Ansel MacLaughlin


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Federated Learning with Noisy User Feedback
Rahul Sharma | Anil Ramakrishna | Ansel MacLaughlin | Anna Rumshisky | Jimit Majmudar | Clement Chung | Salman Avestimehr | Rahul Gupta
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Machine Learning (ML) systems are getting increasingly popular, and drive more and more applications and services in our daily life. Thishas led to growing concerns over user privacy, since human interaction data typically needs to be transmitted to the cloud in order to trainand improve such systems. Federated learning (FL) has recently emerged as a method for training ML models on edge devices using sensitive user data and is seen as a way to mitigate concerns over data privacy. However, since ML models are most commonly trained with label supervision, we need a way to extract labels on edge to make FL viable. In this work, we propose a strategy for training FL models using positive and negative user feedback. We also design a novel framework to study different noise patterns in user feedback, and explore how well standard noise-robust objectives can help mitigate this noise when training models in a federated setting. We evaluate our proposed training setup through detailed experiments on two text classification datasets and analyze the effects of varying levels of user reliability and feedback noise on model performance. We show that our method improves substantially over a self-training baseline, achieving performance closer to models trained with full supervision.


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Content-based Models of Quotation
Ansel MacLaughlin | David Smith
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

We explore the task of quotability identification, in which, given a document, we aim to identify which of its passages are the most quotable, i.e. the most likely to be directly quoted by later derived documents. We approach quotability identification as a passage ranking problem and evaluate how well both feature-based and BERT-based (Devlin et al., 2019) models rank the passages in a given document by their predicted quotability. We explore this problem through evaluations on five datasets that span multiple languages (English, Latin) and genres of literature (e.g. poetry, plays, novels) and whose corresponding derived documents are of multiple types (news, journal articles). Our experiments confirm the relatively strong performance of BERT-based models on this task, with the best model, a RoBERTA sequential sentence tagger, achieving an average rho of 0.35 and NDCG@1, 5, 50 of 0.26, 0.31 and 0.40, respectively, across all five datasets.

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Recovering Lexically and Semantically Reused Texts
Ansel MacLaughlin | Shaobin Xu | David A. Smith
Proceedings of *SEM 2021: The Tenth Joint Conference on Lexical and Computational Semantics

Writers often repurpose material from existing texts when composing new documents. Because most documents have more than one source, we cannot trace these connections using only models of document-level similarity. Instead, this paper considers methods for local text reuse detection (LTRD), detecting localized regions of lexically or semantically similar text embedded in otherwise unrelated material. In extensive experiments, we study the relative performance of four classes of neural and bag-of-words models on three LTRD tasks – detecting plagiarism, modeling journalists’ use of press releases, and identifying scientists’ citation of earlier papers. We conduct evaluations on three existing datasets and a new, publicly-available citation localization dataset. Our findings shed light on a number of previously-unexplored questions in the study of LTRD, including the importance of incorporating document-level context for predictions, the applicability of of-the-shelf neural models pretrained on “general” semantic textual similarity tasks such as paraphrase detection, and the trade-offs between more efficient bag-of-words and feature-based neural models and slower pairwise neural models.


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Evaluating the Effectiveness of Efficient Neural Architecture Search for Sentence-Pair Tasks
Ansel MacLaughlin | Jwala Dhamala | Anoop Kumar | Sriram Venkatapathy | Ragav Venkatesan | Rahul Gupta
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Insights from Negative Results in NLP

Neural Architecture Search (NAS) methods, which automatically learn entire neural model or individual neural cell architectures, have recently achieved competitive or state-of-the-art (SOTA) performance on variety of natural language processing and computer vision tasks, including language modeling, natural language inference, and image classification. In this work, we explore the applicability of a SOTA NAS algorithm, Efficient Neural Architecture Search (ENAS) (Pham et al., 2018) to two sentence pair tasks, paraphrase detection and semantic textual similarity. We use ENAS to perform a micro-level search and learn a task-optimized RNN cell architecture as a drop-in replacement for an LSTM. We explore the effectiveness of ENAS through experiments on three datasets (MRPC, SICK, STS-B), with two different models (ESIM, BiLSTM-Max), and two sets of embeddings (Glove, BERT). In contrast to prior work applying ENAS to NLP tasks, our results are mixed – we find that ENAS architectures sometimes, but not always, outperform LSTMs and perform similarly to random architecture search.