsets, and fails to explore the data space. In this paper, we propose a novel method, Reinforced Co-Training, to select high-quality unlabeled samples to better co-train on. More specifically, our approach uses Q-learning to learn a data selection policy with a small labeled dataset, and then exploits this policy to train the co-training classifiers automatically. Experimental results on clickbait detection and generic text classification tasks demonstrate that our proposed method can obtain more accurate text classification results.

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Tensor Product Generation Networks for Deep NLP Modeling
Qiuyuan Huang | Paul Smolensky | Xiaodong He | Li Deng | Dapeng Wu

We present a new approach to the design of deep networks for natural language processing (NLP), based on the general technique of Tensor Product Representations (TPRs) for encoding and processing symbol structures in distributed neural networks. A network architecture — the Tensor Product Generation Network (TPGN) — is proposed which is capable in principle of carrying out TPR computation, but which uses unconstrained deep learning to design its internal representations. Instantiated in a model for image-caption generation, TPGN outperforms LSTM baselines when evaluated on the COCO dataset. The TPR-capable structure enables interpretation of internal representations and operations, which prove to contain considerable grammatical content. Our caption-generation model can be interpreted as generating sequences of grammatical categories and retrieving words by their categories from a plan encoded as a distributed representation.

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The Context-Dependent Additive Recurrent Neural Net
Quan Hung Tran | Tuan Lai | Gholamreza Haffari | Ingrid Zukerman | Trung Bui | Hung Bui

Contextual sequence mapping is one of the fundamental problems in Natural Language Processing (NLP). Here, instead of relying solely on the information presented in the text, the learning agents have access to a strong external signal given to assist the learning process. In this paper, we propose a novel family of Recurrent Neural Network unit: the Context-dependent Additive Recurrent Neural Network (CARNN) that is designed specifically to address this type of problem. The experimental results on public datasets in the dialog problem (Babi dialog Task 6 and Frame), contextual language model (Switchboard and Penn Tree Bank) and question answering (Trec QA) show that our novel CARNN-based architectures outperform previous methods.

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Combining Character and Word Information in Neural Machine Translation Using a Multi-Level Attention
Huadong Chen | Shujian Huang | David Chiang | Xinyu Dai | Jiajun Chen

Natural language sentences, being hierarchical, can be represented at different levels of granularity, like words, subwords, or characters. But most neural machine translation systems require the sentence to be represented as a sequence at a single level of granularity. It can be difficult to determine which granularity is better for a particular translation task. In this paper, we improve the model by incorporating multiple levels of granularity. Specifically, we propose (1) an encoder with character attention which augments the (sub)word-level representation with character-level information; (2) a decoder with multiple attentions that enable the representations from different levels of granularity to control the translation cooperatively. Experiments on three translation tasks demonstrate that our proposed models outperform the standard word-based model, the subword-based model, and a strong character-based model.

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Dense Information Flow for Neural Machine Translation
Yanyao Shen | Xu Tan | Di He | Tao Qin | Tie-Yan Liu

Recently, neural machine translation has achieved remarkable progress by introducing well-designed deep neural networks into its encoder-decoder framework. From the optimization perspective, residual connections are adopted to improve learning performance for both encoder and decoder in most of these deep architectures, and advanced attention connections are applied as well. Inspired by the success of the DenseNet model in computer vision problems, in this paper, we propose a densely connected NMT architecture (DenseNMT) that is able to train more efficiently for NMT. The proposed DenseNMT not only allows dense connection in creating new features for both encoder and decoder, but also uses the dense attention structure to improve attention quality. Our experiments on multiple datasets show that DenseNMT structure is more competitive and efficient.

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Evaluating Discourse Phenomena in Neural Machine Translation
Rachel Bawden | Rico Sennrich | Alexandra Birch | Barry Haddow

For machine translation to tackle discourse phenomena, models must have access to extra-sentential linguistic context. There has been recent interest in modelling context in neural machine translation (NMT), but models have been principally evaluated with standard automatic metrics, poorly adapted to evaluating discourse phenomena. In this article, we present hand-crafted, discourse test sets, designed to test the models’ ability to exploit previous source and target sentences. We investigate the performance of recently proposed multi-encoder NMT models trained on subtitles for English to French. We also explore a novel way of exploiting context from the previous sentence. Despite gains using BLEU, multi-encoder models give limited improvement in the handling of discourse phenomena: 50% accuracy on our coreference test set and 53.5% for coherence/cohesion (compared to a non-contextual baseline of 50%). A simple strategy of decoding the concatenation of the previous and current sentence leads to good performance, and our novel strategy of multi-encoding and decoding of two sentences leads to the best performance (72.5% for coreference and 57% for coherence/cohesion), highlighting the importance of target-side context.

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Fast Lexically Constrained Decoding with Dynamic Beam Allocation for Neural Machine Translation
Matt Post | David Vilar

The end-to-end nature of neural machine translation (NMT) removes many ways of manually guiding the translation process that were available in older paradigms. Recent work, however, has introduced a new capability: lexically constrained or guided decoding, a modification to beam search that forces the inclusion of pre-specified words and phrases in the output. However, while theoretically sound, existing approaches have computational complexities that are either linear (Hokamp and Liu, 2017) or exponential (Anderson et al., 2017) in the number of constraints. We present a algorithm for lexically constrained decoding with a complexity of O(1) in the number of constraints. We demonstrate the algorithm’s remarkable ability to properly place these constraints, and use it to explore the shaky relationship between model and BLEU scores. Our implementation is available as part of Sockeye.

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Guiding Neural Machine Translation with Retrieved Translation Pieces
Jingyi Zhang | Masao Utiyama | Eiichro Sumita | Graham Neubig | Satoshi Nakamura

One of the difficulties of neural machine translation (NMT) is the recall and appropriate translation of low-frequency words or phrases. In this paper, we propose a simple, fast, and effective method for recalling previously seen translation examples and incorporating them into the NMT decoding process. Specifically, for an input sentence, we use a search engine to retrieve sentence pairs whose source sides are similar with the input sentence, and then collect n-grams that are both in the retrieved target sentences and aligned with words that match in the source sentences, which we call “translation pieces”. We compute pseudo-probabilities for each retrieved sentence based on similarities between the input sentence and the retrieved source sentences, and use these to weight the retrieved translation pieces. Finally, an existing NMT model is used to translate the input sentence, with an additional bonus given to outputs that contain the collected translation pieces. We show our method improves NMT translation results up to 6 BLEU points on three narrow domain translation tasks where repetitiveness of the target sentences is particularly salient. It also causes little increase in the translation time, and compares favorably to another alternative retrieval-based method with respect to accuracy, speed, and simplicity of implementation.

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Handling Homographs in Neural Machine Translation
Frederick Liu | Han Lu | Graham Neubig

Homographs, words with different meanings but the same surface form, have long caused difficulty for machine translation systems, as it is difficult to select the correct translation based on the context. However, with the advent of neural machine translation (NMT) systems, which can theoretically take into account global sentential context, one may hypothesize that this problem has been alleviated. In this paper, we first provide empirical evidence that existing NMT systems in fact still have significant problems in properly translating ambiguous words. We then proceed to describe methods, inspired by the word sense disambiguation literature, that model the context of the input word with context-aware word embeddings that help to differentiate the word sense before feeding it into the encoder. Experiments on three language pairs demonstrate that such models improve the performance of NMT systems both in terms of BLEU score and in the accuracy of translating homographs.

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Improving Neural Machine Translation with Conditional Sequence Generative Adversarial Nets
Zhen Yang | Wei Chen | Feng Wang | Bo Xu

This paper proposes an approach for applying GANs to NMT. We build a conditional sequence generative adversarial net which comprises of two adversarial sub models, a generator and a discriminator. The generator aims to generate sentences which are hard to be discriminated from human-translated sentences ( i.e., the golden target sentences); And the discriminator makes efforts to discriminate the machine-generated sentences from human-translated ones. The two sub models play a mini-max game and achieve the win-win situation when they reach a Nash Equilibrium. Additionally, the static sentence-level BLEU is utilized as the reinforced objective for the generator, which biases the generation towards high BLEU points. During training, both the dynamic discriminator and the static BLEU objective are employed to evaluate the generated sentences and feedback the evaluations to guide the learning of the generator. Experimental results show that the proposed model consistently outperforms the traditional RNNSearch and the newly emerged state-of-the-art Transformer on English-German and Chinese-English translation tasks.

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Neural Machine Translation for Bilingually Scarce Scenarios: a Deep Multi-Task Learning Approach
Poorya Zaremoodi | Gholamreza Haffari

Neural machine translation requires large amount of parallel training text to learn a reasonable quality translation model. This is particularly inconvenient for language pairs for which enough parallel text is not available. In this paper, we use monolingual linguistic resources in the source side to address this challenging problem based on a multi-task learning approach. More specifically, we scaffold the machine translation task on auxiliary tasks including semantic parsing, syntactic parsing, and named-entity recognition. This effectively injects semantic and/or syntactic knowledge into the translation model, which would otherwise require a large amount of training bitext to learn from. We empirically analyze and show the effectiveness of our multitask learning approach on three translation tasks: English-to-French, English-to-Farsi, and English-to-Vietnamese.

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Self-Attentive Residual Decoder for Neural Machine Translation
Lesly Miculicich Werlen | Nikolaos Pappas | Dhananjay Ram | Andrei Popescu-Belis

Neural sequence-to-sequence networks with attention have achieved remarkable performance for machine translation. One of the reasons for their effectiveness is their ability to capture relevant source-side contextual information at each time-step prediction through an attention mechanism. However, the target-side context is solely based on the sequence model which, in practice, is prone to a recency bias and lacks the ability to capture effectively non-sequential dependencies among words. To address this limitation, we propose a target-side-attentive residual recurrent network for decoding, where attention over previous words contributes directly to the prediction of the next word. The residual learning facilitates the flow of information from the distant past and is able to emphasize any of the previously translated words, hence it gains access to a wider context. The proposed model outperforms a neural MT baseline as well as a memory and self-attention network on three language pairs. The analysis of the attention learned by the decoder confirms that it emphasizes a wider context, and that it captures syntactic-like structures.

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Target Foresight Based Attention for Neural Machine Translation
Xintong Li | Lemao Liu | Zhaopeng Tu | Shuming Shi | Max Meng

In neural machine translation, an attention model is used to identify the aligned source words for a target word (target foresight word) in order to select translation context, but it does not make use of any information of this target foresight word at all. Previous work proposed an approach to improve the attention model by explicitly accessing this target foresight word and demonstrated the substantial gains in alignment task. However, this approach is useless in machine translation task on which the target foresight word is unavailable. In this paper, we propose a new attention model enhanced by the implicit information of target foresight word oriented to both alignment and translation tasks. Empirical experiments on Chinese-to-English and Japanese-to-English datasets show that the proposed attention model delivers significant improvements in terms of both alignment error rate and BLEU.

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Context Sensitive Neural Lemmatization with Lematus
Toms Bergmanis | Sharon Goldwater

The main motivation for developing contextsensitive lemmatizers is to improve performance on unseen and ambiguous words. Yet previous systems have not carefully evaluated whether the use of context actually helps in these cases. We introduce Lematus, a lemmatizer based on a standard encoder-decoder architecture, which incorporates character-level sentence context. We evaluate its lemmatization accuracy across 20 languages in both a full data setting and a lower-resource setting with 10k training examples in each language. In both settings, we show that including context significantly improves results against a context-free version of the model. Context helps more for ambiguous words than for unseen words, though the latter has a greater effect on overall performance differences between languages. We also compare to three previous context-sensitive lemmatization systems, which all use pre-extracted edit trees as well as hand-selected features and/or additional sources of information such as tagged training data. Without using any of these, our context-sensitive model outperforms the best competitor system (Lemming) in the fulldata setting, and performs on par in the lowerresource setting.

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Modeling Noisiness to Recognize Named Entities using Multitask Neural Networks on Social Media
Gustavo Aguilar | Adrian Pastor López-Monroy | Fabio González | Thamar Solorio

Recognizing named entities in a document is a key task in many NLP applications. Although current state-of-the-art approaches to this task reach a high performance on clean text (e.g. newswire genres), those algorithms dramatically degrade when they are moved to noisy environments such as social media domains. We present two systems that address the challenges of processing social media data using character-level phonetics and phonology, word embeddings, and Part-of-Speech tags as features. The first model is a multitask end-to-end Bidirectional Long Short-Term Memory (BLSTM)-Conditional Random Field (CRF) network whose output layer contains two CRF classifiers. The second model uses a multitask BLSTM network as feature extractor that transfers the learning to a CRF classifier for the final prediction. Our systems outperform the current F1 scores of the state of the art on the Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text 2017 dataset by 2.45% and 3.69%, establishing a more suitable approach for social media environments.

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Reusing Weights in Subword-Aware Neural Language Models
Zhenisbek Assylbekov | Rustem Takhanov

We propose several ways of reusing subword embeddings and other weights in subword-aware neural language models. The proposed techniques do not benefit a competitive character-aware model, but some of them improve the performance of syllable- and morpheme-aware models while showing significant reductions in model sizes. We discover a simple hands-on principle: in a multi-layer input embedding model, layers should be tied consecutively bottom-up if reused at output. Our best morpheme-aware model with properly reused weights beats the competitive word-level model by a large margin across multiple languages and has 20%-87% fewer parameters.

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Simple Models for Word Formation in Slang
Vivek Kulkarni | William Yang Wang

We propose the first generative models for three types of extra-grammatical word formation phenomena abounding in slang: Blends, Clippings, and Reduplicatives. Adopting a data-driven approach coupled with linguistic knowledge, we propose simple models with state of the art performance on human annotated gold standard datasets. Overall, our models reveal insights into the generative processes of word formation in slang – insights which are increasingly relevant in the context of the rising prevalence of slang and non-standard varieties on the Internet

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Using Morphological Knowledge in Open-Vocabulary Neural Language Models
Austin Matthews | Graham Neubig | Chris Dyer

Languages with productive morphology pose problems for language models that generate words from a fixed vocabulary. Although character-based models allow any possible word type to be generated, they are linguistically naïve: they must discover that words exist and are delimited by spaces—basic linguistic facts that are built in to the structure of word-based models. We introduce an open-vocabulary language model that incorporates more sophisticated linguistic knowledge by predicting words using a mixture of three generative processes: (1) by generating words as a sequence of characters, (2) by directly generating full word forms, and (3) by generating words as a sequence of morphemes that are combined using a hand-written morphological analyzer. Experiments on Finnish, Turkish, and Russian show that our model outperforms character sequence models and other strong baselines on intrinsic and extrinsic measures. Furthermore, we show that our model learns to exploit morphological knowledge encoded in the analyzer, and, as a byproduct, it can perform effective unsupervised morphological disambiguation.

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A Neural Layered Model for Nested Named Entity Recognition
Meizhi Ju | Makoto Miwa | Sophia Ananiadou

Entity mentions embedded in longer entity mentions are referred to as nested entities. Most named entity recognition (NER) systems deal only with the flat entities and ignore the inner nested ones, which fails to capture finer-grained semantic information in underlying texts. To address this issue, we propose a novel neural model to identify nested entities by dynamically stacking flat NER layers. Each flat NER layer is based on the state-of-the-art flat NER model that captures sequential context representation with bidirectional Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) layer and feeds it to the cascaded CRF layer. Our model merges the output of the LSTM layer in the current flat NER layer to build new representation for detected entities and subsequently feeds them into the next flat NER layer. This allows our model to extract outer entities by taking full advantage of information encoded in their corresponding inner entities, in an inside-to-outside way. Our model dynamically stacks the flat NER layers until no outer entities are extracted. Extensive evaluation shows that our dynamic model outperforms state-of-the-art feature-based systems on nested NER, achieving 74.7% and 72.2% on GENIA and ACE2005 datasets, respectively, in terms of F-score.

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DR-BiLSTM: Dependent Reading Bidirectional LSTM for Natural Language Inference
Reza Ghaeini | Sadid A. Hasan | Vivek Datla | Joey Liu | Kathy Lee | Ashequl Qadir | Yuan Ling | Aaditya Prakash | Xiaoli Fern | Oladimeji Farri

We present a novel deep learning architecture to address the natural language inference (NLI) task. Existing approaches mostly rely on simple reading mechanisms for independent encoding of the premise and hypothesis. Instead, we propose a novel dependent reading bidirectional LSTM network (DR-BiLSTM) to efficiently model the relationship between a premise and a hypothesis during encoding and inference. We also introduce a sophisticated ensemble strategy to combine our proposed models, which noticeably improves final predictions. Finally, we demonstrate how the results can be improved further with an additional preprocessing step. Our evaluation shows that DR-BiLSTM obtains the best single model and ensemble model results achieving the new state-of-the-art scores on the Stanford NLI dataset.

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KBGAN: Adversarial Learning for Knowledge Graph Embeddings
Liwei Cai | William Yang Wang

We introduce KBGAN, an adversarial learning framework to improve the performances of a wide range of existing knowledge graph embedding models. Because knowledge graphs typically only contain positive facts, sampling useful negative training examples is a nontrivial task. Replacing the head or tail entity of a fact with a uniformly randomly selected entity is a conventional method for generating negative facts, but the majority of the generated negative facts can be easily discriminated from positive facts, and will contribute little towards the training. Inspired by generative adversarial networks (GANs), we use one knowledge graph embedding model as a negative sample generator to assist the training of our desired model, which acts as the discriminator in GANs. This framework is independent of the concrete form of generator and discriminator, and therefore can utilize a wide variety of knowledge graph embedding models as its building blocks. In experiments, we adversarially train two translation-based models, TRANSE and TRANSD, each with assistance from one of the two probability-based models, DISTMULT and COMPLEX. We evaluate the performances of KBGAN on the link prediction task, using three knowledge base completion datasets: FB15k-237, WN18 and WN18RR. Experimental results show that adversarial training substantially improves the performances of target embedding models under various settings.

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Multimodal Frame Identification with Multilingual Evaluation
Teresa Botschen | Iryna Gurevych | Jan-Christoph Klie | Hatem Mousselly-Sergieh | Stefan Roth

An essential step in FrameNet Semantic Role Labeling is the Frame Identification (FrameId) task, which aims at disambiguating a situation around a predicate. Whilst current FrameId methods rely on textual representations only, we hypothesize that FrameId can profit from a richer understanding of the situational context. Such contextual information can be obtained from common sense knowledge, which is more present in images than in text. In this paper, we extend a state-of-the-art FrameId system in order to effectively leverage multimodal representations. We conduct a comprehensive evaluation on the English FrameNet and its German counterpart SALSA. Our analysis shows that for the German data, textual representations are still competitive with multimodal ones. However on the English data, our multimodal FrameId approach outperforms its unimodal counterpart, setting a new state of the art. Its benefits are particularly apparent in dealing with ambiguous and rare instances, the main source of errors of current systems. For research purposes, we release (a) the implementation of our system, (b) our evaluation splits for SALSA 2.0, and (c) the embeddings for synsets and IMAGINED words.

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Learning Joint Semantic Parsers from Disjoint Data
Hao Peng | Sam Thomson | Swabha Swayamdipta | Noah A. Smith

We present a new approach to learning a semantic parser from multiple datasets, even when the target semantic formalisms are drastically different and the underlying corpora do not overlap. We handle such “disjoint” data by treating annotations for unobserved formalisms as latent structured variables. Building on state-of-the-art baselines, we show improvements both in frame-semantic parsing and semantic dependency parsing by modeling them jointly.

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Identifying Semantic Divergences in Parallel Text without Annotations
Yogarshi Vyas | Xing Niu | Marine Carpuat

Recognizing that even correct translations are not always semantically equivalent, we automatically detect meaning divergences in parallel sentence pairs with a deep neural model of bilingual semantic similarity which can be trained for any parallel corpus without any manual annotation. We show that our semantic model detects divergences more accurately than models based on surface features derived from word alignments, and that these divergences matter for neural machine translation.

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Bootstrapping Generators from Noisy Data
Laura Perez-Beltrachini | Mirella Lapata

A core step in statistical data-to-text generation concerns learning correspondences between structured data representations (e.g., facts in a database) and associated texts. In this paper we aim to bootstrap generators from large scale datasets where the data (e.g., DBPedia facts) and related texts (e.g., Wikipedia abstracts) are loosely aligned. We tackle this challenging task by introducing a special-purpose content selection mechanism. We use multi-instance learning to automatically discover correspondences between data and text pairs and show how these can be used to enhance the content signal while training an encoder-decoder architecture. Experimental results demonstrate that models trained with content-specific objectives improve upon a vanilla encoder-decoder which solely relies on soft attention.

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SHAPED: Shared-Private Encoder-Decoder for Text Style Adaptation
Ye Zhang | Nan Ding | Radu Soricut

Supervised training of abstractive language generation models results in learning conditional probabilities over language sequences based on the supervised training signal. When the training signal contains a variety of writing styles, such models may end up learning an ‘average’ style that is directly influenced by the training data make-up and cannot be controlled by the needs of an application. We describe a family of model architectures capable of capturing both generic language characteristics via shared model parameters, as well as particular style characteristics via private model parameters. Such models are able to generate language according to a specific learned style, while still taking advantage of their power to model generic language phenomena. Furthermore, we describe an extension that uses a mixture of output distributions from all learned styles to perform on-the-fly style adaptation based on the textual input alone. Experimentally, we find that the proposed models consistently outperform models that encapsulate single-style or average-style language generation capabilities.

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Generating Descriptions from Structured Data Using a Bifocal Attention Mechanism and Gated Orthogonalization
Preksha Nema | Shreyas Shetty | Parag Jain | Anirban Laha | Karthik Sankaranarayanan | Mitesh M. Khapra

In this work, we focus on the task of generating natural language descriptions from a structured table of facts containing fields (such as nationality, occupation, etc) and values (such as Indian, actor, director, etc). One simple choice is to treat the table as a sequence of fields and values and then use a standard seq2seq model for this task. However, such a model is too generic and does not exploit task specific characteristics. For example, while generating descriptions from a table, a human would attend to information at two levels: (i) the fields (macro level) and (ii) the values within the field (micro level). Further, a human would continue attending to a field for a few timesteps till all the information from that field has been rendered and then never return back to this field (because there is nothing left to say about it). To capture this behavior we use (i) a fused bifocal attention mechanism which exploits and combines this micro and macro level information and (ii) a gated orthogonalization mechanism which tries to ensure that a field is remembered for a few time steps and then forgotten. We experiment with a recently released dataset which contains fact tables about people and their corresponding one line biographical descriptions in English. In addition, we also introduce two similar datasets for French and German. Our experiments show that the proposed model gives 21% relative improvement over a recently proposed state of the art method and 10% relative improvement over basic seq2seq models. The code and the datasets developed as a part of this work are publicly available on

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CliCR: a Dataset of Clinical Case Reports for Machine Reading Comprehension
Simon Šuster | Walter Daelemans

We present a new dataset for machine comprehension in the medical domain. Our dataset uses clinical case reports with around 100,000 gap-filling queries about these cases. We apply several baselines and state-of-the-art neural readers to the dataset, and observe a considerable gap in performance (20% F1) between the best human and machine readers. We analyze the skills required for successful answering and show how reader performance varies depending on the applicable skills. We find that inferences using domain knowledge and object tracking are the most frequently required skills, and that recognizing omitted information and spatio-temporal reasoning are the most difficult for the machines.

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Learning to Collaborate for Question Answering and Asking
Duyu Tang | Nan Duan | Zhao Yan | Zhirui Zhang | Yibo Sun | Shujie Liu | Yuanhua Lv | Ming Zhou

Question answering (QA) and question generation (QG) are closely related tasks that could improve each other; however, the connection of these two tasks is not well explored in literature. In this paper, we give a systematic study that seeks to leverage the connection to improve both QA and QG. We present a training algorithm that generalizes both Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) and Generative Domain-Adaptive Nets (GDAN) under the question answering scenario. The two key ideas are improving the QG model with QA through incorporating additional QA-specific signal as the loss function, and improving the QA model with QG through adding artificially generated training instances. We conduct experiments on both document based and knowledge based question answering tasks. We have two main findings. Firstly, the performance of a QG model (e.g in terms of BLEU score) could be easily improved by a QA model via policy gradient. Secondly, directly applying GAN that regards all the generated questions as negative instances could not improve the accuracy of the QA model. Learning when to regard generated questions as positive instances could bring performance boost.

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Learning to Rank Question-Answer Pairs Using Hierarchical Recurrent Encoder with Latent Topic Clustering
Seunghyun Yoon | Joongbo Shin | Kyomin Jung

In this paper, we propose a novel end-to-end neural architecture for ranking candidate answers, that adapts a hierarchical recurrent neural network and a latent topic clustering module. With our proposed model, a text is encoded to a vector representation from an word-level to a chunk-level to effectively capture the entire meaning. In particular, by adapting the hierarchical structure, our model shows very small performance degradations in longer text comprehension while other state-of-the-art recurrent neural network models suffer from it. Additionally, the latent topic clustering module extracts semantic information from target samples. This clustering module is useful for any text related tasks by allowing each data sample to find its nearest topic cluster, thus helping the neural network model analyze the entire data. We evaluate our models on the Ubuntu Dialogue Corpus and consumer electronic domain question answering dataset, which is related to Samsung products. The proposed model shows state-of-the-art results for ranking question-answer pairs.

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Supervised and Unsupervised Transfer Learning for Question Answering
Yu-An Chung | Hung-Yi Lee | James Glass

Although transfer learning has been shown to be successful for tasks like object and speech recognition, its applicability to question answering (QA) has yet to be well-studied. In this paper, we conduct extensive experiments to investigate the transferability of knowledge learned from a source QA dataset to a target dataset using two QA models. The performance of both models on a TOEFL listening comprehension test (Tseng et al., 2016) and MCTest (Richardson et al., 2013) is significantly improved via a simple transfer learning technique from MovieQA (Tapaswi et al., 2016). In particular, one of the models achieves the state-of-the-art on all target datasets; for the TOEFL listening comprehension test, it outperforms the previous best model by 7%. Finally, we show that transfer learning is helpful even in unsupervised scenarios when correct answers for target QA dataset examples are not available.

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Tracking State Changes in Procedural Text: a Challenge Dataset and Models for Process Paragraph Comprehension
Bhavana Dalvi | Lifu Huang | Niket Tandon | Wen-tau Yih | Peter Clark

We present a new dataset and models for comprehending paragraphs about processes (e.g., photosynthesis), an important genre of text describing a dynamic world. The new dataset, ProPara, is the first to contain natural (rather than machine-generated) text about a changing world along with a full annotation of entity states (location and existence) during those changes (81k datapoints). The end-task, tracking the location and existence of entities through the text, is challenging because the causal effects of actions are often implicit and need to be inferred. We find that previous models that have worked well on synthetic data achieve only mediocre performance on ProPara, and introduce two new neural models that exploit alternative mechanisms for state prediction, in particular using LSTM input encoding and span prediction. The new models improve accuracy by up to 19%. We are releasing the ProPara dataset and our models to the community.

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Combining Deep Learning and Topic Modeling for Review Understanding in Context-Aware Recommendation
Mingmin Jin | Xin Luo | Huiling Zhu | Hankz Hankui Zhuo

With the rise of e-commerce, people are accustomed to writing their reviews after receiving the goods. These comments are so important that a bad review can have a direct impact on others buying. Besides, the abundant information within user reviews is very useful for extracting user preferences and item properties. In this paper, we investigate the approach to effectively utilize review information for recommender systems. The proposed model is named LSTM-Topic matrix factorization (LTMF) which integrates both LSTM and Topic Modeling for review understanding. In the experiments on popular review dataset Amazon , our LTMF model outperforms previous proposed HFT model and ConvMF model in rating prediction. Furthermore, LTMF shows the better ability on making topic clustering than traditional topic model based method, which implies integrating the information from deep learning and topic modeling is a meaningful approach to make a better understanding of reviews.

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Deconfounded Lexicon Induction for Interpretable Social Science
Reid Pryzant | Kelly Shen | Dan Jurafsky | Stefan Wagner

NLP algorithms are increasingly used in computational social science to take linguistic observations and predict outcomes like human preferences or actions. Making these social models transparent and interpretable often requires identifying features in the input that predict outcomes while also controlling for potential confounds. We formalize this need as a new task: inducing a lexicon that is predictive of a set of target variables yet uncorrelated to a set of confounding variables. We introduce two deep learning algorithms for the task. The first uses a bifurcated architecture to separate the explanatory power of the text and confounds. The second uses an adversarial discriminator to force confound-invariant text encodings. Both elicit lexicons from learned weights and attentional scores. We use them to induce lexicons that are predictive of timely responses to consumer complaints (controlling for product), enrollment from course descriptions (controlling for subject), and sales from product descriptions (controlling for seller). In each domain our algorithms pick words that are associated with narrative persuasion; more predictive and less confound-related than those of standard feature weighting and lexicon induction techniques like regression and log odds.

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Detecting Denial-of-Service Attacks from Social Media Text: Applying NLP to Computer Security
Nathanael Chambers | Ben Fry | James McMasters

This paper describes a novel application of NLP models to detect denial of service attacks using only social media as evidence. Individual networks are often slow in reporting attacks, so a detection system from public data could better assist a response to a broad attack across multiple services. We explore NLP methods to use social media as an indirect measure of network service status. We describe two learning frameworks for this task: a feed-forward neural network and a partially labeled LDA model. Both models outperform previous work by significant margins (20% F1 score). We further show that the topic-based model enables the first fine-grained analysis of how the public reacts to ongoing network attacks, discovering multiple “stages” of observation. This is the first model that both detects network attacks (with best performance) and provides an analysis of when and how the public interprets service outages. We describe the models, present experiments on the largest twitter DDoS corpus to date, and conclude with an analysis of public reactions based on the learned model’s output.

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The Importance of Calibration for Estimating Proportions from Annotations
Dallas Card | Noah A. Smith

Estimating label proportions in a target corpus is a type of measurement that is useful for answering certain types of social-scientific questions. While past work has described a number of relevant approaches, nearly all are based on an assumption which we argue is invalid for many problems, particularly when dealing with human annotations. In this paper, we identify and differentiate between two relevant data generating scenarios (intrinsic vs. extrinsic labels), introduce a simple but novel method which emphasizes the importance of calibration, and then analyze and experimentally validate the appropriateness of various methods for each of the two scenarios.

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A Dataset of Peer Reviews (PeerRead): Collection, Insights and NLP Applications
Dongyeop Kang | Waleed Ammar | Bhavana Dalvi | Madeleine van Zuylen | Sebastian Kohlmeier | Eduard Hovy | Roy Schwartz

Peer reviewing is a central component in the scientific publishing process. We present the first public dataset of scientific peer reviews available for research purposes (PeerRead v1),1 providing an opportunity to study this important artifact. The dataset consists of 14.7K paper drafts and the corresponding accept/reject decisions in top-tier venues including ACL, NIPS and ICLR. The dataset also includes 10.7K textual peer reviews written by experts for a subset of the papers. We describe the data collection process and report interesting observed phenomena in the peer reviews. We also propose two novel NLP tasks based on this dataset and provide simple baseline models. In the first task, we show that simple models can predict whether a paper is accepted with up to 21% error reduction compared to the majority baseline. In the second task, we predict the numerical scores of review aspects and show that simple models can outperform the mean baseline for aspects with high variance such as ‘originality’ and ‘impact’.

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Deep Communicating Agents for Abstractive Summarization
Asli Celikyilmaz | Antoine Bosselut | Xiaodong He | Yejin Choi

We present deep communicating agents in an encoder-decoder architecture to address the challenges of representing a long document for abstractive summarization. With deep communicating agents, the task of encoding a long text is divided across multiple collaborating agents, each in charge of a subsection of the input text. These encoders are connected to a single decoder, trained end-to-end using reinforcement learning to generate a focused and coherent summary. Empirical results demonstrate that multiple communicating encoders lead to a higher quality summary compared to several strong baselines, including those based on a single encoder or multiple non-communicating encoders.

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Encoding Conversation Context for Neural Keyphrase Extraction from Microblog Posts
Yingyi Zhang | Jing Li | Yan Song | Chengzhi Zhang

Existing keyphrase extraction methods suffer from data sparsity problem when they are conducted on short and informal texts, especially microblog messages. Enriching context is one way to alleviate this problem. Considering that conversations are formed by reposting and replying messages, they provide useful clues for recognizing essential content in target posts and are therefore helpful for keyphrase identification. In this paper, we present a neural keyphrase extraction framework for microblog posts that takes their conversation context into account, where four types of neural encoders, namely, averaged embedding, RNN, attention, and memory networks, are proposed to represent the conversation context. Experimental results on Twitter and Weibo datasets show that our framework with such encoders outperforms state-of-the-art approaches.

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Estimating Summary Quality with Pairwise Preferences
Markus Zopf

Automatic evaluation systems in the field of automatic summarization have been relying on the availability of gold standard summaries for over ten years. Gold standard summaries are expensive to obtain and often require the availability of domain experts to achieve high quality. In this paper, we propose an alternative evaluation approach based on pairwise preferences of sentences. In comparison to gold standard summaries, they are simpler and cheaper to obtain. In our experiments, we show that humans are able to provide useful feedback in the form of pairwise preferences. The new framework performs better than the three most popular versions of ROUGE with less expensive human input. We also show that our framework can reuse already available evaluation data and achieve even better results.

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Generating Topic-Oriented Summaries Using Neural Attention
Kundan Krishna | Balaji Vasan Srinivasan

Summarizing a document requires identifying the important parts of the document with an objective of providing a quick overview to a reader. However, a long article can span several topics and a single summary cannot do justice to all the topics. Further, the interests of readers can vary and the notion of importance can change across them. Existing summarization algorithms generate a single summary and are not capable of generating multiple summaries tuned to the interests of the readers. In this paper, we propose an attention based RNN framework to generate multiple summaries of a single document tuned to different topics of interest. Our method outperforms existing baselines and our results suggest that the attention of generative networks can be successfully biased to look at sentences relevant to a topic and effectively used to generate topic-tuned summaries.

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Generative Bridging Network for Neural Sequence Prediction
Wenhu Chen | Guanlin Li | Shuo Ren | Shujie Liu | Zhirui Zhang | Mu Li | Ming Zhou

In order to alleviate data sparsity and overfitting problems in maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) for sequence prediction tasks, we propose the Generative Bridging Network (GBN), in which a novel bridge module is introduced to assist the training of the sequence prediction model (the generator network). Unlike MLE directly maximizing the conditional likelihood, the bridge extends the point-wise ground truth to a bridge distribution conditioned on it, and the generator is optimized to minimize their KL-divergence. Three different GBNs, namely uniform GBN, language-model GBN and coaching GBN, are proposed to penalize confidence, enhance language smoothness and relieve learning burden. Experiments conducted on two recognized sequence prediction tasks (machine translation and abstractive text summarization) show that our proposed GBNs can yield significant improvements over strong baselines. Furthermore, by analyzing samples drawn from different bridges, expected influences on the generator are verified.

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Higher-Order Syntactic Attention Network for Longer Sentence Compression
Hidetaka Kamigaito | Katsuhiko Hayashi | Tsutomu Hirao | Masaaki Nagata

A sentence compression method using LSTM can generate fluent compressed sentences. However, the performance of this method is significantly degraded when compressing longer sentences since it does not explicitly handle syntactic features. To solve this problem, we propose a higher-order syntactic attention network (HiSAN) that can handle higher-order dependency features as an attention distribution on LSTM hidden states. Furthermore, to avoid the influence of incorrect parse results, we trained HiSAN by maximizing jointly the probability of a correct output with the attention distribution. Experimental results on Google sentence compression dataset showed that our method achieved the best performance on F1 as well as ROUGE-1,2 and L scores, 83.2, 82.9, 75.8 and 82.7, respectively. In human evaluation, our methods also outperformed baseline methods in both readability and informativeness.

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Neural Storyline Extraction Model for Storyline Generation from News Articles
Deyu Zhou | Linsen Guo | Yulan He

Storyline generation aims to extract events described on news articles under a certain news topic and reveal how those events evolve over time. Most approaches to storyline generation first train supervised models to extract events from news articles published in different time periods and then link relevant extracted events into coherent stories. They are domain dependent and cannot deal with unseen event types. To tackle this problem, approaches based on probabilistic graphic models jointly model the generations of events and storylines without the use of annotated data. However, the parameter inference procedure is too complex and models often require long time to converge. In this paper, we propose a novel neural network based approach to extract structured representations and evolution patterns of storylines without using annotated data. In this model, title and main body of a news article are assumed to share the similar storyline distribution. Moreover, similar documents described in neighboring time periods are assumed to share similar storyline distributions. Based on these assumptions, structured representations and evolution patterns of storylines can be extracted. The proposed model has been evaluated on three news corpora and the experimental results show that it outperforms state-of-the-art approaches for storyline generation on both accuracy and efficiency.

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Provable Fast Greedy Compressive Summarization with Any Monotone Submodular Function
Shinsaku Sakaue | Tsutomu Hirao | Masaaki Nishino | Masaaki Nagata

Submodular maximization with the greedy algorithm has been studied as an effective approach to extractive summarization. This approach is known to have three advantages: its applicability to many useful submodular objective functions, the efficiency of the greedy algorithm, and the provable performance guarantee. However, when it comes to compressive summarization, we are currently missing a counterpart of the extractive method based on submodularity. In this paper, we propose a fast greedy method for compressive summarization. Our method is applicable to any monotone submodular objective function, including many functions well-suited for document summarization. We provide an approximation guarantee of our greedy algorithm. Experiments show that our method is about 100 to 400 times faster than an existing method based on integer-linear-programming (ILP) formulations and that our method empirically achieves more than 95%-approximation.

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Ranking Sentences for Extractive Summarization with Reinforcement Learning
Shashi Narayan | Shay B. Cohen | Mirella Lapata

Single document summarization is the task of producing a shorter version of a document while preserving its principal information content. In this paper we conceptualize extractive summarization as a sentence ranking task and propose a novel training algorithm which globally optimizes the ROUGE evaluation metric through a reinforcement learning objective. We use our algorithm to train a neural summarization model on the CNN and DailyMail datasets and demonstrate experimentally that it outperforms state-of-the-art extractive and abstractive systems when evaluated automatically and by humans.

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Relational Summarization for Corpus Analysis
Abram Handler | Brendan O’Connor

This work introduces a new problem, relational summarization, in which the goal is to generate a natural language summary of the relationship between two lexical items in a corpus, without reference to a knowledge base. Motivated by the needs of novel user interfaces, we define the task and give examples of its application. We also present a new query-focused method for finding natural language sentences which express relationships. Our method allows for summarization of more than two times more query pairs than baseline relation extractors, while returning measurably more readable output. Finally, to help guide future work, we analyze the challenges of relational summarization using both a news and a social media corpus.

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What’s This Movie About? A Joint Neural Network Architecture for Movie Content Analysis
Philip John Gorinski | Mirella Lapata

This work takes a first step toward movie content analysis by tackling the novel task of movie overview generation. Overviews are natural language texts that give a first impression of a movie, describing aspects such as its genre, plot, mood, or artistic style. We create a dataset that consists of movie scripts, attribute-value pairs for the movies’ aspects, as well as overviews, which we extract from an online database. We present a novel end-to-end model for overview generation, consisting of a multi-label encoder for identifying screenplay attributes, and an LSTM decoder to generate natural language sentences conditioned on the identified attributes. Automatic and human evaluation show that the encoder is able to reliably assign good labels for the movie’s attributes, and the overviews provide descriptions of the movie’s content which are informative and faithful.

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Which Scores to Predict in Sentence Regression for Text Summarization?
Markus Zopf | Eneldo Loza Mencía | Johannes Fürnkranz

The task of automatic text summarization is to generate a short text that summarizes the most important information in a given set of documents. Sentence regression is an emerging branch in automatic text summarizations. Its key idea is to estimate the importance of information via learned utility scores for individual sentences. These scores are then used for selecting sentences from the source documents, typically according to a greedy selection strategy. Recently proposed state-of-the-art models learn to predict ROUGE recall scores of individual sentences, which seems reasonable since the final summaries are evaluated according to ROUGE recall. In this paper, we show in extensive experiments that following this intuition leads to suboptimal results and that learning to predict ROUGE precision scores leads to better results. The crucial difference is to aim not at covering as much information as possible but at wasting as little space as possible in every greedy step.

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A Hierarchical Latent Structure for Variational Conversation Modeling
Yookoon Park | Jaemin Cho | Gunhee Kim

Variational autoencoders (VAE) combined with hierarchical RNNs have emerged as a powerful framework for conversation modeling. However, they suffer from the notorious degeneration problem, where the decoders learn to ignore latent variables and reduce to vanilla RNNs. We empirically show that this degeneracy occurs mostly due to two reasons. First, the expressive power of hierarchical RNN decoders is often high enough to model the data using only its decoding distributions without relying on the latent variables. Second, the conditional VAE structure whose generation process is conditioned on a context, makes the range of training targets very sparse; that is, the RNN decoders can easily overfit to the training data ignoring the latent variables. To solve the degeneration problem, we propose a novel model named Variational Hierarchical Conversation RNNs (VHCR), involving two key ideas of (1) using a hierarchical structure of latent variables, and (2) exploiting an utterance drop regularization. With evaluations on two datasets of Cornell Movie Dialog and Ubuntu Dialog Corpus, we show that our VHCR successfully utilizes latent variables and outperforms state-of-the-art models for conversation generation. Moreover, it can perform several new utterance control tasks, thanks to its hierarchical latent structure.

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Detecting Egregious Conversations between Customers and Virtual Agents
Tommy Sandbank | Michal Shmueli-Scheuer | Jonathan Herzig | David Konopnicki | John Richards | David Piorkowski

Virtual agents are becoming a prominent channel of interaction in customer service. Not all customer interactions are smooth, however, and some can become almost comically bad. In such instances, a human agent might need to step in and salvage the conversation. Detecting bad conversations is important since disappointing customer service may threaten customer loyalty and impact revenue. In this paper, we outline an approach to detecting such egregious conversations, using behavioral cues from the user, patterns in agent responses, and user-agent interaction. Using logs of two commercial systems, we show that using these features improves the detection F1-score by around 20% over using textual features alone. In addition, we show that those features are common across two quite different domains and, arguably, universal.

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Learning to Disentangle Interleaved Conversational Threads with a Siamese Hierarchical Network and Similarity Ranking
Jyun-Yu Jiang | Francine Chen | Yan-Ying Chen | Wei Wang

An enormous amount of conversation occurs online every day, such as on chat platforms where multiple conversations may take place concurrently. Interleaved conversations lead to difficulties in not only following discussions but also retrieving relevant information from simultaneous messages. Conversation disentanglement aims to separate intermingled messages into detached conversations. In this paper, we propose to leverage representation learning for conversation disentanglement. A Siamese hierarchical convolutional neural network (SHCNN), which integrates local and more global representations of a message, is first presented to estimate the conversation-level similarity between closely posted messages. With the estimated similarity scores, our algorithm for conversation identification by similarity ranking (CISIR) then derives conversations based on high-confidence message pairs and pairwise redundancy. Experiments were conducted with four publicly available datasets of conversations from Reddit and IRC channels. The experimental results show that our approach significantly outperforms comparative baselines in both pairwise similarity estimation and conversation disentanglement.

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Variational Knowledge Graph Reasoning
Wenhu Chen | Wenhan Xiong | Xifeng Yan | William Yang Wang

Inferring missing links in knowledge graphs (KG) has attracted a lot of attention from the research community. In this paper, we tackle a practical query answering task involving predicting the relation of a given entity pair. We frame this prediction problem as an inference problem in a probabilistic graphical model and aim at resolving it from a variational inference perspective. In order to model the relation between the query entity pair, we assume that there exists an underlying latent variable (paths connecting two nodes) in the KG, which carries the equivalent semantics of their relations. However, due to the intractability of connections in large KGs, we propose to use variation inference to maximize the evidence lower bound. More specifically, our framework (Diva) is composed of three modules, i.e. a posterior approximator, a prior (path finder), and a likelihood (path reasoner). By using variational inference, we are able to incorporate them closely into a unified architecture and jointly optimize them to perform KG reasoning. With active interactions among these sub-modules, Diva is better at handling noise and coping with more complex reasoning scenarios. In order to evaluate our method, we conduct the experiment of the link prediction task on multiple datasets and achieve state-of-the-art performances on both datasets.

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Inducing Temporal Relations from Time Anchor Annotation
Fei Cheng | Yusuke Miyao

Recognizing temporal relations among events and time expressions has been an essential but challenging task in natural language processing. Conventional annotation of judging temporal relations puts a heavy load on annotators. In reality, the existing annotated corpora include annotations on only “salient” event pairs, or on pairs in a fixed window of sentences. In this paper, we propose a new approach to obtain temporal relations from absolute time value (a.k.a. time anchors), which is suitable for texts containing rich temporal information such as news articles. We start from time anchors for events and time expressions, and temporal relation annotations are induced automatically by computing relative order of two time anchors. This proposal shows several advantages over the current methods for temporal relation annotation: it requires less annotation effort, can induce inter-sentence relations easily, and increases informativeness of temporal relations. We compare the empirical statistics and automatic recognition results with our data against a previous temporal relation corpus. We also reveal that our data contributes to a significant improvement of the downstream time anchor prediction task, demonstrating 14.1 point increase in overall accuracy.

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ELDEN: Improved Entity Linking Using Densified Knowledge Graphs
Priya Radhakrishnan | Partha Talukdar | Vasudeva Varma

Entity Linking (EL) systems aim to automatically map mentions of an entity in text to the corresponding entity in a Knowledge Graph (KG). Degree of connectivity of an entity in the KG directly affects an EL system’s ability to correctly link mentions in text to the entity in KG. This causes many EL systems to perform well for entities well connected to other entities in KG, bringing into focus the role of KG density in EL. In this paper, we propose Entity Linking using Densified Knowledge Graphs (ELDEN). ELDEN is an EL system which first densifies the KG with co-occurrence statistics from a large text corpus, and then uses the densified KG to train entity embeddings. Entity similarity measured using these trained entity embeddings result in improved EL. ELDEN outperforms state-of-the-art EL system on benchmark datasets. Due to such densification, ELDEN performs well for sparsely connected entities in the KG too. ELDEN’s approach is simple, yet effective. We have made ELDEN’s code and data publicly available.

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Interpretable Charge Predictions for Criminal Cases: Learning to Generate Court Views from Fact Descriptions
Hai Ye | Xin Jiang | Zhunchen Luo | Wenhan Chao

In this paper, we propose to study the problem of court view generation from the fact description in a criminal case. The task aims to improve the interpretability of charge prediction systems and help automatic legal document generation. We formulate this task as a text-to-text natural language generation (NLG) problem. Sequence-to-sequence model has achieved cutting-edge performances in many NLG tasks. However, due to the non-distinctions of fact descriptions, it is hard for Seq2Seq model to generate charge-discriminative court views. In this work, we explore charge labels to tackle this issue. We propose a label-conditioned Seq2Seq model with attention for this problem, to decode court views conditioned on encoded charge labels. Experimental results show the effectiveness of our method.

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Delete, Retrieve, Generate: a Simple Approach to Sentiment and Style Transfer
Juncen Li | Robin Jia | He He | Percy Liang

We consider the task of text attribute transfer: transforming a sentence to alter a specific attribute (e.g., sentiment) while preserving its attribute-independent content (e.g., “screen is just the right size” to “screen is too small”). Our training data includes only sentences labeled with their attribute (e.g., positive and negative), but not pairs of sentences that only differ in the attributes, so we must learn to disentangle attributes from attribute-independent content in an unsupervised way. Previous work using adversarial methods has struggled to produce high-quality outputs. In this paper, we propose simpler methods motivated by the observation that text attributes are often marked by distinctive phrases (e.g., “too small”). Our strongest method extracts content words by deleting phrases associated with the sentence’s original attribute value, retrieves new phrases associated with the target attribute, and uses a neural model to fluently combine these into a final output. Based on human evaluation, our best method generates grammatical and appropriate responses on 22% more inputs than the best previous system, averaged over three attribute transfer datasets: altering sentiment of reviews on Yelp, altering sentiment of reviews on Amazon, and altering image captions to be more romantic or humorous.

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Adversarial Example Generation with Syntactically Controlled Paraphrase Networks
Mohit Iyyer | John Wieting | Kevin Gimpel | Luke Zettlemoyer

We propose syntactically controlled paraphrase networks (SCPNs) and use them to generate adversarial examples. Given a sentence and a target syntactic form (e.g., a constituency parse), SCPNs are trained to produce a paraphrase of the sentence with the desired syntax. We show it is possible to create training data for this task by first doing backtranslation at a very large scale, and then using a parser to label the syntactic transformations that naturally occur during this process. Such data allows us to train a neural encoder-decoder model with extra inputs to specify the target syntax. A combination of automated and human evaluations show that SCPNs generate paraphrases that follow their target specifications without decreasing paraphrase quality when compared to baseline (uncontrolled) paraphrase systems. Furthermore, they are more capable of generating syntactically adversarial examples that both (1) “fool” pretrained models and (2) improve the robustness of these models to syntactic variation when used to augment their training data.

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Sentiment Analysis: It’s Complicated!
Kian Kenyon-Dean | Eisha Ahmed | Scott Fujimoto | Jeremy Georges-Filteau | Christopher Glasz | Barleen Kaur | Auguste Lalande | Shruti Bhanderi | Robert Belfer | Nirmal Kanagasabai | Roman Sarrazingendron | Rohit Verma | Derek Ruths

Sentiment analysis is used as a proxy to measure human emotion, where the objective is to categorize text according to some predefined notion of sentiment. Sentiment analysis datasets are typically constructed with gold-standard sentiment labels, assigned based on the results of manual annotations. When working with such annotations, it is common for dataset constructors to discard “noisy” or “controversial” data where there is significant disagreement on the proper label. In datasets constructed for the purpose of Twitter sentiment analysis (TSA), these controversial examples can compose over 30% of the originally annotated data. We argue that the removal of such data is a problematic trend because, when performing real-time sentiment classification of short-text, an automated system cannot know a priori which samples would fall into this category of disputed sentiment. We therefore propose the notion of a “complicated” class of sentiment to categorize such text, and argue that its inclusion in the short-text sentiment analysis framework will improve the quality of automated sentiment analysis systems as they are implemented in real-world settings. We motivate this argument by building and analyzing a new publicly available TSA dataset of over 7,000 tweets annotated with 5x coverage, named MTSA. Our analysis of classifier performance over our dataset offers insights into sentiment analysis dataset and model design, how current techniques would perform in the real world, and how researchers should handle difficult data.

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Multi-Task Learning of Pairwise Sequence Classification Tasks over Disparate Label Spaces
Isabelle Augenstein | Sebastian Ruder | Anders Søgaard

We combine multi-task learning and semi-supervised learning by inducing a joint embedding space between disparate label spaces and learning transfer functions between label embeddings, enabling us to jointly leverage unlabelled data and auxiliary, annotated datasets. We evaluate our approach on a variety of tasks with disparate label spaces. We outperform strong single and multi-task baselines and achieve a new state of the art for aspect-based and topic-based sentiment analysis.

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Word Emotion Induction for Multiple Languages as a Deep Multi-Task Learning Problem
Sven Buechel | Udo Hahn

Predicting the emotional value of lexical items is a well-known problem in sentiment analysis. While research has focused on polarity for quite a long time, meanwhile this early focus has been shifted to more expressive emotion representation models (such as Basic Emotions or Valence-Arousal-Dominance). This change resulted in a proliferation of heterogeneous formats and, in parallel, often small-sized, non-interoperable resources (lexicons and corpus annotations). In particular, the limitations in size hampered the application of deep learning methods in this area because they typically require large amounts of input data. We here present a solution to get around this language data bottleneck by rephrasing word emotion induction as a multi-task learning problem. In this approach, the prediction of each independent emotion dimension is considered as an individual task and hidden layers are shared between these dimensions. We investigate whether multi-task learning is more advantageous than single-task learning for emotion prediction by comparing our model against a wide range of alternative emotion and polarity induction methods featuring 9 typologically diverse languages and a total of 15 conditions. Our model turns out to outperform each one of them. Against all odds, the proposed deep learning approach yields the largest gain on the smallest data sets, merely composed of one thousand samples.

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Human Needs Categorization of Affective Events Using Labeled and Unlabeled Data
Haibo Ding | Ellen Riloff

We often talk about events that impact us positively or negatively. For example “I got a job” is good news, but “I lost my job” is bad news. When we discuss an event, we not only understand its affective polarity but also the reason why the event is beneficial or detrimental. For example, getting or losing a job has affective polarity primarily because it impacts us financially. Our work aims to categorize affective events based upon human need categories that often explain people’s motivations and desires: PHYSIOLOGICAL, HEALTH, LEISURE, SOCIAL, FINANCIAL, COGNITION, and FREEDOM. We create classification models based on event expressions as well as models that use contexts surrounding event mentions. We also design a co-training model that learns from unlabeled data by simultaneously training event expression and event context classifiers in an iterative learning process. Our results show that co-training performs well, producing substantially better results than the individual classifiers.

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The Argument Reasoning Comprehension Task: Identification and Reconstruction of Implicit Warrants
Ivan Habernal | Henning Wachsmuth | Iryna Gurevych | Benno Stein

Reasoning is a crucial part of natural language argumentation. To comprehend an argument, one must analyze its warrant, which explains why its claim follows from its premises. As arguments are highly contextualized, warrants are usually presupposed and left implicit. Thus, the comprehension does not only require language understanding and logic skills, but also depends on common sense. In this paper we develop a methodology for reconstructing warrants systematically. We operationalize it in a scalable crowdsourcing process, resulting in a freely licensed dataset with warrants for 2k authentic arguments from news comments. On this basis, we present a new challenging task, the argument reasoning comprehension task. Given an argument with a claim and a premise, the goal is to choose the correct implicit warrant from two options. Both warrants are plausible and lexically close, but lead to contradicting claims. A solution to this task will define a substantial step towards automatic warrant reconstruction. However, experiments with several neural attention and language models reveal that current approaches do not suffice.

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Linguistic Cues to Deception and Perceived Deception in Interview Dialogues
Sarah Ita Levitan | Angel Maredia | Julia Hirschberg

We explore deception detection in interview dialogues. We analyze a set of linguistic features in both truthful and deceptive responses to interview questions. We also study the perception of deception, identifying characteristics of statements that are perceived as truthful or deceptive by interviewers. Our analysis show significant differences between truthful and deceptive question responses, as well as variations in deception patterns across gender and native language. This analysis motivated our selection of features for machine learning experiments aimed at classifying globally deceptive speech. Our best classification performance is 72.74% F1-Score (about 17% better than human performance), which is achieved using a combination of linguistic features and individual traits.

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Unified Pragmatic Models for Generating and Following Instructions
Daniel Fried | Jacob Andreas | Dan Klein

We show that explicit pragmatic inference aids in correctly generating and following natural language instructions for complex, sequential tasks. Our pragmatics-enabled models reason about why speakers produce certain instructions, and about how listeners will react upon hearing them. Like previous pragmatic models, we use learned base listener and speaker models to build a pragmatic speaker that uses the base listener to simulate the interpretation of candidate descriptions, and a pragmatic listener that reasons counterfactually about alternative descriptions. We extend these models to tasks with sequential structure. Evaluation of language generation and interpretation shows that pragmatic inference improves state-of-the-art listener models (at correctly interpreting human instructions) and speaker models (at producing instructions correctly interpreted by humans) in diverse settings.

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Hierarchical Structured Model for Fine-to-Coarse Manifesto Text Analysis
Shivashankar Subramanian | Trevor Cohn | Timothy Baldwin

Election manifestos document the intentions, motives, and views of political parties. They are often used for analysing a party’s fine-grained position on a particular issue, as well as for coarse-grained positioning of a party on the left–right spectrum. In this paper we propose a two-stage model for automatically performing both levels of analysis over manifestos. In the first step we employ a hierarchical multi-task structured deep model to predict fine- and coarse-grained positions, and in the second step we perform post-hoc calibration of coarse-grained positions using probabilistic soft logic. We empirically show that the proposed model outperforms state-of-art approaches at both granularities using manifestos from twelve countries, written in ten different languages.

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Behavior Analysis of NLI Models: Uncovering the Influence of Three Factors on Robustness
Ivan Sanchez | Jeff Mitchell | Sebastian Riedel

Natural Language Inference is a challenging task that has received substantial attention, and state-of-the-art models now achieve impressive test set performance in the form of accuracy scores. Here, we go beyond this single evaluation metric to examine robustness to semantically-valid alterations to the input data. We identify three factors - insensitivity, polarity and unseen pairs - and compare their impact on three SNLI models under a variety of conditions. Our results demonstrate a number of strengths and weaknesses in the models’ ability to generalise to new in-domain instances. In particular, while strong performance is possible on unseen hypernyms, unseen antonyms are more challenging for all the models. More generally, the models suffer from an insensitivity to certain small but semantically significant alterations, and are also often influenced by simple statistical correlations between words and training labels. Overall, we show that evaluations of NLI models can benefit from studying the influence of factors intrinsic to the models or found in the dataset used.

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Assessing Language Proficiency from Eye Movements in Reading
Yevgeni Berzak | Boris Katz | Roger Levy

We present a novel approach for determining learners’ second language proficiency which utilizes behavioral traces of eye movements during reading. Our approach provides stand-alone eyetracking based English proficiency scores which reflect the extent to which the learner’s gaze patterns in reading are similar to those of native English speakers. We show that our scores correlate strongly with standardized English proficiency tests. We also demonstrate that gaze information can be used to accurately predict the outcomes of such tests. Our approach yields the strongest performance when the test taker is presented with a suite of sentences for which we have eyetracking data from other readers. However, it remains effective even using eyetracking with sentences for which eye movement data have not been previously collected. By deriving proficiency as an automatic byproduct of eye movements during ordinary reading, our approach offers a potentially valuable new tool for second language proficiency assessment. More broadly, our results open the door to future methods for inferring reader characteristics from the behavioral traces of reading.

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Comparing Theories of Speaker Choice Using a Model of Classifier Production in Mandarin Chinese
Meilin Zhan | Roger Levy

Speakers often have more than one way to express the same meaning. What general principles govern speaker choice in the face of optionality when near semantically invariant alternation exists? Studies have shown that optional reduction in language is sensitive to contextual predictability, such that more predictable a linguistic unit is, the more likely it is to get reduced. Yet it is unclear whether these cases of speaker choice are driven by audience design versus toward facilitating production. Here we argue that for a different optionality phenomenon, namely classifier choice in Mandarin Chinese, Uniform Information Density and at least one plausible variant of availability-based production make opposite predictions regarding the relationship between the predictability of the upcoming material and speaker choices. In a corpus analysis of Mandarin Chinese, we show that the distribution of speaker choices supports the availability-based production account and not the Uniform Information Density.

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Spotting Spurious Data with Neural Networks
Hadi Amiri | Timothy Miller | Guergana Savova

Automatic identification of spurious instances (those with potentially wrong labels in datasets) can improve the quality of existing language resources, especially when annotations are obtained through crowdsourcing or automatically generated based on coded rankings. In this paper, we present effective approaches inspired by queueing theory and psychology of learning to automatically identify spurious instances in datasets. Our approaches discriminate instances based on their “difficulty to learn,” determined by a downstream learner. Our methods can be applied to any dataset assuming the existence of a neural network model for the target task of the dataset. Our best approach outperforms competing state-of-the-art baselines and has a MAP of 0.85 and 0.22 in identifying spurious instances in synthetic and carefully-crowdsourced real-world datasets respectively.

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The Timing of Lexical Memory Retrievals in Language Production
Jeremy Cole | David Reitter

This paper explores the time course of lexical memory retrieval by modeling fluent language production. The duration of retrievals is predicted using the ACT-R cognitive architecture. In a large-scale observational study of a spoken corpus, we find that language production at a time point preceding a word is sped up or slowed down depending on activation of that word. This computational analysis has consequences for the theoretical model of language production. The results point to interference between lexical and phonological stages as well as a quantifiable buffer for lexical information that opens up the possibility of non-sequential retrievals.

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Unsupervised Induction of Linguistic Categories with Records of Reading, Speaking, and Writing
Maria Barrett | Ana Valeria González-Garduño | Lea Frermann | Anders Søgaard

When learning POS taggers and syntactic chunkers for low-resource languages, different resources may be available, and often all we have is a small tag dictionary, motivating type-constrained unsupervised induction. Even small dictionaries can improve the performance of unsupervised induction algorithms. This paper shows that performance can be further improved by including data that is readily available or can be easily obtained for most languages, i.e., eye-tracking, speech, or keystroke logs (or any combination thereof). We project information from all these data sources into shared spaces, in which the union of words is represented. For English unsupervised POS induction, the additional information, which is not required at test time, leads to an average error reduction on Ontonotes domains of 1.5% over systems augmented with state-of-the-art word embeddings. On Penn Treebank the best model achieves 5.4% error reduction over a word embeddings baseline. We also achieve significant improvements for syntactic chunk induction. Our analysis shows that improvements are even bigger when the available tag dictionaries are smaller.

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Challenging Reading Comprehension on Daily Conversation: Passage Completion on Multiparty Dialog
Kaixin Ma | Tomasz Jurczyk | Jinho D. Choi

This paper presents a new corpus and a robust deep learning architecture for a task in reading comprehension, passage completion, on multiparty dialog. Given a dialog in text and a passage containing factual descriptions about the dialog where mentions of the characters are replaced by blanks, the task is to fill the blanks with the most appropriate character names that reflect the contexts in the dialog. Since there is no dataset that challenges the task of passage completion in this genre, we create a corpus by selecting transcripts from a TV show that comprise 1,681 dialogs, generating passages for each dialog through crowdsourcing, and annotating mentions of characters in both the dialog and the passages. Given this dataset, we build a deep neural model that integrates rich feature extraction from convolutional neural networks into sequence modeling in recurrent neural networks, optimized by utterance and dialog level attentions. Our model outperforms the previous state-of-the-art model on this task in a different genre using bidirectional LSTM, showing a 13.0+% improvement for longer dialogs. Our analysis shows the effectiveness of the attention mechanisms and suggests a direction to machine comprehension on multiparty dialog.

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Dialog Generation Using Multi-Turn Reasoning Neural Networks
Xianchao Wu | Ander Martínez | Momo Klyen

In this paper, we propose a generalizable dialog generation approach that adapts multi-turn reasoning, one recent advancement in the field of document comprehension, to generate responses (“answers”) by taking current conversation session context as a “document” and current query as a “question”. The major idea is to represent a conversation session into memories upon which attention-based memory reading mechanism can be performed multiple times, so that (1) user’s query is properly extended by contextual clues and (2) optimal responses are step-by-step generated. Considering that the speakers of one conversation are not limited to be one, we separate the single memory used for document comprehension into different groups for speaker-specific topic and opinion embedding. Namely, we utilize the queries’ memory, the responses’ memory, and their unified memory, following the time sequence of the conversation session. Experiments on Japanese 10-sentence (5-round) conversation modeling show impressive results on how multi-turn reasoning can produce more diverse and acceptable responses than state-of-the-art single-turn and non-reasoning baselines.

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Dialogue Learning with Human Teaching and Feedback in End-to-End Trainable Task-Oriented Dialogue Systems
Bing Liu | Gokhan Tür | Dilek Hakkani-Tür | Pararth Shah | Larry Heck

In this work, we present a hybrid learning method for training task-oriented dialogue systems through online user interactions. Popular methods for learning task-oriented dialogues include applying reinforcement learning with user feedback on supervised pre-training models. Efficiency of such learning method may suffer from the mismatch of dialogue state distribution between offline training and online interactive learning stages. To address this challenge, we propose a hybrid imitation and reinforcement learning method, with which a dialogue agent can effectively learn from its interaction with users by learning from human teaching and feedback. We design a neural network based task-oriented dialogue agent that can be optimized end-to-end with the proposed learning method. Experimental results show that our end-to-end dialogue agent can learn effectively from the mistake it makes via imitation learning from user teaching. Applying reinforcement learning with user feedback after the imitation learning stage further improves the agent’s capability in successfully completing a task.

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LSDSCC: a Large Scale Domain-Specific Conversational Corpus for Response Generation with Diversity Oriented Evaluation Metrics
Zhen Xu | Nan Jiang | Bingquan Liu | Wenge Rong | Bowen Wu | Baoxun Wang | Zhuoran Wang | Xiaolong Wang

It has been proven that automatic conversational agents can be built up using the Endto-End Neural Response Generation (NRG) framework, and such a data-driven methodology requires a large number of dialog pairs for model training and reasonable evaluation metrics for testing. This paper proposes a Large Scale Domain-Specific Conversational Corpus (LSDSCC) composed of high-quality queryresponse pairs extracted from the domainspecific online forum, with thorough preprocessing and cleansing procedures. Also, a testing set, including multiple diverse responses annotated for each query, is constructed, and on this basis, the metrics for measuring the diversity of generated results are further presented. We evaluate the performances of neural dialog models with the widely applied diversity boosting strategies on the proposed dataset. The experimental results have shown that our proposed corpus can be taken as a new benchmark dataset for the NRG task, and the presented metrics are promising to guide the optimization of NRG models by quantifying the diversity of the generated responses reasonably.

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EMR Coding with Semi-Parametric Multi-Head Matching Networks
Anthony Rios | Ramakanth Kavuluru

Coding EMRs with diagnosis and procedure codes is an indispensable task for billing, secondary data analyses, and monitoring health trends. Both speed and accuracy of coding are critical. While coding errors could lead to more patient-side financial burden and misinterpretation of a patient’s well-being, timely coding is also needed to avoid backlogs and additional costs for the healthcare facility. In this paper, we present a new neural network architecture that combines ideas from few-shot learning matching networks, multi-label loss functions, and convolutional neural networks for text classification to significantly outperform other state-of-the-art models. Our evaluations are conducted using a well known de-identified EMR dataset (MIMIC) with a variety of multi-label performance measures.

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Factors Influencing the Surprising Instability of Word Embeddings
Laura Wendlandt | Jonathan K. Kummerfeld | Rada Mihalcea

Despite the recent popularity of word embedding methods, there is only a small body of work exploring the limitations of these representations. In this paper, we consider one aspect of embedding spaces, namely their stability. We show that even relatively high frequency words (100-200 occurrences) are often unstable. We provide empirical evidence for how various factors contribute to the stability of word embeddings, and we analyze the effects of stability on downstream tasks.

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Mining Evidences for Concept Stock Recommendation
Qi Liu | Yue Zhang

We investigate the task of mining relevant stocks given a topic of concern on emerging capital markets, for which there is lack of structural understanding. Deep learning is leveraged to mine evidences from large scale textual data, which contain valuable market information. In particular, distributed word similarities trained over large scale raw texts are taken as a basis of relevance measuring, and deep reinforcement learning is leveraged to learn a strategy of topic expansion, given a small amount of manually labeled data from financial analysts. Results on two Chinese stock market datasets show that our method outperforms a strong baseline using information retrieval techniques.

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Binarized LSTM Language Model
Xuan Liu | Di Cao | Kai Yu

Long short-term memory (LSTM) language model (LM) has been widely investigated for automatic speech recognition (ASR) and natural language processing (NLP). Although excellent performance is obtained for large vocabulary tasks, tremendous memory consumption prohibits the use of LSTM LM in low-resource devices. The memory consumption mainly comes from the word embedding layer. In this paper, a novel binarized LSTM LM is proposed to address the problem. Words are encoded into binary vectors and other LSTM parameters are further binarized to achieve high memory compression. This is the first effort to investigate binary LSTM for large vocabulary LM. Experiments on both English and Chinese LM and ASR tasks showed that can achieve a compression ratio of 11.3 without any loss of LM and ASR performances and a compression ratio of 31.6 with acceptable minor performance degradation.

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Conversational Memory Network for Emotion Recognition in Dyadic Dialogue Videos
Devamanyu Hazarika | Soujanya Poria | Amir Zadeh | Erik Cambria | Louis-Philippe Morency | Roger Zimmermann

Emotion recognition in conversations is crucial for the development of empathetic machines. Present methods mostly ignore the role of inter-speaker dependency relations while classifying emotions in conversations. In this paper, we address recognizing utterance-level emotions in dyadic conversational videos. We propose a deep neural framework, termed Conversational Memory Network (CMN), which leverages contextual information from the conversation history. In particular, CMN uses multimodal approach comprising audio, visual and textual features with gated recurrent units to model past utterances of each speaker into memories. These memories are then merged using attention-based hops to capture inter-speaker dependencies. Experiments show a significant improvement of 3 − 4% in accuracy over the state of the art.

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How Time Matters: Learning Time-Decay Attention for Contextual Spoken Language Understanding in Dialogues
Shang-Yu Su | Pei-Chieh Yuan | Yun-Nung Chen

Spoken language understanding (SLU) is an essential component in conversational systems. Most SLU components treats each utterance independently, and then the following components aggregate the multi-turn information in the separate phases. In order to avoid error propagation and effectively utilize contexts, prior work leveraged history for contextual SLU. However, most previous models only paid attention to the related content in history utterances, ignoring their temporal information. In the dialogues, it is intuitive that the most recent utterances are more important than the least recent ones, in other words, time-aware attention should be in a decaying manner. Therefore, this paper designs and investigates various types of time-decay attention on the sentence-level and speaker-level, and further proposes a flexible universal time-decay attention mechanism. The experiments on the benchmark Dialogue State Tracking Challenge (DSTC4) dataset show that the proposed time-decay attention mechanisms significantly improve the state-of-the-art model for contextual understanding performance.

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Towards Understanding Text Factors in Oral Reading
Anastassia Loukina | Van Rynald T. Liceralde | Beata Beigman Klebanov

Using a case study, we show that variation in oral reading rate across passages for professional narrators is consistent across readers and much of it can be explained using features of the texts being read. While text complexity is a poor predictor of the reading rate, a substantial share of variability can be explained by timing and story-based factors with performance reaching r=0.75 for unseen passages and narrator.

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Generating Bilingual Pragmatic Color References
Will Monroe | Jennifer Hu | Andrew Jong | Christopher Potts

Contextual influences on language often exhibit substantial cross-lingual regularities; for example, we are more verbose in situations that require finer distinctions. However, these regularities are sometimes obscured by semantic and syntactic differences. Using a newly-collected dataset of color reference games in Mandarin Chinese (which we release to the public), we confirm that a variety of constructions display the same sensitivity to contextual difficulty in Chinese and English. We then show that a neural speaker agent trained on bilingual data with a simple multitask learning approach displays more human-like patterns of context dependence and is more pragmatically informative than its monolingual Chinese counterpart. Moreover, this is not at the expense of language-specific semantic understanding: the resulting speaker model learns the different basic color term systems of English and Chinese (with noteworthy cross-lingual influences), and it can identify synonyms between the two languages using vector analogy operations on its output layer, despite having no exposure to parallel data.

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Learning with Latent Language
Jacob Andreas | Dan Klein | Sergey Levine

The named concepts and compositional operators present in natural language provide a rich source of information about the abstractions humans use to navigate the world. Can this linguistic background knowledge improve the generality and efficiency of learned classifiers and control policies? This paper aims to show that using the space of natural language strings as a parameter space is an effective way to capture natural task structure. In a pretraining phase, we learn a language interpretation model that transforms inputs (e.g. images) into outputs (e.g. labels) given natural language descriptions. To learn a new concept (e.g. a classifier), we search directly in the space of descriptions to minimize the interpreter’s loss on training examples. Crucially, our models do not require language data to learn these concepts: language is used only in pretraining to impose structure on subsequent learning. Results on image classification, text editing, and reinforcement learning show that, in all settings, models with a linguistic parameterization outperform those without.

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Object Counts! Bringing Explicit Detections Back into Image Captioning
Josiah Wang | Pranava Swaroop Madhyastha | Lucia Specia

The use of explicit object detectors as an intermediate step to image captioning – which used to constitute an essential stage in early work – is often bypassed in the currently dominant end-to-end approaches, where the language model is conditioned directly on a mid-level image embedding. We argue that explicit detections provide rich semantic information, and can thus be used as an interpretable representation to better understand why end-to-end image captioning systems work well. We provide an in-depth analysis of end-to-end image captioning by exploring a variety of cues that can be derived from such object detections. Our study reveals that end-to-end image captioning systems rely on matching image representations to generate captions, and that encoding the frequency, size and position of objects are complementary and all play a role in forming a good image representation. It also reveals that different object categories contribute in different ways towards image captioning.

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Quantifying the Visual Concreteness of Words and Topics in Multimodal Datasets
Jack Hessel | David Mimno | Lillian Lee

Multimodal machine learning algorithms aim to learn visual-textual correspondences. Previous work suggests that concepts with concrete visual manifestations may be easier to learn than concepts with abstract ones. We give an algorithm for automatically computing the visual concreteness of words and topics within multimodal datasets. We apply the approach in four settings, ranging from image captions to images/text scraped from historical books. In addition to enabling explorations of concepts in multimodal datasets, our concreteness scores predict the capacity of machine learning algorithms to learn textual/visual relationships. We find that 1) concrete concepts are indeed easier to learn; 2) the large number of algorithms we consider have similar failure cases; 3) the precise positive relationship between concreteness and performance varies between datasets. We conclude with recommendations for using concreteness scores to facilitate future multimodal research.

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Speaker Naming in Movies
Mahmoud Azab | Mingzhe Wang | Max Smith | Noriyuki Kojima | Jia Deng | Rada Mihalcea

We propose a new model for speaker naming in movies that leverages visual, textual, and acoustic modalities in an unified optimization framework. To evaluate the performance of our model, we introduce a new dataset consisting of six episodes of the Big Bang Theory TV show and eighteen full movies covering different genres. Our experiments show that our multimodal model significantly outperforms several competitive baselines on the average weighted F-score metric. To demonstrate the effectiveness of our framework, we design an end-to-end memory network model that leverages our speaker naming model and achieves state-of-the-art results on the subtitles task of the MovieQA 2017 Challenge.

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Stacking with Auxiliary Features for Visual Question Answering
Nazneen Fatema Rajani | Raymond Mooney

Visual Question Answering (VQA) is a well-known and challenging task that requires systems to jointly reason about natural language and vision. Deep learning models in various forms have been the standard for solving VQA. However, some of these VQA models are better at certain types of image-question pairs than other models. Ensembling VQA models intelligently to leverage their diverse expertise is, therefore, advantageous. Stacking With Auxiliary Features (SWAF) is an intelligent ensembling technique which learns to combine the results of multiple models using features of the current problem as context. We propose four categories of auxiliary features for ensembling for VQA. Three out of the four categories of features can be inferred from an image-question pair and do not require querying the component models. The fourth category of auxiliary features uses model-specific explanations. In this paper, we describe how we use these various categories of auxiliary features to improve performance for VQA. Using SWAF to effectively ensemble three recent systems, we obtain a new state-of-the-art. Our work also highlights the advantages of explainable AI models.

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Deep Contextualized Word Representations
Matthew E. Peters | Mark Neumann | Mohit Iyyer | Matt Gardner | Christopher Clark | Kenton Lee | Luke Zettlemoyer

We introduce a new type of deep contextualized word representation that models both (1) complex characteristics of word use (e.g., syntax and semantics), and (2) how these uses vary across linguistic contexts (i.e., to model polysemy). Our word vectors are learned functions of the internal states of a deep bidirectional language model (biLM), which is pre-trained on a large text corpus. We show that these representations can be easily added to existing models and significantly improve the state of the art across six challenging NLP problems, including question answering, textual entailment and sentiment analysis. We also present an analysis showing that exposing the deep internals of the pre-trained network is crucial, allowing downstream models to mix different types of semi-supervision signals.

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Learning to Map Context-Dependent Sentences to Executable Formal Queries
Alane Suhr | Srinivasan Iyer | Yoav Artzi

We propose a context-dependent model to map utterances within an interaction to executable formal queries. To incorporate interaction history, the model maintains an interaction-level encoder that updates after each turn, and can copy sub-sequences of previously predicted queries during generation. Our approach combines implicit and explicit modeling of references between utterances. We evaluate our model on the ATIS flight planning interactions, and demonstrate the benefits of modeling context and explicit references.

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Neural Text Generation in Stories Using Entity Representations as Context
Elizabeth Clark | Yangfeng Ji | Noah A. Smith

We introduce an approach to neural text generation that explicitly represents entities mentioned in the text. Entity representations are vectors that are updated as the text proceeds; they are designed specifically for narrative text like fiction or news stories. Our experiments demonstrate that modeling entities offers a benefit in two automatic evaluations: mention generation (in which a model chooses which entity to mention next and which words to use in the mention) and selection between a correct next sentence and a distractor from later in the same story. We also conduct a human evaluation on automatically generated text in story contexts; this study supports our emphasis on entities and suggests directions for further research.

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Recurrent Neural Networks as Weighted Language Recognizers
Yining Chen | Sorcha Gilroy | Andreas Maletti | Jonathan May | Kevin Knight

We investigate the computational complexity of various problems for simple recurrent neural networks (RNNs) as formal models for recognizing weighted languages. We focus on the single-layer, ReLU-activation, rational-weight RNNs with softmax, which are commonly used in natural language processing applications. We show that most problems for such RNNs are undecidable, including consistency, equivalence, minimization, and the determination of the highest-weighted string. However, for consistent RNNs the last problem becomes decidable, although the solution length can surpass all computable bounds. If additionally the string is limited to polynomial length, the problem becomes NP-complete. In summary, this shows that approximations and heuristic algorithms are necessary in practical applications of those RNNs.


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Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 2 (Short Papers)

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Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 2 (Short Papers)
Marilyn Walker | Heng Ji | Amanda Stent

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Enhanced Word Representations for Bridging Anaphora Resolution
Yufang Hou

Most current models of word representations (e.g., GloVe) have successfully captured fine-grained semantics. However, semantic similarity exhibited in these word embeddings is not suitable for resolving bridging anaphora, which requires the knowledge of associative similarity (i.e., relatedness) instead of semantic similarity information between synonyms or hypernyms. We create word embeddings (embeddings_PP) to capture such relatedness by exploring the syntactic structure of noun phrases. We demonstrate that using embeddings _PP alone achieves around 30% of accuracy for bridging anaphora resolution on the ISNotes corpus. Furthermore, we achieve a substantial gain over the state-of-the-art system (Hou et al., 2013b) for bridging antecedent selection.

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Gender Bias in Coreference Resolution
Rachel Rudinger | Jason Naradowsky | Brian Leonard | Benjamin Van Durme

We present an empirical study of gender bias in coreference resolution systems. We first introduce a novel, Winograd schema-style set of minimal pair sentences that differ only by pronoun gender. With these “Winogender schemas,” we evaluate and confirm systematic gender bias in three publicly-available coreference resolution systems, and correlate this bias with real-world and textual gender statistics.

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Gender Bias in Coreference Resolution: Evaluation and Debiasing Methods
Jieyu Zhao | Tianlu Wang | Mark Yatskar | Vicente Ordonez | Kai-Wei Chang

In this paper, we introduce a new benchmark for co-reference resolution focused on gender bias, WinoBias. Our corpus contains Winograd-schema style sentences with entities corresponding to people referred by their occupation (e.g. the nurse, the doctor, the carpenter). We demonstrate that a rule-based, a feature-rich, and a neural coreference system all link gendered pronouns to pro-stereotypical entities with higher accuracy than anti-stereotypical entities, by an average difference of 21.1 in F1 score. Finally, we demonstrate a data-augmentation approach that, in combination with existing word-embedding debiasing techniques, removes the bias demonstrated by these systems in WinoBias without significantly affecting their performance on existing datasets.

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Integrating Stance Detection and Fact Checking in a Unified Corpus
Ramy Baly | Mitra Mohtarami | James Glass | Lluís Màrquez | Alessandro Moschitti | Preslav Nakov

A reasonable approach for fact checking a claim involves retrieving potentially relevant documents from different sources (e.g., news websites, social media, etc.), determining the stance of each document with respect to the claim, and finally making a prediction about the claim’s factuality by aggregating the strength of the stances, while taking the reliability of the source into account. Moreover, a fact checking system should be able to explain its decision by providing relevant extracts (rationales) from the documents. Yet, this setup is not directly supported by existing datasets, which treat fact checking, document retrieval, source credibility, stance detection and rationale extraction as independent tasks. In this paper, we support the interdependencies between these tasks as annotations in the same corpus. We implement this setup on an Arabic fact checking corpus, the first of its kind.

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Is Something Better than Nothing? Automatically Predicting Stance-based Arguments Using Deep Learning and Small Labelled Dataset
Pavithra Rajendran | Danushka Bollegala | Simon Parsons

Online reviews have become a popular portal among customers making decisions about purchasing products. A number of corpora of reviews have been widely investigated in NLP in general, and, in particular, in argument mining. This is a subset of NLP that deals with extracting arguments and the relations among them from user-based content. A major problem faced by argument mining research is the lack of human-annotated data. In this paper, we investigate the use of weakly supervised and semi-supervised methods for automatically annotating data, and thus providing large annotated datasets. We do this by building on previous work that explores the classification of opinions present in reviews based whether the stance is expressed explicitly or implicitly. In the work described here, we automatically annotate stance as implicit or explicit and our results show that the datasets we generate, although noisy, can be used to learn better models for implicit/explicit opinion classification.

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Multi-Task Learning for Argumentation Mining in Low-Resource Settings
Claudia Schulz | Steffen Eger | Johannes Daxenberger | Tobias Kahse | Iryna Gurevych

We investigate whether and where multi-task learning (MTL) can improve performance on NLP problems related to argumentation mining (AM), in particular argument component identification. Our results show that MTL performs particularly well (and better than single-task learning) when little training data is available for the main task, a common scenario in AM. Our findings challenge previous assumptions that conceptualizations across AM datasets are divergent and that MTL is difficult for semantic or higher-level tasks.

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Neural Models for Reasoning over Multiple Mentions Using Coreference
Bhuwan Dhingra | Qiao Jin | Zhilin Yang | William Cohen | Ruslan Salakhutdinov

Many problems in NLP require aggregating information from multiple mentions of the same entity which may be far apart in the text. Existing Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) layers are biased towards short-term dependencies and hence not suited to such tasks. We present a recurrent layer which is instead biased towards coreferent dependencies. The layer uses coreference annotations extracted from an external system to connect entity mentions belonging to the same cluster. Incorporating this layer into a state-of-the-art reading comprehension model improves performance on three datasets – Wikihop, LAMBADA and the bAbi AI tasks – with large gains when training data is scarce.

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Automatic Dialogue Generation with Expressed Emotions
Chenyang Huang | Osmar Zaïane | Amine Trabelsi | Nouha Dziri

Despite myriad efforts in the literature designing neural dialogue generation systems in recent years, very few consider putting restrictions on the response itself. They learn from collections of past responses and generate one based on a given utterance without considering, speech act, desired style or emotion to be expressed. In this research, we address the problem of forcing the dialogue generation to express emotion. We present three models that either concatenate the desired emotion with the source input during the learning, or push the emotion in the decoder. The results, evaluated with an emotion tagger, are encouraging with all three models, but present better outcome and promise with our model that adds the emotion vector in the decoder.

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Guiding Generation for Abstractive Text Summarization Based on Key Information Guide Network
Chenliang Li | Weiran Xu | Si Li | Sheng Gao

Neural network models, based on the attentional encoder-decoder model, have good capability in abstractive text summarization. However, these models are hard to be controlled in the process of generation, which leads to a lack of key information. We propose a guiding generation model that combines the extractive method and the abstractive method. Firstly, we obtain keywords from the text by a extractive model. Then, we introduce a Key Information Guide Network (KIGN), which encodes the keywords to the key information representation, to guide the process of generation. In addition, we use a prediction-guide mechanism, which can obtain the long-term value for future decoding, to further guide the summary generation. We evaluate our model on the CNN/Daily Mail dataset. The experimental results show that our model leads to significant improvements.

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Natural Language Generation by Hierarchical Decoding with Linguistic Patterns
Shang-Yu Su | Kai-Ling Lo | Yi-Ting Yeh | Yun-Nung Chen

Natural language generation (NLG) is a critical component in spoken dialogue systems. Classic NLG can be divided into two phases: (1) sentence planning: deciding on the overall sentence structure, (2) surface realization: determining specific word forms and flattening the sentence structure into a string. Many simple NLG models are based on recurrent neural networks (RNN) and sequence-to-sequence (seq2seq) model, which basically contains a encoder-decoder structure; these NLG models generate sentences from scratch by jointly optimizing sentence planning and surface realization using a simple cross entropy loss training criterion. However, the simple encoder-decoder architecture usually suffers from generating complex and long sentences, because the decoder has to learn all grammar and diction knowledge. This paper introduces a hierarchical decoding NLG model based on linguistic patterns in different levels, and shows that the proposed method outperforms the traditional one with a smaller model size. Furthermore, the design of the hierarchical decoding is flexible and easily-extendible in various NLG systems.

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Neural Poetry Translation
Marjan Ghazvininejad | Yejin Choi | Kevin Knight

We present the first neural poetry translation system. Unlike previous works that often fail to produce any translation for fixed rhyme and rhythm patterns, our system always translates a source text to an English poem. Human evaluation of the translations ranks the quality as acceptable 78.2% of the time.

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RankME: Reliable Human Ratings for Natural Language Generation
Jekaterina Novikova | Ondřej Dušek | Verena Rieser

Human evaluation for natural language generation (NLG) often suffers from inconsistent user ratings. While previous research tends to attribute this problem to individual user preferences, we show that the quality of human judgements can also be improved by experimental design. We present a novel rank-based magnitude estimation method (RankME), which combines the use of continuous scales and relative assessments. We show that RankME significantly improves the reliability and consistency of human ratings compared to traditional evaluation methods. In addition, we show that it is possible to evaluate NLG systems according to multiple, distinct criteria, which is important for error analysis. Finally, we demonstrate that RankME, in combination with Bayesian estimation of system quality, is a cost-effective alternative for ranking multiple NLG systems.

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Sentence Simplification with Memory-Augmented Neural Networks
Tu Vu | Baotian Hu | Tsendsuren Munkhdalai | Hong Yu

Sentence simplification aims to simplify the content and structure of complex sentences, and thus make them easier to interpret for human readers, and easier to process for downstream NLP applications. Recent advances in neural machine translation have paved the way for novel approaches to the task. In this paper, we adapt an architecture with augmented memory capacities called Neural Semantic Encoders (Munkhdalai and Yu, 2017) for sentence simplification. Our experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach on different simplification datasets, both in terms of automatic evaluation measures and human judgments.

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A Corpus of Non-Native Written English Annotated for Metaphor
Beata Beigman Klebanov | Chee Wee (Ben) Leong | Michael Flor

We present a corpus of 240 argumentative essays written by non-native speakers of English annotated for metaphor. The corpus is made publicly available. We provide benchmark performance of state-of-the-art systems on this new corpus, and explore the relationship between writing proficiency and metaphor use.

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A Simple and Effective Approach to the Story Cloze Test
Siddarth Srinivasan | Richa Arora | Mark Riedl

In the Story Cloze Test, a system is presented with a 4-sentence prompt to a story, and must determine which one of two potential endings is the ‘right’ ending to the story. Previous work has shown that ignoring the training set and training a model on the validation set can achieve high accuracy on this task due to stylistic differences between the story endings in the training set and validation and test sets. Following this approach, we present a simpler fully-neural approach to the Story Cloze Test using skip-thought embeddings of the stories in a feed-forward network that achieves close to state-of-the-art performance on this task without any feature engineering. We also find that considering just the last sentence of the prompt instead of the whole prompt yields higher accuracy with our approach.

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An Annotated Corpus for Machine Reading of Instructions in Wet Lab Protocols
Chaitanya Kulkarni | Wei Xu | Alan Ritter | Raghu Machiraju

We describe an effort to annotate a corpus of natural language instructions consisting of 622 wet lab protocols to facilitate automatic or semi-automatic conversion of protocols into a machine-readable format and benefit biological research. Experimental results demonstrate the utility of our corpus for developing machine learning approaches to shallow semantic parsing of instructional texts. We make our annotated Wet Lab Protocol Corpus available to the research community.

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Annotation Artifacts in Natural Language Inference Data
Suchin Gururangan | Swabha Swayamdipta | Omer Levy | Roy Schwartz | Samuel Bowman | Noah A. Smith

Large-scale datasets for natural language inference are created by presenting crowd workers with a sentence (premise), and asking them to generate three new sentences (hypotheses) that it entails, contradicts, or is logically neutral with respect to. We show that, in a significant portion of such data, this protocol leaves clues that make it possible to identify the label by looking only at the hypothesis, without observing the premise. Specifically, we show that a simple text categorization model can correctly classify the hypothesis alone in about 67% of SNLI (Bowman et. al, 2015) and 53% of MultiNLI (Williams et. al, 2017). Our analysis reveals that specific linguistic phenomena such as negation and vagueness are highly correlated with certain inference classes. Our findings suggest that the success of natural language inference models to date has been overestimated, and that the task remains a hard open problem.

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Humor Recognition Using Deep Learning
Peng-Yu Chen | Von-Wun Soo

Humor is an essential but most fascinating element in personal communication. How to build computational models to discover the structures of humor, recognize humor and even generate humor remains a challenge and there have been yet few attempts on it. In this paper, we construct and collect four datasets with distinct joke types in both English and Chinese and conduct learning experiments on humor recognition. We implement a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) with extensive filter size, number and Highway Networks to increase the depth of networks. Results show that our model outperforms in recognition of different types of humor with benchmarks collected in both English and Chinese languages on accuracy, precision, and recall in comparison to previous works.

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Leveraging Intra-User and Inter-User Representation Learning for Automated Hate Speech Detection
Jing Qian | Mai ElSherief | Elizabeth Belding | William Yang Wang

Hate speech detection is a critical, yet challenging problem in Natural Language Processing (NLP). Despite the existence of numerous studies dedicated to the development of NLP hate speech detection approaches, the accuracy is still poor. The central problem is that social media posts are short and noisy, and most existing hate speech detection solutions take each post as an isolated input instance, which is likely to yield high false positive and negative rates. In this paper, we radically improve automated hate speech detection by presenting a novel model that leverages intra-user and inter-user representation learning for robust hate speech detection on Twitter. In addition to the target Tweet, we collect and analyze the user’s historical posts to model intra-user Tweet representations. To suppress the noise in a single Tweet, we also model the similar Tweets posted by all other users with reinforced inter-user representation learning techniques. Experimentally, we show that leveraging these two representations can significantly improve the f-score of a strong bidirectional LSTM baseline model by 10.1%.

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Reference-less Measure of Faithfulness for Grammatical Error Correction
Leshem Choshen | Omri Abend

We propose USim, a semantic measure for Grammatical Error Correction (that measures the semantic faithfulness of the output to the source, thereby complementing existing reference-less measures (RLMs) for measuring the output’s grammaticality. USim operates by comparing the semantic symbolic structure of the source and the correction, without relying on manually-curated references. Our experiments establish the validity of USim, by showing that the semantic structures can be consistently applied to ungrammatical text, that valid corrections obtain a high USim similarity score to the source, and that invalid corrections obtain a lower score.

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Training Structured Prediction Energy Networks with Indirect Supervision
Amirmohammad Rooshenas | Aishwarya Kamath | Andrew McCallum

This paper introduces rank-based training of structured prediction energy networks (SPENs). Our method samples from output structures using gradient descent and minimizes the ranking violation of the sampled structures with respect to a scalar scoring function defined with domain knowledge. We have successfully trained SPEN for citation field extraction without any labeled data instances, where the only source of supervision is a simple human-written scoring function. Such scoring functions are often easy to provide; the SPEN then furnishes an efficient structured prediction inference procedure.

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Si O No, Que Penses? Catalonian Independence and Linguistic Identity on Social Media
Ian Stewart | Yuval Pinter | Jacob Eisenstein

Political identity is often manifested in language variation, but the relationship between the two is still relatively unexplored from a quantitative perspective. This study examines the use of Catalan, a language local to the semi-autonomous region of Catalonia in Spain, on Twitter in discourse related to the 2017 independence referendum. We corroborate prior findings that pro-independence tweets are more likely to include the local language than anti-independence tweets. We also find that Catalan is used more often in referendum-related discourse than in other contexts, contrary to prior findings on language variation. This suggests a strong role for the Catalan language in the expression of Catalonian political identity.

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A Transition-Based Algorithm for Unrestricted AMR Parsing
David Vilares | Carlos Gómez-Rodríguez

Non-projective parsing can be useful to handle cycles and reentrancy in AMR graphs. We explore this idea and introduce a greedy left-to-right non-projective transition-based parser. At each parsing configuration, an oracle decides whether to create a concept or whether to connect a pair of existing concepts. The algorithm handles reentrancy and arbitrary cycles natively, i.e. within the transition system itself. The model is evaluated on the LDC2015E86 corpus, obtaining results close to the state of the art, including a Smatch of 64%, and showing good behavior on reentrant edges.

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Analogies in Complex Verb Meaning Shifts: the Effect of Affect in Semantic Similarity Models
Maximilian Köper | Sabine Schulte im Walde

We present a computational model to detect and distinguish analogies in meaning shifts between German base and complex verbs. In contrast to corpus-based studies, a novel dataset demonstrates that “regular” shifts represent the smallest class. Classification experiments relying on a standard similarity model successfully distinguish between four types of shifts, with verb classes boosting the performance, and affective features for abstractness, emotion and sentiment representing the most salient indicators.

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Character-Based Neural Networks for Sentence Pair Modeling
Wuwei Lan | Wei Xu

Sentence pair modeling is critical for many NLP tasks, such as paraphrase identification, semantic textual similarity, and natural language inference. Most state-of-the-art neural models for these tasks rely on pretrained word embedding and compose sentence-level semantics in varied ways; however, few works have attempted to verify whether we really need pretrained embeddings in these tasks. In this paper, we study how effective subword-level (character and character n-gram) representations are in sentence pair modeling. Though it is well-known that subword models are effective in tasks with single sentence input, including language modeling and machine translation, they have not been systematically studied in sentence pair modeling tasks where the semantic and string similarities between texts matter. Our experiments show that subword models without any pretrained word embedding can achieve new state-of-the-art results on two social media datasets and competitive results on news data for paraphrase identification.

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Determining Event Durations: Models and Error Analysis
Alakananda Vempala | Eduardo Blanco | Alexis Palmer

This paper presents models to predict event durations. We introduce aspectual features that capture deeper linguistic information than previous work, and experiment with neural networks. Our analysis shows that tense, aspect and temporal structure of the clause provide useful clues, and that an LSTM ensemble captures relevant context around the event.

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Diachronic Usage Relatedness (DURel): A Framework for the Annotation of Lexical Semantic Change
Dominik Schlechtweg | Sabine Schulte im Walde | Stefanie Eckmann

We propose a framework that extends synchronic polysemy annotation to diachronic changes in lexical meaning, to counteract the lack of resources for evaluating computational models of lexical semantic change. Our framework exploits an intuitive notion of semantic relatedness, and distinguishes between innovative and reductive meaning changes with high inter-annotator agreement. The resulting test set for German comprises ratings from five annotators for the relatedness of 1,320 use pairs across 22 target words.

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Directional Skip-Gram: Explicitly Distinguishing Left and Right Context for Word Embeddings
Yan Song | Shuming Shi | Jing Li | Haisong Zhang

In this paper, we present directional skip-gram (DSG), a simple but effective enhancement of the skip-gram model by explicitly distinguishing left and right context in word prediction. In doing so, a direction vector is introduced for each word, whose embedding is thus learned by not only word co-occurrence patterns in its context, but also the directions of its contextual words. Theoretical and empirical studies on complexity illustrate that our model can be trained as efficient as the original skip-gram model, when compared to other extensions of the skip-gram model. Experimental results show that our model outperforms others on different datasets in semantic (word similarity measurement) and syntactic (part-of-speech tagging) evaluations, respectively.

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Discriminating between Lexico-Semantic Relations with the Specialization Tensor Model
Goran Glavaš | Ivan Vulić

We present a simple and effective feed-forward neural architecture for discriminating between lexico-semantic relations (synonymy, antonymy, hypernymy, and meronymy). Our Specialization Tensor Model (STM) simultaneously produces multiple different specializations of input distributional word vectors, tailored for predicting lexico-semantic relations for word pairs. STM outperforms more complex state-of-the-art architectures on two benchmark datasets and exhibits stable performance across languages. We also show that, if coupled with a bilingual distributional space, the proposed model can transfer the prediction of lexico-semantic relations to a resource-lean target language without any training data.

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Evaluating bilingual word embeddings on the long tail
Fabienne Braune | Viktor Hangya | Tobias Eder | Alexander Fraser

Bilingual word embeddings are useful for bilingual lexicon induction, the task of mining translations of given words. Many studies have shown that bilingual word embeddings perform well for bilingual lexicon induction but they focused on frequent words in general domains. For many applications, bilingual lexicon induction of rare and domain-specific words is of critical importance. Therefore, we design a new task to evaluate bilingual word embeddings on rare words in different domains. We show that state-of-the-art approaches fail on this task and present simple new techniques to improve bilingual word embeddings for mining rare words. We release new gold standard datasets and code to stimulate research on this task.

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Frustratingly Easy Meta-Embedding – Computing Meta-Embeddings by Averaging Source Word Embeddings
Joshua Coates | Danushka Bollegala

Creating accurate meta-embeddings from pre-trained source embeddings has received attention lately. Methods based on global and locally-linear transformation and concatenation have shown to produce accurate meta-embeddings. In this paper, we show that the arithmetic mean of two distinct word embedding sets yields a performant meta-embedding that is comparable or better than more complex meta-embedding learning methods. The result seems counter-intuitive given that vector spaces in different source embeddings are not comparable and cannot be simply averaged. We give insight into why averaging can still produce accurate meta-embedding despite the incomparability of the source vector spaces.

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Introducing Two Vietnamese Datasets for Evaluating Semantic Models of (Dis-)Similarity and Relatedness
Kim Anh Nguyen | Sabine Schulte im Walde | Ngoc Thang Vu

We present two novel datasets for the low-resource language Vietnamese to assess models of semantic similarity: ViCon comprises pairs of synonyms and antonyms across word classes, thus offering data to distinguish between similarity and dissimilarity. ViSim-400 provides degrees of similarity across five semantic relations, as rated by human judges. The two datasets are verified through standard co-occurrence and neural network models, showing results comparable to the respective English datasets.

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Lexical Substitution for Evaluating Compositional Distributional Models
Maja Buljan | Sebastian Padó | Jan Šnajder

Compositional Distributional Semantic Models (CDSMs) model the meaning of phrases and sentences in vector space. They have been predominantly evaluated on limited, artificial tasks such as semantic sentence similarity on hand-constructed datasets. This paper argues for lexical substitution (LexSub) as a means to evaluate CDSMs. LexSub is a more natural task, enables us to evaluate meaning composition at the level of individual words, and provides a common ground to compare CDSMs with dedicated LexSub models. We create a LexSub dataset for CDSM evaluation from a corpus with manual “all-words” LexSub annotation. Our experiments indicate that the Practical Lexical Function CDSM outperforms simple component-wise CDSMs and performs on par with the context2vec LexSub model using the same context.

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Mittens: an Extension of GloVe for Learning Domain-Specialized Representations
Nicholas Dingwall | Christopher Potts

We present a simple extension of the GloVe representation learning model that begins with general-purpose representations and updates them based on data from a specialized domain. We show that the resulting representations can lead to faster learning and better results on a variety of tasks.

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Olive Oil is Made of Olives, Baby Oil is Made for Babies: Interpreting Noun Compounds Using Paraphrases in a Neural Model
Vered Shwartz | Chris Waterson

Automatic interpretation of the relation between the constituents of a noun compound, e.g. olive oil (source) and baby oil (purpose) is an important task for many NLP applications. Recent approaches are typically based on either noun-compound representations or paraphrases. While the former has initially shown promising results, recent work suggests that the success stems from memorizing single prototypical words for each relation. We explore a neural paraphrasing approach that demonstrates superior performance when such memorization is not possible.

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Semantic Pleonasm Detection
Omid Kashefi | Andrew T. Lucas | Rebecca Hwa

Pleonasms are words that are redundant. To aid the development of systems that detect pleonasms in text, we introduce an annotated corpus of semantic pleonasms. We validate the integrity of the corpus with interannotator agreement analyses. We also compare it against alternative resources in terms of their effects on several automatic redundancy detection methods.

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Similarity Measures for the Detection of Clinical Conditions with Verbal Fluency Tasks
Felipe Paula | Rodrigo Wilkens | Marco Idiart | Aline Villavicencio

Semantic Verbal Fluency tests have been used in the detection of certain clinical conditions, like Dementia. In particular, given a sequence of semantically related words, a large number of switches from one semantic class to another has been linked to clinical conditions. In this work, we investigate three similarity measures for automatically identifying switches in semantic chains: semantic similarity from a manually constructed resource, and word association strength and semantic relatedness, both calculated from corpora. This information is used for building classifiers to distinguish healthy controls from clinical cases with early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease and Mild Cognitive Deficits. The overall results indicate that for clinical conditions the classifiers that use these similarity measures outperform those that use a gold standard taxonomy.

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Sluice Resolution without Hand-Crafted Features over Brittle Syntax Trees
Ola Rønning | Daniel Hardt | Anders Søgaard

Sluice resolution in English is the problem of finding antecedents of wh-fronted ellipses. Previous work has relied on hand-crafted features over syntax trees that scale poorly to other languages and domains; in particular, to dialogue, which is one of the most interesting applications of sluice resolution. Syntactic information is arguably important for sluice resolution, but we show that multi-task learning with partial parsing as auxiliary tasks effectively closes the gap and buys us an additional 9% error reduction over previous work. Since we are not directly relying on features from partial parsers, our system is more robust to domain shifts, giving a 26% error reduction on embedded sluices in dialogue.

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The Word Analogy Testing Caveat
Natalie Schluter

There are some important problems in the evaluation of word embeddings using standard word analogy tests. In particular, in virtue of the assumptions made by systems generating the embeddings, these remain tests over randomness. We show that even supposing there were such word analogy regularities that should be detected in the word embeddings obtained via unsupervised means, standard word analogy test implementation practices provide distorted or contrived results. We raise concerns regarding the use of Principal Component Analysis to 2 or 3 dimensions as a provision of visual evidence for the existence of word analogy relations in embeddings. Finally, we propose some solutions to these problems.

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Transition-Based Chinese AMR Parsing
Chuan Wang | Bin Li | Nianwen Xue

This paper presents the first AMR parser built on the Chinese AMR bank. By applying a transition-based AMR parsing framework to Chinese, we first investigate how well the transitions first designed for English AMR parsing generalize to Chinese and provide a comparative analysis between the transitions for English and Chinese. We then perform a detailed error analysis to identify the major challenges in Chinese AMR parsing that we hope will inform future research in this area.

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Knowledge-Enriched Two-Layered Attention Network for Sentiment Analysis
Abhishek Kumar | Daisuke Kawahara | Sadao Kurohashi

We propose a novel two-layered attention network based on Bidirectional Long Short-Term Memory for sentiment analysis. The novel two-layered attention network takes advantage of the external knowledge bases to improve the sentiment prediction. It uses the Knowledge Graph Embedding generated using the WordNet. We build our model by combining the two-layered attention network with the supervised model based on Support Vector Regression using a Multilayer Perceptron network for sentiment analysis. We evaluate our model on the benchmark dataset of SemEval 2017 Task 5. Experimental results show that the proposed model surpasses the top system of SemEval 2017 Task 5. The model performs significantly better by improving the state-of-the-art system at SemEval 2017 Task 5 by 1.7 and 3.7 points for sub-tracks 1 and 2 respectively.

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Letting Emotions Flow: Success Prediction by Modeling the Flow of Emotions in Books
Suraj Maharjan | Sudipta Kar | Manuel Montes | Fabio A. González | Thamar Solorio

Books have the power to make us feel happiness, sadness, pain, surprise, or sorrow. An author’s dexterity in the use of these emotions captivates readers and makes it difficult for them to put the book down. In this paper, we model the flow of emotions over a book using recurrent neural networks and quantify its usefulness in predicting success in books. We obtained the best weighted F1-score of 69% for predicting books’ success in a multitask setting (simultaneously predicting success and genre of books).

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Modeling Inter-Aspect Dependencies for Aspect-Based Sentiment Analysis
Devamanyu Hazarika | Soujanya Poria | Prateek Vij | Gangeshwar Krishnamurthy | Erik Cambria | Roger Zimmermann

Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis is a fine-grained task of sentiment classification for multiple aspects in a sentence. Present neural-based models exploit aspect and its contextual information in the sentence but largely ignore the inter-aspect dependencies. In this paper, we incorporate this pattern by simultaneous classification of all aspects in a sentence along with temporal dependency processing of their corresponding sentence representations using recurrent networks. Results on the benchmark SemEval 2014 dataset suggest the effectiveness of our proposed approach.

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Multi-Task Learning Framework for Mining Crowd Intelligence towards Clinical Treatment
Shweta Yadav | Asif Ekbal | Sriparna Saha | Pushpak Bhattacharyya | Amit Sheth

In recent past, social media has emerged as an active platform in the context of healthcare and medicine. In this paper, we present a study where medical user’s opinions on health-related issues are analyzed to capture the medical sentiment at a blog level. The medical sentiments can be studied in various facets such as medical condition, treatment, and medication that characterize the overall health status of the user. Considering these facets, we treat analysis of this information as a multi-task classification problem. In this paper, we adopt a novel adversarial learning approach for our multi-task learning framework to learn the sentiment’s strengths expressed in a medical blog. Our evaluation shows promising results for our target tasks.

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Recurrent Entity Networks with Delayed Memory Update for Targeted Aspect-Based Sentiment Analysis
Fei Liu | Trevor Cohn | Timothy Baldwin

While neural networks have been shown to achieve impressive results for sentence-level sentiment analysis, targeted aspect-based sentiment analysis (TABSA) — extraction of fine-grained opinion polarity w.r.t. a pre-defined set of aspects — remains a difficult task. Motivated by recent advances in memory-augmented models for machine reading, we propose a novel architecture, utilising external “memory chains” with a delayed memory update mechanism to track entities. On a TABSA task, the proposed model demonstrates substantial improvements over state-of-the-art approaches, including those using external knowledge bases.

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Near Human-Level Performance in Grammatical Error Correction with Hybrid Machine Translation
Roman Grundkiewicz | Marcin Junczys-Dowmunt

We combine two of the most popular approaches to automated Grammatical Error Correction (GEC): GEC based on Statistical Machine Translation (SMT) and GEC based on Neural Machine Translation (NMT). The hybrid system achieves new state-of-the-art results on the CoNLL-2014 and JFLEG benchmarks. This GEC system preserves the accuracy of SMT output and, at the same time, generates more fluent sentences as it typical for NMT. Our analysis shows that the created systems are closer to reaching human-level performance than any other GEC system reported so far.

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Strong Baselines for Simple Question Answering over Knowledge Graphs with and without Neural Networks
Salman Mohammed | Peng Shi | Jimmy Lin

We examine the problem of question answering over knowledge graphs, focusing on simple questions that can be answered by the lookup of a single fact. Adopting a straightforward decomposition of the problem into entity detection, entity linking, relation prediction, and evidence combination, we explore simple yet strong baselines. On the popular SimpleQuestions dataset, we find that basic LSTMs and GRUs plus a few heuristics yield accuracies that approach the state of the art, and techniques that do not use neural networks also perform reasonably well. These results show that gains from sophisticated deep learning techniques proposed in the literature are quite modest and that some previous models exhibit unnecessary complexity.

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Looking for Structure in Lexical and Acoustic-Prosodic Entrainment Behaviors
Andreas Weise | Rivka Levitan

Entrainment has been shown to occur for various linguistic features individually. Motivated by cognitive theories regarding linguistic entrainment, we analyze speakers’ overall entrainment behaviors and search for an underlying structure. We consider various measures of both acoustic-prosodic and lexical entrainment, measuring the latter with a novel application of two previously introduced methods in addition to a standard high-frequency word measure. We present a negative result of our search, finding no meaningful correlations, clusters, or principal components in various entrainment measures, and discuss practical and theoretical implications.

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Modeling Semantic Plausibility by Injecting World Knowledge
Su Wang | Greg Durrett | Katrin Erk

Distributional data tells us that a man can swallow candy, but not that a man can swallow a paintball, since this is never attested. However both are physically plausible events. This paper introduces the task of semantic plausibility: recognizing plausible but possibly novel events. We present a new crowdsourced dataset of semantic plausibility judgments of single events such as man swallow paintball. Simple models based on distributional representations perform poorly on this task, despite doing well on selection preference, but injecting manually elicited knowledge about entity properties provides a substantial performance boost. Our error analysis shows that our new dataset is a great testbed for semantic plausibility models: more sophisticated knowledge representation and propagation could address many of the remaining errors.

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A Bi-Model Based RNN Semantic Frame Parsing Model for Intent Detection and Slot Filling
Yu Wang | Yilin Shen | Hongxia Jin

Intent detection and slot filling are two main tasks for building a spoken language understanding(SLU) system. Multiple deep learning based models have demonstrated good results on these tasks . The most effective algorithms are based on the structures of sequence to sequence models (or “encoder-decoder” models), and generate the intents and semantic tags either using separate models. Most of the previous studies, however, either treat the intent detection and slot filling as two separate parallel tasks, or use a sequence to sequence model to generate both semantic tags and intent. None of the approaches consider the cross-impact between the intent detection task and the slot filling task. In this paper, new Bi-model based RNN semantic frame parsing network structures are designed to perform the intent detection and slot filling tasks jointly, by considering their cross-impact to each other using two correlated bidirectional LSTMs (BLSTM). Our Bi-model structure with a decoder achieves state-of-art result on the benchmark ATIS data, with about 0.5% intent accuracy improvement and 0.9 % slot filling improvement.

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A Comparison of Two Paraphrase Models for Taxonomy Augmentation
Vassilis Plachouras | Fabio Petroni | Timothy Nugent | Jochen L. Leidner

Taxonomies are often used to look up the concepts they contain in text documents (for instance, to classify a document). The more comprehensive the taxonomy, the higher recall the application has that uses the taxonomy. In this paper, we explore automatic taxonomy augmentation with paraphrases. We compare two state-of-the-art paraphrase models based on Moses, a statistical Machine Translation system, and a sequence-to-sequence neural network, trained on a paraphrase datasets with respect to their abilities to add novel nodes to an existing taxonomy from the risk domain. We conduct component-based and task-based evaluations. Our results show that paraphrasing is a viable method to enrich a taxonomy with more terms, and that Moses consistently outperforms the sequence-to-sequence neural model. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first approach to augment taxonomies with paraphrases.

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A Laypeople Study on Terminology Identification across Domains and Task Definitions
Anna Hätty | Sabine Schulte im Walde

This paper introduces a new dataset of term annotation. Given that even experts vary significantly in their understanding of termhood, and that term identification is mostly performed as a binary task, we offer a novel perspective to explore the common, natural understanding of what constitutes a term: Laypeople annotate single-word and multi-word terms, across four domains and across four task definitions. Analyses based on inter-annotator agreement offer insights into differences in term specificity, term granularity and subtermhood.

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A Novel Embedding Model for Knowledge Base Completion Based on Convolutional Neural Network
Dai Quoc Nguyen | Tu Dinh Nguyen | Dat Quoc Nguyen | Dinh Phung

In this paper, we propose a novel embedding model, named ConvKB, for knowledge base completion. Our model ConvKB advances state-of-the-art models by employing a convolutional neural network, so that it can capture global relationships and transitional characteristics between entities and relations in knowledge bases. In ConvKB, each triple (head entity, relation, tail entity) is represented as a 3-column matrix where each column vector represents a triple element. This 3-column matrix is then fed to a convolution layer where multiple filters are operated on the matrix to generate different feature maps. These feature maps are then concatenated into a single feature vector representing the input triple. The feature vector is multiplied with a weight vector via a dot product to return a score. This score is then used to predict whether the triple is valid or not. Experiments show that ConvKB achieves better link prediction performance than previous state-of-the-art embedding models on two benchmark datasets WN18RR and FB15k-237.

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Cross-language Article Linking Using Cross-Encyclopedia Entity Embedding
Chun-Kai Wu | Richard Tzong-Han Tsai

Cross-language article linking (CLAL) is the task of finding corresponding article pairs of different languages across encyclopedias. This task is a difficult disambiguation problem in which one article must be selected among several candidate articles with similar titles and contents. Existing works focus on engineering text-based or link-based features for this task, which is a time-consuming job, and some of these features are only applicable within the same encyclopedia. In this paper, we address these problems by proposing cross-encyclopedia entity embedding. Unlike other works, our proposed method does not rely on known cross-language pairs. We apply our method to CLAL between English Wikipedia and Chinese Baidu Baike. Our features improve performance relative to the baseline by 29.62%. Tested 30 times, our system achieved an average improvement of 2.76% over the current best system (26.86% over baseline), a statistically significant result.

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Identifying the Most Dominant Event in a News Article by Mining Event Coreference Relations
Prafulla Kumar Choubey | Kaushik Raju | Ruihong Huang

Identifying the most dominant and central event of a document, which governs and connects other foreground and background events in the document, is useful for many applications, such as text summarization, storyline generation and text segmentation. We observed that the central event of a document usually has many coreferential event mentions that are scattered throughout the document for enabling a smooth transition of subtopics. Our empirical experiments, using gold event coreference relations, have shown that the central event of a document can be well identified by mining properties of event coreference chains. But the performance drops when switching to system predicted event coreference relations. In addition, we found that the central event can be more accurately identified by further considering the number of sub-events as well as the realis status of an event.

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Improve Neural Entity Recognition via Multi-Task Data Selection and Constrained Decoding
Huasha Zhao | Yi Yang | Qiong Zhang | Luo Si

Entity recognition is a widely benchmarked task in natural language processing due to its massive applications. The state-of-the-art solution applies a neural architecture named BiLSTM-CRF to model the language sequences. In this paper, we propose an entity recognition system that improves this neural architecture with two novel techniques. The first technique is Multi-Task Data Selection, which ensures the consistency of data distribution and labeling guidelines between source and target datasets. The other one is constrained decoding using knowledge base. The decoder of the model operates at the document level, and leverages global and external information sources to further improve performance. Extensive experiments have been conducted to show the advantages of each technique. Our system achieves state-of-the-art results on the English entity recognition task in KBP 2017 official evaluation, and it also yields very strong results in other languages.

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Keep Your Bearings: Lightly-Supervised Information Extraction with Ladder Networks That Avoids Semantic Drift
Ajay Nagesh | Mihai Surdeanu

We propose a novel approach to semi-supervised learning for information extraction that uses ladder networks (Rasmus et al., 2015). In particular, we focus on the task of named entity classification, defined as identifying the correct label (e.g., person or organization name) of an entity mention in a given context. Our approach is simple, efficient and has the benefit of being robust to semantic drift, a dominant problem in most semi-supervised learning systems. We empirically demonstrate the superior performance of our system compared to the state-of-the-art on two standard datasets for named entity classification. We obtain between 62% and 200% improvement over the state-of-art baseline on these two datasets.

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Semi-Supervised Event Extraction with Paraphrase Clusters
James Ferguson | Colin Lockard | Daniel Weld | Hannaneh Hajishirzi

Supervised event extraction systems are limited in their accuracy due to the lack of available training data. We present a method for self-training event extraction systems by bootstrapping additional training data. This is done by taking advantage of the occurrence of multiple mentions of the same event instances across newswire articles from multiple sources. If our system can make a high-confidence extraction of some mentions in such a cluster, it can then acquire diverse training examples by adding the other mentions as well. Our experiments show significant performance improvements on multiple event extractors over ACE 2005 and TAC-KBP 2015 datasets.

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Structure Regularized Neural Network for Entity Relation Classification for Chinese Literature Text
Ji Wen | Xu Sun | Xuancheng Ren | Qi Su

Relation classification is an important semantic processing task in the field of natural language processing. In this paper, we propose the task of relation classification for Chinese literature text. A new dataset of Chinese literature text is constructed to facilitate the study in this task. We present a novel model, named Structure Regularized Bidirectional Recurrent Convolutional Neural Network (SR-BRCNN), to identify the relation between entities. The proposed model learns relation representations along the shortest dependency path (SDP) extracted from the structure regularized dependency tree, which has the benefits of reducing the complexity of the whole model. Experimental results show that the proposed method significantly improves the F1 score by 10.3, and outperforms the state-of-the-art approaches on Chinese literature text.

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Syntactic Patterns Improve Information Extraction for Medical Search
Roma Patel | Yinfei Yang | Iain Marshall | Ani Nenkova | Byron Wallace

Medical professionals search the published literature by specifying the type of patients, the medical intervention(s) and the outcome measure(s) of interest. In this paper we demonstrate how features encoding syntactic patterns improve the performance of state-of-the-art sequence tagging models (both neural and linear) for information extraction of these medically relevant categories. We present an analysis of the type of patterns exploited and of the semantic space induced for these, i.e., the distributed representations learned for identified multi-token patterns. We show that these learned representations differ substantially from those of the constituent unigrams, suggesting that the patterns capture contextual information that is otherwise lost.

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Syntactically Aware Neural Architectures for Definition Extraction
Luis Espinosa-Anke | Steven Schockaert

Automatically identifying definitional knowledge in text corpora (Definition Extraction or DE) is an important task with direct applications in, among others, Automatic Glossary Generation, Taxonomy Learning, Question Answering and Semantic Search. It is generally cast as a binary classification problem between definitional and non-definitional sentences. In this paper we present a set of neural architectures combining Convolutional and Recurrent Neural Networks, which are further enriched by incorporating linguistic information via syntactic dependencies. Our experimental results in the task of sentence classification, on two benchmarking DE datasets (one generic, one domain-specific), show that these models obtain consistent state of the art results. Furthermore, we demonstrate that models trained on clean Wikipedia-like definitions can successfully be applied to more noisy domain-specific corpora.

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A Dynamic Oracle for Linear-Time 2-Planar Dependency Parsing
Daniel Fernández-González | Carlos Gómez-Rodríguez

We propose an efficient dynamic oracle for training the 2-Planar transition-based parser, a linear-time parser with over 99% coverage on non-projective syntactic corpora. This novel approach outperforms the static training strategy in the vast majority of languages tested and scored better on most datasets than the arc-hybrid parser enhanced with the Swap transition, which can handle unrestricted non-projectivity.

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Are Automatic Methods for Cognate Detection Good Enough for Phylogenetic Reconstruction in Historical Linguistics?
Taraka Rama | Johann-Mattis List | Johannes Wahle | Gerhard Jäger

We evaluate the performance of state-of-the-art algorithms for automatic cognate detection by comparing how useful automatically inferred cognates are for the task of phylogenetic inference compared to classical manually annotated cognate sets. Our findings suggest that phylogenies inferred from automated cognate sets come close to phylogenies inferred from expert-annotated ones, although on average, the latter are still superior. We conclude that future work on phylogenetic reconstruction can profit much from automatic cognate detection. Especially where scholars are merely interested in exploring the bigger picture of a language family’s phylogeny, algorithms for automatic cognate detection are a useful complement for current research on language phylogenies.

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Automatically Selecting the Best Dependency Annotation Design with Dynamic Oracles
Guillaume Wisniewski | Ophélie Lacroix | François Yvon

This work introduces a new strategy to compare the numerous conventions that have been proposed over the years for expressing dependency structures and discover the one for which a parser will achieve the highest parsing performance. Instead of associating each sentence in the training set with a single gold reference we propose to consider a set of references encoding alternative syntactic representations. Training a parser with a dynamic oracle will then automatically select among all alternatives the reference that will be predicted with the highest accuracy. Experiments on the UD corpora show the validity of this approach.

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Consistent CCG Parsing over Multiple Sentences for Improved Logical Reasoning
Masashi Yoshikawa | Koji Mineshima | Hiroshi Noji | Daisuke Bekki

In formal logic-based approaches to Recognizing Textual Entailment (RTE), a Combinatory Categorial Grammar (CCG) parser is used to parse input premises and hypotheses to obtain their logical formulas. Here, it is important that the parser processes the sentences consistently; failing to recognize the similar syntactic structure results in inconsistent predicate argument structures among them, in which case the succeeding theorem proving is doomed to failure. In this work, we present a simple method to extend an existing CCG parser to parse a set of sentences consistently, which is achieved with an inter-sentence modeling with Markov Random Fields (MRF). When combined with existing logic-based systems, our method always shows improvement in the RTE experiments on English and Japanese languages.

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Exploiting Dynamic Oracles to Train Projective Dependency Parsers on Non-Projective Trees
Lauriane Aufrant | Guillaume Wisniewski | François Yvon

Because the most common transition systems are projective, training a transition-based dependency parser often implies to either ignore or rewrite the non-projective training examples, which has an adverse impact on accuracy. In this work, we propose a simple modification of dynamic oracles, which enables the use of non-projective data when training projective parsers. Evaluation on 73 treebanks shows that our method achieves significant gains (+2 to +7 UAS for the most non-projective languages) and consistently outperforms traditional projectivization and pseudo-projectivization approaches.

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Improving Coverage and Runtime Complexity for Exact Inference in Non-Projective Transition-Based Dependency Parsers
Tianze Shi | Carlos Gómez-Rodríguez | Lillian Lee

We generalize Cohen, Gómez-Rodríguez, and Satta’s (2011) parser to a family of non-projective transition-based dependency parsers allowing polynomial-time exact inference. This includes novel parsers with better coverage than Cohen et al. (2011), and even a variant that reduces time complexity to O(n6), improving over the known bounds in exact inference for non-projective transition-based parsing. We hope that this piece of theoretical work inspires design of novel transition systems with better coverage and better run-time guarantees.

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Towards a Variability Measure for Multiword Expressions
Caroline Pasquer | Agata Savary | Jean-Yves Antoine | Carlos Ramisch

One of the most outstanding properties of multiword expressions (MWEs), especially verbal ones (VMWEs), important both in theoretical models and applications, is their idiosyncratic variability. Some MWEs are always continuous, while some others admit certain types of insertions. Components of some MWEs are rarely or never modified, while some others admit either specific or unrestricted modification. This unpredictable variability profile of MWEs hinders modeling and processing them as “words-with-spaces” on the one hand, and as regular syntactic structures on the other hand. Since variability of MWEs is a matter of scale rather than a binary property, we propose a 2-dimensional language-independent measure of variability dedicated to verbal MWEs based on syntactic and discontinuity-related clues. We assess its relevance with respect to a linguistic benchmark and its utility for the tasks of VMWE classification and variant identification on a French corpus.

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Defoiling Foiled Image Captions
Pranava Swaroop Madhyastha | Josiah Wang | Lucia Specia

We address the task of detecting foiled image captions, i.e. identifying whether a caption contains a word that has been deliberately replaced by a semantically similar word, thus rendering it inaccurate with respect to the image being described. Solving this problem should in principle require a fine-grained understanding of images to detect subtle perturbations in captions. In such contexts, encoding sufficiently descriptive image information becomes a key challenge. In this paper, we demonstrate that it is possible to solve this task using simple, interpretable yet powerful representations based on explicit object information over multilayer perceptron models. Our models achieve state-of-the-art performance on a recently published dataset, with scores exceeding those achieved by humans on the task. We also measure the upper-bound performance of our models using gold standard annotations. Our study and analysis reveals that the simpler model performs well even without image information, suggesting that the dataset contains strong linguistic bias.

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Pragmatically Informative Image Captioning with Character-Level Inference
Reuben Cohn-Gordon | Noah Goodman | Christopher Potts

We combine a neural image captioner with a Rational Speech Acts (RSA) model to make a system that is pragmatically informative: its objective is to produce captions that are not merely true but also distinguish their inputs from similar images. Previous attempts to combine RSA with neural image captioning require an inference which normalizes over the entire set of possible utterances. This poses a serious problem of efficiency, previously solved by sampling a small subset of possible utterances. We instead solve this problem by implementing a version of RSA which operates at the level of characters (“a”, “b”, “c”, ...) during the unrolling of the caption. We find that the utterance-level effect of referential captions can be obtained with only character-level decisions. Finally, we introduce an automatic method for testing the performance of pragmatic speaker models, and show that our model outperforms a non-pragmatic baseline as well as a word-level RSA captioner.

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Object Ordering with Bidirectional Matchings for Visual Reasoning
Hao Tan | Mohit Bansal

Visual reasoning with compositional natural language instructions, e.g., based on the newly-released Cornell Natural Language Visual Reasoning (NLVR) dataset, is a challenging task, where the model needs to have the ability to create an accurate mapping between the diverse phrases and the several objects placed in complex arrangements in the image. Further, this mapping needs to be processed to answer the question in the statement given the ordering and relationship of the objects across three similar images. In this paper, we propose a novel end-to-end neural model for the NLVR task, where we first use joint bidirectional attention to build a two-way conditioning between the visual information and the language phrases. Next, we use an RL-based pointer network to sort and process the varying number of unordered objects (so as to match the order of the statement phrases) in each of the three images and then pool over the three decisions. Our model achieves strong improvements (of 4-6% absolute) over the state-of-the-art on both the structured representation and raw image versions of the dataset.

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Contextual Augmentation: Data Augmentation by Words with Paradigmatic Relations
Sosuke Kobayashi

We propose a novel data augmentation for labeled sentences called contextual augmentation. We assume an invariance that sentences are natural even if the words in the sentences are replaced with other words with paradigmatic relations. We stochastically replace words with other words that are predicted by a bi-directional language model at the word positions. Words predicted according to a context are numerous but appropriate for the augmentation of the original words. Furthermore, we retrofit a language model with a label-conditional architecture, which allows the model to augment sentences without breaking the label-compatibility. Through the experiments for six various different text classification tasks, we demonstrate that the proposed method improves classifiers based on the convolutional or recurrent neural networks.

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Cross-Lingual Learning-to-Rank with Shared Representations
Shota Sasaki | Shuo Sun | Shigehiko Schamoni | Kevin Duh | Kentaro Inui

Cross-lingual information retrieval (CLIR) is a document retrieval task where the documents are written in a language different from that of the user’s query. This is a challenging problem for data-driven approaches due to the general lack of labeled training data. We introduce a large-scale dataset derived from Wikipedia to support CLIR research in 25 languages. Further, we present a simple yet effective neural learning-to-rank model that shares representations across languages and reduces the data requirement. This model can exploit training data in, for example, Japanese-English CLIR to improve the results of Swahili-English CLIR.

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Self-Attention with Relative Position Representations
Peter Shaw | Jakob Uszkoreit | Ashish Vaswani

Relying entirely on an attention mechanism, the Transformer introduced by Vaswani et al. (2017) achieves state-of-the-art results for machine translation. In contrast to recurrent and convolutional neural networks, it does not explicitly model relative or absolute position information in its structure. Instead, it requires adding representations of absolute positions to its inputs. In this work we present an alternative approach, extending the self-attention mechanism to efficiently consider representations of the relative positions, or distances between sequence elements. On the WMT 2014 English-to-German and English-to-French translation tasks, this approach yields improvements of 1.3 BLEU and 0.3 BLEU over absolute position representations, respectively. Notably, we observe that combining relative and absolute position representations yields no further improvement in translation quality. We describe an efficient implementation of our method and cast it as an instance of relation-aware self-attention mechanisms that can generalize to arbitrary graph-labeled inputs.

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Text Segmentation as a Supervised Learning Task
Omri Koshorek | Adir Cohen | Noam Mor | Michael Rotman | Jonathan Berant

Text segmentation, the task of dividing a document into contiguous segments based on its semantic structure, is a longstanding challenge in language understanding. Previous work on text segmentation focused on unsupervised methods such as clustering or graph search, due to the paucity in labeled data. In this work, we formulate text segmentation as a supervised learning problem, and present a large new dataset for text segmentation that is automatically extracted and labeled from Wikipedia. Moreover, we develop a segmentation model based on this dataset and show that it generalizes well to unseen natural text.

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What’s in a Domain? Learning Domain-Robust Text Representations using Adversarial Training
Yitong Li | Timothy Baldwin | Trevor Cohn

Most real world language problems require learning from heterogenous corpora, raising the problem of learning robust models which generalise well to both similar (in domain) and dissimilar (out of domain) instances to those seen in training. This requires learning an underlying task, while not learning irrelevant signals and biases specific to individual domains. We propose a novel method to optimise both in- and out-of-domain accuracy based on joint learning of a structured neural model with domain-specific and domain-general components, coupled with adversarial training for domain. Evaluating on multi-domain language identification and multi-domain sentiment analysis, we show substantial improvements over standard domain adaptation techniques, and domain-adversarial training.

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Automated Paraphrase Lattice Creation for HyTER Machine Translation Evaluation
Marianna Apidianaki | Guillaume Wisniewski | Anne Cocos | Chris Callison-Burch

We propose a variant of a well-known machine translation (MT) evaluation metric, HyTER (Dreyer and Marcu, 2012), which exploits reference translations enriched with meaning equivalent expressions. The original HyTER metric relied on hand-crafted paraphrase networks which restricted its applicability to new data. We test, for the first time, HyTER with automatically built paraphrase lattices. We show that although the metric obtains good results on small and carefully curated data with both manually and automatically selected substitutes, it achieves medium performance on much larger and noisier datasets, demonstrating the limits of the metric for tuning and evaluation of current MT systems.

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Exploiting Semantics in Neural Machine Translation with Graph Convolutional Networks
Diego Marcheggiani | Jasmijn Bastings | Ivan Titov

Semantic representations have long been argued as potentially useful for enforcing meaning preservation and improving generalization performance of machine translation methods. In this work, we are the first to incorporate information about predicate-argument structure of source sentences (namely, semantic-role representations) into neural machine translation. We use Graph Convolutional Networks (GCNs) to inject a semantic bias into sentence encoders and achieve improvements in BLEU scores over the linguistic-agnostic and syntax-aware versions on the English–German language pair.

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Incremental Decoding and Training Methods for Simultaneous Translation in Neural Machine Translation
Fahim Dalvi | Nadir Durrani | Hassan Sajjad | Stephan Vogel

We address the problem of simultaneous translation by modifying the Neural MT decoder to operate with dynamically built encoder and attention. We propose a tunable agent which decides the best segmentation strategy for a user-defined BLEU loss and Average Proportion (AP) constraint. Our agent outperforms previously proposed Wait-if-diff and Wait-if-worse agents (Cho and Esipova, 2016) on BLEU with a lower latency. Secondly we proposed data-driven changes to Neural MT training to better match the incremental decoding framework.

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Learning Hidden Unit Contribution for Adapting Neural Machine Translation Models
David Vilar

In this paper we explore the use of Learning Hidden Unit Contribution for the task of neural machine translation. The method was initially proposed in the context of speech recognition for adapting a general system to the specific acoustic characteristics of each speaker. Similar in spirit, in a machine translation framework we want to adapt a general system to a specific domain. We show that the proposed method achieves improvements of up to 2.6 BLEU points over a general system, and up to 6 BLEU points if the initial system has only been trained on out-of-domain data, a situation which may easily happen in practice. The good performance together with its short training time and small memory footprint make it a very attractive solution for domain adaptation.

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Neural Machine Translation Decoding with Terminology Constraints
Eva Hasler | Adrià de Gispert | Gonzalo Iglesias | Bill Byrne

Despite the impressive quality improvements yielded by neural machine translation (NMT) systems, controlling their translation output to adhere to user-provided terminology constraints remains an open problem. We describe our approach to constrained neural decoding based on finite-state machines and multi-stack decoding which supports target-side constraints as well as constraints with corresponding aligned input text spans. We demonstrate the performance of our framework on multiple translation tasks and motivate the need for constrained decoding with attentions as a means of reducing misplacement and duplication when translating user constraints.

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On the Evaluation of Semantic Phenomena in Neural Machine Translation Using Natural Language Inference
Adam Poliak | Yonatan Belinkov | James Glass | Benjamin Van Durme

We propose a process for investigating the extent to which sentence representations arising from neural machine translation (NMT) systems encode distinct semantic phenomena. We use these representations as features to train a natural language inference (NLI) classifier based on datasets recast from existing semantic annotations. In applying this process to a representative NMT system, we find its encoder appears most suited to supporting inferences at the syntax-semantics interface, as compared to anaphora resolution requiring world knowledge. We conclude with a discussion on the merits and potential deficiencies of the existing process, and how it may be improved and extended as a broader framework for evaluating semantic coverage

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Using Word Vectors to Improve Word Alignments for Low Resource Machine Translation
Nima Pourdamghani | Marjan Ghazvininejad | Kevin Knight

We present a method for improving word alignments using word similarities. This method is based on encouraging common alignment links between semantically similar words. We use word vectors trained on monolingual data to estimate similarity. Our experiments on translating fifteen languages into English show consistent BLEU score improvements across the languages.

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When and Why Are Pre-Trained Word Embeddings Useful for Neural Machine Translation?
Ye Qi | Devendra Sachan | Matthieu Felix | Sarguna Padmanabhan | Graham Neubig

The performance of Neural Machine Translation (NMT) systems often suffers in low-resource scenarios where sufficiently large-scale parallel corpora cannot be obtained. Pre-trained word embeddings have proven to be invaluable for improving performance in natural language analysis tasks, which often suffer from paucity of data. However, their utility for NMT has not been extensively explored. In this work, we perform five sets of experiments that analyze when we can expect pre-trained word embeddings to help in NMT tasks. We show that such embeddings can be surprisingly effective in some cases – providing gains of up to 20 BLEU points in the most favorable setting.

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Are All Languages Equally Hard to Language-Model?
Ryan Cotterell | Sabrina J. Mielke | Jason Eisner | Brian Roark

For general modeling methods applied to diverse languages, a natural question is: how well should we expect our models to work on languages with differing typological profiles? In this work, we develop an evaluation framework for fair cross-linguistic comparison of language models, using translated text so that all models are asked to predict approximately the same information. We then conduct a study on 21 languages, demonstrating that in some languages, the textual expression of the information is harder to predict with both n-gram and LSTM language models. We show complex inflectional morphology to be a cause of performance differences among languages.

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The Computational Complexity of Distinctive Feature Minimization in Phonology
Hubie Chen | Mans Hulden

We analyze the complexity of the problem of determining whether a set of phonemes forms a natural class and, if so, that of finding the minimal feature specification for the class. A standard assumption in phonology is that finding a minimal feature specification is an automatic part of acquisition and generalization. We find that the natural class decision problem is tractable (i.e. is in P), while the minimization problem is not; the decision version of the problem which determines whether a natural class can be defined with k features or less is NP-complete. We also show that, empirically, a greedy algorithm for finding minimal feature specifications will sometimes fail, and thus cannot be assumed to be the basis for human performance in solving the problem.

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Unsupervised Disambiguation of Syncretism in Inflected Lexicons
Ryan Cotterell | Christo Kirov | Sabrina J. Mielke | Jason Eisner

Lexical ambiguity makes it difficult to compute useful statistics of a corpus. A given word form might represent any of several morphological feature bundles. One can, however, use unsupervised learning (as in EM) to fit a model that probabilistically disambiguates word forms. We present such an approach, which employs a neural network to smoothly model a prior distribution over feature bundles (even rare ones). Although this basic model does not consider a token’s context, that very property allows it to operate on a simple list of unigram type counts, partitioning each count among different analyses of that unigram. We discuss evaluation metrics for this novel task and report results on 5 languages.

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Contextualized Word Representations for Reading Comprehension
Shimi Salant | Jonathan Berant

Reading a document and extracting an answer to a question about its content has attracted substantial attention recently. While most work has focused on the interaction between the question and the document, in this work we evaluate the importance of context when the question and document are processed independently. We take a standard neural architecture for this task, and show that by providing rich contextualized word representations from a large pre-trained language model as well as allowing the model to choose between context-dependent and context-independent word representations, we can obtain dramatic improvements and reach performance comparable to state-of-the-art on the competitive SQuAD dataset.

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Crowdsourcing Question-Answer Meaning Representations
Julian Michael | Gabriel Stanovsky | Luheng He | Ido Dagan | Luke Zettlemoyer

We introduce Question-Answer Meaning Representations (QAMRs), which represent the predicate-argument structure of a sentence as a set of question-answer pairs. We develop a crowdsourcing scheme to show that QAMRs can be labeled with very little training, and gather a dataset with over 5,000 sentences and 100,000 questions. A qualitative analysis demonstrates that the crowd-generated question-answer pairs cover the vast majority of predicate-argument relationships in existing datasets (including PropBank, NomBank, and QA-SRL) along with many previously under-resourced ones, including implicit arguments and relations. We also report baseline models for question generation and answering, and summarize a recent approach for using QAMR labels to improve an Open IE system. These results suggest the freely available QAMR data and annotation scheme should support significant future work.

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Leveraging Context Information for Natural Question Generation
Linfeng Song | Zhiguo Wang | Wael Hamza | Yue Zhang | Daniel Gildea

The task of natural question generation is to generate a corresponding question given the input passage (fact) and answer. It is useful for enlarging the training set of QA systems. Previous work has adopted sequence-to-sequence models that take a passage with an additional bit to indicate answer position as input. However, they do not explicitly model the information between answer and other context within the passage. We propose a model that matches the answer with the passage before generating the question. Experiments show that our model outperforms the existing state of the art using rich features.

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Robust Machine Comprehension Models via Adversarial Training
Yicheng Wang | Mohit Bansal

It is shown that many published models for the Stanford Question Answering Dataset (Rajpurkar et al., 2016) lack robustness, suffering an over 50% decrease in F1 score during adversarial evaluation based on the AddSent (Jia and Liang, 2017) algorithm. It has also been shown that retraining models on data generated by AddSent has limited effect on their robustness. We propose a novel alternative adversary-generation algorithm, AddSentDiverse, that significantly increases the variance within the adversarial training data by providing effective examples that punish the model for making certain superficial assumptions. Further, in order to improve robustness to AddSent’s semantic perturbations (e.g., antonyms), we jointly improve the model’s semantic-relationship learning capabilities in addition to our AddSentDiverse-based adversarial training data augmentation. With these additions, we show that we can make a state-of-the-art model significantly more robust, achieving a 36.5% increase in F1 score under many different types of adversarial evaluation while maintaining performance on the regular SQuAD task.

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Simple and Effective Semi-Supervised Question Answering
Bhuwan Dhingra | Danish Danish | Dheeraj Rajagopal

Recent success of deep learning models for the task of extractive Question Answering (QA) is hinged on the availability of large annotated corpora. However, large domain specific annotated corpora are limited and expensive to construct. In this work, we envision a system where the end user specifies a set of base documents and only a few labelled examples. Our system exploits the document structure to create cloze-style questions from these base documents; pre-trains a powerful neural network on the cloze style questions; and further fine-tunes the model on the labeled examples. We evaluate our proposed system across three diverse datasets from different domains, and find it to be highly effective with very little labeled data. We attain more than 50% F1 score on SQuAD and TriviaQA with less than a thousand labelled examples. We are also releasing a set of 3.2M cloze-style questions for practitioners to use while building QA systems.

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TypeSQL: Knowledge-Based Type-Aware Neural Text-to-SQL Generation
Tao Yu | Zifan Li | Zilin Zhang | Rui Zhang | Dragomir Radev

Interacting with relational databases through natural language helps users with any background easily query and analyze a vast amount of data. This requires a system that understands users’ questions and converts them to SQL queries automatically. In this paper, we present a novel approach TypeSQL which formats the problem as a slot filling task in a more reasonable way. In addition, TypeSQL utilizes type information to better understand rare entities and numbers in the questions. We experiment this idea on the WikiSQL dataset and outperform the prior art by 6% in much shorter time. We also show that accessing the content of databases can significantly improve the performance when users’ queries are not well-formed. TypeSQL can reach 82.6% accuracy, a 17.5% absolute improvement compared to the previous content-sensitive model.

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Community Member Retrieval on Social Media Using Textual Information
Aaron Jaech | Shobhit Hathi | Mari Ostendorf

This paper addresses the problem of community membership detection using only text features in a scenario where a small number of positive labeled examples defines the community. The solution introduces an unsupervised proxy task for learning user embeddings: user re-identification. Experiments with 16 different communities show that the resulting embeddings are more effective for community membership identification than common unsupervised representations.

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Cross-Domain Review Helpfulness Prediction Based on Convolutional Neural Networks with Auxiliary Domain Discriminators
Cen Chen | Yinfei Yang | Jun Zhou | Xiaolong Li | Forrest Sheng Bao

With the growing amount of reviews in e-commerce websites, it is critical to assess the helpfulness of reviews and recommend them accordingly to consumers. Recent studies on review helpfulness require plenty of labeled samples for each domain/category of interests. However, such an approach based on close-world assumption is not always practical, especially for domains with limited reviews or the “out-of-vocabulary” problem. Therefore, we propose a convolutional neural network (CNN) based model which leverages both word-level and character-based representations. To transfer knowledge between domains, we further extend our model to jointly model different domains with auxiliary domain discriminators. On the Amazon product review dataset, our approach significantly outperforms the state of the art in terms of both accuracy and cross-domain robustness.

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Predicting Foreign Language Usage from English-Only Social Media Posts
Svitlana Volkova | Stephen Ranshous | Lawrence Phillips

Social media is known for its multi-cultural and multilingual interactions, a natural product of which is code-mixing. Multilingual speakers mix languages they tweet to address a different audience, express certain feelings, or attract attention. This paper presents a large-scale analysis of 6 million tweets produced by 27 thousand multilingual users speaking 12 other languages besides English. We rely on this corpus to build predictive models to infer non-English languages that users speak exclusively from their English tweets. Unlike native language identification task, we rely on large amounts of informal social media communications rather than ESL essays. We contrast the predictive power of the state-of-the-art machine learning models trained on lexical, syntactic, and stylistic signals with neural network models learned from word, character and byte representations extracted from English only tweets. We report that content, style and syntax are the most predictive of non-English languages that users speak on Twitter. Neural network models learned from byte representations of user content combined with transfer learning yield the best performance. Finally, by analyzing cross-lingual transfer – the influence of non-English languages on various levels of linguistic performance in English, we present novel findings on stylistic and syntactic variations across speakers of 12 languages in social media.

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A Discourse-Aware Attention Model for Abstractive Summarization of Long Documents
Arman Cohan | Franck Dernoncourt | Doo Soon Kim | Trung Bui | Seokhwan Kim | Walter Chang | Nazli Goharian

Neural abstractive summarization models have led to promising results in summarizing relatively short documents. We propose the first model for abstractive summarization of single, longer-form documents (e.g., research papers). Our approach consists of a new hierarchical encoder that models the discourse structure of a document, and an attentive discourse-aware decoder to generate the summary. Empirical results on two large-scale datasets of scientific papers show that our model significantly outperforms state-of-the-art models.

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A Mixed Hierarchical Attention Based Encoder-Decoder Approach for Standard Table Summarization
Parag Jain | Anirban Laha | Karthik Sankaranarayanan | Preksha Nema | Mitesh M. Khapra | Shreyas Shetty

Structured data summarization involves generation of natural language summaries from structured input data. In this work, we consider summarizing structured data occurring in the form of tables as they are prevalent across a wide variety of domains. We formulate the standard table summarization problem, which deals with tables conforming to a single predefined schema. To this end, we propose a mixed hierarchical attention based encoder-decoder model which is able to leverage the structure in addition to the content of the tables. Our experiments on the publicly available weathergov dataset show around 18 BLEU (around 30%) improvement over the current state-of-the-art.

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Effective Crowdsourcing for a New Type of Summarization Task
Youxuan Jiang | Catherine Finegan-Dollak | Jonathan K. Kummerfeld | Walter Lasecki

Most summarization research focuses on summarizing the entire given text, but in practice readers are often interested in only one aspect of the document or conversation. We propose targeted summarization as an umbrella category for summarization tasks that intentionally consider only parts of the input data. This covers query-based summarization, update summarization, and a new task we propose where the goal is to summarize a particular aspect of a document. However, collecting data for this new task is hard because directly asking annotators (e.g., crowd workers) to write summaries leads to data with low accuracy when there are a large number of facts to include. We introduce a novel crowdsourcing workflow, Pin-Refine, that allows us to collect high-quality summaries for our task, a necessary step for the development of automatic systems.

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Key2Vec: Automatic Ranked Keyphrase Extraction from Scientific Articles using Phrase Embeddings
Debanjan Mahata | John Kuriakose | Rajiv Ratn Shah | Roger Zimmermann

Keyphrase extraction is a fundamental task in natural language processing that facilitates mapping of documents to a set of representative phrases. In this paper, we present an unsupervised technique (Key2Vec) that leverages phrase embeddings for ranking keyphrases extracted from scientific articles. Specifically, we propose an effective way of processing text documents for training multi-word phrase embeddings that are used for thematic representation of scientific articles and ranking of keyphrases extracted from them using theme-weighted PageRank. Evaluations are performed on benchmark datasets producing state-of-the-art results.

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Learning to Generate Wikipedia Summaries for Underserved Languages from Wikidata
Lucie-Aimée Kaffee | Hady Elsahar | Pavlos Vougiouklis | Christophe Gravier | Frédérique Laforest | Jonathon Hare | Elena Simperl

While Wikipedia exists in 287 languages, its content is unevenly distributed among them. In this work, we investigate the generation of open domain Wikipedia summaries in underserved languages using structured data from Wikidata. To this end, we propose a neural network architecture equipped with copy actions that learns to generate single-sentence and comprehensible textual summaries from Wikidata triples. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach by evaluating it against a set of baselines on two languages of different natures: Arabic, a morphological rich language with a larger vocabulary than English, and Esperanto, a constructed language known for its easy acquisition.

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Multi-Reward Reinforced Summarization with Saliency and Entailment
Ramakanth Pasunuru | Mohit Bansal

Abstractive text summarization is the task of compressing and rewriting a long document into a short summary while maintaining saliency, directed logical entailment, and non-redundancy. In this work, we address these three important aspects of a good summary via a reinforcement learning approach with two novel reward functions: ROUGESal and Entail, on top of a coverage-based baseline. The ROUGESal reward modifies the ROUGE metric by up-weighting the salient phrases/words detected via a keyphrase classifier. The Entail reward gives high (length-normalized) scores to logically-entailed summaries using an entailment classifier. Further, we show superior performance improvement when these rewards are combined with traditional metric (ROUGE) based rewards, via our novel and effective multi-reward approach of optimizing multiple rewards simultaneously in alternate mini-batches. Our method achieves the new state-of-the-art results on CNN/Daily Mail dataset as well as strong improvements in a test-only transfer setup on DUC-2002.

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Objective Function Learning to Match Human Judgements for Optimization-Based Summarization
Maxime Peyrard | Iryna Gurevych

Supervised summarization systems usually rely on supervision at the sentence or n-gram level provided by automatic metrics like ROUGE, which act as noisy proxies for human judgments. In this work, we learn a summary-level scoring function 𝜃 including human judgments as supervision and automatically generated data as regularization. We extract summaries with a genetic algorithm using 𝜃 as a fitness function. We observe strong and promising performances across datasets in both automatic and manual evaluation.

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Pruning Basic Elements for Better Automatic Evaluation of Summaries
Ukyo Honda | Tsutomu Hirao | Masaaki Nagata

We propose a simple but highly effective automatic evaluation measure of summarization, pruned Basic Elements (pBE). Although the BE concept is widely used for the automated evaluation of summaries, its weakness is that it redundantly matches basic elements. To avoid this redundancy, pBE prunes basic elements by (1) disregarding frequency count of basic elements and (2) reducing semantically overlapped basic elements based on word similarity. Even though it is simple, pBE outperforms ROUGE in DUC datasets in most cases and achieves the highest rank correlation coefficient in TAC 2011 AESOP task.

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Unsupervised Keyphrase Extraction with Multipartite Graphs
Florian Boudin

We propose an unsupervised keyphrase extraction model that encodes topical information within a multipartite graph structure. Our model represents keyphrase candidates and topics in a single graph and exploits their mutually reinforcing relationship to improve candidate ranking. We further introduce a novel mechanism to incorporate keyphrase selection preferences into the model. Experiments conducted on three widely used datasets show significant improvements over state-of-the-art graph-based models.

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Where Have I Heard This Story Before? Identifying Narrative Similarity in Movie Remakes
Snigdha Chaturvedi | Shashank Srivastava | Dan Roth

People can identify correspondences between narratives in everyday life. For example, an analogy with the Cinderella story may be made in describing the unexpected success of an underdog in seemingly different stories. We present a new task and dataset for story understanding: identifying instances of similar narratives from a collection of narrative texts. We present an initial approach for this problem, which finds correspondences between narratives in terms of plot events, and resemblances between characters and their social relationships. Our approach yields an 8% absolute improvement in performance over a competitive information-retrieval baseline on a novel dataset of plot summaries of 577 movie remakes from Wikipedia.

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Multimodal Emoji Prediction
Francesco Barbieri | Miguel Ballesteros | Francesco Ronzano | Horacio Saggion

Emojis are small images that are commonly included in social media text messages. The combination of visual and textual content in the same message builds up a modern way of communication, that automatic systems are not used to deal with. In this paper we extend recent advances in emoji prediction by putting forward a multimodal approach that is able to predict emojis in Instagram posts. Instagram posts are composed of pictures together with texts which sometimes include emojis. We show that these emojis can be predicted by using the text, but also using the picture. Our main finding is that incorporating the two synergistic modalities, in a combined model, improves accuracy in an emoji prediction task. This result demonstrates that these two modalities (text and images) encode different information on the use of emojis and therefore can complement each other.

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Higher-Order Coreference Resolution with Coarse-to-Fine Inference
Kenton Lee | Luheng He | Luke Zettlemoyer

We introduce a fully-differentiable approximation to higher-order inference for coreference resolution. Our approach uses the antecedent distribution from a span-ranking architecture as an attention mechanism to iteratively refine span representations. This enables the model to softly consider multiple hops in the predicted clusters. To alleviate the computational cost of this iterative process, we introduce a coarse-to-fine approach that incorporates a less accurate but more efficient bilinear factor, enabling more aggressive pruning without hurting accuracy. Compared to the existing state-of-the-art span-ranking approach, our model significantly improves accuracy on the English OntoNotes benchmark, while being far more computationally efficient.

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Non-Projective Dependency Parsing with Non-Local Transitions
Daniel Fernández-González | Carlos Gómez-Rodríguez

We present a novel transition system, based on the Covington non-projective parser, introducing non-local transitions that can directly create arcs involving nodes to the left of the current focus positions. This avoids the need for long sequences of No-Arcs transitions to create long-distance arcs, thus alleviating error propagation. The resulting parser outperforms the original version and achieves the best accuracy on the Stanford Dependencies conversion of the Penn Treebank among greedy transition-based parsers.

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Detecting Linguistic Characteristics of Alzheimer’s Dementia by Interpreting Neural Models
Sweta Karlekar | Tong Niu | Mohit Bansal

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an irreversible and progressive brain disease that can be stopped or slowed down with medical treatment. Language changes serve as a sign that a patient’s cognitive functions have been impacted, potentially leading to early diagnosis. In this work, we use NLP techniques to classify and analyze the linguistic characteristics of AD patients using the DementiaBank dataset. We apply three neural models based on CNNs, LSTM-RNNs, and their combination, to distinguish between language samples from AD and control patients. We achieve a new independent benchmark accuracy for the AD classification task. More importantly, we next interpret what these neural models have learned about the linguistic characteristics of AD patients, via analysis based on activation clustering and first-derivative saliency techniques. We then perform novel automatic pattern discovery inside activation clusters, and consolidate AD patients’ distinctive grammar patterns. Additionally, we show that first derivative saliency can not only rediscover previous language patterns of AD patients, but also shed light on the limitations of neural models. Lastly, we also include analysis of gender-separated AD data.

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Deep Dungeons and Dragons: Learning Character-Action Interactions from Role-Playing Game Transcripts
Annie Louis | Charles Sutton

An essential aspect to understanding narratives is to grasp the interaction between characters in a story and the actions they take. We examine whether computational models can capture this interaction, when both character attributes and actions are expressed as complex natural language descriptions. We propose role-playing games as a testbed for this problem, and introduce a large corpus of game transcripts collected from online discussion forums. Using neural language models which combine character and action descriptions from these stories, we show that we can learn the latent ties. Action sequences are better predicted when the character performing the action is also taken into account, and vice versa for character attributes.

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Feudal Reinforcement Learning for Dialogue Management in Large Domains
Iñigo Casanueva | Paweł Budzianowski | Pei-Hao Su | Stefan Ultes | Lina M. Rojas-Barahona | Bo-Hsiang Tseng | Milica Gašić

Reinforcement learning (RL) is a promising approach to solve dialogue policy optimisation. Traditional RL algorithms, however, fail to scale to large domains due to the curse of dimensionality. We propose a novel Dialogue Management architecture, based on Feudal RL, which decomposes the decision into two steps; a first step where a master policy selects a subset of primitive actions, and a second step where a primitive action is chosen from the selected subset. The structural information included in the domain ontology is used to abstract the dialogue state space, taking the decisions at each step using different parts of the abstracted state. This, combined with an information sharing mechanism between slots, increases the scalability to large domains. We show that an implementation of this approach, based on Deep-Q Networks, significantly outperforms previous state of the art in several dialogue domains and environments, without the need of any additional reward signal.

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Evaluating Historical Text Normalization Systems: How Well Do They Generalize?
Alexander Robertson | Sharon Goldwater

We highlight several issues in the evaluation of historical text normalization systems that make it hard to tell how well these systems would actually work in practice—i.e., for new datasets or languages; in comparison to more naïve systems; or as a preprocessing step for downstream NLP tools. We illustrate these issues and exemplify our proposed evaluation practices by comparing two neural models against a naïve baseline system. We show that the neural models generalize well to unseen words in tests on five languages; nevertheless, they provide no clear benefit over the naïve baseline for downstream POS tagging of an English historical collection. We conclude that future work should include more rigorous evaluation, including both intrinsic and extrinsic measures where possible.

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Gated Multi-Task Network for Text Classification
Liqiang Xiao | Honglun Zhang | Wenqing Chen

Multi-task learning with Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) has shown great success in many Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks. This success can be largely attributed to the feature sharing by fusing some layers among tasks. However, most existing approaches just fully or proportionally share the features without distinguishing the helpfulness of them. By that the network would be confused by the helpless even harmful features, generating undesired interference between tasks. In this paper, we introduce gate mechanism into multi-task CNN and propose a new Gated Sharing Unit, which can filter the feature flows between tasks and greatly reduce the interference. Experiments on 9 text classification datasets shows that our approach can learn selection rules automatically and gain a great improvement over strong baselines.

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Natural Language to Structured Query Generation via Meta-Learning
Po-Sen Huang | Chenglong Wang | Rishabh Singh | Wen-tau Yih | Xiaodong He

In conventional supervised training, a model is trained to fit all the training examples. However, having a monolithic model may not always be the best strategy, as examples could vary widely. In this work, we explore a different learning protocol that treats each example as a unique pseudo-task, by reducing the original learning problem to a few-shot meta-learning scenario with the help of a domain-dependent relevance function. When evaluated on the WikiSQL dataset, our approach leads to faster convergence and achieves 1.1%–5.4% absolute accuracy gains over the non-meta-learning counterparts.

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Smaller Text Classifiers with Discriminative Cluster Embeddings
Mingda Chen | Kevin Gimpel

Word embedding parameters often dominate overall model sizes in neural methods for natural language processing. We reduce deployed model sizes of text classifiers by learning a hard word clustering in an end-to-end manner. We use the Gumbel-Softmax distribution to maximize over the latent clustering while minimizing the task loss. We propose variations that selectively assign additional parameters to words, which further improves accuracy while still remaining parameter-efficient.

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Role-specific Language Models for Processing Recorded Neuropsychological Exams
Tuka Al Hanai | Rhoda Au | James Glass

Neuropsychological examinations are an important screening tool for the presence of cognitive conditions (e.g. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease), and require a trained tester to conduct the exam through spoken interactions with the subject. While audio is relatively easy to record, it remains a challenge to automatically diarize (who spoke when?), decode (what did they say?), and assess a subject’s cognitive health. This paper demonstrates a method to determine the cognitive health (impaired or not) of 92 subjects, from audio that was diarized using an automatic speech recognition system trained on TED talks and on the structured language used by testers and subjects. Using leave-one-out cross validation and logistic regression modeling we show that even with noisily decoded data (81% WER) we can still perform accurate enough diarization (0.02% confusion rate) to determine the cognitive state of a subject (0.76 AUC).

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Slot-Gated Modeling for Joint Slot Filling and Intent Prediction
Chih-Wen Goo | Guang Gao | Yun-Kai Hsu | Chih-Li Huo | Tsung-Chieh Chen | Keng-Wei Hsu | Yun-Nung Chen

Attention-based recurrent neural network models for joint intent detection and slot filling have achieved the state-of-the-art performance, while they have independent attention weights. Considering that slot and intent have the strong relationship, this paper proposes a slot gate that focuses on learning the relationship between intent and slot attention vectors in order to obtain better semantic frame results by the global optimization. The experiments show that our proposed model significantly improves sentence-level semantic frame accuracy with 4.2% and 1.9% relative improvement compared to the attentional model on benchmark ATIS and Snips datasets respectively

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An Evaluation of Image-Based Verb Prediction Models against Human Eye-Tracking Data
Spandana Gella | Frank Keller

Recent research in language and vision has developed models for predicting and disambiguating verbs from images. Here, we ask whether the predictions made by such models correspond to human intuitions about visual verbs. We show that the image regions a verb prediction model identifies as salient for a given verb correlate with the regions fixated by human observers performing a verb classification task.

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Learning to Color from Language
Varun Manjunatha | Mohit Iyyer | Jordan Boyd-Graber | Larry Davis

Automatic colorization is the process of adding color to greyscale images. We condition this process on language, allowing end users to manipulate a colorized image by feeding in different captions. We present two different architectures for language-conditioned colorization, both of which produce more accurate and plausible colorizations than a language-agnostic version. Furthermore, we demonstrate through crowdsourced experiments that we can dramatically alter colorizations simply by manipulating descriptive color words in captions.

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Punny Captions: Witty Wordplay in Image Descriptions
Arjun Chandrasekaran | Devi Parikh | Mohit Bansal

Wit is a form of rich interaction that is often grounded in a specific situation (e.g., a comment in response to an event). In this work, we attempt to build computational models that can produce witty descriptions for a given image. Inspired by a cognitive account of humor appreciation, we employ linguistic wordplay, specifically puns, in image descriptions. We develop two approaches which involve retrieving witty descriptions for a given image from a large corpus of sentences, or generating them via an encoder-decoder neural network architecture. We compare our approach against meaningful baseline approaches via human studies and show substantial improvements. Moreover, in a Turing test style evaluation, people find the image descriptions generated by our model to be slightly wittier than human-written witty descriptions when the human is subject to similar constraints as the model regarding word usage and style.

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The Emergence of Semantics in Neural Network Representations of Visual Information
Dhanush Dharmaretnam | Alona Fyshe

Word vector models learn about semantics through corpora. Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) can learn about semantics through images. At the most abstract level, some of the information in these models must be shared, as they model the same real-world phenomena. Here we employ techniques previously used to detect semantic representations in the human brain to detect semantic representations in CNNs. We show the accumulation of semantic information in the layers of the CNN, and discover that, for misclassified images, the correct class can be recovered in intermediate layers of a CNN.

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Visual Referring Expression Recognition: What Do Systems Actually Learn?
Volkan Cirik | Louis-Philippe Morency | Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick

We present an empirical analysis of state-of-the-art systems for referring expression recognition – the task of identifying the object in an image referred to by a natural language expression – with the goal of gaining insight into how these systems reason about language and vision. Surprisingly, we find strong evidence that even sophisticated and linguistically-motivated models for this task may ignore linguistic structure, instead relying on shallow correlations introduced by unintended biases in the data selection and annotation process. For example, we show that a system trained and tested on the input image without the input referring expression can achieve a precision of 71.2% in top-2 predictions. Furthermore, a system that predicts only the object category given the input can achieve a precision of 84.2% in top-2 predictions. These surprisingly positive results for what should be deficient prediction scenarios suggest that careful analysis of what our models are learning – and further, how our data is constructed – is critical as we seek to make substantive progress on grounded language tasks.

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Visually Guided Spatial Relation Extraction from Text
Taher Rahgooy | Umar Manzoor | Parisa Kordjamshidi

Extraction of spatial relations from sentences with complex/nesting relationships is very challenging as often needs resolving inherent semantic ambiguities. We seek help from visual modality to fill the information gap in the text modality and resolve spatial semantic ambiguities. We use various recent vision and language datasets and techniques to train inter-modality alignment models, visual relationship classifiers and propose a novel global inference model to integrate these components into our structured output prediction model for spatial role and relation extraction. Our global inference model enables us to utilize the visual and geometric relationships between objects and improves the state-of-art results of spatial information extraction from text.

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Watch, Listen, and Describe: Globally and Locally Aligned Cross-Modal Attentions for Video Captioning
Xin Wang | Yuan-Fang Wang | William Yang Wang

A major challenge for video captioning is to combine audio and visual cues. Existing multi-modal fusion methods have shown encouraging results in video understanding. However, the temporal structures of multiple modalities at different granularities are rarely explored, and how to selectively fuse the multi-modal representations at different levels of details remains uncharted. In this paper, we propose a novel hierarchically aligned cross-modal attention (HACA) framework to learn and selectively fuse both global and local temporal dynamics of different modalities. Furthermore, for the first time, we validate the superior performance of the deep audio features on the video captioning task. Finally, our HACA model significantly outperforms the previous best systems and achieves new state-of-the-art results on the widely used MSR-VTT dataset.


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Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 3 (Industry Papers)

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Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 3 (Industry Papers)
Srinivas Bangalore | Jennifer Chu-Carroll | Yunyao Li

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Scalable Wide and Deep Learning for Computer Assisted Coding
Marilisa Amoia | Frank Diehl | Jesus Gimenez | Joel Pinto | Raphael Schumann | Fabian Stemmer | Paul Vozila | Yi Zhang

In recent years the use of electronic medical records has accelerated resulting in large volumes of medical data when a patient visits a healthcare facility. As a first step towards reimbursement healthcare institutions need to associate ICD-10 billing codes to these documents. This is done by trained clinical coders who may use a computer assisted solution for shortlisting of codes. In this work, we present our work to build a machine learning based scalable system for predicting ICD-10 codes from electronic medical records. We address data imbalance issues by implementing two system architectures using convolutional neural networks and logistic regression models. We illustrate the pros and cons of those system designs and show that the best performance can be achieved by leveraging the advantages of both using a system combination approach.

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Neural Network based Extreme Classification and Similarity Models for Product Matching
Kashif Shah | Selcuk Kopru | Jean-David Ruvini

Matching a seller listed item to an appropriate product has become a fundamental and one of the most significant step for e-commerce platforms for product based experience. It has a huge impact on making the search effective, search engine optimization, providing product reviews and product price estimation etc. along with many other advantages for a better user experience. As significant and vital it has become, the challenge to tackle the complexity has become huge with the exponential growth of individual and business sellers trading millions of products everyday. We explored two approaches; classification based on shallow neural network and similarity based on deep siamese network. These models outperform the baseline by more than 5% in term of accuracy and are capable of extremely efficient training and inference.

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A Scalable Neural Shortlisting-Reranking Approach for Large-Scale Domain Classification in Natural Language Understanding
Young-Bum Kim | Dongchan Kim | Joo-Kyung Kim | Ruhi Sarikaya

Intelligent personal digital assistants (IPDAs), a popular real-life application with spoken language understanding capabilities, can cover potentially thousands of overlapping domains for natural language understanding, and the task of finding the best domain to handle an utterance becomes a challenging problem on a large scale. In this paper, we propose a set of efficient and scalable shortlisting-reranking neural models for effective large-scale domain classification for IPDAs. The shortlisting stage focuses on efficiently trimming all domains down to a list of k-best candidate domains, and the reranking stage performs a list-wise reranking of the initial k-best domains with additional contextual information. We show the effectiveness of our approach with extensive experiments on 1,500 IPDA domains.

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What we need to learn if we want to do and not just talk
Rashmi Gangadharaiah | Balakrishnan Narayanaswamy | Charles Elkan

In task-oriented dialog, agents need to generate both fluent natural language responses and correct external actions like database queries and updates. Our paper makes the first attempt at evaluating state of the art models on a large real world task with human users. We show that methods that achieve state of the art performance on synthetic datasets, perform poorly in real world dialog tasks. We propose a hybrid model, where nearest neighbor is used to generate fluent responses and Seq2Seq type models ensure dialogue coherency and generate accurate external actions. The hybrid model on the customer support data achieves a 78% relative improvement in fluency, and a 200% improvement in accuracy of external calls.

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Data Collection for Dialogue System: A Startup Perspective
Yiping Kang | Yunqi Zhang | Jonathan K. Kummerfeld | Lingjia Tang | Jason Mars

Industrial dialogue systems such as Apple Siri and Google Now rely on large scale diverse and robust training data to enable their sophisticated conversation capability. Crowdsourcing provides a scalable and inexpensive way of data collection but collecting high quality data efficiently requires thoughtful orchestration of the crowdsourcing jobs. Prior study of this topic have focused on tasks only in the academia settings with limited scope or only provide intrinsic dataset analysis, lacking indication on how it affects the trained model performance. In this paper, we present a study of crowdsourcing methods for a user intent classification task in our deployed dialogue system. Our task requires classification of 47 possible user intents and contains many intent pairs with subtle differences. We consider different crowdsourcing job types and job prompts and analyze quantitatively the quality of the collected data and the downstream model performance on a test set of real user queries from production logs. Our observation provides insights into designing efficient crowdsourcing jobs and provide recommendations for future dialogue system data collection process.

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Bootstrapping a Neural Conversational Agent with Dialogue Self-Play, Crowdsourcing and On-Line Reinforcement Learning
Pararth Shah | Dilek Hakkani-Tür | Bing Liu | Gokhan Tür

End-to-end neural models show great promise towards building conversational agents that are trained from data and on-line experience using supervised and reinforcement learning. However, these models require a large corpus of dialogues to learn effectively. For goal-oriented dialogues, such datasets are expensive to collect and annotate, since each task involves a separate schema and database of entities. Further, the Wizard-of-Oz approach commonly used for dialogue collection does not provide sufficient coverage of salient dialogue flows, which is critical for guaranteeing an acceptable task completion rate in consumer-facing conversational agents. In this paper, we study a recently proposed approach for building an agent for arbitrary tasks by combining dialogue self-play and crowd-sourcing to generate fully-annotated dialogues with diverse and natural utterances. We discuss the advantages of this approach for industry applications of conversational agents, wherein an agent can be rapidly bootstrapped to deploy in front of users and further optimized via interactive learning from actual users of the system.

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Quality Estimation for Automatically Generated Titles of eCommerce Browse Pages
Nicola Ueffing | José G. C. de Souza | Gregor Leusch

At eBay, we are automatically generating a large amount of natural language titles for eCommerce browse pages using machine translation (MT) technology. While automatic approaches can generate millions of titles very fast, they are prone to errors. We therefore develop quality estimation (QE) methods which can automatically detect titles with low quality in order to prevent them from going live. In this paper, we present different approaches: The first one is a Random Forest (RF) model that explores hand-crafted, robust features, which are a mix of established features commonly used in Machine Translation Quality Estimation (MTQE) and new features developed specifically for our task. The second model is based on Siamese Networks (SNs) which embed the metadata input sequence and the generated title in the same space and do not require hand-crafted features at all. We thoroughly evaluate and compare those approaches on in-house data. While the RF models are competitive for scenarios with smaller amounts of training data and somewhat more robust, they are clearly outperformed by the SN models when the amount of training data is larger.

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Atypical Inputs in Educational Applications
Su-Youn Yoon | Aoife Cahill | Anastassia Loukina | Klaus Zechner | Brian Riordan | Nitin Madnani

In large-scale educational assessments, the use of automated scoring has recently become quite common. While the majority of student responses can be processed and scored without difficulty, there are a small number of responses that have atypical characteristics that make it difficult for an automated scoring system to assign a correct score. We describe a pipeline that detects and processes these kinds of responses at run-time. We present the most frequent kinds of what are called non-scorable responses along with effective filtering models based on various NLP and speech processing technologies. We give an overview of two operational automated scoring systems —one for essay scoring and one for speech scoring— and describe the filtering models they use. Finally, we present an evaluation and analysis of filtering models used for spoken responses in an assessment of language proficiency.

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Using Aspect Extraction Approaches to Generate Review Summaries and User Profiles
Christopher Mitcheltree | Skyler Wharton | Avneesh Saluja

Reviews of products or services on Internet marketplace websites contain a rich amount of information. Users often wish to survey reviews or review snippets from the perspective of a certain aspect, which has resulted in a large body of work on aspect identification and extraction from such corpora. In this work, we evaluate a newly-proposed neural model for aspect extraction on two practical tasks. The first is to extract canonical sentences of various aspects from reviews, and is judged by human evaluators against alternatives. A k-means baseline does remarkably well in this setting. The second experiment focuses on the suitability of the recovered aspect distributions to represent users by the reviews they have written. Through a set of review reranking experiments, we find that aspect-based profiles can largely capture notions of user preferences, by showing that divergent users generate markedly different review rankings.

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SystemT: Declarative Text Understanding for Enterprise
Laura Chiticariu | Marina Danilevsky | Yunyao Li | Frederick Reiss | Huaiyu Zhu

The rise of enterprise applications over unstructured and semi-structured documents poses new challenges to text understanding systems across multiple dimensions. We present SystemT, a declarative text understanding system that addresses these challenges and has been deployed in a wide range of enterprise applications. We highlight the design considerations and decisions behind SystemT in addressing the needs of the enterprise setting. We also summarize the impact of SystemT on business and education.

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Construction of the Literature Graph in Semantic Scholar
Waleed Ammar | Dirk Groeneveld | Chandra Bhagavatula | Iz Beltagy | Miles Crawford | Doug Downey | Jason Dunkelberger | Ahmed Elgohary | Sergey Feldman | Vu Ha | Rodney Kinney | Sebastian Kohlmeier | Kyle Lo | Tyler Murray | Hsu-Han Ooi | Matthew Peters | Joanna Power | Sam Skjonsberg | Lucy Wang | Chris Wilhelm | Zheng Yuan | Madeleine van Zuylen | Oren Etzioni

We describe a deployed scalable system for organizing published scientific literature into a heterogeneous graph to facilitate algorithmic manipulation and discovery. The resulting literature graph consists of more than 280M nodes, representing papers, authors, entities and various interactions between them (e.g., authorships, citations, entity mentions). We reduce literature graph construction into familiar NLP tasks (e.g., entity extraction and linking), point out research challenges due to differences from standard formulations of these tasks, and report empirical results for each task. The methods described in this paper are used to enable semantic features in

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Can Neural Machine Translation be Improved with User Feedback?
Julia Kreutzer | Shahram Khadivi | Evgeny Matusov | Stefan Riezler

We present the first real-world application of methods for improving neural machine translation (NMT) with human reinforcement, based on explicit and implicit user feedback collected on the eBay e-commerce platform. Previous work has been confined to simulation experiments, whereas in this paper we work with real logged feedback for offline bandit learning of NMT parameters. We conduct a thorough analysis of the available explicit user judgments—five-star ratings of translation quality—and show that they are not reliable enough to yield significant improvements in bandit learning. In contrast, we successfully utilize implicit task-based feedback collected in a cross-lingual search task to improve task-specific and machine translation quality metrics.

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Accelerating NMT Batched Beam Decoding with LMBR Posteriors for Deployment
Gonzalo Iglesias | William Tambellini | Adrià De Gispert | Eva Hasler | Bill Byrne

We describe a batched beam decoding algorithm for NMT with LMBR n-gram posteriors, showing that LMBR techniques still yield gains on top of the best recently reported results with Transformers. We also discuss acceleration strategies for deployment, and the effect of the beam size and batching on memory and speed.

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Pieces of Eight: 8-bit Neural Machine Translation
Jerry Quinn | Miguel Ballesteros

Neural machine translation has achieved levels of fluency and adequacy that would have been surprising a short time ago. Output quality is extremely relevant for industry purposes, however it is equally important to produce results in the shortest time possible, mainly for latency-sensitive applications and to control cloud hosting costs. In this paper we show the effectiveness of translating with 8-bit quantization for models that have been trained using 32-bit floating point values. Results show that 8-bit translation makes a non-negligible impact in terms of speed with no degradation in accuracy and adequacy.

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From dictations to clinical reports using machine translation
Gregory Finley | Wael Salloum | Najmeh Sadoughi | Erik Edwards | Amanda Robinson | Nico Axtmann | Michael Brenndoerfer | Mark Miller | David Suendermann-Oeft

A typical workflow to document clinical encounters entails dictating a summary, running speech recognition, and post-processing the resulting text into a formatted letter. Post-processing entails a host of transformations including punctuation restoration, truecasing, marking sections and headers, converting dates and numerical expressions, parsing lists, etc. In conventional implementations, most of these tasks are accomplished by individual modules. We introduce a novel holistic approach to post-processing that relies on machine callytranslation. We show how this technique outperforms an alternative conventional system—even learning to correct speech recognition errors during post-processing—while being much simpler to maintain.

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Benchmarks and models for entity-oriented polarity detection
Lidia Pivovarova | Arto Klami | Roman Yangarber

We address the problem of determining entity-oriented polarity in business news. This can be viewed as classifying the polarity of the sentiment expressed toward a given mention of a company in a news article. We present a complete, end-to-end approach to the problem. We introduce a new dataset of over 17,000 manually labeled documents, which is substantially larger than any currently available resources. We propose a benchmark solution based on convolutional neural networks for classifying entity-oriented polarity. Although our dataset is much larger than those currently available, it is small on the scale of datasets commonly used for training robust neural network models. To compensate for this, we use transfer learning—pre-train the model on a much larger dataset, annotated for a related but different classification task, in order to learn a good representation for business text, and then fine-tune it on the smaller polarity dataset.

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Selecting Machine-Translated Data for Quick Bootstrapping of a Natural Language Understanding System
Judith Gaspers | Penny Karanasou | Rajen Chatterjee

This paper investigates the use of Machine Translation (MT) to bootstrap a Natural Language Understanding (NLU) system for a new language for the use case of a large-scale voice-controlled device. The goal is to decrease the cost and time needed to get an annotated corpus for the new language, while still having a large enough coverage of user requests. Different methods of filtering MT data in order to keep utterances that improve NLU performance and language-specific post-processing methods are investigated. These methods are tested in a large-scale NLU task with translating around 10 millions training utterances from English to German. The results show a large improvement for using MT data over a grammar-based and over an in-house data collection baseline, while reducing the manual effort greatly. Both filtering and post-processing approaches improve results further.

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Fast and Scalable Expansion of Natural Language Understanding Functionality for Intelligent Agents
Anuj Kumar Goyal | Angeliki Metallinou | Spyros Matsoukas

Fast expansion of natural language functionality of intelligent virtual agents is critical for achieving engaging and informative interactions. However, developing accurate models for new natural language domains is a time and data intensive process. We propose efficient deep neural network architectures that maximally re-use available resources through transfer learning. Our methods are applied for expanding the understanding capabilities of a popular commercial agent and are evaluated on hundreds of new domains, designed by internal or external developers. We demonstrate that our proposed methods significantly increase accuracy in low resource settings and enable rapid development of accurate models with less data.

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Bag of Experts Architectures for Model Reuse in Conversational Language Understanding
Rahul Jha | Alex Marin | Suvamsh Shivaprasad | Imed Zitouni

Slot tagging, the task of detecting entities in input user utterances, is a key component of natural language understanding systems for personal digital assistants. Since each new domain requires a different set of slots, the annotation costs for labeling data for training slot tagging models increases rapidly as the number of domains grow. To tackle this, we describe Bag of Experts (BoE) architectures for model reuse for both LSTM and CRF based models. Extensive experimentation over a dataset of 10 domains drawn from data relevant to our commercial personal digital assistant shows that our BoE models outperform the baseline models with a statistically significant average margin of 5.06% in absolute F1-score when training with 2000 instances per domain, and achieve an even higher improvement of 12.16% when only 25% of the training data is used.

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Multi-lingual neural title generation for e-Commerce browse pages
Prashant Mathur | Nicola Ueffing | Gregor Leusch

To provide better access of the inventory to buyers and better search engine optimization, e-Commerce websites are automatically generating millions of browse pages. A browse page consists of a set of slot name/value pairs within a given category, grouping multiple items which share some characteristics. These browse pages require a title describing the content of the page. Since the number of browse pages are huge, manual creation of these titles is infeasible. Previous statistical and neural approaches depend heavily on the availability of large amounts of data in a language. In this research, we apply sequence-to-sequence models to generate titles for high-resource as well as low-resource languages by leveraging transfer learning. We train these models on multi-lingual data, thereby creating one joint model which can generate titles in various different languages. Performance of the title generation system is evaluated on three different languages; English, German, and French, with a particular focus on low-resourced French language.

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A Novel Approach to Part Name Discovery in Noisy Text
Nobal Bikram Niraula | Daniel Whyatt | Anne Kao

As a specialized example of information extraction, part name extraction is an area that presents unique challenges. Part names are typically multi-word terms longer than two words. There is little consistency in how terms are described in noisy free text, with variations spawned by typos, ad hoc abbreviations, acronyms, and incomplete names. This makes search and analyses of parts in these data extremely challenging. In this paper, we present our algorithm, PANDA (Part Name Discovery Analytics), based on a unique method that exploits statistical, linguistic and machine learning techniques to discover part names in noisy text such as that in manufacturing quality documentation, supply chain management records, service communication logs, and maintenance reports. Experiments show that PANDA is scalable and outperforms existing techniques significantly.

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The Alexa Meaning Representation Language
Thomas Kollar | Danielle Berry | Lauren Stuart | Karolina Owczarzak | Tagyoung Chung | Lambert Mathias | Michael Kayser | Bradford Snow | Spyros Matsoukas

This paper introduces a meaning representation for spoken language understanding. The Alexa meaning representation language (AMRL), unlike previous approaches, which factor spoken utterances into domains, provides a common representation for how people communicate in spoken language. AMRL is a rooted graph, links to a large-scale ontology, supports cross-domain queries, fine-grained types, complex utterances and composition. A spoken language dataset has been collected for Alexa, which contains ∼20k examples across eight domains. A version of this meaning representation was released to developers at a trade show in 2016.

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Practical Application of Domain Dependent Confidence Measurement for Spoken Language Understanding Systems
Mahnoosh Mehrabani | David Thomson | Benjamin Stern

Spoken Language Understanding (SLU), which extracts semantic information from speech, is not flawless, specially in practical applications. The reliability of the output of an SLU system can be evaluated using a semantic confidence measure. Confidence measures are a solution to improve the quality of spoken dialogue systems, by rejecting low-confidence SLU results. In this study we discuss real-world applications of confidence scoring in a customer service scenario. We build confidence models for three major types of dialogue states that are considered as different domains: how may I help you, number capture, and confirmation. Practical challenges to train domain-dependent confidence models, including data limitations, are discussed, and it is shown that feature engineering plays an important role to improve performance. We explore a wide variety of predictor features based on speech recognition, intent classification, and high-level domain knowledge, and find the combined feature set with the best rejection performance for each application.

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Prediction for the Newsroom: Which Articles Will Get the Most Comments?
Carl Ambroselli | Julian Risch | Ralf Krestel | Andreas Loos

The overwhelming success of the Web and mobile technologies has enabled millions to share their opinions publicly at any time. But the same success also endangers this freedom of speech due to closing down of participatory sites misused by individuals or interest groups. We propose to support manual moderation by proactively drawing the attention of our moderators to article discussions that most likely need their intervention. To this end, we predict which articles will receive a high number of comments. In contrast to existing work, we enrich the article with metadata, extract semantic and linguistic features, and exploit annotated data from a foreign language corpus. Our logistic regression model improves F1-scores by over 80% in comparison to state-of-the-art approaches.

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Demand-Weighted Completeness Prediction for a Knowledge Base
Andrew Hopkinson | Amit Gurdasani | Dave Palfrey | Arpit Mittal

In this paper we introduce the notion of Demand-Weighted Completeness, allowing estimation of the completeness of a knowledge base with respect to how it is used. Defining an entity by its classes, we employ usage data to predict the distribution over relations for that entity. For example, instances of person in a knowledge base may require a birth date, name and nationality to be considered complete. These predicted relation distributions enable detection of important gaps in the knowledge base, and define the required facts for unseen entities. Such characterisation of the knowledge base can also quantify how usage and completeness change over time. We demonstrate a method to measure Demand-Weighted Completeness, and show that a simple neural network model performs well at this prediction task.

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Personalized neural language models for real-world query auto completion
Nicolas Fiorini | Zhiyong Lu

Query auto completion (QAC) systems are a standard part of search engines in industry, helping users formulate their query. Such systems update their suggestions after the user types each character, predicting the user’s intent using various signals – one of the most common being popularity. Recently, deep learning approaches have been proposed for the QAC task, to specifically address the main limitation of previous popularity-based methods: the inability to predict unseen queries. In this work we improve previous methods based on neural language modeling, with the goal of building an end-to-end system. We particularly focus on using real-world data by integrating user information for personalized suggestions when possible. We also make use of time information and study how to increase diversity in the suggestions while studying the impact on scalability. Our empirical results demonstrate a marked improvement on two separate datasets over previous best methods in both accuracy and scalability, making a step towards neural query auto-completion in production search engines.

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Document-based Recommender System for Job Postings using Dense Representations
Ahmed Elsafty | Martin Riedl | Chris Biemann

Job boards and professional social networks heavily use recommender systems in order to better support users in exploring job advertisements. Detecting the similarity between job advertisements is important for job recommendation systems as it allows, for example, the application of item-to-item based recommendations. In this work, we research the usage of dense vector representations to enhance a large-scale job recommendation system and to rank German job advertisements regarding their similarity. We follow a two-folded evaluation scheme: (1) we exploit historic user interactions to automatically create a dataset of similar jobs that enables an offline evaluation. (2) In addition, we conduct an online A/B test and evaluate the best performing method on our platform reaching more than 1 million users. We achieve the best results by combining job titles with full-text job descriptions. In particular, this method builds dense document representation using words of the titles to weigh the importance of words of the full-text description. In the online evaluation, this approach allows us to increase the click-through rate on job recommendations for active users by 8.0%.


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Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Student Research Workshop

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Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Student Research Workshop
Silvio Ricardo Cordeiro | Shereen Oraby | Umashanthi Pavalanathan | Kyeongmin Rim

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Alignment, Acceptance, and Rejection of Group Identities in Online Political Discourse
Hagyeong Shin | Gabriel Doyle

Conversation is a joint social process, with participants cooperating to exchange information. This process is helped along through linguistic alignment: participants’ adoption of each other’s word use. This alignment is robust, appearing many settings, and is nearly always positive. We create an alignment model for examining alignment in Twitter conversations across antagonistic groups. This model finds that some word categories, specifically pronouns used to establish group identity and common ground, are negatively aligned. This negative alignment is observed despite other categories, which are less related to the group dynamics, showing the standard positive alignment. This suggests that alignment is strongly biased toward cooperative alignment, but that different linguistic features can show substantially different behaviors.

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Combining Abstractness and Language-specific Theoretical Indicators for Detecting Non-Literal Usage of Estonian Particle Verbs
Eleri Aedmaa | Maximilian Köper | Sabine Schulte im Walde

This paper presents two novel datasets and a random-forest classifier to automatically predict literal vs. non-literal language usage for a highly frequent type of multi-word expression in a low-resource language, i.e., Estonian. We demonstrate the value of language-specific indicators induced from theoretical linguistic research, which outperform a high majority baseline when combined with language-independent features of non-literal language (such as abstractness).

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Verb Alternations and Their Impact on Frame Induction
Esther Seyffarth

Frame induction is the automatic creation of frame-semantic resources similar to FrameNet or PropBank, which map lexical units of a language to frame representations of each lexical unit’s semantics. For verbs, these representations usually include a specification of their argument slots and of the selectional restrictions that apply to each slot. Verbs that participate in diathesis alternations have different syntactic realizations whose semantics are closely related, but not identical. We discuss the influence that such alternations have on frame induction, compare several possible frame structures for verbs in the causative alternation, and propose a systematic analysis of alternating verbs that encodes their similarities as well as their differences.

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A Generalized Knowledge Hunting Framework for the Winograd Schema Challenge
Ali Emami | Adam Trischler | Kaheer Suleman | Jackie Chi Kit Cheung

We introduce an automatic system that performs well on two common-sense reasoning tasks, the Winograd Schema Challenge (WSC) and the Choice of Plausible Alternatives (COPA). Problem instances from these tasks require diverse, complex forms of inference and knowledge to solve. Our method uses a knowledge-hunting module to gather text from the web, which serves as evidence for candidate problem resolutions. Given an input problem, our system generates relevant queries to send to a search engine. It extracts and classifies knowledge from the returned results and weighs it to make a resolution. Our approach improves F1 performance on the WSC by 0.16 over the previous best and is competitive with the state-of-the-art on COPA, demonstrating its general applicability.

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Towards Qualitative Word Embeddings Evaluation: Measuring Neighbors Variation
Bénédicte Pierrejean | Ludovic Tanguy

We propose a method to study the variation lying between different word embeddings models trained with different parameters. We explore the variation between models trained with only one varying parameter by observing the distributional neighbors variation and show how changing only one parameter can have a massive impact on a given semantic space. We show that the variation is not affecting all words of the semantic space equally. Variation is influenced by parameters such as setting a parameter to its minimum or maximum value but it also depends on the corpus intrinsic features such as the frequency of a word. We identify semantic classes of words remaining stable across the models trained and specific words having high variation.

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A Deeper Look into Dependency-Based Word Embeddings
Sean MacAvaney | Amir Zeldes

We investigate the effect of various dependency-based word embeddings on distinguishing between functional and domain similarity, word similarity rankings, and two downstream tasks in English. Variations include word embeddings trained using context windows from Stanford and Universal dependencies at several levels of enhancement (ranging from unlabeled, to Enhanced++ dependencies). Results are compared to basic linear contexts and evaluated on several datasets. We found that embeddings trained with Universal and Stanford dependency contexts excel at different tasks, and that enhanced dependencies often improve performance.

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Learning Word Embeddings for Data Sparse and Sentiment Rich Data Sets
Prathusha Kameswara Sarma

This research proposal describes two algorithms that are aimed at learning word embeddings for data sparse and sentiment rich data sets. The goal is to use word embeddings adapted for domain specific data sets in downstream applications such as sentiment classification. The first approach learns word embeddings in a supervised fashion via SWESA (Supervised Word Embeddings for Sentiment Analysis), an algorithm for sentiment analysis on data sets that are of modest size. SWESA leverages document labels to jointly learn polarity-aware word embeddings and a classifier to classify unseen documents. In the second approach domain adapted (DA) word embeddings are learned by exploiting the specificity of domain specific data sets and the breadth of generic word embeddings. The new embeddings are formed by aligning corresponding word vectors using Canonical Correlation Analysis (CCA) or the related nonlinear Kernel CCA. Experimental results on binary sentiment classification tasks using both approaches for standard data sets are presented.

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Igbo Diacritic Restoration using Embedding Models
Ignatius Ezeani | Mark Hepple | Ikechukwu Onyenwe | Enemouh Chioma

Igbo is a low-resource language spoken by approximately 30 million people worldwide. It is the native language of the Igbo people of south-eastern Nigeria. In Igbo language, diacritics - orthographic and tonal - play a huge role in the distinguishing the meaning and pronunciation of words. Omitting diacritics in texts often leads to lexical ambiguity. Diacritic restoration is a pre-processing task that replaces missing diacritics on words from which they have been removed. In this work, we applied embedding models to the diacritic restoration task and compared their performances to those of n-gram models. Although word embedding models have been successfully applied to various NLP tasks, it has not been used, to our knowledge, for diacritic restoration. Two classes of word embeddings models were used: those projected from the English embedding space; and those trained with Igbo bible corpus (≈ 1m). Our best result, 82.49%, is an improvement on the baseline n-gram models.

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Using Classifier Features to Determine Language Transfer on Morphemes
Alexandra Lavrentovich

The aim of this thesis is to perform a Native Language Identification (NLI) task where we identify an English learner’s native language background based only on the learner’s English writing samples. We focus on the use of English grammatical morphemes across four proficiency levels. The outcome of the computational task is connected to a position in second language acquisition research that holds all learners acquire English grammatical morphemes in the same order, regardless of native language background. We use the NLI task as a tool to uncover cross-linguistic influence on the developmental trajectory of morphemes. We perform a cross-corpus evaluation across proficiency levels to increase the reliability and validity of the linguistic features that predict the native language background. We include native English data to determine the different morpheme patterns used by native versus non-native English speakers. Furthermore, we conduct a human NLI task to determine the type and magnitude of language transfer cues used by human raters versus the classifier.

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End-to-End Learning of Task-Oriented Dialogs
Bing Liu | Ian Lane

In this thesis proposal, we address the limitations of conventional pipeline design of task-oriented dialog systems and propose end-to-end learning solutions. We design neural network based dialog system that is able to robustly track dialog state, interface with knowledge bases, and incorporate structured query results into system responses to successfully complete task-oriented dialog. In learning such neural network based dialog systems, we propose hybrid offline training and online interactive learning methods. We introduce a multi-task learning method in pre-training the dialog agent in a supervised manner using task-oriented dialog corpora. The supervised training agent can further be improved via interacting with users and learning online from user demonstration and feedback with imitation and reinforcement learning. In addressing the sample efficiency issue with online policy learning, we further propose a method by combining the learning-from-user and learning-from-simulation approaches to improve the online interactive learning efficiency.

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Towards Generating Personalized Hospitalization Summaries
Sabita Acharya | Barbara Di Eugenio | Andrew Boyd | Richard Cameron | Karen Dunn Lopez | Pamela Martyn-Nemeth | Carolyn Dickens | Amer Ardati

Most of the health documents, including patient education materials and discharge notes, are usually flooded with medical jargons and contain a lot of generic information about the health issue. In addition, patients are only provided with the doctor’s perspective of what happened to them in the hospital while the care procedure performed by nurses during their entire hospital stay is nowhere included. The main focus of this research is to generate personalized hospital-stay summaries for patients by combining information from physician discharge notes and nursing plan of care. It uses a metric to identify medical concepts that are Complex, extracts definitions for the concept from three external knowledge sources, and provides the simplest definition to the patient. It also takes various features of the patient into account, like their concerns and strengths, ability to understand basic health information, level of engagement in taking care of their health, and familiarity with the health issue and personalizes the content of the summaries accordingly. Our evaluation showed that the summaries contain 80% of the medical concepts that are considered as being important by both doctor and nurses. Three patient advisors (i.e. individuals who are trained in understanding patient experience extensively) verified the usability of our summaries and mentioned that they would like to get such summaries when they are discharged from hospital.

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Read and Comprehend by Gated-Attention Reader with More Belief
Haohui Deng | Yik-Cheung Tam

Gated-Attention (GA) Reader has been effective for reading comprehension. GA Reader makes two assumptions: (1) a uni-directional attention that uses an input query to gate token encodings of a document; (2) encoding at the cloze position of an input query is considered for answer prediction. In this paper, we propose Collaborative Gating (CG) and Self-Belief Aggregation (SBA) to address the above assumptions respectively. In CG, we first use an input document to gate token encodings of an input query so that the influence of irrelevant query tokens may be reduced. Then the filtered query is used to gate token encodings of an document in a collaborative fashion. In SBA, we conjecture that query tokens other than the cloze token may be informative for answer prediction. We apply self-attention to link the cloze token with other tokens in a query so that the importance of query tokens with respect to the cloze position are weighted. Then their evidences are weighted, propagated and aggregated for better reading comprehension. Experiments show that our approaches advance the state-of-theart results in CNN, Daily Mail, and Who Did What public test sets.

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ListOps: A Diagnostic Dataset for Latent Tree Learning
Nikita Nangia | Samuel Bowman

Latent tree learning models learn to parse a sentence without syntactic supervision, and use that parse to build the sentence representation. Existing work on such models has shown that, while they perform well on tasks like sentence classification, they do not learn grammars that conform to any plausible semantic or syntactic formalism (Williams et al., 2018a). Studying the parsing ability of such models in natural language can be challenging due to the inherent complexities of natural language, like having several valid parses for a single sentence. In this paper we introduce ListOps, a toy dataset created to study the parsing ability of latent tree models. ListOps sequences are in the style of prefix arithmetic. The dataset is designed to have a single correct parsing strategy that a system needs to learn to succeed at the task. We show that the current leading latent tree models are unable to learn to parse and succeed at ListOps. These models achieve accuracies worse than purely sequential RNNs.

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Japanese Predicate Conjugation for Neural Machine Translation
Michiki Kurosawa | Yukio Matsumura | Hayahide Yamagishi | Mamoru Komachi

Neural machine translation (NMT) has a drawback in that can generate only high-frequency words owing to the computational costs of the softmax function in the output layer. In Japanese-English NMT, Japanese predicate conjugation causes an increase in vocabulary size. For example, one verb can have as many as 19 surface varieties. In this research, we focus on predicate conjugation for compressing the vocabulary size in Japanese. The vocabulary list is filled with the various forms of verbs. We propose methods using predicate conjugation information without discarding linguistic information. The proposed methods can generate low-frequency words and deal with unknown words. Two methods were considered to introduce conjugation information: the first considers it as a token (conjugation token) and the second considers it as an embedded vector (conjugation feature). The results using these methods demonstrate that the vocabulary size can be compressed by approximately 86.1% (Tanaka corpus) and the NMT models can output the words not in the training data set. Furthermore, BLEU scores improved by 0.91 points in Japanese-to-English translation, and 0.32 points in English-to-Japanese translation with ASPEC.

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Metric for Automatic Machine Translation Evaluation based on Universal Sentence Representations
Hiroki Shimanaka | Tomoyuki Kajiwara | Mamoru Komachi

Sentence representations can capture a wide range of information that cannot be captured by local features based on character or word N-grams. This paper examines the usefulness of universal sentence representations for evaluating the quality of machine translation. Al-though it is difficult to train sentence representations using small-scale translation datasets with manual evaluation, sentence representations trained from large-scale data in other tasks can improve the automatic evaluation of machine translation. Experimental results of the WMT-2016 dataset show that the proposed method achieves state-of-the-art performance with sentence representation features only.

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Neural Machine Translation for Low Resource Languages using Bilingual Lexicon Induced from Comparable Corpora
Sree Harsha Ramesh | Krishna Prasad Sankaranarayanan

Resources for the non-English languages are scarce and this paper addresses this problem in the context of machine translation, by automatically extracting parallel sentence pairs from the multilingual articles available on the Internet. In this paper, we have used an end-to-end Siamese bidirectional recurrent neural network to generate parallel sentences from comparable multilingual articles in Wikipedia. Subsequently, we have showed that using the harvested dataset improved BLEU scores on both NMT and phrase-based SMT systems for the low-resource language pairs: English–Hindi and English–Tamil, when compared to training exclusively on the limited bilingual corpora collected for these language pairs.

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Training a Ranking Function for Open-Domain Question Answering
Phu Mon Htut | Samuel Bowman | Kyunghyun Cho

In recent years, there have been amazing advances in deep learning methods for machine reading. In machine reading, the machine reader has to extract the answer from the given ground truth paragraph. Recently, the state-of-the-art machine reading models achieve human level performance in SQuAD which is a reading comprehension-style question answering (QA) task. The success of machine reading has inspired researchers to combine Information Retrieval with machine reading to tackle open-domain QA. However, these systems perform poorly compared to reading comprehension-style QA because it is difficult to retrieve the pieces of paragraphs that contain the answer to the question. In this study, we propose two neural network rankers that assign scores to different passages based on their likelihood of containing the answer to a given question. Additionally, we analyze the relative importance of semantic similarity and word level relevance matching in open-domain QA.

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Corpus Creation and Emotion Prediction for Hindi-English Code-Mixed Social Media Text
Deepanshu Vijay | Aditya Bohra | Vinay Singh | Syed Sarfaraz Akhtar | Manish Shrivastava

Emotion Prediction is a Natural Language Processing (NLP) task dealing with detection and classification of emotions in various monolingual and bilingual texts. While some work has been done on code-mixed social media text and in emotion prediction separately, our work is the first attempt which aims at identifying the emotion associated with Hindi-English code-mixed social media text. In this paper, we analyze the problem of emotion identification in code-mixed content and present a Hindi-English code-mixed corpus extracted from twitter and annotated with the associated emotion. For every tweet in the dataset, we annotate the source language of all the words present, and also the causal language of the expressed emotion. Finally, we propose a supervised classification system which uses various machine learning techniques for detecting the emotion associated with the text using a variety of character level, word level, and lexicon based features.

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Sensing and Learning Human Annotators Engaged in Narrative Sensemaking
McKenna Tornblad | Luke Lapresi | Christopher Homan | Raymond Ptucha | Cecilia Ovesdotter Alm

While labor issues and quality assurance in crowdwork are increasingly studied, how annotators make sense of texts and how they are personally impacted by doing so are not. We study these questions via a narrative-sorting annotation task, where carefully selected (by sequentiality, topic, emotional content, and length) collections of tweets serve as examples of everyday storytelling. As readers process these narratives, we measure their facial expressions, galvanic skin response, and self-reported reactions. From the perspective of annotator well-being, a reassuring outcome was that the sorting task did not cause a measurable stress response, however readers reacted to humor. In terms of sensemaking, readers were more confident when sorting sequential, target-topical, and highly emotional tweets. As crowdsourcing becomes more common, this research sheds light onto the perceptive capabilities and emotional impact of human readers.

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Generating Image Captions in Arabic using Root-Word Based Recurrent Neural Networks and Deep Neural Networks
Vasu Jindal

Image caption generation has gathered widespread interest in the artificial intelligence community. Automatic generation of an image description requires both computer vision and natural language processing techniques. While, there has been advanced research in the English caption generation, research on generating Arabic descriptions of an image is extremely limited. Semitic languages like Arabic are heavily influenced by root-words. We leverage this critical dependency of Arabic to generate captions of an image directly in Arabic using root-word based Recurrent Neural Network and Deep Neural Networks. Experimental results on dataset from various Middle Eastern newspaper websites allow us to report the first BLEU score for direct Arabic caption generation. We also compare the results of our approach with BLEU score captions generated in English and translated in Arabic. Experimental results confirm that generating image captions using root-words directly in Arabic significantly outperforms the English-Arabic translated captions using state-of-the-art methods.


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Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Demonstrations

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Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Demonstrations
Yang Liu | Tim Paek | Manasi Patwardhan

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NLP Lean Programming Framework: Developing NLP Applications More Effectively
Marc Schreiber | Bodo Kraft | Albert Zündorf

This paper presents NLP Lean Programming framework (NLPf), a new framework for creating custom Natural Language Processing (NLP) models and pipelines by utilizing common software development build systems. This approach allows developers to train and integrate domain-specific NLP pipelines into their applications seamlessly. Additionally, NLPf provides an annotation tool which improves the annotation process significantly by providing a well-designed GUI and sophisticated way of using input devices. Due to NLPf’s properties developers and domain experts are able to build domain-specific NLP application more effectively. Project page: Video Tutorial: (Demonstration starts at 11:40 min) This paper is related to: - Interfaces and resources to support linguistic annotation - Software architectures and reusable components - Software tools for evaluation or error analysis

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Pay-Per-Request Deployment of Neural Network Models Using Serverless Architectures
Zhucheng Tu | Mengping Li | Jimmy Lin

We demonstrate the serverless deployment of neural networks for model inferencing in NLP applications using Amazon’s Lambda service for feedforward evaluation and DynamoDB for storing word embeddings. Our architecture realizes a pay-per-request pricing model, requiring zero ongoing costs for maintaining server instances. All virtual machine management is handled behind the scenes by the cloud provider without any direct developer intervention. We describe a number of techniques that allow efficient use of serverless resources, and evaluations confirm that our design is both scalable and inexpensive.

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An automated medical scribe for documenting clinical encounters
Gregory Finley | Erik Edwards | Amanda Robinson | Michael Brenndoerfer | Najmeh Sadoughi | James Fone | Nico Axtmann | Mark Miller | David Suendermann-Oeft

A medical scribe is a clinical professional who charts patient–physician encounters in real time, relieving physicians of most of their administrative burden and substantially increasing productivity and job satisfaction. We present a complete implementation of an automated medical scribe. Our system can serve either as a scalable, standardized, and economical alternative to human scribes; or as an assistive tool for them, providing a first draft of a report along with a convenient means to modify it. This solution is, to our knowledge, the first automated scribe ever presented and relies upon multiple speech and language technologies, including speaker diarization, medical speech recognition, knowledge extraction, and natural language generation.

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CL Scholar: The ACL Anthology Knowledge Graph Miner
Mayank Singh | Pradeep Dogga | Sohan Patro | Dhiraj Barnwal | Ritam Dutt | Rajarshi Haldar | Pawan Goyal | Animesh Mukherjee

We present CL Scholar, the ACL Anthology knowledge graph miner to facilitate high-quality search and exploration of current research progress in the computational linguistics community. In contrast to previous works, periodically crawling, indexing and processing of new incoming articles is completely automated in the current system. CL Scholar utilizes both textual and network information for knowledge graph construction. As an additional novel initiative, CL Scholar supports more than 1200 scholarly natural language queries along with standard keyword-based search on constructed knowledge graph. It answers binary, statistical and list based natural language queries. The current system is deployed at We also provide REST API support along with bulk download facility. Our code and data are available at

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ArgumenText: Searching for Arguments in Heterogeneous Sources
Christian Stab | Johannes Daxenberger | Chris Stahlhut | Tristan Miller | Benjamin Schiller | Christopher Tauchmann | Steffen Eger | Iryna Gurevych

Argument mining is a core technology for enabling argument search in large corpora. However, most current approaches fall short when applied to heterogeneous texts. In this paper, we present an argument retrieval system capable of retrieving sentential arguments for any given controversial topic. By analyzing the highest-ranked results extracted from Web sources, we found that our system covers 89% of arguments found in expert-curated lists of arguments from an online debate portal, and also identifies additional valid arguments.

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ClaimRank: Detecting Check-Worthy Claims in Arabic and English
Israa Jaradat | Pepa Gencheva | Alberto Barrón-Cedeño | Lluís Màrquez | Preslav Nakov

We present ClaimRank, an online system for detecting check-worthy claims. While originally trained on political debates, the system can work for any kind of text, e.g., interviews or just regular news articles. Its aim is to facilitate manual fact-checking efforts by prioritizing the claims that fact-checkers should consider first. ClaimRank supports both Arabic and English, it is trained on actual annotations from nine reputable fact-checking organizations (PolitiFact, FactCheck, ABC, CNN, NPR, NYT, Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, and Washington Post), and thus it can mimic the claim selection strategies for each and any of them, as well as for the union of them all.

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360° Stance Detection
Sebastian Ruder | John Glover | Afshin Mehrabani | Parsa Ghaffari

The proliferation of fake news and filter bubbles makes it increasingly difficult to form an unbiased, balanced opinion towards a topic. To ameliorate this, we propose 360° Stance Detection, a tool that aggregates news with multiple perspectives on a topic. It presents them on a spectrum ranging from support to opposition, enabling the user to base their opinion on multiple pieces of diverse evidence.

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DebugSL: An Interactive Tool for Debugging Sentiment Lexicons
Andrew Schneider | John Male | Saroja Bhogadhi | Eduard Dragut

We introduce DebugSL, a visual (Web) debugging tool for sentiment lexicons (SLs). Its core component implements our algorithms for the automatic detection of polarity inconsistencies in SLs. An inconsistency is a set of words and/or word-senses whose polarity assignments cannot all be simultaneously satisfied. DebugSL finds inconsistencies of small sizes in SLs and has a rich user interface which helps users in the correction process. The project source code is available at A screencast of DebugSL can be viewed at

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ELISA-EDL: A Cross-lingual Entity Extraction, Linking and Localization System
Boliang Zhang | Ying Lin | Xiaoman Pan | Di Lu | Jonathan May | Kevin Knight | Heng Ji

We demonstrate ELISA-EDL, a state-of-the-art re-trainable system to extract entity mentions from low-resource languages, link them to external English knowledge bases, and visualize locations related to disaster topics on a world heatmap. We make all of our data sets, resources and system training and testing APIs publicly available for research purpose.

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Entity Resolution and Location Disambiguation in the Ancient Hindu Temples Domain using Web Data
Ayush Maheshwari | Vishwajeet Kumar | Ganesh Ramakrishnan | J. Saketha Nath

We present a system for resolving entities and disambiguating locations based on publicly available web data in the domain of ancient Hindu Temples. Scarce, unstructured information poses a challenge to Entity Resolution(ER) and snippet ranking. Additionally, because the same set of entities may be associated with multiple locations, Location Disambiguation(LD) is a problem. The mentions and descriptions of temples exist in the order of hundreds of thousands, with such data generated by various users in various forms such as text (Wikipedia pages), videos (YouTube videos), blogs, etc. We demonstrate an integrated approach using a combination of grammar rules for parsing and unsupervised (clustering) algorithms to resolve entity and locations with high confidence. A demo of our system is accessible at Our system is open source and available on GitHub.

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Madly Ambiguous: A Game for Learning about Structural Ambiguity and Why It’s Hard for Computers
Ajda Gokcen | Ethan Hill | Michael White

Madly Ambiguous is an open source, online game aimed at teaching audiences of all ages about structural ambiguity and why it’s hard for computers. After a brief introduction to structural ambiguity, users are challenged to complete a sentence in a way that tricks the computer into guessing an incorrect interpretation. Behind the scenes are two different NLP-based methods for classifying the user’s input, one representative of classic rule-based approaches to disambiguation and the other representative of recent neural network approaches. Qualitative feedback from the system’s use in online, classroom, and science museum settings indicates that it is engaging and successful in conveying the intended take home messages. A demo of Madly Ambiguous can be played at

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VnCoreNLP: A Vietnamese Natural Language Processing Toolkit
Thanh Vu | Dat Quoc Nguyen | Dai Quoc Nguyen | Mark Dras | Mark Johnson

We present an easy-to-use and fast toolkit, namely VnCoreNLP—a Java NLP annotation pipeline for Vietnamese. Our VnCoreNLP supports key natural language processing (NLP) tasks including word segmentation, part-of-speech (POS) tagging, named entity recognition (NER) and dependency parsing, and obtains state-of-the-art (SOTA) results for these tasks. We release VnCoreNLP to provide rich linguistic annotations to facilitate research work on Vietnamese NLP. Our VnCoreNLP is open-source and available at:

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CNNs for NLP in the Browser: Client-Side Deployment and Visualization Opportunities
Yiyun Liang | Zhucheng Tu | Laetitia Huang | Jimmy Lin

We demonstrate a JavaScript implementation of a convolutional neural network that performs feedforward inference completely in the browser. Such a deployment means that models can run completely on the client, on a wide range of devices, without making backend server requests. This design is useful for applications with stringent latency requirements or low connectivity. Our evaluations show the feasibility of JavaScript as a deployment target. Furthermore, an in-browser implementation enables seamless integration with the JavaScript ecosystem for information visualization, providing opportunities to visually inspect neural networks and better understand their inner workings.

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Generating Continuous Representations of Medical Texts
Graham Spinks | Marie-Francine Moens

We present an architecture that generates medical texts while learning an informative, continuous representation with discriminative features. During training the input to the system is a dataset of captions for medical X-Rays. The acquired continuous representations are of particular interest for use in many machine learning techniques where the discrete and high-dimensional nature of textual input is an obstacle. We use an Adversarially Regularized Autoencoder to create realistic text in both an unconditional and conditional setting. We show that this technique is applicable to medical texts which often contain syntactic and domain-specific shorthands. A quantitative evaluation shows that we achieve a lower model perplexity than a traditional LSTM generator.

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Vis-Eval Metric Viewer: A Visualisation Tool for Inspecting and Evaluating Metric Scores of Machine Translation Output
David Steele | Lucia Specia

Machine Translation systems are usually evaluated and compared using automated evaluation metrics such as BLEU and METEOR to score the generated translations against human translations. However, the interaction with the output from the metrics is relatively limited and results are commonly a single score along with a few additional statistics. Whilst this may be enough for system comparison it does not provide much useful feedback or a means for inspecting translations and their respective scores. VisEval Metric Viewer VEMV is a tool designed to provide visualisation of multiple evaluation scores so they can be easily interpreted by a user. VEMV takes in the source, reference, and hypothesis files as parameters, and scores the hypotheses using several popular evaluation metrics simultaneously. Scores are produced at both the sentence and dataset level and results are written locally to a series of HTML files that can be viewed on a web browser. The individual scored sentences can easily be inspected using powerful search and selection functions and results can be visualised with graphical representations of the scores and distributions.

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Know Who Your Friends Are: Understanding Social Connections from Unstructured Text
Léa Deleris | Francesca Bonin | Elizabeth Daly | Stéphane Deparis | Yufang Hou | Charles Jochim | Yassine Lassoued | Killian Levacher

Having an understanding of interpersonal relationships is helpful in many contexts. Our system seeks to assist humans with that task, using textual information (e.g., case notes, speech transcripts, posts, books) as input. Specifically, our system first extracts qualitative and quantitative information elements (which we call signals) about interactions among persons, aggregates those to provide a condensed view of relationships and then enables users to explore all facets of the resulting social (multi-)graph through a visual interface.

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RiskFinder: A Sentence-level Risk Detector for Financial Reports
Yu-Wen Liu | Liang-Chih Liu | Chuan-Ju Wang | Ming-Feng Tsai

This paper presents a web-based information system, RiskFinder, for facilitating the analyses of soft and hard information in financial reports. In particular, the system broadens the analyses from the word level to sentence level, which makes the system useful for practitioner communities and unprecedented among financial academics. The proposed system has four main components: 1) a Form 10-K risk-sentiment dataset, consisting of a set of risk-labeled financial sentences and pre-trained sentence embeddings; 2) metadata, including basic information on each company that published the Form 10-K financial report as well as several relevant financial measures; 3) an interface that highlights risk-related sentences in the financial reports based on the latest sentence embedding techniques; 4) a visualization of financial time-series data for a corresponding company. This paper also conducts some case studies to showcase that the system can be of great help in capturing valuable insight within large amounts of textual information. The system is now online available at

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SMILEE: Symmetric Multi-modal Interactions with Language-gesture Enabled (AI) Embodiment
Sujeong Kim | David Salter | Luke DeLuccia | Kilho Son | Mohamed R. Amer | Amir Tamrakar

We demonstrate an intelligent conversational agent system designed for advancing human-machine collaborative tasks. The agent is able to interpret a user’s communicative intent from both their verbal utterances and non-verbal behaviors, such as gestures. The agent is also itself able to communicate both with natural language and gestures, through its embodiment as an avatar thus facilitating natural symmetric multi-modal interactions. We demonstrate two intelligent agents with specialized skills in the Blocks World as use-cases of our system.

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Decision Conversations Decoded
Léa Deleris | Debasis Ganguly | Killian Levacher | Martin Stephenson | Francesca Bonin

We describe the vision and current version of a Natural Language Processing system aimed at group decision making facilitation. Borrowing from the scientific field of Decision Analysis, its essential role is to identify alternatives and criteria associated with a given decision, to keep track of who proposed them and of the expressed sentiment towards them. Based on this information, the system can help identify agreement and dissent or recommend an alternative. Overall, it seeks to help a group reach a decision in a natural yet auditable fashion.

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Sounding Board: A User-Centric and Content-Driven Social Chatbot
Hao Fang | Hao Cheng | Maarten Sap | Elizabeth Clark | Ari Holtzman | Yejin Choi | Noah A. Smith | Mari Ostendorf

We present Sounding Board, a social chatbot that won the 2017 Amazon Alexa Prize. The system architecture consists of several components including spoken language processing, dialogue management, language generation, and content management, with emphasis on user-centric and content-driven design. We also share insights gained from large-scale online logs based on 160,000 conversations with real-world users.


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Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Tutorial Abstracts

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Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Tutorial Abstracts
Mohit Bansal | Rebecca Passonneau

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Modelling Natural Language, Programs, and their Intersection
Graham Neubig | Miltiadis Allamanis

As computers and information grow a more integral part of our world, it is becoming more and more important for humans to be able to interact with their computers in complex ways. One way to do so is by programming, but the ability to understand and generate programming languages is a highly specialized skill. As a result, in the past several years there has been an increasing research interest in methods that focus on the intersection of programming and natural language, allowing users to use natural language to interact with computers in the complex ways that programs allow us to do. In this tutorial, we will focus on machine learning models of programs and natural language focused on making this goal a reality. First, we will discuss the similarities and differences between programming and natural language. Then we will discuss methods that have been designed to cover a variety of tasks in this field, including automatic explanation of programs in natural language (code-to-language), automatic generation of programs from natural language specifications (language-to-code), modeling the natural language elements of source code, and analysis of communication in collaborative programming communities. The tutorial will be aimed at NLP researchers and practitioners, aiming to describe the interesting opportunities that models at the intersection of natural and programming languages provide, and also how their techniques could provide benefit to the practice of software engineering as a whole.

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Deep Learning Approaches to Text Production
Claire Gardent | Shashi Narayan

Text production is a key component of many NLP applications. In data-driven approaches, it is used for instance, to generate dialogue turns from dialogue moves, to verbalise the content of Knowledge bases or to generate natural English sentences from rich linguistic representations, such as dependency trees or Abstract Meaning Representations. In text-driven methods on the other hand, text production is at work in sentence compression, sentence fusion, paraphrasing, sentence (or text) simplification, text summarisation and end-to-end dialogue systems. Following the success of encoder-decoder models in modeling sequence-rewriting tasks such as machine translation, deep learning models have successfully been applied to the various text production tasks. In this tutorial, we will cover the fundamentals and the state-of-the-art research on neural models for text production. Each text production task raises a slightly different communication goal (e.g, how to take the dialogue context into account when producing a dialogue turn; how to detect and merge relevant information when summarising a text; or how to produce a well-formed text that correctly capture the information contained in some input data in the case of data-to-text generation). We will outline the constraints specific to each subtasks and examine how the existing neural models account for them.

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Scalable Construction and Reasoning of Massive Knowledge Bases
Xiang Ren | Nanyun Peng | William Yang Wang

In today’s information-based society, there is abundant knowledge out there carried in the form of natural language texts (e.g., news articles, social media posts, scientific publications), which spans across various domains (e.g., corporate documents, advertisements, legal acts, medical reports), which grows at an astonishing rate. Yet this knowledge is mostly inaccessible to computers and overwhelming for human experts to absorb. How to turn such massive and unstructured text data into structured, actionable knowledge, and furthermore, how to teach machines learn to reason and complete the extracted knowledge is a grand challenge to the research community. Traditional IE systems assume abundant human annotations for training high quality machine learning models, which is impractical when trying to deploy IE systems to a broad range of domains, settings and languages. In the first part of the tutorial, we introduce how to extract structured facts (i.e., entities and their relations for types of interest) from text corpora to construct knowledge bases, with a focus on methods that are weakly-supervised and domain-independent for timely knowledge base construction across various application domains. In the second part, we introduce how to leverage other knowledge, such as the distributional statistics of characters and words, the annotations for other tasks and other domains, and the linguistics and problem structures, to combat the problem of inadequate supervision, and conduct low-resource information extraction. In the third part, we describe recent advances in knowledge base reasoning. We start with the gentle introduction to the literature, focusing on path-based and embedding based methods. We then describe DeepPath, a recent attempt of using deep reinforcement learning to combine the best of both worlds for knowledge base reasoning.

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The interplay between lexical resources and Natural Language Processing
Jose Camacho-Collados | Luis Espinosa Anke | Mohammad Taher Pilehvar

Incorporating linguistic, world and common sense knowledge into AI/NLP systems is currently an important research area, with several open problems and challenges. At the same time, processing and storing this knowledge in lexical resources is not a straightforward task. We propose to address these complementary goals from two methodological perspectives: the use of NLP methods to help the process of constructing and enriching lexical resources and the use of lexical resources for improving NLP applications. This tutorial may be useful for two main types of audience: those working on language resources who are interested in becoming acquainted with automatic NLP techniques, with the end goal of speeding and/or easing up the process of resource curation; and on the other hand, researchers in NLP who would like to benefit from the knowledge of lexical resources to improve their systems and models.

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Socially Responsible NLP
Yulia Tsvetkov | Vinodkumar Prabhakaran | Rob Voigt

As language technologies have become increasingly prevalent, there is a growing awareness that decisions we make about our data, methods, and tools are often tied up with their impact on people and societies. This tutorial will provide an overview of real-world applications of language technologies and the potential ethical implications associated with them. We will discuss philosophical foundations of ethical research along with state of the art techniques. Through this tutorial, we intend to provide the NLP researcher with an overview of tools to ensure that the data, algorithms, and models that they build are socially responsible. These tools will include a checklist of common pitfalls that one should avoid (e.g., demographic bias in data collection), as well as methods to adequately mitigate these issues (e.g., adjusting sampling rates or de-biasing through regularization). The tutorial is based on a new course on Ethics and NLP developed at Carnegie Mellon University.

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Deep Learning for Conversational AI
Pei-Hao Su | Nikola Mrkšić | Iñigo Casanueva | Ivan Vulić

Spoken Dialogue Systems (SDS) have great commercial potential as they promise to revolutionise the way in which humans interact with machines. The advent of deep learning led to substantial developments in this area of NLP research, and the goal of this tutorial is to familiarise the research community with the recent advances in what some call the most difficult problem in NLP. From a research perspective, the design of spoken dialogue systems provides a number of significant challenges, as these systems depend on: a) solving several difficult NLP and decision-making tasks; and b) combining these into a functional dialogue system pipeline. A key long-term goal of dialogue system research is to enable open-domain systems that can converse about arbitrary topics and assist humans with completing a wide range of tasks. Furthermore, such systems need to autonomously learn on-line to improve their performance and recover from errors using both signals from their environment and from implicit and explicit user feedback. While the design of such systems has traditionally been modular, domain and language-specific, advances in deep learning have alleviated many of the design problems. The main purpose of this tutorial is to encourage dialogue research in the NLP community by providing the research background, a survey of available resources, and giving key insights to application of state-of-the-art SDS methodology into industry-scale conversational AI systems. We plan to introduce researchers to the pipeline framework for modelling goal-oriented dialogue systems, which includes three key components: 1) Language Understanding; 2) Dialogue Management; and 3) Language Generation. The differences between goal-oriented dialogue systems and chat-bot style conversational agents will be explained in order to show the motivation behind the design of both, with the main focus on the pipeline SDS framework. For each key component, we will define the research problem, provide a brief literature review and introduce the current state-of-the-art approaches. Complementary resources (e.g. available datasets and toolkits) will also be discussed. Finally, future work, outstanding challenges, and current industry practices will be presented. All of the presented material will be made available online for future reference.


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Proceedings of the Thirteenth Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications

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Proceedings of the Thirteenth Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications
Joel Tetreault | Jill Burstein | Ekaterina Kochmar | Claudia Leacock | Helen Yannakoudakis

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Using exemplar responses for training and evaluating automated speech scoring systems
Anastassia Loukina | Klaus Zechner | James Bruno | Beata Beigman Klebanov

Automated scoring engines are usually trained and evaluated against human scores and compared to the benchmark of human-human agreement. In this paper we compare the performance of an automated speech scoring engine using two corpora: a corpus of almost 700,000 randomly sampled spoken responses with scores assigned by one or two raters during operational scoring, and a corpus of 16,500 exemplar responses with scores reviewed by multiple expert raters. We show that the choice of corpus used for model evaluation has a major effect on estimates of system performance with r varying between 0.64 and 0.80. Surprisingly, this is not the case for the choice of corpus for model training: when the training corpus is sufficiently large, the systems trained on different corpora showed almost identical performance when evaluated on the same corpus. We show that this effect is consistent across several learning algorithms. We conclude that evaluating the model on a corpus of exemplar responses if one is available provides additional evidence about system validity; at the same time, investing effort into creating a corpus of exemplar responses for model training is unlikely to lead to a substantial gain in model performance.

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Using Paraphrasing and Memory-Augmented Models to Combat Data Sparsity in Question Interpretation with a Virtual Patient Dialogue System
Lifeng Jin | David King | Amad Hussein | Michael White | Douglas Danforth

When interpreting questions in a virtual patient dialogue system one must inevitably tackle the challenge of a long tail of relatively infrequently asked questions. To make progress on this challenge, we investigate the use of paraphrasing for data augmentation and neural memory-based classification, finding that the two methods work best in combination. In particular, we find that the neural memory-based approach not only outperforms a straight CNN classifier on low frequency questions, but also takes better advantage of the augmented data created by paraphrasing, together yielding a nearly 10% absolute improvement in accuracy on the least frequently asked questions.

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Predicting misreadings from gaze in children with reading difficulties
Joachim Bingel | Maria Barrett | Sigrid Klerke

We present the first work on predicting reading mistakes in children with reading difficulties based on eye-tracking data from real-world reading teaching. Our approach employs several linguistic and gaze-based features to inform an ensemble of different classifiers, including multi-task learning models that let us transfer knowledge about individual readers to attain better predictions. Notably, the data we use in this work stems from noisy readings in the wild, outside of controlled lab conditions. Our experiments show that despite the noise and despite the small fraction of misreadings, gaze data improves the performance more than any other feature group and our models achieve good performance. We further show that gaze patterns for misread words do not fully generalize across readers, but that we can transfer some knowledge between readers using multitask learning at least in some cases. Applications of our models include partial automation of reading assessment as well as personalized text simplification.

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Automatic Input Enrichment for Selecting Reading Material: An Online Study with English Teachers
Maria Chinkina | Ankita Oswal | Detmar Meurers

Input material at the appropriate level is crucial for language acquisition. Automating the search for such material can systematically and efficiently support teachers in their pedagogical practice. This is the goal of the computational linguistic task of automatic input enrichment (Chinkina & Meurers, 2016): It analyzes and re-ranks a collection of texts in order to prioritize those containing target linguistic forms. In the online study described in the paper, we collected 240 responses from English teachers in order to investigate whether they preferred automatic input enrichment over web search when selecting reading material for class. Participants demonstrated a general preference for the material provided by an automatic input enrichment system. It was also rated significantly higher than the texts retrieved by a standard web search engine with regard to the representation of linguistic forms and equivalent with regard to the relevance of the content to the topic. We discuss the implications of the results for language teaching and consider the potential strands of future research.

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Estimating Linguistic Complexity for Science Texts
Farah Nadeem | Mari Ostendorf

Evaluation of text difficulty is important both for downstream tasks like text simplification, and for supporting educators in classrooms. Existing work on automated text complexity analysis uses linear models with engineered knowledge-driven features as inputs. While this offers interpretability, these models have lower accuracy for shorter texts. Traditional readability metrics have the additional drawback of not generalizing to informational texts such as science. We propose a neural approach, training on science and other informational texts, to mitigate both problems. Our results show that neural methods outperform knowledge-based linear models for short texts, and have the capacity to generalize to genres not present in the training data.

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Second Language Acquisition Modeling
Burr Settles | Chris Brust | Erin Gustafson | Masato Hagiwara | Nitin Madnani

We present the task of second language acquisition (SLA) modeling. Given a history of errors made by learners of a second language, the task is to predict errors that they are likely to make at arbitrary points in the future. We describe a large corpus of more than 7M words produced by more than 6k learners of English, Spanish, and French using Duolingo, a popular online language-learning app. Then we report on the results of a shared task challenge aimed studying the SLA task via this corpus, which attracted 15 teams and synthesized work from various fields including cognitive science, linguistics, and machine learning.

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A Report on the Complex Word Identification Shared Task 2018
Seid Muhie Yimam | Chris Biemann | Shervin Malmasi | Gustavo Paetzold | Lucia Specia | Sanja Štajner | Anaïs Tack | Marcos Zampieri

We report the findings of the second Complex Word Identification (CWI) shared task organized as part of the BEA workshop co-located with NAACL-HLT’2018. The second CWI shared task featured multilingual and multi-genre datasets divided into four tracks: English monolingual, German monolingual, Spanish monolingual, and a multilingual track with a French test set, and two tasks: binary classification and probabilistic classification. A total of 12 teams submitted their results in different task/track combinations and 11 of them wrote system description papers that are referred to in this report and appear in the BEA workshop proceedings.

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Towards Single Word Lexical Complexity Prediction
David Alfter | Elena Volodina

In this paper we present work-in-progress where we investigate the usefulness of previously created word lists to the task of single-word lexical complexity analysis and prediction of the complexity level for learners of Swedish as a second language. The word lists used map each word to a single CEFR level, and the task consists of predicting CEFR levels for unseen words. In contrast to previous work on word-level lexical complexity, we experiment with topics as additional features and show that linking words to topics significantly increases accuracy of classification.

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COAST - Customizable Online Syllable Enhancement in Texts. A flexible framework for automatically enhancing reading materials
Heiko Holz | Zarah Weiss | Oliver Brehm | Detmar Meurers

This paper presents COAST, a web-based application to easily and automatically enhance syllable structure, word stress, and spacing in texts, that was designed in close collaboration with learning therapists to ensure its practical relevance. Such syllable-enhanced texts are commonly used in learning therapy or private tuition to promote the recognition of syllables in order to improve reading and writing skills. In a state of the art solutions for automatic syllable enhancement, we put special emphasis on syllable stress and support specific marking of the primary syllable stress in words. Core features of our tool are i) a highly customizable text enhancement and template functionality, and ii) a novel crowd-sourcing mechanism that we employ to address the issue of data sparsity in language resources. We successfully tested COAST with real-life practitioners in a series of user tests validating the concept of our framework.

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Annotating picture description task responses for content analysis
Levi King | Markus Dickinson

Given that all users of a language can be creative in their language usage, the overarching goal of this work is to investigate issues of variability and acceptability in written text, for both non-native speakers (NNSs) and native speakers (NSs). We control for meaning by collecting a dataset of picture description task (PDT) responses from a number of NSs and NNSs, and we define and annotate a handful of features pertaining to form and meaning, to capture the multi-dimensional ways in which responses can vary and can be acceptable. By examining the decisions made in this corpus development, we highlight the questions facing anyone working with learner language properties like variability, acceptability and native-likeness. We find reliable inter-annotator agreement, though disagreements point to difficult areas for establishing a link between form and meaning.

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Annotating Student Talk in Text-based Classroom Discussions
Luca Lugini | Diane Litman | Amanda Godley | Christopher Olshefski

Classroom discussions in English Language Arts have a positive effect on students’ reading, writing and reasoning skills. Although prior work has largely focused on teacher talk and student-teacher interactions, we focus on three theoretically-motivated aspects of high-quality student talk: argumentation, specificity, and knowledge domain. We introduce an annotation scheme, then show that the scheme can be used to produce reliable annotations and that the annotations are predictive of discussion quality. We also highlight opportunities provided by our scheme for education and natural language processing research.

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Toward Automatically Measuring Learner Ability from Human-Machine Dialog Interactions using Novel Psychometric Models
Vikram Ramanarayanan | Michelle LaMar

While dialog systems have been widely deployed for computer-assisted language learning (CALL) and formative assessment systems in recent years, relatively limited work has been done with respect to the psychometrics and validity of these technologies in evaluating and providing feedback regarding student learning and conversational ability. This paper formulates a Markov decision process based measurement model, and applies it to text chat data collected from crowdsourced native and non-native English language speakers interacting with an automated dialog agent. We investigate how well the model measures speaker conversational ability, and find that it effectively captures the differences in how native and non-native speakers of English accomplish the dialog task. Such models could have important implications for CALL systems of the future that effectively combine dialog management with measurement of learner conversational ability in real-time.

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Generating Feedback for English Foreign Language Exercises
Björn Rudzewitz | Ramon Ziai | Kordula De Kuthy | Verena Möller | Florian Nuxoll | Detmar Meurers

While immediate feedback on learner language is often discussed in the Second Language Acquisition literature (e.g., Mackey 2006), few systems used in real-life educational settings provide helpful, metalinguistic feedback to learners. In this paper, we present a novel approach leveraging task information to generate the expected range of well-formed and ill-formed variability in learner answers along with the required diagnosis and feedback. We combine this offline generation approach with an online component that matches the actual student answers against the pre-computed hypotheses. The results obtained for a set of 33 thousand answers of 7th grade German high school students learning English show that the approach successfully covers frequent answer patterns. At the same time, paraphrases and content errors require a more flexible alignment approach, for which we are planning to complement the method with the CoMiC approach successfully used for the analysis of reading comprehension answers (Meurers et al., 2011).

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NT2Lex: A CEFR-Graded Lexical Resource for Dutch as a Foreign Language Linked to Open Dutch WordNet
Anaïs Tack | Thomas François | Piet Desmet | Cédrick Fairon

In this paper, we introduce NT2Lex, a novel lexical resource for Dutch as a foreign language (NT2) which includes frequency distributions of 17,743 words and expressions attested in expert-written textbook texts and readers graded along the scale of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). In essence, the lexicon informs us about what kind of vocabulary should be understood when reading Dutch as a non-native reader at a particular proficiency level. The main novelty of the resource with respect to the previously developed CEFR-graded lexicons concerns the introduction of corpus-based evidence for L2 word sense complexity through the linkage to Open Dutch WordNet (Postma et al., 2016). The resource thus contains, on top of the lemmatised and part-of-speech tagged lexical entries, a total of 11,999 unique word senses and 8,934 distinct synsets.

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Experiments with Universal CEFR Classification
Sowmya Vajjala | Taraka Rama

The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) guidelines describe language proficiency of learners on a scale of 6 levels. While the description of CEFR guidelines is generic across languages, the development of automated proficiency classification systems for different languages follow different approaches. In this paper, we explore universal CEFR classification using domain-specific and domain-agnostic, theory-guided as well as data-driven features. We report the results of our preliminary experiments in monolingual, cross-lingual, and multilingual classification with three languages: German, Czech, and Italian. Our results show that both monolingual and multilingual models achieve similar performance, and cross-lingual classification yields lower, but comparable results to monolingual classification.

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Chengyu Cloze Test
Zhiying Jiang | Boliang Zhang | Lifu Huang | Heng Ji

We present a neural recommendation model for Chengyu, which is a special type of Chinese idiom. Given a query, which is a sentence with an empty slot where the Chengyu is taken out, our model will recommend the best Chengyu candidate that best fits the slot context. The main challenge lies in that the literal meaning of a Chengyu is usually very different from it’s figurative meaning. We propose a new neural approach to leverage the definition of each Chengyu and incorporate it as background knowledge. Experiments on both Chengyu cloze test and coherence checking in college entrance exams show that our system achieves 89.5% accuracy on cloze test and outperforms human subjects who attended competitive universities in China. We will make all of our data sets and resources publicly available as a new benchmark for research purposes.

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LaSTUS/TALN at Complex Word Identification (CWI) 2018 Shared Task
Ahmed AbuRa’ed | Horacio Saggion

This paper presents the participation of the LaSTUS/TALN team in the Complex Word Identification (CWI) Shared Task 2018 in the English monolingual track . The purpose of the task was to determine if a word in a given sentence can be judged as complex or not by a certain target audience. For the English track, task organizers provided a training and a development datasets of 27,299 and 3,328 words respectively together with the sentence in which each word occurs. The words were judged as complex or not by 20 human evaluators; ten of whom are natives. We submitted two systems: one system modeled each word to evaluate as a numeric vector populated with a set of lexical, semantic and contextual features while the other system relies on a word embedding representation and a distance metric. We trained two separate classifiers to automatically decide if each word is complex or not. We submitted six runs, two for each of the three subsets of the English monolingual CWI track.

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Cross-lingual complex word identification with multitask learning
Joachim Bingel | Johannes Bjerva

We approach the 2018 Shared Task on Complex Word Identification by leveraging a cross-lingual multitask learning approach. Our method is highly language agnostic, as evidenced by the ability of our system to generalize across languages, including languages for which we have no training data. In the shared task, this is the case for French, for which our system achieves the best performance. We further provide a qualitative and quantitative analysis of which words pose problems for our system.

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UnibucKernel: A kernel-based learning method for complex word identification
Andrei Butnaru | Radu Tudor Ionescu

In this paper, we present a kernel-based learning approach for the 2018 Complex Word Identification (CWI) Shared Task. Our approach is based on combining multiple low-level features, such as character n-grams, with high-level semantic features that are either automatically learned using word embeddings or extracted from a lexical knowledge base, namely WordNet. After feature extraction, we employ a kernel method for the learning phase. The feature matrix is first transformed into a normalized kernel matrix. For the binary classification task (simple versus complex), we employ Support Vector Machines. For the regression task, in which we have to predict the complexity level of a word (a word is more complex if it is labeled as complex by more annotators), we employ v-Support Vector Regression. We applied our approach only on the three English data sets containing documents from Wikipedia, WikiNews and News domains. Our best result during the competition was the third place on the English Wikipedia data set. However, in this paper, we also report better post-competition results.

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CAMB at CWI Shared Task 2018: Complex Word Identification with Ensemble-Based Voting
Sian Gooding | Ekaterina Kochmar

This paper presents the winning systems we submitted to the Complex Word Identification Shared Task 2018. We describe our best performing systems’ implementations and discuss our key findings from this research. Our best-performing systems achieve an F1 score of 0.8792 on the NEWS, 0.8430 on the WIKINEWS and 0.8115 on the WIKIPEDIA test sets in the monolingual English binary classification track, and a mean absolute error of 0.0558 on the NEWS, 0.0674 on the WIKINEWS and 0.0739 on the WIKIPEDIA test sets in the probabilistic track.

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Complex Word Identification Based on Frequency in a Learner Corpus
Tomoyuki Kajiwara | Mamoru Komachi

We introduce the TMU systems for the Complex Word Identification (CWI) Shared Task 2018. TMU systems use random forest classifiers and regressors whose features are the number of characters, the number of words, and the frequency of target words in various corpora. Our simple systems performed best on 5 tracks out of 12 tracks. Our ablation analysis revealed the usefulness of a learner corpus for CWI task.

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The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts: Towards the Effectiveness of Voting Ensemble Classifiers for Complex Word Identification
Nikhil Wani | Sandeep Mathias | Jayashree Aanand Gajjam | Pushpak Bhattacharyya

In this paper, we present an effective system using voting ensemble classifiers to detect contextually complex words for non-native English speakers. To make the final decision, we channel a set of eight calibrated classifiers based on lexical, size and vocabulary features and train our model with annotated datasets collected from a mixture of native and non-native speakers. Thereafter, we test our system on three datasets namely News, WikiNews, and Wikipedia and report competitive results with an F1-Score ranging between 0.777 to 0.855 for each of the datasets. Our system outperforms multiple other models and falls within 0.042 to 0.026 percent of the best-performing model’s score in the shared task.

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Grotoco@SLAM: Second Language Acquisition Modeling with Simple Features, Learners and Task-wise Models
Sigrid Klerke | Héctor Martínez Alonso | Barbara Plank

We present our submission to the 2018 Duolingo Shared Task on Second Language Acquisition Modeling (SLAM). We focus on evaluating a range of features for the task, including user-derived measures, while examining how far we can get with a simple linear classifier. Our analysis reveals that errors differ per exercise format, which motivates our final and best-performing system: a task-wise (per exercise-format) model.

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Context Based Approach for Second Language Acquisition
Nihal V. Nayak | Arjun R. Rao

SLAM 2018 focuses on predicting a student’s mistake while using the Duolingo application. In this paper, we describe the system we developed for this shared task. Our system uses a logistic regression model to predict the likelihood of a student making a mistake while answering an exercise on Duolingo in all three language tracks - English/Spanish (en/es), Spanish/English (es/en) and French/English (fr/en). We conduct an ablation study with several features during the development of this system and discover that context based features plays a major role in language acquisition modeling. Our model beats Duolingo’s baseline scores in all three language tracks (AUROC scores for en/es = 0.821, es/en = 0.790 and fr/en = 0.812). Our work makes a case for providing favourable textual context for students while learning second language.

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Second Language Acquisition Modeling: An Ensemble Approach
Anton Osika | Susanna Nilsson | Andrii Sydorchuk | Faruk Sahin | Anders Huss

Accurate prediction of students’ knowledge is a fundamental building block of personalized learning systems. Here, we propose an ensemble model to predict student knowledge gaps. Applying our approach to student trace data from the online educational platform Duolingo we achieved highest score on all three datasets in the 2018 Shared Task on Second Language Acquisition Modeling. We describe our model and discuss relevance of the task compared to how it would be setup in a production environment for personalized education.

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Modeling Second-Language Learning from a Psychological Perspective
Alexander Rich | Pamela Osborn Popp | David Halpern | Anselm Rothe | Todd Gureckis

Psychological research on learning and memory has tended to emphasize small-scale laboratory studies. However, large datasets of people using educational software provide opportunities to explore these issues from a new perspective. In this paper we describe our approach to the Duolingo Second Language Acquisition Modeling (SLAM) competition which was run in early 2018. We used a well-known class of algorithms (gradient boosted decision trees), with features partially informed by theories from the psychological literature. After detailing our modeling approach and a number of supplementary simulations, we reflect on the degree to which psychological theory aided the model, and the potential for cognitive science and predictive modeling competitions to gain from each other.

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A Memory-Sensitive Classification Model of Errors in Early Second Language Learning
Brendan Tomoschuk | Jarrett Lovelett

In this paper, we explore a variety of linguistic and cognitive features to better understand second language acquisition in early users of the language learning app Duolingo. With these features, we trained a random forest classifier to predict errors in early learners of French, Spanish, and English. Of particular note was our finding that mean and variance in error for each user and token can be a memory efficient replacement for their respective dummy-encoded categorical variables. At test, these models improved over the baseline model with AUROC values of 0.803 for English, 0.823 for French, and 0.829 for Spanish.

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Annotation and Classification of Sentence-level Revision Improvement
Tazin Afrin | Diane Litman

Studies of writing revisions rarely focus on revision quality. To address this issue, we introduce a corpus of between-draft revisions of student argumentative essays, annotated as to whether each revision improves essay quality. We demonstrate a potential usage of our annotations by developing a machine learning model to predict revision improvement. With the goal of expanding training data, we also extract revisions from a dataset edited by expert proofreaders. Our results indicate that blending expert and non-expert revisions increases model performance, with expert data particularly important for predicting low-quality revisions.

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Language Model Based Grammatical Error Correction without Annotated Training Data
Christopher Bryant | Ted Briscoe

Since the end of the CoNLL-2014 shared task on grammatical error correction (GEC), research into language model (LM) based approaches to GEC has largely stagnated. In this paper, we re-examine LMs in GEC and show that it is entirely possible to build a simple system that not only requires minimal annotated data (∼1000 sentences), but is also fairly competitive with several state-of-the-art systems. This approach should be of particular interest for languages where very little annotated training data exists, although we also hope to use it as a baseline to motivate future research.

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A Semantic Role-based Approach to Open-Domain Automatic Question Generation
Michael Flor | Brian Riordan

We present a novel rule-based system for automatic generation of factual questions from sentences, using semantic role labeling (SRL) as the main form of text analysis. The system is capable of generating both wh-questions and yes/no questions from the same semantic analysis. We present an extensive evaluation of the system and compare it to a recent neural network architecture for question generation. The SRL-based system outperforms the neural system in both average quality and variety of generated questions.

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Automated Content Analysis: A Case Study of Computer Science Student Summaries
Yanjun Gao | Patricia M. Davies | Rebecca J. Passonneau

Technology is transforming Higher Education learning and teaching. This paper reports on a project to examine how and why automated content analysis could be used to assess precis writing by university students. We examine the case of one hundred and twenty-two summaries written by computer science freshmen. The texts, which had been hand scored using a teacher-designed rubric, were autoscored using the Natural Language Processing software, PyrEval. Pearson’s correlation coefficient and Spearman rank correlation were used to analyze the relationship between the teacher score and the PyrEval score for each summary. Three content models automatically constructed by PyrEval from different sets of human reference summaries led to consistent correlations, showing that the approach is reliable. Also observed was that, in cases where the focus of student assessment centers on formative feedback, categorizing the PyrEval scores by examining the average and standard deviations could lead to novel interpretations of their relationships. It is suggested that this project has implications for the ways in which automated content analysis could be used to help university students improve their summarization skills.

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Toward Data-Driven Tutorial Question Answering with Deep Learning Conversational Models
Mayank Kulkarni | Kristy Boyer

There has been an increase in popularity of data-driven question answering systems given their recent success. This pa-per explores the possibility of building a tutorial question answering system for Java programming from data sampled from a community-based question answering forum. This paper reports on the creation of a dataset that could support building such a tutorial question answering system and discusses the methodology to create the 106,386 question strong dataset. We investigate how retrieval-based and generative models perform on the given dataset. The work also investigates the usefulness of using hybrid approaches such as combining retrieval-based and generative models. The results indicate that building data-driven tutorial systems using community-based question answering forums holds significant promise.

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Distractor Generation for Multiple Choice Questions Using Learning to Rank
Chen Liang | Xiao Yang | Neisarg Dave | Drew Wham | Bart Pursel | C. Lee Giles

We investigate how machine learning models, specifically ranking models, can be used to select useful distractors for multiple choice questions. Our proposed models can learn to select distractors that resemble those in actual exam questions, which is different from most existing unsupervised ontology-based and similarity-based methods. We empirically study feature-based and neural net (NN) based ranking models with experiments on the recently released SciQ dataset and our MCQL dataset. Experimental results show that feature-based ensemble learning methods (random forest and LambdaMART) outperform both the NN-based method and unsupervised baselines. These two datasets can also be used as benchmarks for distractor generation.

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A Portuguese Native Language Identification Dataset
Iria del Río Gayo | Marcos Zampieri | Shervin Malmasi

In this paper we present NLI-PT, the first Portuguese dataset compiled for Native Language Identification (NLI), the task of identifying an author’s first language based on their second language writing. The dataset includes 1,868 student essays written by learners of European Portuguese, native speakers of the following L1s: Chinese, English, Spanish, German, Russian, French, Japanese, Italian, Dutch, Tetum, Arabic, Polish, Korean, Romanian, and Swedish. NLI-PT includes the original student text and four different types of annotation: POS, fine-grained POS, constituency parses, and dependency parses. NLI-PT can be used not only in NLI but also in research on several topics in the field of Second Language Acquisition and educational NLP. We discuss possible applications of this dataset and present the results obtained for the first lexical baseline system for Portuguese NLI.

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OneStopEnglish corpus: A new corpus for automatic readability assessment and text simplification
Sowmya Vajjala | Ivana Lučić

This paper describes the collection and compilation of the OneStopEnglish corpus of texts written at three reading levels, and demonstrates its usefulness for through two applications - automatic readability assessment and automatic text simplification. The corpus consists of 189 texts, each in three versions (567 in total). The corpus is now freely available under a CC by-SA 4.0 license and we hope that it would foster further research on the topics of readability assessment and text simplification.

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The Effect of Adding Authorship Knowledge in Automated Text Scoring
Meng Zhang | Xie Chen | Ronan Cummins | Øistein E. Andersen | Ted Briscoe

Some language exams have multiple writing tasks. When a learner writes multiple texts in a language exam, it is not surprising that the quality of these texts tends to be similar, and the existing automated text scoring (ATS) systems do not explicitly model this similarity. In this paper, we suggest that it could be useful to include the other texts written by this learner in the same exam as extra references in an ATS system. We propose various approaches of fusing information from multiple tasks and pass this authorship knowledge into our ATS model on six different datasets. We show that this can positively affect the model performance at a global level.

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SB@GU at the Complex Word Identification 2018 Shared Task
David Alfter | Ildikó Pilán

In this paper, we describe our experiments for the Shared Task on Complex Word Identification (CWI) 2018 (Yimam et al., 2018), hosted by the 13th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications (BEA) at NAACL 2018. Our system for English builds on previous work for Swedish concerning the classification of words into proficiency levels. We investigate different features for English and compare their usefulness using feature selection methods. For the German, Spanish and French data we use simple systems based on character n-gram models and show that sometimes simple models achieve comparable results to fully feature-engineered systems.

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Complex Word Identification: Convolutional Neural Network vs. Feature Engineering
Segun Taofeek Aroyehun | Jason Angel | Daniel Alejandro Pérez Alvarez | Alexander Gelbukh

We describe the systems of NLP-CIC team that participated in the Complex Word Identification (CWI) 2018 shared task. The shared task aimed to benchmark approaches for identifying complex words in English and other languages from the perspective of non-native speakers. Our goal is to compare two approaches: feature engineering and a deep neural network. Both approaches achieved comparable performance on the English test set. We demonstrated the flexibility of the deep-learning approach by using the same deep neural network setup in the Spanish track. Our systems achieved competitive results: all our systems were within 0.01 of the system with the best macro-F1 score on the test sets except on Wikipedia test set, on which our best system is 0.04 below the best macro-F1 score.

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Deep Learning Architecture for Complex Word Identification
Dirk De Hertog | Anaïs Tack

We describe a system for the CWI-task that includes information on 5 aspects of the (complex) lexical item, namely distributional information of the item itself, morphological structure, psychological measures, corpus-counts and topical information. We constructed a deep learning architecture that combines those features and apply it to the probabilistic and binary classification task for all English sets and Spanish. We achieved reasonable performance on all sets with best performances seen on the probabilistic task, particularly on the English news set (MAE 0.054 and F1-score of 0.872). An analysis of the results shows that reasonable performance can be achieved with a single architecture without any domain-specific tweaking of the parameter settings and that distributional features capture almost all of the information also found in hand-crafted features.

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NILC at CWI 2018: Exploring Feature Engineering and Feature Learning
Nathan Hartmann | Leandro Borges dos Santos

This paper describes the results of NILC team at CWI 2018. We developed solutions following three approaches: (i) a feature engineering method using lexical, n-gram and psycholinguistic features, (ii) a shallow neural network method using only word embeddings, and (iii) a Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) language model, which is pre-trained on a large text corpus to produce a contextualized word vector. The feature engineering method obtained our best results for the classification task and the LSTM model achieved the best results for the probabilistic classification task. Our results show that deep neural networks are able to perform as well as traditional machine learning methods using manually engineered features for the task of complex word identification in English.

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Complex Word Identification Using Character n-grams
Maja Popović

This paper investigates the use of character n-gram frequencies for identifying complex words in English, German and Spanish texts. The approach is based on the assumption that complex words are likely to contain different character sequences than simple words. The multinomial Naive Bayes classifier was used with n-grams of different lengths as features, and the best results were obtained for the combination of 2-grams and 4-grams. This variant was submitted to the Complex Word Identification Shared Task 2018 for all texts and achieved F-scores between 70% and 83%. The system was ranked in the middle range for all English texts, as third of fourteen submissions for German, and as tenth of seventeen submissions for Spanish. The method is not very convenient for the cross-language task, achieving only 59% on the French text.

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Predicting Second Language Learner Successes and Mistakes by Means of Conjunctive Features
Yves Bestgen

This paper describes the system developed by the Centre for English Corpus Linguistics for the 2018 Duolingo SLAM challenge. It aimed at predicting the successes and mistakes of second language learners on each of the words that compose the exercises they answered. Its main characteristic is to include conjunctive features, built by combining word ngrams with metadata about the user and the exercise. It achieved a relatively good performance, ranking fifth out of 15 systems. Complementary analyses carried out to gauge the contribution of the different sets of features to the performance confirmed the usefulness of the conjunctive features for the SLAM task.

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Feature Engineering for Second Language Acquisition Modeling
Guanliang Chen | Claudia Hauff | Geert-Jan Houben

Knowledge tracing serves as a keystone in delivering personalized education. However, few works attempted to model students’ knowledge state in the setting of Second Language Acquisition. The Duolingo Shared Task on Second Language Acquisition Modeling provides students’ trace data that we extensively analyze and engineer features from for the task of predicting whether a student will correctly solve a vocabulary exercise. Our analyses of students’ learning traces reveal that factors like exercise format and engagement impact their exercise performance to a large extent. Overall, we extracted 23 different features as input to a Gradient Tree Boosting framework, which resulted in an AUC score of between 0.80 and 0.82 on the official test set.

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TMU System for SLAM-2018
Masahiro Kaneko | Tomoyuki Kajiwara | Mamoru Komachi

We introduce the TMU systems for the second language acquisition modeling shared task 2018 (Settles et al., 2018). To model learner error patterns, it is necessary to maintain a considerable amount of information regarding the type of exercises learners have been learning in the past and the manner in which they answered them. Tracking an enormous learner’s learning history and their correct and mistaken answers is essential to predict the learner’s future mistakes. Therefore, we propose a model which tracks the learner’s learning history efficiently. Our systems ranked fourth in the English and Spanish subtasks, and fifth in the French subtask.

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Deep Factorization Machines for Knowledge Tracing
Jill-Jênn Vie

This paper introduces our solution to the 2018 Duolingo Shared Task on Second Language Acquisition Modeling (SLAM). We used deep factorization machines, a wide and deep learning model of pairwise relationships between users, items, skills, and other entities considered. Our solution (AUC 0.815) hopefully managed to beat the logistic regression baseline (AUC 0.774) but not the top performing model (AUC 0.861) and reveals interesting strategies to build upon item response theory models.

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CLUF: a Neural Model for Second Language Acquisition Modeling
Shuyao Xu | Jin Chen | Long Qin

Second Language Acquisition Modeling is the task to predict whether a second language learner would respond correctly in future exercises based on their learning history. In this paper, we propose a neural network based system to utilize rich contextual, linguistic and user information. Our neural model consists of a Context encoder, a Linguistic feature encoder, a User information encoder and a Format information encoder (CLUF). Furthermore, a decoder is introduced to combine such encoded features and make final predictions. Our system ranked in first place in the English track and second place in the Spanish and French track with an AUROC score of 0.861, 0.835 and 0.854 respectively.

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Neural sequence modelling for learner error prediction
Zheng Yuan

This paper describes our use of two recurrent neural network sequence models: sequence labelling and sequence-to-sequence models, for the prediction of future learner errors in our submission to the 2018 Duolingo Shared Task on Second Language Acquisition Modeling (SLAM). We show that these two models capture complementary information as combining them improves performance. Furthermore, the same network architecture and group of features can be used directly to build competitive prediction models in all three language tracks, demonstrating that our approach generalises well across languages.

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Automatic Distractor Suggestion for Multiple-Choice Tests Using Concept Embeddings and Information Retrieval
Le An Ha | Victoria Yaneva

Developing plausible distractors (wrong answer options) when writing multiple-choice questions has been described as one of the most challenging and time-consuming parts of the item-writing process. In this paper we propose a fully automatic method for generating distractor suggestions for multiple-choice questions used in high-stakes medical exams. The system uses a question stem and the correct answer as an input and produces a list of suggested distractors ranked based on their similarity to the stem and the correct answer. To do this we use a novel approach of combining concept embeddings with information retrieval methods. We frame the evaluation as a prediction task where we aim to “predict” the human-produced distractors used in large sets of medical questions, i.e. if a distractor generated by our system is good enough it is likely to feature among the list of distractors produced by the human item-writers. The results reveal that combining concept embeddings with information retrieval approaches significantly improves the generation of plausible distractors and enables us to match around 1 in 5 of the human-produced distractors. The approach proposed in this paper is generalisable to all scenarios where the distractors refer to concepts.

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Co-Attention Based Neural Network for Source-Dependent Essay Scoring
Haoran Zhang | Diane Litman

This paper presents an investigation of using a co-attention based neural network for source-dependent essay scoring. We use a co-attention mechanism to help the model learn the importance of each part of the essay more accurately. Also, this paper shows that the co-attention based neural network model provides reliable score prediction of source-dependent responses. We evaluate our model on two source-dependent response corpora. Results show that our model outperforms the baseline on both corpora. We also show that the attention of the model is similar to the expert opinions with examples.

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Cross-Lingual Content Scoring
Andrea Horbach | Sebastian Stennmanns | Torsten Zesch

We investigate the feasibility of cross-lingual content scoring, a scenario where training and test data in an automatic scoring task are from two different languages. Cross-lingual scoring can contribute to educational equality by allowing answers in multiple languages. Training a model in one language and applying it to another language might also help to overcome data sparsity issues by re-using trained models from other languages. As there is no suitable dataset available for this new task, we create a comparable bi-lingual corpus by extending the English ASAP dataset with German answers. Our experiments with cross-lingual scoring based on machine-translating either training or test data show a considerable drop in scoring quality.


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Proceedings of the Fifth Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology: From Keyboard to Clinic

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Proceedings of the Fifth Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology: From Keyboard to Clinic
Kate Loveys | Kate Niederhoffer | Emily Prud’hommeaux | Rebecca Resnik | Philip Resnik

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What type of happiness are you looking for? - A closer look at detecting mental health from language
Alina Arseniev-Koehler | Sharon Mozgai | Stefan Scherer

Computational models to detect mental illnesses from text and speech could enhance our understanding of mental health while offering opportunities for early detection and intervention. However, these models are often disconnected from the lived experience of depression and the larger diagnostic debates in mental health. This article investigates these disconnects, primarily focusing on the labels used to diagnose depression, how these labels are computationally represented, and the performance metrics used to evaluate computational models. We also consider how medical instruments used to measure depression, such as the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ), contribute to these disconnects. To illustrate our points, we incorporate mixed-methods analyses of 698 interviews on emotional health, which are coupled with self-report PHQ screens for depression. We propose possible strategies to bridge these gaps between modern psychiatric understandings of depression, lay experience of depression, and computational representation.

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A Linguistically-Informed Fusion Approach for Multimodal Depression Detection
Michelle Morales | Stefan Scherer | Rivka Levitan

Automated depression detection is inherently a multimodal problem. Therefore, it is critical that researchers investigate fusion techniques for multimodal design. This paper presents the first-ever comprehensive study of fusion techniques for depression detection. In addition, we present novel linguistically-motivated fusion techniques, which we find outperform existing approaches.

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Expert, Crowdsourced, and Machine Assessment of Suicide Risk via Online Postings
Han-Chin Shing | Suraj Nair | Ayah Zirikly | Meir Friedenberg | Hal Daumé III | Philip Resnik

We report on the creation of a dataset for studying assessment of suicide risk via online postings in Reddit. Evaluation of risk-level annotations by experts yields what is, to our knowledge, the first demonstration of reliability in risk assessment by clinicians based on social media postings. We also introduce and demonstrate the value of a new, detailed rubric for assessing suicide risk, compare crowdsourced with expert performance, and present baseline predictive modeling experiments using the new dataset, which will be made available to researchers through the American Association of Suicidology.

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CLPsych 2018 Shared Task: Predicting Current and Future Psychological Health from Childhood Essays
Veronica Lynn | Alissa Goodman | Kate Niederhoffer | Kate Loveys | Philip Resnik | H. Andrew Schwartz

We describe the shared task for the CLPsych 2018 workshop, which focused on predicting current and future psychological health from an essay authored in childhood. Language-based predictions of a person’s current health have the potential to supplement traditional psychological assessment such as questionnaires, improving intake risk measurement and monitoring. Predictions of future psychological health can aid with both early detection and the development of preventative care. Research into the mental health trajectory of people, beginning from their childhood, has thus far been an area of little work within the NLP community. This shared task represents one of the first attempts to evaluate the use of early language to predict future health; this has the potential to support a wide variety of clinical health care tasks, from early assessment of lifetime risk for mental health problems, to optimal timing for targeted interventions aimed at both prevention and treatment.

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An Approach to the CLPsych 2018 Shared Task Using Top-Down Text Representation and Simple Bottom-Up Model Selection
Micah Iserman | Molly Ireland | Andrew Littlefield | Tyler Davis | Sage Maliepaard

The Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology (CLPsych) 2018 Shared Task asked teams to predict cross-sectional indices of anxiety and distress, and longitudinal indices of psychological distress from a subsample of the National Child Development Study, started in the United Kingdom in 1958. Teams aimed to predict mental health outcomes from essays written by 11-year-olds about what they believed their lives would be like at age 25. In the hopes of producing results that could be easily disseminated and applied, we used largely theory-based dictionaries to process the texts, and a simple data-driven approach to model selection. This approach yielded only modest results in terms of out-of-sample accuracy, but most of the category-level findings are interpretable and consistent with existing literature on psychological distress, anxiety, and depression.

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Using contextual information for automatic triage of posts in a peer-support forum
Edgar Altszyler | Ariel J. Berenstein | David Milne | Rafael A. Calvo | Diego Fernandez Slezak

Mental health forums are online spaces where people can share their experiences anonymously and get peer support. These forums, require the supervision of moderators to provide support in delicate cases, such as posts expressing suicide ideation. The large increase in the number of forum users makes the task of the moderators unmanageable without the help of automatic triage systems. In the present paper, we present a Machine Learning approach for the triage of posts. Most approaches in the literature focus on the content of the posts, but only a few authors take advantage of features extracted from the context in which they appear. Our approach consists of the development and implementation of a large variety of new features from both, the content and the context of posts, such as previous messages, interaction with other users and author’s history. Our method has competed in the CLPsych 2017 Shared Task, obtaining the first place for several of the subtasks. Moreover, we also found that models that take advantage of post context improve significantly its performance in the detection of flagged posts (posts that require moderators attention), as well as those that focus on post content outperforms in the detection of most urgent events.

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Hierarchical neural model with attention mechanisms for the classification of social media text related to mental health
Julia Ive | George Gkotsis | Rina Dutta | Robert Stewart | Sumithra Velupillai

Mental health problems represent a major public health challenge. Automated analysis of text related to mental health is aimed to help medical decision-making, public health policies and to improve health care. Such analysis may involve text classification. Traditionally, automated classification has been performed mainly using machine learning methods involving costly feature engineering. Recently, the performance of those methods has been dramatically improved by neural methods. However, mainly Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have been explored. In this paper, we apply a hierarchical Recurrent neural network (RNN) architecture with an attention mechanism on social media data related to mental health. We show that this architecture improves overall classification results as compared to previously reported results on the same data. Benefitting from the attention mechanism, it can also efficiently select text elements crucial for classification decisions, which can also be used for in-depth analysis.

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Cross-cultural differences in language markers of depression online
Kate Loveys | Jonathan Torrez | Alex Fine | Glen Moriarty | Glen Coppersmith

Depression is a global mental health condition that affects all cultures. Despite this, the way depression is expressed varies by culture. Uptake of machine learning technology for diagnosing mental health conditions means that increasingly more depression classifiers are created from online language data. Yet, culture is rarely considered as a factor affecting online language in this literature. This study explores cultural differences in online language data of users with depression. Written language data from 1,593 users with self-reported depression from the online peer support community 7 Cups of Tea was analyzed using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC), topic modeling, data visualization, and other techniques. We compared the language of users identifying as White, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, and Asian or Pacific Islander. Exploratory analyses revealed cross-cultural differences in depression expression in online language data, particularly in relation to emotion expression, cognition, and functioning. The results have important implications for avoiding depression misclassification from machine-driven assessments when used in a clinical setting, and for avoiding inadvertent cultural biases in this line of research more broadly.

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Deep Learning for Depression Detection of Twitter Users
Ahmed Husseini Orabi | Prasadith Buddhitha | Mahmoud Husseini Orabi | Diana Inkpen

Mental illness detection in social media can be considered a complex task, mainly due to the complicated nature of mental disorders. In recent years, this research area has started to evolve with the continuous increase in popularity of social media platforms that became an integral part of people’s life. This close relationship between social media platforms and their users has made these platforms to reflect the users’ personal life with different limitations. In such an environment, researchers are presented with a wealth of information regarding one’s life. In addition to the level of complexity in identifying mental illnesses through social media platforms, adopting supervised machine learning approaches such as deep neural networks have not been widely accepted due to the difficulties in obtaining sufficient amounts of annotated training data. Due to these reasons, we try to identify the most effective deep neural network architecture among a few of selected architectures that were successfully used in natural language processing tasks. The chosen architectures are used to detect users with signs of mental illnesses (depression in our case) given limited unstructured text data extracted from the Twitter social media platform.

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Current and Future Psychological Health Prediction using Language and Socio-Demographics of Children for the CLPysch 2018 Shared Task
Sharath Chandra Guntuku | Salvatore Giorgi | Lyle Ungar

This article is a system description and report on the submission of a team from the University of Pennsylvania in the ’CLPsych 2018’ shared task. The goal of the shared task was to use childhood language as a marker for both current and future psychological health over individual lifetimes. Our system employs multiple textual features derived from the essays written and individuals’ socio-demographic variables at the age of 11. We considered several word clustering approaches, and explore the use of linear regression based on different feature sets. Our approach showed best results for predicting distress at the age of 42 and for predicting current anxiety on Disattenuated Pearson Correlation, and ranked fourth in the future health prediction task. In addition to the subtasks presented, we attempted to provide insight into mental health aspects at different ages. Our findings indicate that misspellings, words with illegible letters and increased use of personal pronouns are correlated with poor mental health at age 11, while descriptions about future physical activity, family and friends are correlated with good mental health.

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Predicting Psychological Health from Childhood Essays with Convolutional Neural Networks for the CLPsych 2018 Shared Task (Team UKNLP)
Anthony Rios | Tung Tran | Ramakanth Kavuluru

This paper describes the systems we developed for tasks A and B of the 2018 CLPsych shared task. The first task (task A) focuses on predicting behavioral health scores at age 11 using childhood essays. The second task (task B) asks participants to predict future psychological distress at ages 23, 33, 42, and 50 using the age 11 essays. We propose two convolutional neural network based methods that map each task to a regression problem. Among seven teams we ranked third on task A with disattenuated Pearson correlation (DPC) score of 0.5587. Likewise, we ranked third on task B with an average DPC score of 0.3062.

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A Psychologically Informed Approach to CLPsych Shared Task 2018
Almog Simchon | Michael Gilead

This paper describes our approach to the CLPsych 2018 Shared Task, in which we attempted to predict cross-sectional psychological health at age 11 and future psychological distress based on childhood essays. We attempted several modeling approaches and observed best cross-validated prediction accuracy with relatively simple models based on psychological theory. The models provided reasonable predictions in most outcomes. Notably, our model was especially successful in predicting out-of-sample psychological distress (across people and across time) at age 50.

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Predicting Psychological Health from Childhood Essays. The UGent-IDLab CLPsych 2018 Shared Task System.
Klim Zaporojets | Lucas Sterckx | Johannes Deleu | Thomas Demeester | Chris Develder

This paper describes the IDLab system submitted to Task A of the CLPsych 2018 shared task. The goal of this task is predicting psychological health of children based on language used in hand-written essays and socio-demographic control variables. Our entry uses word- and character-based features as well as lexicon-based features and features derived from the essays such as the quality of the language. We apply linear models, gradient boosting as well as neural-network based regressors (feed-forward, CNNs and RNNs) to predict scores. We then make ensembles of our best performing models using a weighted average.

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Can adult mental health be predicted by childhood future-self narratives? Insights from the CLPsych 2018 Shared Task
Kylie Radford | Louise Lavrencic | Ruth Peters | Kim Kiely | Ben Hachey | Scott Nowson | Will Radford

The CLPsych 2018 Shared Task B explores how childhood essays can predict psychological distress throughout the author’s life. Our main aim was to build tools to help our psychologists understand the data, propose features and interpret predictions. We submitted two linear regression models: ModelA uses simple demographic and word-count features, while ModelB uses linguistic, entity, typographic, expert-gazetteer, and readability features. Our models perform best at younger prediction ages, with our best unofficial score at 23 of 0.426 disattenuated Pearson correlation. This task is challenging and although predictive performance is limited, we propose that tight integration of expertise across computational linguistics and clinical psychology is a productive direction.

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Automatic Detection of Incoherent Speech for Diagnosing Schizophrenia
Dan Iter | Jong Yoon | Dan Jurafsky

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder which afflicts an estimated 0.7% of adults world wide. It affects many areas of mental function, often evident from incoherent speech. Diagnosing schizophrenia relies on subjective judgments resulting in disagreements even among trained clinicians. Recent studies have proposed the use of natural language processing for diagnosis by drawing on automatically-extracted linguistic features like discourse coherence and lexicon. Here, we present the first benchmark comparison of previously proposed coherence models for detecting symptoms of schizophrenia and evaluate their performance on a new dataset of recorded interviews between subjects and clinicians. We also present two alternative coherence metrics based on modern sentence embedding techniques that outperform the previous methods on our dataset. Lastly, we propose a novel computational model for reference incoherence based on ambiguous pronoun usage and show that it is a highly predictive feature on our data. While the number of subjects is limited in this pilot study, our results suggest new directions for diagnosing common symptoms of schizophrenia.

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Oral-Motor and Lexical Diversity During Naturalistic Conversations in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Julia Parish-Morris | Evangelos Sariyanidi | Casey Zampella | G. Keith Bartley | Emily Ferguson | Ashley A. Pallathra | Leila Bateman | Samantha Plate | Meredith Cola | Juhi Pandey | Edward S. Brodkin | Robert T. Schultz | Birkan Tunç

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by impaired social communication and the presence of restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviors and interests. Prior research suggests that restricted patterns of behavior in ASD may be cross-domain phenomena that are evident in a variety of modalities. Computational studies of language in ASD provide support for the existence of an underlying dimension of restriction that emerges during a conversation. Similar evidence exists for restricted patterns of facial movement. Using tools from computational linguistics, computer vision, and information theory, this study tests whether cognitive-motor restriction can be detected across multiple behavioral domains in adults with ASD during a naturalistic conversation. Our methods identify restricted behavioral patterns, as measured by entropy in word use and mouth movement. Results suggest that adults with ASD produce significantly less diverse mouth movements and words than neurotypical adults, with an increased reliance on repeated patterns in both domains. The diversity values of the two domains are not significantly correlated, suggesting that they provide complementary information.

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Dynamics of an idiostyle of a Russian suicidal blogger
Tatiana Litvinova | Olga Litvinova | Pavel Seredin

Over 800000 people die of suicide each year. It is es-timated that by the year 2020, this figure will have in-creased to 1.5 million. It is considered to be one of the major causes of mortality during adolescence. Thus there is a growing need for methods of identifying su-icidal individuals. Language analysis is known to be a valuable psychodiagnostic tool, however the material for such an analysis is not easy to obtain. Currently as the Internet communications are developing, there is an opportunity to study texts of suicidal individuals. Such an analysis can provide a useful insight into the peculiarities of suicidal thinking, which can be used to further develop methods for diagnosing the risk of suicidal behavior. The paper analyzes the dynamics of a number of linguistic parameters of an idiostyle of a Russian-language blogger who died by suicide. For the first t