Brian D. Ziebart


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Summarizing Behavioral Change Goals from SMS Exchanges to Support Health Coaches
Itika Gupta | Barbara Di Eugenio | Brian D. Ziebart | Bing Liu | Ben S. Gerber | Lisa K. Sharp
Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

Regular physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and improved mental well-being. Yet, more than half of the US population is insufficiently active. Health coaching has been successful in promoting healthy behaviors. In this paper, we present our work towards assisting health coaches by extracting the physical activity goal the user and coach negotiate via text messages. We show that information captured by dialogue acts can help to improve the goal extraction results. We employ both traditional and transformer-based machine learning models for dialogue acts prediction and find them statistically indistinguishable in performance on our health coaching dataset. Moreover, we discuss the feedback provided by the health coaches when evaluating the correctness of the extracted goal summaries. This work is a step towards building a virtual assistant health coach to promote a healthy lifestyle.


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A Sense-Topic Model for Word Sense Induction with Unsupervised Data Enrichment
Jing Wang | Mohit Bansal | Kevin Gimpel | Brian D. Ziebart | Clement T. Yu
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 3

Word sense induction (WSI) seeks to automatically discover the senses of a word in a corpus via unsupervised methods. We propose a sense-topic model for WSI, which treats sense and topic as two separate latent variables to be inferred jointly. Topics are informed by the entire document, while senses are informed by the local context surrounding the ambiguous word. We also discuss unsupervised ways of enriching the original corpus in order to improve model performance, including using neural word embeddings and external corpora to expand the context of each data instance. We demonstrate significant improvements over the previous state-of-the-art, achieving the best results reported to date on the SemEval-2013 WSI task.