David Heineman


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Dancing Between Success and Failure: Edit-level Simplification Evaluation using SALSA
David Heineman | Yao Dou | Mounica Maddela | Wei Xu
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Large language models (e.g., GPT-4) are uniquely capable of producing highly rated text simplification, yet current human evaluation methods fail to provide a clear understanding of systems’ specific strengths and weaknesses. To address this limitation, we introduce SALSA, an edit-based human annotation framework that enables holistic and fine-grained text simplification evaluation. We develop twenty one linguistically grounded edit types, covering the full spectrum of success and failure across dimensions of conceptual, syntactic and lexical simplicity. Using SALSA, we collect 19K edit annotations on 840 simplifications, revealing discrepancies in the distribution of simplification strategies performed by fine-tuned models, prompted LLMs and humans, and find GPT-3.5 performs more quality edits than humans, but still exhibits frequent errors. Using our fine-grained annotations, we develop LENS-SALSA, a reference-free automatic simplification metric, trained to predict sentence- and word-level quality simultaneously. Additionally, we introduce word-level quality estimation for simplification and report promising baseline results. Our data, new metric, and annotation toolkit are available at https://salsa-eval.com.

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Thresh: A Unified, Customizable and Deployable Platform for Fine-Grained Text Evaluation
David Heineman | Yao Dou | Wei Xu
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

Fine-grained, span-level human evaluation has emerged as a reliable and robust method for evaluating text generation tasks such as summarization, simplification, machine translation and news generation, and the derived annotations have been useful for training automatic metrics and improving language models. However, existing annotation tools implemented for these evaluation frameworks lack the adaptability to be extended to different domains or languages, or modify annotation settings according to user needs; and, the absence of a unified annotated data format inhibits the research in multi-task learning. In this paper, we introduce Thresh, a unified, customizable and deployable platform for fine-grained evaluation. With a single YAML configuration file, users can build and test an annotation interface for any framework within minutes – all in one web browser window. To facilitate collaboration and sharing, Thresh provides a community hub that hosts a collection of fine-grained frameworks and corresponding annotations made and collected by the community, covering a wide range of NLP tasks. For deployment, Thresh offers multiple options for any scale of annotation projects from small manual inspections to large crowdsourcing ones. Additionally, we introduce a Python library to streamline the entire process from typology design and deployment to annotation processing. Thresh is publicly accessible at https://thresh.tools.

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LENS: A Learnable Evaluation Metric for Text Simplification
Mounica Maddela | Yao Dou | David Heineman | Wei Xu
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Training learnable metrics using modern language models has recently emerged as a promising method for the automatic evaluation of machine translation. However, existing human evaluation datasets for text simplification have limited annotations that are based on unitary or outdated models, making them unsuitable for this approach. To address these issues, we introduce the SimpEval corpus that contains: SimpEval_past, comprising 12K human ratings on 2.4K simplifications of 24 past systems, and SimpEval_2022, a challenging simplification benchmark consisting of over 1K human ratings of 360 simplifications including GPT-3.5 generated text. Training on SimpEval, we present LENS, a Learnable Evaluation Metric for Text Simplification. Extensive empirical results show that LENS correlates much better with human judgment than existing metrics, paving the way for future progress in the evaluation of text simplification. We also introduce Rank & Rate, a human evaluation framework that rates simplifications from several models in a list-wise manner using an interactive interface, which ensures both consistency and accuracy in the evaluation process and is used to create the SimpEval datasets.