Alex Hedges


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Remember what you did so you know what to do next
Manuel Ciosici | Alex Hedges | Yash Kankanampati | Justin Martin | Marjorie Freedman | Ralph Weischedel
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

We explore using the 6B parameter GPT-J language model to create a plan for a simulated robot to achieve 30 classes of goals in ScienceWorld, a text game simulator for elementary science experiments and for which previously published empirical work has shown large language models (LLM)s to be a poor fit (Wang et al., 2022). Using the Markov assumption, the LLM outperforms the state-of-the-art based on reinforcement learning by a factor of 1.4. When we fill the LLM’s input buffer with as many prior steps as will fit, improvement rises to 3.3x. Even when training on only 6.5% of the training data, we observe a 2.3x improvement over the state-of-the-art. Our experiments show that performance varies widely across the 30 classes of actions, indicating that averaging over tasks can hide significant performance issues.


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Machine-Assisted Script Curation
Manuel Ciosici | Joseph Cummings | Mitchell DeHaven | Alex Hedges | Yash Kankanampati | Dong-Ho Lee | Ralph Weischedel | Marjorie Freedman
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies: Demonstrations

We describe Machine-Aided Script Curator (MASC), a system for human-machine collaborative script authoring. Scripts produced with MASC include (1) English descriptions of sub-events that comprise a larger, complex event; (2) event types for each of those events; (3) a record of entities expected to participate in multiple sub-events; and (4) temporal sequencing between the sub-events. MASC automates portions of the script creation process with suggestions for event types, links to Wikidata, and sub-events that may have been forgotten. We illustrate how these automations are useful to the script writer with a few case-study scripts.

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Perhaps PTLMs Should Go to School – A Task to Assess Open Book and Closed Book QA
Manuel Ciosici | Joe Cecil | Dong-Ho Lee | Alex Hedges | Marjorie Freedman | Ralph Weischedel
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Our goal is to deliver a new task and leaderboard to stimulate research on question answering and pre-trained language models (PTLMs) to understand a significant instructional document, e.g., an introductory college textbook or a manual. PTLMs have shown great success in many question-answering tasks, given significant supervised training, but much less so in zero-shot settings. We propose a new task that includes two college-level introductory texts in the social sciences (American Government 2e) and humanities (U.S. History), hundreds of true/false statements based on review questions written by the textbook authors, validation/development tests based on the first eight chapters of the textbooks, blind tests based on the remaining textbook chapters, and baseline results given state-of-the-art PTLMs. Since the questions are balanced, random performance should be ~50%. T5, fine-tuned with BoolQ achieves the same performance, suggesting that the textbook’s content is not pre-represented in the PTLM. Taking the exam closed book, but having read the textbook (i.e., adding the textbook to T5’s pre-training), yields at best minor improvement (56%), suggesting that the PTLM may not have “understood” the textbook (or perhaps misunderstood the questions). Performance is better (~60%) when the exam is taken open-book (i.e., allowing the machine to automatically retrieve a paragraph and use it to answer the question).