Edoardo Barba


2022

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ExtEnD: Extractive Entity Disambiguation
Edoardo Barba | Luigi Procopio | Roberto Navigli
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Local models for Entity Disambiguation (ED) have today become extremely powerful, in most part thanks to the advent of large pre-trained language models. However, despite their significant performance achievements, most of these approaches frame ED through classification formulations that have intrinsic limitations, both computationally and from a modeling perspective. In contrast with this trend, here we propose ExtEnD, a novel local formulation for ED where we frame this task as a text extraction problem, and present two Transformer-based architectures that implement it. Based on experiments in and out of domain, and training over two different data regimes, we find our approach surpasses all its competitors in terms of both data efficiency and raw performance. ExtEnD outperforms its alternatives by as few as 6 F1 points on the more constrained of the two data regimes and, when moving to the other higher-resourced regime, sets a new state of the art on 4 out of 4 benchmarks under consideration, with average improvements of 0.7 F1 points overall and 1.1 F1 points out of domain. In addition, to gain better insights from our results, we also perform a fine-grained evaluation of our performances on different classes of label frequency, along with an ablation study of our architectural choices and an error analysis. We release our code and models for research purposes at https://github.com/SapienzaNLP/extend.

2021

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ESC: Redesigning WSD with Extractive Sense Comprehension
Edoardo Barba | Tommaso Pasini | Roberto Navigli
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Word Sense Disambiguation (WSD) is a historical NLP task aimed at linking words in contexts to discrete sense inventories and it is usually cast as a multi-label classification task. Recently, several neural approaches have employed sense definitions to better represent word meanings. Yet, these approaches do not observe the input sentence and the sense definition candidates all at once, thus potentially reducing the model performance and generalization power. We cope with this issue by reframing WSD as a span extraction problem — which we called Extractive Sense Comprehension (ESC) — and propose ESCHER, a transformer-based neural architecture for this new formulation. By means of an extensive array of experiments, we show that ESC unleashes the full potential of our model, leading it to outdo all of its competitors and to set a new state of the art on the English WSD task. In the few-shot scenario, ESCHER proves to exploit training data efficiently, attaining the same performance as its closest competitor while relying on almost three times fewer annotations. Furthermore, ESCHER can nimbly combine data annotated with senses from different lexical resources, achieving performances that were previously out of everyone’s reach. The model along with data is available at https://github.com/SapienzaNLP/esc.

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ConSeC: Word Sense Disambiguation as Continuous Sense Comprehension
Edoardo Barba | Luigi Procopio | Roberto Navigli
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Supervised systems have nowadays become the standard recipe for Word Sense Disambiguation (WSD), with Transformer-based language models as their primary ingredient. However, while these systems have certainly attained unprecedented performances, virtually all of them operate under the constraining assumption that, given a context, each word can be disambiguated individually with no account of the other sense choices. To address this limitation and drop this assumption, we propose CONtinuous SEnse Comprehension (ConSeC), a novel approach to WSD: leveraging a recent re-framing of this task as a text extraction problem, we adapt it to our formulation and introduce a feedback loop strategy that allows the disambiguation of a target word to be conditioned not only on its context but also on the explicit senses assigned to nearby words. We evaluate ConSeC and examine how its components lead it to surpass all its competitors and set a new state of the art on English WSD. We also explore how ConSeC fares in the cross-lingual setting, focusing on 8 languages with various degrees of resource availability, and report significant improvements over prior systems. We release our code at https://github.com/SapienzaNLP/consec.