Alessio Miaschi


2021

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What Makes My Model Perplexed? A Linguistic Investigation on Neural Language Models Perplexity
Alessio Miaschi | Dominique Brunato | Felice Dell’Orletta | Giulia Venturi
Proceedings of Deep Learning Inside Out (DeeLIO): The 2nd Workshop on Knowledge Extraction and Integration for Deep Learning Architectures

This paper presents an investigation aimed at studying how the linguistic structure of a sentence affects the perplexity of two of the most popular Neural Language Models (NLMs), BERT and GPT-2. We first compare the sentence-level likelihood computed with BERT and the GPT-2’s perplexity showing that the two metrics are correlated. In addition, we exploit linguistic features capturing a wide set of morpho-syntactic and syntactic phenomena showing how they contribute to predict the perplexity of the two NLMs.

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How Do BERT Embeddings Organize Linguistic Knowledge?
Giovanni Puccetti | Alessio Miaschi | Felice Dell’Orletta
Proceedings of Deep Learning Inside Out (DeeLIO): The 2nd Workshop on Knowledge Extraction and Integration for Deep Learning Architectures

Several studies investigated the linguistic information implicitly encoded in Neural Language Models. Most of these works focused on quantifying the amount and type of information available within their internal representations and across their layers. In line with this scenario, we proposed a different study, based on Lasso regression, aimed at understanding how the information encoded by BERT sentence-level representations is arrange within its hidden units. Using a suite of several probing tasks, we showed the existence of a relationship between the implicit knowledge learned by the model and the number of individual units involved in the encodings of this competence. Moreover, we found that it is possible to identify groups of hidden units more relevant for specific linguistic properties.

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A dissemination workshop for introducing young Italian students to NLP
Lucio Messina | Lucia Busso | Claudia Roberta Combei | Alessio Miaschi | Ludovica Pannitto | Gabriele Sarti | Malvina Nissim
Proceedings of the Fifth Workshop on Teaching NLP

We describe and make available the game-based material developed for a laboratory run at several Italian science festivals to popularize NLP among young students.

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Teaching NLP with Bracelets and Restaurant Menus: An Interactive Workshop for Italian Students
Ludovica Pannitto | Lucia Busso | Claudia Roberta Combei | Lucio Messina | Alessio Miaschi | Gabriele Sarti | Malvina Nissim
Proceedings of the Fifth Workshop on Teaching NLP

Although Natural Language Processing is at the core of many tools young people use in their everyday life, high school curricula (in Italy) do not include any computational linguistics education. This lack of exposure makes the use of such tools less responsible than it could be, and makes choosing computational linguistics as a university degree unlikely. To raise awareness, curiosity, and longer-term interest in young people, we have developed an interactive workshop designed to illustrate the basic principles of NLP and computational linguistics to high school Italian students aged between 13 and 18 years. The workshop takes the form of a game in which participants play the role of machines needing to solve some of the most common problems a computer faces in understanding language: from voice recognition to Markov chains to syntactic parsing. Participants are guided through the workshop with the help of instructors, who present the activities and explain core concepts from computational linguistics. The workshop was presented at numerous outlets in Italy between 2019 and 2020, both face-to-face and online.

2020

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Linguistic Profiling of a Neural Language Model
Alessio Miaschi | Dominique Brunato | Felice Dell’Orletta | Giulia Venturi
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

In this paper we investigate the linguistic knowledge learned by a Neural Language Model (NLM) before and after a fine-tuning process and how this knowledge affects its predictions during several classification problems. We use a wide set of probing tasks, each of which corresponds to a distinct sentence-level feature extracted from different levels of linguistic annotation. We show that BERT is able to encode a wide range of linguistic characteristics, but it tends to lose this information when trained on specific downstream tasks. We also find that BERT’s capacity to encode different kind of linguistic properties has a positive influence on its predictions: the more it stores readable linguistic information of a sentence, the higher will be its capacity of predicting the expected label assigned to that sentence.

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Contextual and Non-Contextual Word Embeddings: an in-depth Linguistic Investigation
Alessio Miaschi | Felice Dell’Orletta
Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP

In this paper we present a comparison between the linguistic knowledge encoded in the internal representations of a contextual Language Model (BERT) and a contextual-independent one (Word2vec). We use a wide set of probing tasks, each of which corresponds to a distinct sentence-level feature extracted from different levels of linguistic annotation. We show that, although BERT is capable of understanding the full context of each word in an input sequence, the implicit knowledge encoded in its aggregated sentence representations is still comparable to that of a contextual-independent model. We also find that BERT is able to encode sentence-level properties even within single-word embeddings, obtaining comparable or even superior results than those obtained with sentence representations.

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Tracking the Evolution of Written Language Competence in L2 Spanish Learners
Alessio Miaschi | Sam Davidson | Dominique Brunato | Felice Dell’Orletta | Kenji Sagae | Claudia Helena Sanchez-Gutierrez | Giulia Venturi
Proceedings of the Fifteenth Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications

In this paper we present an NLP-based approach for tracking the evolution of written language competence in L2 Spanish learners using a wide range of linguistic features automatically extracted from students’ written productions. Beyond reporting classification results for different scenarios, we explore the connection between the most predictive features and the teaching curriculum, finding that our set of linguistic features often reflect the explicit instructions that students receive during each course.

2019

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Linguistically-Driven Strategy for Concept Prerequisites Learning on Italian
Alessio Miaschi | Chiara Alzetta | Franco Alberto Cardillo | Felice Dell’Orletta
Proceedings of the Fourteenth Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications

We present a new concept prerequisite learning method for Learning Object (LO) ordering that exploits only linguistic features extracted from textual educational resources. The method was tested in a cross- and in- domain scenario both for Italian and English. Additionally, we performed experiments based on a incremental training strategy to study the impact of the training set size on the classifier performances. The paper also introduces ITA-PREREQ, to the best of our knowledge the first Italian dataset annotated with prerequisite relations between pairs of educational concepts, and describe the automatic strategy devised to build it.