Barnabás Poczós

Also published as: Barnabas Poczos, Barnabás Póczos


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StylePTB: A Compositional Benchmark for Fine-grained Controllable Text Style Transfer
Yiwei Lyu | Paul Pu Liang | Hai Pham | Eduard Hovy | Barnabás Póczos | Ruslan Salakhutdinov | Louis-Philippe Morency
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Text style transfer aims to controllably generate text with targeted stylistic changes while maintaining core meaning from the source sentence constant. Many of the existing style transfer benchmarks primarily focus on individual high-level semantic changes (e.g. positive to negative), which enable controllability at a high level but do not offer fine-grained control involving sentence structure, emphasis, and content of the sentence. In this paper, we introduce a large-scale benchmark, StylePTB, with (1) paired sentences undergoing 21 fine-grained stylistic changes spanning atomic lexical, syntactic, semantic, and thematic transfers of text, as well as (2) compositions of multiple transfers which allow modeling of fine-grained stylistic changes as building blocks for more complex, high-level transfers. By benchmarking existing methods on StylePTB, we find that they struggle to model fine-grained changes and have an even more difficult time composing multiple styles. As a result, StylePTB brings novel challenges that we hope will encourage future research in controllable text style transfer, compositional models, and learning disentangled representations. Solving these challenges would present important steps towards controllable text generation.


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Efficient Meta Lifelong-Learning with Limited Memory
Zirui Wang | Sanket Vaibhav Mehta | Barnabas Poczos | Jaime Carbonell
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Current natural language processing models work well on a single task, yet they often fail to continuously learn new tasks without forgetting previous ones as they are re-trained throughout their lifetime, a challenge known as lifelong learning. State-of-the-art lifelong language learning methods store past examples in episodic memory and replay them at both training and inference time. However, as we show later in our experiments, there are three significant impediments: (1) needing unrealistically large memory module to achieve good performance, (2) suffering from negative transfer, (3) requiring multiple local adaptation steps for each test example that significantly slows down the inference speed. In this paper, we identify three common principles of lifelong learning methods and propose an efficient meta-lifelong framework that combines them in a synergistic fashion. To achieve sample efficiency, our method trains the model in a manner that it learns a better initialization for local adaptation. Extensive experiments on text classification and question answering benchmarks demonstrate the effectiveness of our framework by achieving state-of-the-art performance using merely 1% memory size and narrowing the gap with multi-task learning. We further show that our method alleviates both catastrophic forgetting and negative transfer at the same time.

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Politeness Transfer: A Tag and Generate Approach
Aman Madaan | Amrith Setlur | Tanmay Parekh | Barnabas Poczos | Graham Neubig | Yiming Yang | Ruslan Salakhutdinov | Alan W Black | Shrimai Prabhumoye
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

This paper introduces a new task of politeness transfer which involves converting non-polite sentences to polite sentences while preserving the meaning. We also provide a dataset of more than 1.39 instances automatically labeled for politeness to encourage benchmark evaluations on this new task. We design a tag and generate pipeline that identifies stylistic attributes and subsequently generates a sentence in the target style while preserving most of the source content. For politeness as well as five other transfer tasks, our model outperforms the state-of-the-art methods on automatic metrics for content preservation, with a comparable or better performance on style transfer accuracy. Additionally, our model surpasses existing methods on human evaluations for grammaticality, meaning preservation and transfer accuracy across all the six style transfer tasks. The data and code is located at


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Competence-based Curriculum Learning for Neural Machine Translation
Emmanouil Antonios Platanios | Otilia Stretcu | Graham Neubig | Barnabas Poczos | Tom Mitchell
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers)

Current state-of-the-art NMT systems use large neural networks that are not only slow to train, but also often require many heuristics and optimization tricks, such as specialized learning rate schedules and large batch sizes. This is undesirable as it requires extensive hyperparameter tuning. In this paper, we propose a curriculum learning framework for NMT that reduces training time, reduces the need for specialized heuristics or large batch sizes, and results in overall better performance. Our framework consists of a principled way of deciding which training samples are shown to the model at different times during training, based on the estimated difficulty of a sample and the current competence of the model. Filtering training samples in this manner prevents the model from getting stuck in bad local optima, making it converge faster and reach a better solution than the common approach of uniformly sampling training examples. Furthermore, the proposed method can be easily applied to existing NMT models by simply modifying their input data pipelines. We show that our framework can help improve the training time and the performance of both recurrent neural network models and Transformers, achieving up to a 70% decrease in training time, while at the same time obtaining accuracy improvements of up to 2.2 BLEU.


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Seq2Seq2Sentiment: Multimodal Sequence to Sequence Models for Sentiment Analysis
Hai Pham | Thomas Manzini | Paul Pu Liang | Barnabás Poczós
Proceedings of Grand Challenge and Workshop on Human Multimodal Language (Challenge-HML)

Multimodal machine learning is a core research area spanning the language, visual and acoustic modalities. The central challenge in multimodal learning involves learning representations that can process and relate information from multiple modalities. In this paper, we propose two methods for unsupervised learning of joint multimodal representations using sequence to sequence (Seq2Seq) methods: a Seq2Seq Modality Translation Model and a Hierarchical Seq2Seq Modality Translation Model. We also explore multiple different variations on the multimodal inputs and outputs of these seq2seq models. Our experiments on multimodal sentiment analysis using the CMU-MOSI dataset indicate that our methods learn informative multimodal representations that outperform the baselines and achieve improved performance on multimodal sentiment analysis, specifically in the Bimodal case where our model is able to improve F1 Score by twelve points. We also discuss future directions for multimodal Seq2Seq methods.