Bodhisattwa Prasad Majumder


2021

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Ask what’s missing and what’s useful: Improving Clarification Question Generation using Global Knowledge
Bodhisattwa Prasad Majumder | Sudha Rao | Michel Galley | Julian McAuley
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

The ability to generate clarification questions i.e., questions that identify useful missing information in a given context, is important in reducing ambiguity. Humans use previous experience with similar contexts to form a global view and compare it to the given context to ascertain what is missing and what is useful in the context. Inspired by this, we propose a model for clarification question generation where we first identify what is missing by taking a difference between the global and the local view and then train a model to identify what is useful and generate a question about it. Our model outperforms several baselines as judged by both automatic metrics and humans.

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Unsupervised Enrichment of Persona-grounded Dialog with Background Stories
Bodhisattwa Prasad Majumder | Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick | Julian McAuley | Harsh Jhamtani
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Humans often refer to personal narratives, life experiences, and events to make a conversation more engaging and rich. While persona-grounded dialog models are able to generate responses that follow a given persona, they often miss out on stating detailed experiences or events related to a persona, often leaving conversations shallow and dull. In this work, we equip dialog models with ‘background stories’ related to a persona by leveraging fictional narratives from existing story datasets (e.g. ROCStories). Since current dialog datasets do not contain such narratives as responses, we perform an unsupervised adaptation of a retrieved story for generating a dialog response using a gradient-based rewriting technique. Our proposed method encourages the generated response to be fluent (i.e., highly likely) with the dialog history, minimally different from the retrieved story to preserve event ordering and consistent with the original persona. We demonstrate that our method can generate responses that are more diverse, and are rated more engaging and human-like by human evaluators, compared to outputs from existing dialog models.

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Detect and Perturb: Neutral Rewriting of Biased and Sensitive Text via Gradient-based Decoding
Zexue He | Bodhisattwa Prasad Majumder | Julian McAuley
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Written language carries explicit and implicit biases that can distract from meaningful signals. For example, letters of reference may describe male and female candidates differently, or their writing style may indirectly reveal demographic characteristics. At best, such biases distract from the meaningful content of the text; at worst they can lead to unfair outcomes. We investigate the challenge of re-generating input sentences to ‘neutralize’ sensitive attributes while maintaining the semantic meaning of the original text (e.g. is the candidate qualified?). We propose a gradient-based rewriting framework, Detect and Perturb to Neutralize (DEPEN), that first detects sensitive components and masks them for regeneration, then perturbs the generation model at decoding time under a neutralizing constraint that pushes the (predicted) distribution of sensitive attributes towards a uniform distribution. Our experiments in two different scenarios show that DEPEN can regenerate fluent alternatives that are neutral in the sensitive attribute while maintaining the semantics of other attributes.

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The GEM Benchmark: Natural Language Generation, its Evaluation and Metrics
Sebastian Gehrmann | Tosin Adewumi | Karmanya Aggarwal | Pawan Sasanka Ammanamanchi | Anuoluwapo Aremu | Antoine Bosselut | Khyathi Raghavi Chandu | Miruna-Adriana Clinciu | Dipanjan Das | Kaustubh Dhole | Wanyu Du | Esin Durmus | Ondřej Dušek | Chris Chinenye Emezue | Varun Gangal | Cristina Garbacea | Tatsunori Hashimoto | Yufang Hou | Yacine Jernite | Harsh Jhamtani | Yangfeng Ji | Shailza Jolly | Mihir Kale | Dhruv Kumar | Faisal Ladhak | Aman Madaan | Mounica Maddela | Khyati Mahajan | Saad Mahamood | Bodhisattwa Prasad Majumder | Pedro Henrique Martins | Angelina McMillan-Major | Simon Mille | Emiel van Miltenburg | Moin Nadeem | Shashi Narayan | Vitaly Nikolaev | Andre Niyongabo Rubungo | Salomey Osei | Ankur Parikh | Laura Perez-Beltrachini | Niranjan Ramesh Rao | Vikas Raunak | Juan Diego Rodriguez | Sashank Santhanam | João Sedoc | Thibault Sellam | Samira Shaikh | Anastasia Shimorina | Marco Antonio Sobrevilla Cabezudo | Hendrik Strobelt | Nishant Subramani | Wei Xu | Diyi Yang | Akhila Yerukola | Jiawei Zhou
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Natural Language Generation, Evaluation, and Metrics (GEM 2021)

We introduce GEM, a living benchmark for natural language Generation (NLG), its Evaluation, and Metrics. Measuring progress in NLG relies on a constantly evolving ecosystem of automated metrics, datasets, and human evaluation standards. Due to this moving target, new models often still evaluate on divergent anglo-centric corpora with well-established, but flawed, metrics. This disconnect makes it challenging to identify the limitations of current models and opportunities for progress. Addressing this limitation, GEM provides an environment in which models can easily be applied to a wide set of tasks and in which evaluation strategies can be tested. Regular updates to the benchmark will help NLG research become more multilingual and evolve the challenge alongside models. This paper serves as the description of the data for the 2021 shared task at the associated GEM Workshop.

2020

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Interview: Large-scale Modeling of Media Dialog with Discourse Patterns and Knowledge Grounding
Bodhisattwa Prasad Majumder | Shuyang Li | Jianmo Ni | Julian McAuley
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

In this work, we perform the first large-scale analysis of discourse in media dialog and its impact on generative modeling of dialog turns, with a focus on interrogative patterns and use of external knowledge. Discourse analysis can help us understand modes of persuasion, entertainment, and information elicitation in such settings, but has been limited to manual review of small corpora. We introduce **Interview**—a large-scale (105K conversations) media dialog dataset collected from news interview transcripts—which allows us to investigate such patterns at scale. We present a dialog model that leverages external knowledge as well as dialog acts via auxiliary losses and demonstrate that our model quantitatively and qualitatively outperforms strong discourse-agnostic baselines for dialog modeling—generating more specific and topical responses in interview-style conversations.

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Like hiking? You probably enjoy nature: Persona-grounded Dialog with Commonsense Expansions
Bodhisattwa Prasad Majumder | Harsh Jhamtani | Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick | Julian McAuley
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Existing persona-grounded dialog models often fail to capture simple implications of given persona descriptions, something which humans are able to do seamlessly. For example, state-of-the-art models cannot infer that interest in hiking might imply love for nature or longing for a break. In this paper, we propose to expand available persona sentences using existing commonsense knowledge bases and paraphrasing resources to imbue dialog models with access to an expanded and richer set of persona descriptions. Additionally, we introduce fine-grained grounding on personas by encouraging the model to make a discrete choice among persona sentences while synthesizing a dialog response. Since such a choice is not observed in the data, we model it using a discrete latent random variable and use variational learning to sample from hundreds of persona expansions. Our model outperforms competitive baselines on the Persona-Chat dataset in terms of dialog quality and diversity while achieving persona-consistent and controllable dialog generation.

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Representation Learning for Information Extraction from Form-like Documents
Bodhisattwa Prasad Majumder | Navneet Potti | Sandeep Tata | James Bradley Wendt | Qi Zhao | Marc Najork
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We propose a novel approach using representation learning for tackling the problem of extracting structured information from form-like document images. We propose an extraction system that uses knowledge of the types of the target fields to generate extraction candidates and a neural network architecture that learns a dense representation of each candidate based on neighboring words in the document. These learned representations are not only useful in solving the extraction task for unseen document templates from two different domains but are also interpretable, as we show using loss cases.

2019

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Generating Personalized Recipes from Historical User Preferences
Bodhisattwa Prasad Majumder | Shuyang Li | Jianmo Ni | Julian McAuley
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Existing approaches to recipe generation are unable to create recipes for users with culinary preferences but incomplete knowledge of ingredients in specific dishes. We propose a new task of personalized recipe generation to help these users: expanding a name and incomplete ingredient details into complete natural-text instructions aligned with the user’s historical preferences. We attend on technique- and recipe-level representations of a user’s previously consumed recipes, fusing these ‘user-aware’ representations in an attention fusion layer to control recipe text generation. Experiments on a new dataset of 180K recipes and 700K interactions show our model’s ability to generate plausible and personalized recipes compared to non-personalized baselines.

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Improving Neural Story Generation by Targeted Common Sense Grounding
Huanru Henry Mao | Bodhisattwa Prasad Majumder | Julian McAuley | Garrison Cottrell
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Stories generated with neural language models have shown promise in grammatical and stylistic consistency. However, the generated stories are still lacking in common sense reasoning, e.g., they often contain sentences deprived of world knowledge. We propose a simple multi-task learning scheme to achieve quantitatively better common sense reasoning in language models by leveraging auxiliary training signals from datasets designed to provide common sense grounding. When combined with our two-stage fine-tuning pipeline, our method achieves improved common sense reasoning and state-of-the-art perplexity on the WritingPrompts (Fan et al., 2018) story generation dataset.