Diane Bouchacourt


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Compositionality and Generalization In Emergent Languages
Rahma Chaabouni | Eugene Kharitonov | Diane Bouchacourt | Emmanuel Dupoux | Marco Baroni
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Natural language allows us to refer to novel composite concepts by combining expressions denoting their parts according to systematic rules, a property known as compositionality. In this paper, we study whether the language emerging in deep multi-agent simulations possesses a similar ability to refer to novel primitive combinations, and whether it accomplishes this feat by strategies akin to human-language compositionality. Equipped with new ways to measure compositionality in emergent languages inspired by disentanglement in representation learning, we establish three main results: First, given sufficiently large input spaces, the emergent language will naturally develop the ability to refer to novel composite concepts. Second, there is no correlation between the degree of compositionality of an emergent language and its ability to generalize. Third, while compositionality is not necessary for generalization, it provides an advantage in terms of language transmission: The more compositional a language is, the more easily it will be picked up by new learners, even when the latter differ in architecture from the original agents. We conclude that compositionality does not arise from simple generalization pressure, but if an emergent language does chance upon it, it will be more likely to survive and thrive.


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EGG: a toolkit for research on Emergence of lanGuage in Games
Eugene Kharitonov | Rahma Chaabouni | Diane Bouchacourt | Marco Baroni
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP): System Demonstrations

There is renewed interest in simulating language emergence among deep neural agents that communicate to jointly solve a task, spurred by the practical aim to develop language-enabled interactive AIs, as well as by theoretical questions about the evolution of human language. However, optimizing deep architectures connected by a discrete communication channel (such as that in which language emerges) is technically challenging. We introduce EGG, a toolkit that greatly simplifies the implementation of emergent-language communication games. EGG’s modular design provides a set of building blocks that the user can combine to create new games, easily navigating the optimization and architecture space. We hope that the tool will lower the technical barrier, and encourage researchers from various backgrounds to do original work in this exciting area.

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Miss Tools and Mr Fruit: Emergent Communication in Agents Learning about Object Affordances
Diane Bouchacourt | Marco Baroni
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Recent research studies communication emergence in communities of deep network agents assigned a joint task, hoping to gain insights on human language evolution. We propose here a new task capturing crucial aspects of the human environment, such as natural object affordances, and of human conversation, such as full symmetry among the participants. By conducting a thorough pragmatic and semantic analysis of the emergent protocol, we show that the agents solve the shared task through genuine bilateral, referential communication. However, the agents develop multiple idiolects, which makes us conclude that full symmetry is not a sufficient condition for a common language to emerge.


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How agents see things: On visual representations in an emergent language game
Diane Bouchacourt | Marco Baroni
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

There is growing interest in the language developed by agents interacting in emergent-communication settings. Earlier studies have focused on the agents’ symbol usage, rather than on their representation of visual input. In this paper, we consider the referential games of Lazaridou et al. (2017), and investigate the representations the agents develop during their evolving interaction. We find that the agents establish successful communication by inducing visual representations that almost perfectly align with each other, but, surprisingly, do not capture the conceptual properties of the objects depicted in the input images. We conclude that, if we care about developing language-like communication systems, we must pay more attention to the visual semantics agents associate to the symbols they use.