Ehsan Lotfi


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Teach Me What to Say and I Will Learn What to Pick: Unsupervised Knowledge Selection Through Response Generation with Pretrained Generative Models
Ehsan Lotfi | Maxime De Bruyn | Jeska Buhmann | Walter Daelemans
Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Conversational AI

Knowledge Grounded Conversation Models are usually based on a selection/retrieval module and a generation module, trained separately or simultaneously, with or without having access to a ‘gold’ knowledge option. With the introduction of large pre-trained generative models, the selection and generation part have become more and more entangled, shifting the focus towards enhancing knowledge incorporation (from multiple sources) instead of trying to pick the best knowledge option. These approaches however depend on knowledge labels and/or a separate dense retriever for their best performance. In this work we study the unsupervised selection abilities of pre-trained generative models (e.g. BART) and show that by adding a score-and-aggregate module between encoder and decoder, they are capable of learning to pick the proper knowledge through minimising the language modelling loss (i.e. without having access to knowledge labels). Trained as such, our model - K-Mine - shows competitive selection and generation performance against models that benefit from knowledge labels and/or separate dense retriever.

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MFAQ: a Multilingual FAQ Dataset
Maxime De Bruyn | Ehsan Lotfi | Jeska Buhmann | Walter Daelemans
Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Machine Reading for Question Answering

In this paper, we present the first multilingual FAQ dataset publicly available. We collected around 6M FAQ pairs from the web, in 21 different languages. Although this is significantly larger than existing FAQ retrieval datasets, it comes with its own challenges: duplication of content and uneven distribution of topics. We adopt a similar setup as Dense Passage Retrieval (DPR) and test various bi-encoders on this dataset. Our experiments reveal that a multilingual model based on XLM-RoBERTa achieves the best results, except for English. Lower resources languages seem to learn from one another as a multilingual model achieves a higher MRR than language-specific ones. Our qualitative analysis reveals the brittleness of the model on simple word changes. We publicly release our dataset, model, and training script.


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A Deep Generative Approach to Native Language Identification
Ehsan Lotfi | Ilia Markov | Walter Daelemans
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Native language identification (NLI) – identifying the native language (L1) of a person based on his/her writing in the second language (L2) – is useful for a variety of purposes, including marketing, security, and educational applications. From a traditional machine learning perspective,NLI is usually framed as a multi-class classification task, where numerous designed features are combined in order to achieve the state-of-the-art results. We introduce a deep generative language modelling (LM) approach to NLI, which consists in fine-tuning a GPT-2 model separately on texts written by the authors with the same L1, and assigning a label to an unseen text based on the minimum LM loss with respect to one of these fine-tuned GPT-2 models. Our method outperforms traditional machine learning approaches and currently achieves the best results on the benchmark NLI datasets.

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Sarcasm Detection Using an Ensemble Approach
Jens Lemmens | Ben Burtenshaw | Ehsan Lotfi | Ilia Markov | Walter Daelemans
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Figurative Language Processing

We present an ensemble approach for the detection of sarcasm in Reddit and Twitter responses in the context of The Second Workshop on Figurative Language Processing held in conjunction with ACL 2020. The ensemble is trained on the predicted sarcasm probabilities of four component models and on additional features, such as the sentiment of the comment, its length, and source (Reddit or Twitter) in order to learn which of the component models is the most reliable for which input. The component models consist of an LSTM with hashtag and emoji representations; a CNN-LSTM with casing, stop word, punctuation, and sentiment representations; an MLP based on Infersent embeddings; and an SVM trained on stylometric and emotion-based features. All component models use the two conversational turns preceding the response as context, except for the SVM, which only uses features extracted from the response. The ensemble itself consists of an adaboost classifier with the decision tree algorithm as base estimator and yields F1-scores of 67% and 74% on the Reddit and Twitter test data, respectively.