Ekin Akyürek

Also published as: Ekin Akyurek


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LexSym: Compositionality as Lexical Symmetry
Ekin Akyurek | Jacob Andreas
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In tasks like semantic parsing, instruction following, and question answering, standard deep networks fail to generalize compositionally from small datasets. Many existing approaches overcome this limitation with model architectures that enforce a compositional process of sentence interpretation. In this paper, we present a domain-general and model-agnostic formulation of compositionality as a constraint on symmetries of data distributions rather than models. Informally, we prove that whenever a task can be solved by a compositional model, there is a corresponding data augmentation scheme — a procedure for transforming examples into other well-formed examples — that imparts compositional inductive bias on any model trained to solve the same task. We describe a procedure called LexSym that discovers these transformations automatically, then applies them to training data for ordinary neural sequence models. Unlike existing compositional data augmentation procedures, LexSym can be deployed agnostically across text, structured data, and even images. It matches or surpasses state-of-the-art, task-specific models on COGS semantic parsing, SCAN and Alchemy instruction following, and CLEVR-CoGenT visual question answering datasets.

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RL4F: Generating Natural Language Feedback with Reinforcement Learning for Repairing Model Outputs
Afra Feyza Akyurek | Ekin Akyurek | Ashwin Kalyan | Peter Clark | Derry Tanti Wijaya | Niket Tandon
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Despite their unprecedented success, even the largest language models make mistakes. Similar to how humans learn and improve using feedback, previous work proposed providing language models with natural language feedback to guide them in repairing their outputs. Because human-generated critiques are expensive to obtain, researchers have devised learned critique generators in lieu of human critics while assuming one can train downstream models to utilize generated feedback. However, this approach does not apply to black-box or limited access models such as ChatGPT, as they cannot be fine-tuned. Moreover, in the era of large general-purpose language agents, fine-tuning is neither computationally nor spatially efficient as it results in multiple copies of the network. In this work, we introduce RL4F (Reinforcement Learning for Feedback), a multi-agent collaborative framework where the critique generator is trained to maximize end-task performance of GPT-3, a fixed model more than 200 times its size. RL4F produces critiques that help GPT-3 revise its outputs. We study three datasets for action planning, summarization and alphabetization and show relative improvements up to 10% in multiple text similarity metrics over other learned, retrieval-augmented or prompting-based critique generators.


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Towards Tracing Knowledge in Language Models Back to the Training Data
Ekin Akyurek | Tolga Bolukbasi | Frederick Liu | Binbin Xiong | Ian Tenney | Jacob Andreas | Kelvin Guu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Language models (LMs) have been shown to memorize a great deal of factual knowledge contained in their training data. But when an LM generates an assertion, it is often difficult to determine where it learned this information and whether it is true. In this paper, we propose the problem of fact tracing: identifying which training examples taught an LM to generate a particular factual assertion. Prior work on training data attribution (TDA) may offer effective tools for identifying such examples, known as “proponents”. We present the first quantitative benchmark to evaluate this. We compare two popular families of TDA methods — gradient-based and embedding-based — and find that much headroom remains. For example, both methods have lower proponent-retrieval precision than an information retrieval baseline (BM25) that does not have access to the LM at all. We identify key challenges that may be necessary for further improvement such as overcoming the problem of gradient saturation, and also show how several nuanced implementation details of existing neural TDA methods can significantly improve overall fact tracing performance.


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Lexicon Learning for Few Shot Sequence Modeling
Ekin Akyurek | Jacob Andreas
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)

Sequence-to-sequence transduction is the core problem in language processing applications as diverse as semantic parsing, machine translation, and instruction following. The neural network models that provide the dominant solution to these problems are brittle, especially in low-resource settings: they fail to generalize correctly or systematically from small datasets. Past work has shown that many failures of systematic generalization arise from neural models’ inability to disentangle lexical phenomena from syntactic ones. To address this, we augment neural decoders with a lexical translation mechanism that generalizes existing copy mechanisms to incorporate learned, decontextualized, token-level translation rules. We describe how to initialize this mechanism using a variety of lexicon learning algorithms, and show that it improves systematic generalization on a diverse set of sequence modeling tasks drawn from cognitive science, formal semantics, and machine translation.


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Morphological Analysis Using a Sequence Decoder
Ekin Akyürek | Erenay Dayanık | Deniz Yuret
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 7

We introduce Morse, a recurrent encoder-decoder model that produces morphological analyses of each word in a sentence. The encoder turns the relevant information about the word and its context into a fixed size vector representation and the decoder generates the sequence of characters for the lemma followed by a sequence of individual morphological features. We show that generating morphological features individually rather than as a combined tag allows the model to handle rare or unseen tags and to outperform whole-tag models. In addition, generating morphological features as a sequence rather than, for example, an unordered set allows our model to produce an arbitrary number of features that represent multiple inflectional groups in morphologically complex languages. We obtain state-of-the-art results in nine languages of different morphological complexity under low-resource, high-resource, and transfer learning settings. We also introduce TrMor2018, a new high-accuracy Turkish morphology data set. Our Morse implementation and the TrMor2018 data set are available online to support future research.1See https://github.com/ai-ku/Morse.jl for a Morse implementation in Julia/Knet (Yuret, 2016) and https://github.com/ai-ku/TrMor2018 for the new Turkish data set.