Anthony Colas


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M3: A Multi-Task Mixed-Objective Learning Framework for Open-Domain Multi-Hop Dense Sentence Retrieval
Yang Bai | Anthony Colas | Christan Grant | Zhe Wang
Proceedings of the 2024 Joint International Conference on Computational Linguistics, Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC-COLING 2024)

In recent research, contrastive learning has proven to be a highly effective method for representation learning and is widely used for dense retrieval. However, we identify that relying solely on contrastive learning can lead to suboptimal retrieval performance. On the other hand, despite many retrieval datasets supporting various learning objectives beyond contrastive learning, combining them efficiently in multi-task learning scenarios can be challenging. In this paper, we introduce M3, an advanced recursive Multi-hop dense sentence retrieval system built upon a novel Multi-task Mixed-objective approach for dense text representation learning, addressing the aforementioned challenges. Our approach yields state-of-the-art performance on a large-scale open-domain fact verification benchmark dataset, FEVER.


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Knowledge-Grounded Natural Language Recommendation Explanation
Anthony Colas | Jun Araki | Zhengyu Zhou | Bingqing Wang | Zhe Feng
Proceedings of the 6th BlackboxNLP Workshop: Analyzing and Interpreting Neural Networks for NLP

Explanations accompanying a recommendation can assist users in understanding the decision made by recommendation systems, which in turn increases a user’s confidence and trust in the system. Recently, research has focused on generating natural language explanations in a human-readable format. Thus far, the proposed approaches leverage item reviews written by users, which are often subjective, sparse in language, and unable to account for new items that have not been purchased or reviewed before. Instead, we aim to generate fact-grounded recommendation explanations that are objectively described with item features while implicitly considering a user’s preferences, based on the user’s purchase history. To achieve this, we propose a knowledge graph (KG) approach to natural language explainable recommendation. Our approach draws on user-item features through a novel collaborative filtering-based KG representation to produce fact-grounded, personalized explanations, while jointly learning user-item representations for recommendation scoring. Experimental results show that our approach consistently outperforms previous state-of-the-art models on natural language explainable recommendation metrics.


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GAP: A Graph-aware Language Model Framework for Knowledge Graph-to-Text Generation
Anthony Colas | Mehrdad Alvandipour | Daisy Zhe Wang
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Recent improvements in KG-to-text generation are due to additional auxiliary pre-training tasks designed to give the fine-tune task a boost in performance. These tasks require extensive computational resources while only suggesting marginal improvements. Here, we demonstrate that by fusing graph-aware elements into existing pre-trained language models, we are able to outperform state-of-the-art models and close the gap imposed by additional pre-training tasks. We do so by proposing a mask structure to capture neighborhood information and a novel type encoder that adds a bias to the graph-attention weights depending on the connection type. Experiments on two KG-to-text benchmark datasets show our models are competitive while involving fewer parameters and no additional pre-training tasks. By formulating the problem as a framework, we can interchange the various proposed components and begin interpreting KG-to-text generative models based on the topological and type information found in a graph.

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DrugEHRQA: A Question Answering Dataset on Structured and Unstructured Electronic Health Records For Medicine Related Queries
Jayetri Bardhan | Anthony Colas | Kirk Roberts | Daisy Zhe Wang
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

This paper develops the first question answering dataset (DrugEHRQA) containing question-answer pairs from both structured tables and unstructured notes from a publicly available Electronic Health Record (EHR). EHRs contain patient records, stored in structured tables and unstructured clinical notes. The information in structured and unstructured EHRs is not strictly disjoint: information may be duplicated, contradictory, or provide additional context between these sources. Our dataset has medication-related queries, containing over 70,000 question-answer pairs. To provide a baseline model and help analyze the dataset, we have used a simple model (MultimodalEHRQA) which uses the predictions of a modality selection network to choose between EHR tables and clinical notes to answer the questions. This is used to direct the questions to the table-based or text-based state-of-the-art QA model. In order to address the problem arising from complex, nested queries, this is the first time Relation-Aware Schema Encoding and Linking for Text-to-SQL Parsers (RAT-SQL) has been used to test the structure of query templates in EHR data. Our goal is to provide a benchmark dataset for multi-modal QA systems, and to open up new avenues of research in improving question answering over EHR structured data by using context from unstructured clinical data.


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TutorialVQA: Question Answering Dataset for Tutorial Videos
Anthony Colas | Seokhwan Kim | Franck Dernoncourt | Siddhesh Gupte | Zhe Wang | Doo Soon Kim
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Despite the number of currently available datasets on video-question answering, there still remains a need for a dataset involving multi-step and non-factoid answers. Moreover, relying on video transcripts remains an under-explored topic. To adequately address this, we propose a new question answering task on instructional videos, because of their verbose and narrative nature. While previous studies on video question answering have focused on generating a short text as an answer, given a question and video clip, our task aims to identify a span of a video segment as an answer which contains instructional details with various granularities. This work focuses on screencast tutorial videos pertaining to an image editing program. We introduce a dataset, TutorialVQA, consisting of about 6,000 manually collected triples of (video, question, answer span). We also provide experimental results with several baseline algorithms using the video transcripts. The results indicate that the task is challenging and call for the investigation of new algorithms.

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Efficient Deployment of Conversational Natural Language Interfaces over Databases
Anthony Colas | Trung Bui | Franck Dernoncourt | Moumita Sinha | Doo Soon Kim
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Natural Language Interfaces

Many users communicate with chatbots and AI assistants in order to help them with various tasks. A key component of the assistant is the ability to understand and answer a user’s natural language questions for question-answering (QA). Because data can be usually stored in a structured manner, an essential step involves turning a natural language question into its corresponding query language. However, in order to train most natural language-to-query-language state-of-the-art models, a large amount of training data is needed first. In most domains, this data is not available and collecting such datasets for various domains can be tedious and time-consuming. In this work, we propose a novel method for accelerating the training dataset collection for developing the natural language-to-query-language machine learning models. Our system allows one to generate conversational multi-term data, where multiple turns define a dialogue session, enabling one to better utilize chatbot interfaces. We train two current state-of-the-art NL-to-QL models, on both an SQL and SPARQL-based datasets in order to showcase the adaptability and efficacy of our created data.