Alison Sneyd


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Robustness and Reliability of Gender Bias Assessment in Word Embeddings: The Role of Base Pairs
Haiyang Zhang | Alison Sneyd | Mark Stevenson
Proceedings of the 1st Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 10th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing

It has been shown that word embeddings can exhibit gender bias, and various methods have been proposed to quantify this. However, the extent to which the methods are capturing social stereotypes inherited from the data has been debated. Bias is a complex concept and there exist multiple ways to define it. Previous work has leveraged gender word pairs to measure bias and extract biased analogies. We show that the reliance on these gendered pairs has strong limitations: bias measures based off of them are not robust and cannot identify common types of real-world bias, whilst analogies utilising them are unsuitable indicators of bias. In particular, the well-known analogy “man is to computer-programmer as woman is to homemaker” is due to word similarity rather than bias. This has important implications for work on measuring bias in embeddings and related work debiasing embeddings.


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Strong Baselines for Complex Word Identification across Multiple Languages
Pierre Finnimore | Elisabeth Fritzsch | Daniel King | Alison Sneyd | Aneeq Ur Rehman | Fernando Alva-Manchego | Andreas Vlachos
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers)

Complex Word Identification (CWI) is the task of identifying which words or phrases in a sentence are difficult to understand by a target audience. The latest CWI Shared Task released data for two settings: monolingual (i.e. train and test in the same language) and cross-lingual (i.e. test in a language not seen during training). The best monolingual models relied on language-dependent features, which do not generalise in the cross-lingual setting, while the best cross-lingual model used neural networks with multi-task learning. In this paper, we present monolingual and cross-lingual CWI models that perform as well as (or better than) most models submitted to the latest CWI Shared Task. We show that carefully selected features and simple learning models can achieve state-of-the-art performance, and result in strong baselines for future development in this area. Finally, we discuss how inconsistencies in the annotation of the data can explain some of the results obtained.

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Modelling Stopping Criteria for Search Results using Poisson Processes
Alison Sneyd | Mark Stevenson
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Text retrieval systems often return large sets of documents, particularly when applied to large collections. Stopping criteria can reduce the number of these documents that need to be manually evaluated for relevance by predicting when a suitable level of recall has been achieved. In this work, a novel method for determining a stopping criterion is proposed that models the rate at which relevant documents occur using a Poisson process. This method allows a user to specify both a minimum desired level of recall to achieve and a desired probability of having achieved it. We evaluate our method on a public dataset and compare it with previous techniques for determining stopping criteria.