Christopher Malon


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Fast Few-shot Debugging for NLU Test Suites
Christopher Malon | Kai Li | Erik Kruus
Proceedings of Deep Learning Inside Out (DeeLIO 2022): The 3rd Workshop on Knowledge Extraction and Integration for Deep Learning Architectures

We study few-shot debugging of transformer based natural language understanding models, using recently popularized test suites to not just diagnose but correct a problem. Given a few debugging examples of a certain phenomenon, and a held-out test set of the same phenomenon, we aim to maximize accuracy on the phenomenon at a minimal cost of accuracy on the original test set. We examine several methods that are faster than full epoch retraining. We introduce a new fast method, which samples a few in-danger examples from the original training set. Compared to fast methods using parameter distance constraints or Kullback-Leibler divergence, we achieve superior original accuracy for comparable debugging accuracy.

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Analyzing Coreference and Bridging in Product Reviews
Hideo Kobayashi | Christopher Malon
Proceedings of the Fifth Workshop on Computational Models of Reference, Anaphora and Coreference

Product reviews may have complex discourse including coreference and bridging relations to a main product, competing products, and interacting products. Current approaches to aspect-based sentiment analysis (ABSA) and opinion summarization largely ignore this complexity. On the other hand, existing systems for coreference and bridging were trained in a different domain. We collect mention type annotations relevant to coreference and bridging for 498 product reviews. Using these annotations, we show that a state-of-the-art factuality score fails to catch coreference errors in product reviews, and that a state-of-the-art coreference system trained on OntoNotes does not perform nearly as well on product mentions. As our dataset grows, we expect it to help ABSA and opinion summarization systems to avoid entity reference errors.


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Team Papelo at FEVEROUS: Multi-hop Evidence Pursuit
Christopher Malon
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Fact Extraction and VERification (FEVER)

We develop a system for the FEVEROUS fact extraction and verification task that ranks an initial set of potential evidence and then pursues missing evidence in subsequent hops by trying to generate it, with a “next hop prediction module” whose output is matched against page elements in a predicted article. Seeking evidence with the next hop prediction module continues to improve FEVEROUS score for up to seven hops. Label classification is trained on possibly incomplete extracted evidence chains, utilizing hints that facilitate numerical comparison. The system achieves .281 FEVEROUS score and .658 label accuracy on the development set, and finishes in second place with .259 FEVEROUS score and .576 label accuracy on the test set.

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Retrieval, Analogy, and Composition: A framework for Compositional Generalization in Image Captioning
Zhan Shi | Hui Liu | Martin Renqiang Min | Christopher Malon | Li Erran Li | Xiaodan Zhu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Image captioning systems are expected to have the ability to combine individual concepts when describing scenes with concept combinations that are not observed during training. In spite of significant progress in image captioning with the help of the autoregressive generation framework, current approaches fail to generalize well to novel concept combinations. We propose a new framework that revolves around probing several similar image caption training instances (retrieval), performing analogical reasoning over relevant entities in retrieved prototypes (analogy), and enhancing the generation process with reasoning outcomes (composition). Our method augments the generation model by referring to the neighboring instances in the training set to produce novel concept combinations in generated captions. We perform experiments on the widely used image captioning benchmarks. The proposed models achieve substantial improvement over the compared baselines on both composition-related evaluation metrics and conventional image captioning metrics.

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Overcoming Poor Word Embeddings with Word Definitions
Christopher Malon
Proceedings of *SEM 2021: The Tenth Joint Conference on Lexical and Computational Semantics

Modern natural language understanding models depend on pretrained subword embeddings, but applications may need to reason about words that were never or rarely seen during pretraining. We show that examples that depend critically on a rarer word are more challenging for natural language inference models. Then we explore how a model could learn to use definitions, provided in natural text, to overcome this handicap. Our model’s understanding of a definition is usually weaker than a well-modeled word embedding, but it recovers most of the performance gap from using a completely untrained word.


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Improving Disentangled Text Representation Learning with Information-Theoretic Guidance
Pengyu Cheng | Martin Renqiang Min | Dinghan Shen | Christopher Malon | Yizhe Zhang | Yitong Li | Lawrence Carin
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Learning disentangled representations of natural language is essential for many NLP tasks, e.g., conditional text generation, style transfer, personalized dialogue systems, etc. Similar problems have been studied extensively for other forms of data, such as images and videos. However, the discrete nature of natural language makes the disentangling of textual representations more challenging (e.g., the manipulation over the data space cannot be easily achieved). Inspired by information theory, we propose a novel method that effectively manifests disentangled representations of text, without any supervision on semantics. A new mutual information upper bound is derived and leveraged to measure dependence between style and content. By minimizing this upper bound, the proposed method induces style and content embeddings into two independent low-dimensional spaces. Experiments on both conditional text generation and text-style transfer demonstrate the high quality of our disentangled representation in terms of content and style preservation.


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Teaching Syntax by Adversarial Distraction
Juho Kim | Christopher Malon | Asim Kadav
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Fact Extraction and VERification (FEVER)

Existing entailment datasets mainly pose problems which can be answered without attention to grammar or word order. Learning syntax requires comparing examples where different grammar and word order change the desired classification. We introduce several datasets based on synthetic transformations of natural entailment examples in SNLI or FEVER, to teach aspects of grammar and word order. We show that without retraining, popular entailment models are unaware that these syntactic differences change meaning. With retraining, some but not all popular entailment models can learn to compare the syntax properly.

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Team Papelo: Transformer Networks at FEVER
Christopher Malon
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Fact Extraction and VERification (FEVER)

We develop a system for the FEVER fact extraction and verification challenge that uses a high precision entailment classifier based on transformer networks pretrained with language modeling, to classify a broad set of potential evidence. The precision of the entailment classifier allows us to enhance recall by considering every statement from several articles to decide upon each claim. We include not only the articles best matching the claim text by TFIDF score, but read additional articles whose titles match named entities and capitalized expressions occurring in the claim text. The entailment module evaluates potential evidence one statement at a time, together with the title of the page the evidence came from (providing a hint about possible pronoun antecedents). In preliminary evaluation, the system achieves .5736 FEVER score, .6108 label accuracy, and .6485 evidence F1 on the FEVER shared task test set.


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Answer Extraction by Recursive Parse Tree Descent
Christopher Malon | Bing Bai
Proceedings of the Workshop on Continuous Vector Space Models and their Compositionality