Asahi Ushio


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A RelEntLess Benchmark for Modelling Graded Relations between Named Entities
Asahi Ushio | Jose Camacho-Collados | Steven Schockaert
Proceedings of the 18th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Relations such as “is influenced by”, “is known for” or “is a competitor of” are inherently graded: we can rank entity pairs based on how well they satisfy these relations, but it is hard to draw a line between those pairs that satisfy them and those that do not. Such graded relations play a central role in many applications, yet they are typically not covered by existing Knowledge Graphs. In this paper, we consider the possibility of using Large Language Models (LLMs) to fill this gap. To this end, we introduce a new benchmark, in which entity pairs have to be ranked according to how much they satisfy a given graded relation. The task is formulated as a few-shot ranking problem, where models only have access to a description of the relation and five prototypical instances. We use the proposed benchmark to evaluate state-of-the-art relation embedding strategies as well as several publicly available LLMs and closed conversational models such as GPT-4. We find that smaller language models struggle to outperform a naive baseline. Overall, the best results are obtained with the 11B parameter Flan-T5 model and the 13B parameter OPT model, where further increasing the model size does not seem to be beneficial. For all models, a clear gap with human performance remains.


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An Empirical Comparison of LM-based Question and Answer Generation Methods
Asahi Ushio | Fernando Alva-Manchego | Jose Camacho-Collados
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Question and answer generation (QAG) consists of generating a set of question-answer pairs given a context (e.g. a paragraph). This task has a variety of applications, such as data augmentation for question answering (QA) models, information retrieval and education. In this paper, we establish baselines with three different QAG methodologies that leverage sequence-to-sequence language model (LM) fine-tuning. Experiments show that an end-to-end QAG model, which is computationally light at both training and inference times, is generally robust and outperforms other more convoluted approaches. However, there are differences depending on the underlying generative LM. Finally, our analysis shows that QA models fine-tuned solely on generated question-answer pairs can be competitive when compared to supervised QA models trained on human-labeled data.

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SuperTweetEval: A Challenging, Unified and Heterogeneous Benchmark for Social Media NLP Research
Dimosthenis Antypas | Asahi Ushio | Francesco Barbieri | Leonardo Neves | Kiamehr Rezaee | Luis Espinosa-Anke | Jiaxin Pei | Jose Camacho-Collados
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Despite its relevance, the maturity of NLP for social media pales in comparison with general-purpose models, metrics and benchmarks. This fragmented landscape makes it hard for the community to know, for instance, given a task, which is the best performing model and how it compares with others. To alleviate this issue, we introduce a unified benchmark for NLP evaluation in social media, SuperTweetEval, which includes a heterogeneous set of tasks and datasets combined, adapted and constructed from scratch. We benchmarked the performance of a wide range of models on SuperTweetEval and our results suggest that, despite the recent advances in language modelling, social media remains challenging.

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Efficient Multilingual Language Model Compression through Vocabulary Trimming
Asahi Ushio | Yi Zhou | Jose Camacho-Collados
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Multilingual language models (LMs) have become a powerful tool in NLP, especially for non-English languages. Nevertheless, model parameters of multilingual LMs remain large due to the larger embedding matrix of the vocabulary covering tokens in different languages. Instead, monolingual LMs can be trained in a target language with the language-specific vocabulary only. In this paper, we propose vocabulary-trimming (VT), a method to reduce a multilingual LM vocabulary to a target language by deleting potentially irrelevant tokens from its vocabulary. In theory, VT can compress any existing multilingual LM to any language covered by the original model. In our experiments, we show that VT can retain the original performance of the multilingual LM, while being considerably smaller in size than the original multilingual LM. The evaluation is performed over four NLP tasks (two generative and two classification tasks) among four widely used multilingual LMs in seven languages. The results show that this methodology can keep the best of both monolingual and multilingual worlds by keeping a small size as monolingual models without the need for specifically retraining them, and can even help limit potentially harmful social biases.

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SemEval-2023 Task 1: Visual Word Sense Disambiguation
Alessandro Raganato | Iacer Calixto | Asahi Ushio | Jose Camacho-Collados | Mohammad Taher Pilehvar
Proceedings of the 17th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2023)

This paper presents the Visual Word Sense Disambiguation (Visual-WSD) task. The objective of Visual-WSD is to identify among a set of ten images the one that corresponds to the intended meaning of a given ambiguous word which is accompanied with minimal context. The task provides datasets for three different languages: English, Italian, and Farsi.We received a total of 96 different submissions. Out of these, 40 systems outperformed a strong zero-shot CLIP-based baseline. Participating systems proposed different zero- and few-shot approaches, often involving generative models and data augmentation. More information can be found on the task’s website: \url{}.

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A Practical Toolkit for Multilingual Question and Answer Generation
Asahi Ushio | Fernando Alva-Manchego | Jose Camacho-Collados
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 3: System Demonstrations)

Generating questions along with associated answers from a text has applications in several domains, such as creating reading comprehension tests for students, or improving document search by providing auxiliary questions and answers based on the query. Training models for question and answer generation (QAG) is not straightforward due to the expected structured output (i.e. a list of question and answer pairs), as it requires more than generating a single sentence. This results in a small number of publicly accessible QAG models. In this paper, we introduce AutoQG, an online service for multilingual QAG along with lmqg, an all-in-one python package for model fine-tuning, generation, and evaluation. We also release QAG models in eight languages fine-tuned on a few variants of pre-trained encoder-decoder language models, which can be used online via AutoQG or locally via lmqg. With these resources, practitioners of any level can benefit from a toolkit that includes a web interface for end users, and easy-to-use code for developers who require custom models or fine-grained controls for generation.


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Guiding Generative Language Models for Data Augmentation in Few-Shot Text Classification
Aleksandra Edwards | Asahi Ushio | Jose Camacho-collados | Helene Ribaupierre | Alun Preece
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Data Science with Human-in-the-Loop (Language Advances)

Data augmentation techniques are widely used for enhancing the performance of machine learning models by tackling class imbalance issues and data sparsity. State-of-the-art generative language models have been shown to provide significant gains across different NLP tasks. However, their applicability to data augmentation for text classification tasks in few-shot settings have not been fully explored, especially for specialised domains. In this paper, we leverage GPT-2 (Radford et al, 2019) for generating artificial training instances in order to improve classification performance. Our aim is to analyse the impact the selection process of seed training examples has over the quality of GPT-generated samples and consequently the classifier performance. We propose a human-in-the-loop approach for selecting seed samples. Further, we compare the approach to other seed selection strategies that exploit the characteristics of specialised domains such as human-created class hierarchical structure and the presence of noun phrases. Our results show that fine-tuning GPT-2 in a handful of label instances leads to consistent classification improvements and outperform competitive baselines. The seed selection strategies developed in this work lead to significant improvements over random seed selection for specialised domains. We show that guiding text generation through domain expert selection can lead to further improvements, which opens up interesting research avenues for combining generative models and active learning.

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Twitter Topic Classification
Dimosthenis Antypas | Asahi Ushio | Jose Camacho-Collados | Vitor Silva | Leonardo Neves | Francesco Barbieri
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Social media platforms host discussions about a wide variety of topics that arise everyday. Making sense of all the content and organising it into categories is an arduous task. A common way to deal with this issue is relying on topic modeling, but topics discovered using this technique are difficult to interpret and can differ from corpus to corpus. In this paper, we present a new task based on tweet topic classification and release two associated datasets. Given a wide range of topics covering the most important discussion points in social media, we provide training and testing data from recent time periods that can be used to evaluate tweet classification models. Moreover, we perform a quantitative evaluation and analysis of current general- and domain-specific language models on the task, which provide more insights on the challenges and nature of the task.

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Named Entity Recognition in Twitter: A Dataset and Analysis on Short-Term Temporal Shifts
Asahi Ushio | Francesco Barbieri | Vitor Sousa | Leonardo Neves | Jose Camacho-Collados
Proceedings of the 2nd Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 12th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Recent progress in language model pre-training has led to important improvements in Named Entity Recognition (NER). Nonetheless, this progress has been mainly tested in well-formatted documents such as news, Wikipedia, or scientific articles. In social media the landscape is different, in which it adds another layer of complexity due to its noisy and dynamic nature. In this paper, we focus on NER in Twitter, one of the largest social media platforms, and construct a new NER dataset, TweetNER7, which contains seven entity types annotated over 11,382 tweets from September 2019 to August 2021. The dataset was constructed by carefully distributing the tweets over time and taking representative trends as a basis. Along with the dataset, we provide a set of language model baselines and perform an analysis on the language model performance on the task, especially analyzing the impact of different time periods. In particular, we focus on three important temporal aspects in our analysis: short-term degradation of NER models over time, strategies to fine-tune a language model over different periods, and self-labeling as an alternative to lack of recently-labeled data. TweetNER7 is released publicly ( along with the models fine-tuned on it (NER models have been integrated into TweetNLP and can be found at

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Zero-shot Cross-Lingual Counterfactual Detection via Automatic Extraction and Prediction of Clue Phrases
Asahi Ushio | Danushka Bollegala
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Multi-lingual Representation Learning (MRL)

Counterfactual statements describe events that did not or cannot take place unless some conditions are satisfied. Existing counterfactual detection (CFD) methods assume the availability of manually labelled statements for each language they consider, limiting the broad applicability of CFD. In this paper, we consider the problem of zero-shot cross-lingual transfer learning for CFD. Specifically, we propose a novel loss function based on the clue phrase prediction for generalising a CFD model trained on a source language to multiple target languages, without requiring any human-labelled data. We obtain clue phrases that express various language-specific lexical indicators of counterfactuality in the target language in an unsupervised manner using a neural alignment model. We evaluate our method on the Amazon Multilingual Counterfactual Dataset (AMCD) for English, German, and Japanese languages in the zero-shot cross-lingual transfer setup where no manual annotations are used for the target language during training. The best CFD model fine-tuned on XLM-R improves the macro F1 score by 25% for German and 20% for Japanese target languages compared to a model that is trained only using English source language data.

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Generative Language Models for Paragraph-Level Question Generation
Asahi Ushio | Fernando Alva-Manchego | Jose Camacho-Collados
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Powerful generative models have led to recent progress in question generation (QG). However, it is difficult to measure advances in QG research since there are no standardized resources that allow a uniform comparison among approaches. In this paper, we introduce QG-Bench, a multilingual and multidomain benchmark for QG that unifies existing question answering datasets by converting them to a standard QG setting. It includes general-purpose datasets such as SQuAD for English, datasets from ten domains and two styles, as well as datasets in eight different languages. Using QG-Bench as a reference, we perform an extensive analysis of the capabilities of language models for the task. First, we propose robust QG baselines based on fine-tuning generative language models. Then, we complement automatic evaluation based on standard metrics with an extensive manual evaluation, which in turn sheds light on the difficulty of evaluating QG models. Finally, we analyse both the domain adaptability of these models as well as the effectiveness of multilingual models in languages other than English.QG-Bench is released along with the fine-tuned models presented in the paper (, which are also available as a demo (

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TweetNLP: Cutting-Edge Natural Language Processing for Social Media
Jose Camacho-collados | Kiamehr Rezaee | Talayeh Riahi | Asahi Ushio | Daniel Loureiro | Dimosthenis Antypas | Joanne Boisson | Luis Espinosa Anke | Fangyu Liu | Eugenio Martínez Cámara
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

In this paper we present TweetNLP, an integrated platform for Natural Language Processing (NLP) in social media. TweetNLP supports a diverse set of NLP tasks, including generic focus areas such as sentiment analysis and named entity recognition, as well as social media-specific tasks such as emoji prediction and offensive language identification. Task-specific systems are powered by reasonably-sized Transformer-based language models specialized on social media text (in particular, Twitter) which can be run without the need for dedicated hardware or cloud services. The main contributions of TweetNLP are: (1) an integrated Python library for a modern toolkit supporting social media analysis using our various task-specific models adapted to the social domain; (2) an interactive online demo for codeless experimentation using our models; and (3) a tutorial covering a wide variety of typical social media applications.


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T-NER: An All-Round Python Library for Transformer-based Named Entity Recognition
Asahi Ushio | Jose Camacho-Collados
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

Language model (LM) pretraining has led to consistent improvements in many NLP downstream tasks, including named entity recognition (NER). In this paper, we present T-NER (Transformer-based Named Entity Recognition), a Python library for NER LM finetuning. In addition to its practical utility, T-NER facilitates the study and investigation of the cross-domain and cross-lingual generalization ability of LMs finetuned on NER. Our library also provides a web app where users can get model predictions interactively for arbitrary text, which facilitates qualitative model evaluation for non-expert programmers. We show the potential of the library by compiling nine public NER datasets into a unified format and evaluating the cross-domain and cross- lingual performance across the datasets. The results from our initial experiments show that in-domain performance is generally competitive across datasets. However, cross-domain generalization is challenging even with a large pretrained LM, which has nevertheless capacity to learn domain-specific features if fine- tuned on a combined dataset. To facilitate future research, we also release all our LM checkpoints via the Hugging Face model hub.

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BERT is to NLP what AlexNet is to CV: Can Pre-Trained Language Models Identify Analogies?
Asahi Ushio | Luis Espinosa Anke | Steven Schockaert | Jose Camacho-Collados
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Analogies play a central role in human commonsense reasoning. The ability to recognize analogies such as “eye is to seeing what ear is to hearing”, sometimes referred to as analogical proportions, shape how we structure knowledge and understand language. Surprisingly, however, the task of identifying such analogies has not yet received much attention in the language model era. In this paper, we analyze the capabilities of transformer-based language models on this unsupervised task, using benchmarks obtained from educational settings, as well as more commonly used datasets. We find that off-the-shelf language models can identify analogies to a certain extent, but struggle with abstract and complex relations, and results are highly sensitive to model architecture and hyperparameters. Overall the best results were obtained with GPT-2 and RoBERTa, while configurations using BERT were not able to outperform word embedding models. Our results raise important questions for future work about how, and to what extent, pre-trained language models capture knowledge about abstract semantic relations.

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Back to the Basics: A Quantitative Analysis of Statistical and Graph-Based Term Weighting Schemes for Keyword Extraction
Asahi Ushio | Federico Liberatore | Jose Camacho-Collados
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Term weighting schemes are widely used in Natural Language Processing and Information Retrieval. In particular, term weighting is the basis for keyword extraction. However, there are relatively few evaluation studies that shed light about the strengths and shortcomings of each weighting scheme. In fact, in most cases researchers and practitioners resort to the well-known tf-idf as default, despite the existence of other suitable alternatives, including graph-based models. In this paper, we perform an exhaustive and large-scale empirical comparison of both statistical and graph-based term weighting methods in the context of keyword extraction. Our analysis reveals some interesting findings such as the advantages of the less-known lexical specificity with respect to tf-idf, or the qualitative differences between statistical and graph-based methods. Finally, based on our findings we discuss and devise some suggestions for practitioners. Source code to reproduce our experimental results, including a keyword extraction library, are available in the following repository:

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Distilling Relation Embeddings from Pretrained Language Models
Asahi Ushio | Jose Camacho-Collados | Steven Schockaert
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Pre-trained language models have been found to capture a surprisingly rich amount of lexical knowledge, ranging from commonsense properties of everyday concepts to detailed factual knowledge about named entities. Among others, this makes it possible to distill high-quality word vectors from pre-trained language models. However, it is currently unclear to what extent it is possible to distill relation embeddings, i.e. vectors that characterize the relationship between two words. Such relation embeddings are appealing because they can, in principle, encode relational knowledge in a more fine-grained way than is possible with knowledge graphs. To obtain relation embeddings from a pre-trained language model, we encode word pairs using a (manually or automatically generated) prompt, and we fine-tune the language model such that relationally similar word pairs yield similar output vectors. We find that the resulting relation embeddings are highly competitive on analogy (unsupervised) and relation classification (supervised) benchmarks, even without any task-specific fine-tuning. Source code to reproduce our experimental results and the model checkpoints are available in the following repository: