Danish Pruthi


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Evaluating Explanations: How Much Do Explanations from the Teacher Aid Students?
Danish Pruthi | Rachit Bansal | Bhuwan Dhingra | Livio Baldini Soares | Michael Collins | Zachary C. Lipton | Graham Neubig | William W. Cohen
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 10

While many methods purport to explain predictions by highlighting salient features, what aims these explanations serve and how they ought to be evaluated often go unstated. In this work, we introduce a framework to quantify the value of explanations via the accuracy gains that they confer on a student model trained to simulate a teacher model. Crucially, the explanations are available to the student during training, but are not available at test time. Compared with prior proposals, our approach is less easily gamed, enabling principled, automatic, model-agnostic evaluation of attributions. Using our framework, we compare numerous attribution methods for text classification and question answering, and observe quantitative differences that are consistent (to a moderate to high degree) across different student model architectures and learning strategies.1


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Do Context-Aware Translation Models Pay the Right Attention?
Kayo Yin | Patrick Fernandes | Danish Pruthi | Aditi Chaudhary | André F. T. Martins | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Context-aware machine translation models are designed to leverage contextual information, but often fail to do so. As a result, they inaccurately disambiguate pronouns and polysemous words that require context for resolution. In this paper, we ask several questions: What contexts do human translators use to resolve ambiguous words? Are models paying large amounts of attention to the same context? What if we explicitly train them to do so? To answer these questions, we introduce SCAT (Supporting Context for Ambiguous Translations), a new English-French dataset comprising supporting context words for 14K translations that professional translators found useful for pronoun disambiguation. Using SCAT, we perform an in-depth analysis of the context used to disambiguate, examining positional and lexical characteristics of the supporting words. Furthermore, we measure the degree of alignment between the model’s attention scores and the supporting context from SCAT, and apply a guided attention strategy to encourage agreement between the two.


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NeuSpell: A Neural Spelling Correction Toolkit
Sai Muralidhar Jayanthi | Danish Pruthi | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

We introduce NeuSpell, an open-source toolkit for spelling correction in English. Our toolkit comprises ten different models, and benchmarks them on naturally occurring misspellings from multiple sources. We find that many systems do not adequately leverage the context around the misspelt token. To remedy this, (i) we train neural models using spelling errors in context, synthetically constructed by reverse engineering isolated misspellings; and (ii) use richer representations of the context. By training on our synthetic examples, correction rates improve by 9% (absolute) compared to the case when models are trained on randomly sampled character perturbations. Using richer contextual representations boosts the correction rate by another 3%. Our toolkit enables practitioners to use our proposed and existing spelling correction systems, both via a simple unified command line, as well as a web interface. Among many potential applications, we demonstrate the utility of our spell-checkers in combating adversarial misspellings. The toolkit can be accessed at neuspell.github.io.

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Learning to Deceive with Attention-Based Explanations
Danish Pruthi | Mansi Gupta | Bhuwan Dhingra | Graham Neubig | Zachary C. Lipton
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Attention mechanisms are ubiquitous components in neural architectures applied to natural language processing. In addition to yielding gains in predictive accuracy, attention weights are often claimed to confer interpretability, purportedly useful both for providing insights to practitioners and for explaining why a model makes its decisions to stakeholders. We call the latter use of attention mechanisms into question by demonstrating a simple method for training models to produce deceptive attention masks. Our method diminishes the total weight assigned to designated impermissible tokens, even when the models can be shown to nevertheless rely on these features to drive predictions. Across multiple models and tasks, our approach manipulates attention weights while paying surprisingly little cost in accuracy. Through a human study, we show that our manipulated attention-based explanations deceive people into thinking that predictions from a model biased against gender minorities do not rely on the gender. Consequently, our results cast doubt on attention’s reliability as a tool for auditing algorithms in the context of fairness and accountability.

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Weakly- and Semi-supervised Evidence Extraction
Danish Pruthi | Bhuwan Dhingra | Graham Neubig | Zachary C. Lipton
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

For many prediction tasks, stakeholders desire not only predictions but also supporting evidence that a human can use to verify its correctness. However, in practice, evidence annotations may only be available for a minority of training examples (if available at all). In this paper, we propose new methods to combine few evidence annotations (strong semi-supervision) with abundant document-level labels (weak supervision) for the task of evidence extraction. Evaluating on two classification tasks that feature evidence annotations, we find that our methods outperform baselines adapted from the interpretability literature to our task. Our approach yields gains with as few as hundred evidence annotations.

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Why and when should you pool? Analyzing Pooling in Recurrent Architectures
Pratyush Maini | Keshav Kolluru | Danish Pruthi | Mausam
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Pooling-based recurrent neural architectures consistently outperform their counterparts without pooling on sequence classification tasks. However, the reasons for their enhanced performance are largely unexamined. In this work, we examine three commonly used pooling techniques (mean-pooling, max-pooling, and attention, and propose *max-attention*, a novel variant that captures interactions among predictive tokens in a sentence. Using novel experiments, we demonstrate that pooling architectures substantially differ from their non-pooling equivalents in their learning ability and positional biases: (i) pooling facilitates better gradient flow than BiLSTMs in initial training epochs, and (ii) BiLSTMs are biased towards tokens at the beginning and end of the input, whereas pooling alleviates this bias. Consequently, we find that pooling yields large gains in low resource scenarios, and instances when salient words lie towards the middle of the input. Across several text classification tasks, we find max-attention to frequently outperform other pooling techniques.


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compare-mt: A Tool for Holistic Comparison of Language Generation Systems
Graham Neubig | Zi-Yi Dou | Junjie Hu | Paul Michel | Danish Pruthi | Xinyi Wang
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Demonstrations)

In this paper, we describe compare-mt, a tool for holistic analysis and comparison of the results of systems for language generation tasks such as machine translation. The main goal of the tool is to give the user a high-level and coherent view of the salient differences between systems that can then be used to guide further analysis or system improvement. It implements a number of tools to do so, such as analysis of accuracy of generation of particular types of words, bucketed histograms of sentence accuracies or counts based on salient characteristics, and extraction of characteristic n-grams for each system. It also has a number of advanced features such as use of linguistic labels, source side data, or comparison of log likelihoods for probabilistic models, and also aims to be easily extensible by users to new types of analysis. compare-mt is a pure-Python open source package, that has already proven useful to generate analyses that have been used in our published papers. Demo Video: https://youtu.be/NyJEQT7t2CA

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Combating Adversarial Misspellings with Robust Word Recognition
Danish Pruthi | Bhuwan Dhingra | Zachary C. Lipton
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

To combat adversarial spelling mistakes, we propose placing a word recognition model in front of the downstream classifier. Our word recognition models build upon the RNN semi-character architecture, introducing several new backoff strategies for handling rare and unseen words. Trained to recognize words corrupted by random adds, drops, swaps, and keyboard mistakes, our method achieves 32% relative (and 3.3% absolute) error reduction over the vanilla semi-character model. Notably, our pipeline confers robustness on the downstream classifier, outperforming both adversarial training and off-the-shelf spell checkers. Against a BERT model fine-tuned for sentiment analysis, a single adversarially-chosen character attack lowers accuracy from 90.3% to 45.8%. Our defense restores accuracy to 75%. Surprisingly, better word recognition does not always entail greater robustness. Our analysis reveals that robustness also depends upon a quantity that we denote the sensitivity.