Andrew Yates


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Improving the Generalizability of Depression Detection by Leveraging Clinical Questionnaires
Thong Nguyen | Andrew Yates | Ayah Zirikly | Bart Desmet | Arman Cohan
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Automated methods have been widely used to identify and analyze mental health conditions (e.g., depression) from various sources of information, including social media. Yet, deployment of such models in real-world healthcare applications faces challenges including poor out-of-domain generalization and lack of trust in black box models. In this work, we propose approaches for depression detection that are constrained to different degrees by the presence of symptoms described in PHQ9, a questionnaire used by clinicians in the depression screening process. In dataset-transfer experiments on three social media datasets, we find that grounding the model in PHQ9’s symptoms substantially improves its ability to generalize to out-of-distribution data compared to a standard BERT-based approach. Furthermore, this approach can still perform competitively on in-domain data. These results and our qualitative analyses suggest that grounding model predictions in clinically-relevant symptoms can improve generalizability while producing a model that is easier to inspect.


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Bag-of-Words Baselines for Semantic Code Search
Xinyu Zhang | Ji Xin | Andrew Yates | Jimmy Lin
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Programming (NLP4Prog 2021)

The task of semantic code search is to retrieve code snippets from a source code corpus based on an information need expressed in natural language. The semantic gap between natural language and programming languages has for long been regarded as one of the most significant obstacles to the effectiveness of keyword-based information retrieval (IR) methods. It is a common assumption that “traditional” bag-of-words IR methods are poorly suited for semantic code search: our work empirically investigates this assumption. Specifically, we examine the effectiveness of two traditional IR methods, namely BM25 and RM3, on the CodeSearchNet Corpus, which consists of natural language queries paired with relevant code snippets. We find that the two keyword-based methods outperform several pre-BERT neural models. We also compare several code-specific data pre-processing strategies and find that specialized tokenization improves effectiveness.

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Proceedings of the Seventh Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology: Improving Access
Nazli Goharian | Philip Resnik | Andrew Yates | Molly Ireland | Kate Niederhoffer | Rebecca Resnik
Proceedings of the Seventh Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology: Improving Access

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PRIDE: Predicting Relationships in Conversations
Anna Tigunova | Paramita Mirza | Andrew Yates | Gerhard Weikum
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Automatically extracting interpersonal relationships of conversation interlocutors can enrich personal knowledge bases to enhance personalized search, recommenders and chatbots. To infer speakers’ relationships from dialogues we propose PRIDE, a neural multi-label classifier, based on BERT and Transformer for creating a conversation representation. PRIDE utilizes dialogue structure and augments it with external knowledge about speaker features and conversation style.Unlike prior works, we address multi-label prediction of fine-grained relationships. We release large-scale datasets, based on screenplays of movies and TV shows, with directed relationships of conversation participants. Extensive experiments on both datasets show superior performance of PRIDE compared to the state-of-the-art baselines.

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Pretrained Transformers for Text Ranking: BERT and Beyond
Andrew Yates | Rodrigo Nogueira | Jimmy Lin
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies: Tutorials

The goal of text ranking is to generate an ordered list of texts retrieved from a corpus in response to a query for a particular task. Although the most common formulation of text ranking is search, instances of the task can also be found in many text processing applications. This tutorial provides an overview of text ranking with neural network architectures known as transformers, of which BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) is the best-known example. These models produce high quality results across many domains, tasks, and settings. This tutorial, which is based on the preprint of a forthcoming book to be published by Morgan and & Claypool under the Synthesis Lectures on Human Language Technologies series, provides an overview of existing work as a single point of entry for practitioners who wish to deploy transformers for text ranking in real-world applications and researchers who wish to pursue work in this area. We cover a wide range of techniques, grouped into two categories: transformer models that perform reranking in multi-stage ranking architectures and learned dense representations that perform ranking directly.


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CHARM: Inferring Personal Attributes from Conversations
Anna Tigunova | Andrew Yates | Paramita Mirza | Gerhard Weikum
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Personal knowledge about users’ professions, hobbies, favorite food, and travel preferences, among others, is a valuable asset for individualized AI, such as recommenders or chatbots. Conversations in social media, such as Reddit, are a rich source of data for inferring personal facts. Prior work developed supervised methods to extract this knowledge, but these approaches can not generalize beyond attribute values with ample labeled training samples. This paper overcomes this limitation by devising CHARM: a zero-shot learning method that creatively leverages keyword extraction and document retrieval in order to predict attribute values that were never seen during training. Experiments with large datasets from Reddit show the viability of CHARM for open-ended attributes, such as professions and hobbies.

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A Little Bit Is Worse Than None: Ranking with Limited Training Data
Xinyu Zhang | Andrew Yates | Jimmy Lin
Proceedings of SustaiNLP: Workshop on Simple and Efficient Natural Language Processing

Researchers have proposed simple yet effective techniques for the retrieval problem based on using BERT as a relevance classifier to rerank initial candidates from keyword search. In this work, we tackle the challenge of fine-tuning these models for specific domains in a data and computationally efficient manner. Typically, researchers fine-tune models using corpus-specific labeled data from sources such as TREC. We first answer the question: How much data of this type do we need? Recognizing that the most computationally efficient training is no training, we explore zero-shot ranking using BERT models that have already been fine-tuned with the large MS MARCO passage retrieval dataset. We arrive at the surprising and novel finding that “some” labeled in-domain data can be worse than none at all.

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BERT-QE: Contextualized Query Expansion for Document Re-ranking
Zhi Zheng | Kai Hui | Ben He | Xianpei Han | Le Sun | Andrew Yates
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Query expansion aims to mitigate the mismatch between the language used in a query and in a document. However, query expansion methods can suffer from introducing non-relevant information when expanding the query. To bridge this gap, inspired by recent advances in applying contextualized models like BERT to the document retrieval task, this paper proposes a novel query expansion model that leverages the strength of the BERT model to select relevant document chunks for expansion. In evaluation on the standard TREC Robust04 and GOV2 test collections, the proposed BERT-QE model significantly outperforms BERT-Large models.

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RedDust: a Large Reusable Dataset of Reddit User Traits
Anna Tigunova | Paramita Mirza | Andrew Yates | Gerhard Weikum
Proceedings of the 12th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Social media is a rich source of assertions about personal traits, such as “I am a doctor” or “my hobby is playing tennis”. Precisely identifying explicit assertions is difficult, though, because of the users’ highly varied vocabulary and language expressions. Identifying personal traits from implicit assertions like I’ve been at work treating patients all day is even more challenging. This paper presents RedDust, a large-scale annotated resource for user profiling for over 300k Reddit users across five attributes: profession, hobby, family status, age,and gender. We construct RedDust using a diverse set of high-precision patterns and demonstrate its use as a resource for developing learning models to deal with implicit assertions. RedDust consists of users’ personal traits, which are (attribute, value) pairs, along with users’ post ids, which may be used to retrieve the posts from a publicly available crawl or from the Reddit API. We discuss the construction of the resource and show interesting statistics and insights into the data. We also compare different classifiers, which can be learned from RedDust. To the best of our knowledge, RedDust is the first annotated language resource about Reddit users at large scale. We envision further use cases of RedDust for providing background knowledge about user traits, to enhance personalized search and recommendation as well as conversational agents.


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Using Multi-Sense Vector Embeddings for Reverse Dictionaries
Michael A. Hedderich | Andrew Yates | Dietrich Klakow | Gerard de Melo
Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Computational Semantics - Long Papers

Popular word embedding methods such as word2vec and GloVe assign a single vector representation to each word, even if a word has multiple distinct meanings. Multi-sense embeddings instead provide different vectors for each sense of a word. However, they typically cannot serve as a drop-in replacement for conventional single-sense embeddings, because the correct sense vector needs to be selected for each word. In this work, we study the effect of multi-sense embeddings on the task of reverse dictionaries. We propose a technique to easily integrate them into an existing neural network architecture using an attention mechanism. Our experiments demonstrate that large improvements can be obtained when employing multi-sense embeddings both in the input sequence as well as for the target representation. An analysis of the sense distributions and of the learned attention is provided as well.

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STANCY: Stance Classification Based on Consistency Cues
Kashyap Popat | Subhabrata Mukherjee | Andrew Yates | Gerhard Weikum
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Controversial claims are abundant in online media and discussion forums. A better understanding of such claims requires analyzing them from different perspectives. Stance classification is a necessary step for inferring these perspectives in terms of supporting or opposing the claim. In this work, we present a neural network model for stance classification leveraging BERT representations and augmenting them with a novel consistency constraint. Experiments on the Perspectrum dataset, consisting of claims and users’ perspectives from various debate websites, demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach over state-of-the-art baselines.


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RSDD-Time: Temporal Annotation of Self-Reported Mental Health Diagnoses
Sean MacAvaney | Bart Desmet | Arman Cohan | Luca Soldaini | Andrew Yates | Ayah Zirikly | Nazli Goharian
Proceedings of the Fifth Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology: From Keyboard to Clinic

Self-reported diagnosis statements have been widely employed in studying language related to mental health in social media. However, existing research has largely ignored the temporality of mental health diagnoses. In this work, we introduce RSDD-Time: a new dataset of 598 manually annotated self-reported depression diagnosis posts from Reddit that include temporal information about the diagnosis. Annotations include whether a mental health condition is present and how recently the diagnosis happened. Furthermore, we include exact temporal spans that relate to the date of diagnosis. This information is valuable for various computational methods to examine mental health through social media because one’s mental health state is not static. We also test several baseline classification and extraction approaches, which suggest that extracting temporal information from self-reported diagnosis statements is challenging.

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SMHD: a Large-Scale Resource for Exploring Online Language Usage for Multiple Mental Health Conditions
Arman Cohan | Bart Desmet | Andrew Yates | Luca Soldaini | Sean MacAvaney | Nazli Goharian
Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Mental health is a significant and growing public health concern. As language usage can be leveraged to obtain crucial insights into mental health conditions, there is a need for large-scale, labeled, mental health-related datasets of users who have been diagnosed with one or more of such conditions. In this paper, we investigate the creation of high-precision patterns to identify self-reported diagnoses of nine different mental health conditions, and obtain high-quality labeled data without the need for manual labelling. We introduce the SMHD (Self-reported Mental Health Diagnoses) dataset and make it available. SMHD is a novel large dataset of social media posts from users with one or multiple mental health conditions along with matched control users. We examine distinctions in users’ language, as measured by linguistic and psychological variables. We further explore text classification methods to identify individuals with mental conditions through their language.

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DeClarE: Debunking Fake News and False Claims using Evidence-Aware Deep Learning
Kashyap Popat | Subhabrata Mukherjee | Andrew Yates | Gerhard Weikum
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Misinformation such as fake news is one of the big challenges of our society. Research on automated fact-checking has proposed methods based on supervised learning, but these approaches do not consider external evidence apart from labeled training instances. Recent approaches counter this deficit by considering external sources related to a claim. However, these methods require substantial feature modeling and rich lexicons. This paper overcomes these limitations of prior work with an end-to-end model for evidence-aware credibility assessment of arbitrary textual claims, without any human intervention. It presents a neural network model that judiciously aggregates signals from external evidence articles, the language of these articles and the trustworthiness of their sources. It also derives informative features for generating user-comprehensible explanations that makes the neural network predictions transparent to the end-user. Experiments with four datasets and ablation studies show the strength of our method.

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NPRF: A Neural Pseudo Relevance Feedback Framework for Ad-hoc Information Retrieval
Canjia Li | Yingfei Sun | Ben He | Le Wang | Kai Hui | Andrew Yates | Le Sun | Jungang Xu
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Pseudo relevance feedback (PRF) is commonly used to boost the performance of traditional information retrieval (IR) models by using top-ranked documents to identify and weight new query terms, thereby reducing the effect of query-document vocabulary mismatches. While neural retrieval models have recently demonstrated strong results for ad-hoc retrieval, combining them with PRF is not straightforward due to incompatibilities between existing PRF approaches and neural architectures. To bridge this gap, we propose an end-to-end neural PRF framework that can be used with existing neural IR models by embedding different neural models as building blocks. Extensive experiments on two standard test collections confirm the effectiveness of the proposed NPRF framework in improving the performance of two state-of-the-art neural IR models.


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PACRR: A Position-Aware Neural IR Model for Relevance Matching
Kai Hui | Andrew Yates | Klaus Berberich | Gerard de Melo
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

In order to adopt deep learning for information retrieval, models are needed that can capture all relevant information required to assess the relevance of a document to a given user query. While previous works have successfully captured unigram term matches, how to fully employ position-dependent information such as proximity and term dependencies has been insufficiently explored. In this work, we propose a novel neural IR model named PACRR aiming at better modeling position-dependent interactions between a query and a document. Extensive experiments on six years’ TREC Web Track data confirm that the proposed model yields better results under multiple benchmarks.

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Depression and Self-Harm Risk Assessment in Online Forums
Andrew Yates | Arman Cohan | Nazli Goharian
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Users suffering from mental health conditions often turn to online resources for support, including specialized online support communities or general communities such as Twitter and Reddit. In this work, we present a framework for supporting and studying users in both types of communities. We propose methods for identifying posts in support communities that may indicate a risk of self-harm, and demonstrate that our approach outperforms strong previously proposed methods for identifying such posts. Self-harm is closely related to depression, which makes identifying depressed users on general forums a crucial related task. We introduce a large-scale general forum dataset consisting of users with self-reported depression diagnoses matched with control users. We show how our method can be applied to effectively identify depressed users from their use of language alone. We demonstrate that our method outperforms strong baselines on this general forum dataset.


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Effects of Sampling on Twitter Trend Detection
Andrew Yates | Alek Kolcz | Nazli Goharian | Ophir Frieder
Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'16)

Much research has focused on detecting trends on Twitter, including health-related trends such as mentions of Influenza-like illnesses or their symptoms. The majority of this research has been conducted using Twitter’s public feed, which includes only about 1% of all public tweets. It is unclear if, when, and how using Twitter’s 1% feed has affected the evaluation of trend detection methods. In this work we use a larger feed to investigate the effects of sampling on Twitter trend detection. We focus on using health-related trends to estimate the prevalence of Influenza-like illnesses based on tweets. We use ground truth obtained from the CDC and Google Flu Trends to explore how the prevalence estimates degrade when moving from a 100% to a 1% sample. We find that using the 1% sample is unlikely to substantially harm ILI estimates made at the national level, but can cause poor performance when estimates are made at the city level.


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A Framework for Public Health Surveillance
Andrew Yates | Jon Parker | Nazli Goharian | Ophir Frieder
Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'14)

With the rapid growth of social media, there is increasing potential to augment traditional public health surveillance methods with data from social media. We describe a framework for performing public health surveillance on Twitter data. Our framework, which is publicly available, consists of three components that work together to detect health-related trends in social media: a concept extraction component for identifying health-related concepts, a concept aggregation component for identifying how the extracted health-related concepts relate to each other, and a trend detection component for determining when the aggregated health-related concepts are trending. We describe the architecture of the framework and several components that have been implemented in the framework, identify other components that could be used with the framework, and evaluate our framework on approximately 1.5 years of tweets. While it is difficult to determine how accurately a Twitter trend reflects a trend in the real world, we discuss the differences in trends detected by several different methods and compare flu trends detected by our framework to data from Google Flu Trends.