Athul Paul Jacob


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Multitasking Inhibits Semantic Drift
Athul Paul Jacob | Mike Lewis | Jacob Andreas
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

When intelligent agents communicate to accomplish shared goals, how do these goals shape the agents’ language? We study the dynamics of learning in latent language policies (LLPs), in which instructor agents generate natural-language subgoal descriptions and executor agents map these descriptions to low-level actions. LLPs can solve challenging long-horizon reinforcement learning problems and provide a rich model for studying task-oriented language use. But previous work has found that LLP training is prone to semantic drift (use of messages in ways inconsistent with their original natural language meanings). Here, we demonstrate theoretically and empirically that multitask training is an effective counter to this problem: we prove that multitask training eliminates semantic drift in a well-studied family of signaling games, and show that multitask training of neural LLPs in a complex strategy game reduces drift and while improving sample efficiency.


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Learning Hierarchical Structures On-The-Fly with a Recurrent-Recursive Model for Sequences
Athul Paul Jacob | Zhouhan Lin | Alessandro Sordoni | Yoshua Bengio
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP

We propose a hierarchical model for sequential data that learns a tree on-the-fly, i.e. while reading the sequence. In the model, a recurrent network adapts its structure and reuses recurrent weights in a recursive manner. This creates adaptive skip-connections that ease the learning of long-term dependencies. The tree structure can either be inferred without supervision through reinforcement learning, or learned in a supervised manner. We provide preliminary experiments in a novel Math Expression Evaluation (MEE) task, which is created to have a hierarchical tree structure that can be used to study the effectiveness of our model. Additionally, we test our model in a well-known propositional logic and language modelling tasks. Experimental results have shown the potential of our approach.

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Straight to the Tree: Constituency Parsing with Neural Syntactic Distance
Yikang Shen | Zhouhan Lin | Athul Paul Jacob | Alessandro Sordoni | Aaron Courville | Yoshua Bengio
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In this work, we propose a novel constituency parsing scheme. The model first predicts a real-valued scalar, named syntactic distance, for each split position in the sentence. The topology of grammar tree is then determined by the values of syntactic distances. Compared to traditional shift-reduce parsing schemes, our approach is free from the potentially disastrous compounding error. It is also easier to parallelize and much faster. Our model achieves the state-of-the-art single model F1 score of 92.1 on PTB and 86.4 on CTB dataset, which surpasses the previous single model results by a large margin.