Debjit Paul


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Generating Hypothetical Events for Abductive Inference
Debjit Paul | Anette Frank
Proceedings of *SEM 2021: The Tenth Joint Conference on Lexical and Computational Semantics

Abductive reasoning starts from some observations and aims at finding the most plausible explanation for these observations. To perform abduction, humans often make use of temporal and causal inferences, and knowledge about how some hypothetical situation can result in different outcomes. This work offers the first study of how such knowledge impacts the Abductive NLI task – which consists in choosing the more likely explanation for given observations. We train a specialized language model LMI that is tasked to generate what could happen next from a hypothetical scenario that evolves from a given event. We then propose a multi-task model MTL to solve the Abductive NLI task, which predicts a plausible explanation by a) considering different possible events emerging from candidate hypotheses – events generated by LMI – and b) selecting the one that is most similar to the observed outcome. We show that our MTL model improves over prior vanilla pre-trained LMs fine-tuned on Abductive NLI. Our manual evaluation and analysis suggest that learning about possible next events from different hypothetical scenarios supports abductive inference.

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CO-NNECT: A Framework for Revealing Commonsense Knowledge Paths as Explicitations of Implicit Knowledge in Texts
Maria Becker | Katharina Korfhage | Debjit Paul | Anette Frank
Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Computational Semantics (IWCS)

In this work we leverage commonsense knowledge in form of knowledge paths to establish connections between sentences, as a form of explicitation of implicit knowledge. Such connections can be direct (singlehop paths) or require intermediate concepts (multihop paths). To construct such paths we combine two model types in a joint framework we call Co-nnect: a relation classifier that predicts direct connections between concepts; and a target prediction model that generates target or intermediate concepts given a source concept and a relation, which we use to construct multihop paths. Unlike prior work that relies exclusively on static knowledge sources, we leverage language models finetuned on knowledge stored in ConceptNet, to dynamically generate knowledge paths, as explanations of implicit knowledge that connects sentences in texts. As a central contribution we design manual and automatic evaluation settings for assessing the quality of the generated paths. We conduct evaluations on two argumentative datasets and show that a combination of the two model types generates meaningful, high-quality knowledge paths between sentences that reveal implicit knowledge conveyed in text.

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COINS: Dynamically Generating COntextualized Inference Rules for Narrative Story Completion
Debjit Paul | Anette Frank
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)

Despite recent successes of large pre-trained language models in solving reasoning tasks, their inference capabilities remain opaque. We posit that such models can be made more interpretable by explicitly generating interim inference rules, and using them to guide the generation of task-specific textual outputs. In this paper we present Coins, a recursive inference framework that i) iteratively reads context sentences, ii) dynamically generates contextualized inference rules, encodes them, and iii) uses them to guide task-specific output generation. We apply to a Narrative Story Completion task that asks a model to complete a story with missing sentences, to produce a coherent story with plausible logical connections, causal relationships, and temporal dependencies. By modularizing inference and sentence generation steps in a recurrent model, we aim to make reasoning steps and their effects on next sentence generation transparent. Our automatic and manual evaluations show that the model generates better story sentences than SOTA baselines, especially in terms of coherence. We further demonstrate improved performance over strong pre-trained LMs in generating commonsense inference rules. The recursive nature of holds the potential for controlled generation of longer sequences.


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Social Commonsense Reasoning with Multi-Head Knowledge Attention
Debjit Paul | Anette Frank
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Social Commonsense Reasoning requires understanding of text, knowledge about social events and their pragmatic implications, as well as commonsense reasoning skills. In this work we propose a novel multi-head knowledge attention model that encodes semi-structured commonsense inference rules and learns to incorporate them in a transformer-based reasoning cell.We assess the model’s performance on two tasks that require different reasoning skills: Abductive Natural Language Inference and Counterfactual Invariance Prediction as a new task. We show that our proposed model improves performance over strong state-of-the-art models (i.e., RoBERTa) across both reasoning tasks. Notably we are, to the best of our knowledge, the first to demonstrate that a model that learns to perform counterfactual reasoning helps predicting the best explanation in an abductive reasoning task. We validate the robustness of the model’s reasoning capabilities by perturbing the knowledge and provide qualitative analysis on the model’s knowledge incorporation capabilities.


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Ranking and Selecting Multi-Hop Knowledge Paths to Better Predict Human Needs
Debjit Paul | Anette Frank
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers)

To make machines better understand sentiments, research needs to move from polarity identification to understanding the reasons that underlie the expression of sentiment. Categorizing the goals or needs of humans is one way to explain the expression of sentiment in text. Humans are good at understanding situations described in natural language and can easily connect them to the character’s psychological needs using commonsense knowledge. We present a novel method to extract, rank, filter and select multi-hop relation paths from a commonsense knowledge resource to interpret the expression of sentiment in terms of their underlying human needs. We efficiently integrate the acquired knowledge paths in a neural model that interfaces context representations with knowledge using a gated attention mechanism. We assess the model’s performance on a recently published dataset for categorizing human needs. Selectively integrating knowledge paths boosts performance and establishes a new state-of-the-art. Our model offers interpretability through the learned attention map over commonsense knowledge paths. Human evaluation highlights the relevance of the encoded knowledge.

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Handling Noisy Labels for Robustly Learning from Self-Training Data for Low-Resource Sequence Labeling
Debjit Paul | Mittul Singh | Michael A. Hedderich | Dietrich Klakow
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Student Research Workshop

In this paper, we address the problem of effectively self-training neural networks in a low-resource setting. Self-training is frequently used to automatically increase the amount of training data. However, in a low-resource scenario, it is less effective due to unreliable annotations created using self-labeling of unlabeled data. We propose to combine self-training with noise handling on the self-labeled data. Directly estimating noise on the combined clean training set and self-labeled data can lead to corruption of the clean data and hence, performs worse. Thus, we propose the Clean and Noisy Label Neural Network which trains on clean and noisy self-labeled data simultaneously by explicitly modelling clean and noisy labels separately. In our experiments on Chunking and NER, this approach performs more robustly than the baselines. Complementary to this explicit approach, noise can also be handled implicitly with the help of an auxiliary learning task. To such a complementary approach, our method is more beneficial than other baseline methods and together provides the best performance overall.