Ethan A. Chi

Also published as: Ethan A Chi


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Neural Generation Meets Real People: Building a Social, Informative Open-Domain Dialogue Agent
Ethan A. Chi | Ashwin Paranjape | Abigail See | Caleb Chiam | Trenton Chang | Kathleen Kenealy | Swee Kiat Lim | Amelia Hardy | Chetanya Rastogi | Haojun Li | Alexander Iyabor | Yutong He | Hari Sowrirajan | Peng Qi | Kaushik Ram Sadagopan | Nguyet Minh Phu | Dilara Soylu | Jillian Tang | Avanika Narayan | Giovanni Campagna | Christopher Manning
Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

We present Chirpy Cardinal, an open-domain social chatbot. Aiming to be both informative and conversational, our bot chats with users in an authentic, emotionally intelligent way. By integrating controlled neural generation with scaffolded, hand-written dialogue, we let both the user and bot take turns driving the conversation, producing an engaging and socially fluent experience. Deployed in the fourth iteration of the Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge, Chirpy Cardinal handled thousands of conversations per day, placing second out of nine bots with an average user rating of 3.58/5.

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GLARE: Generative Left-to-right AdversaRial Examples
Ryan Andrew Chi | Nathan Kim | Patrick Liu | Zander Lack | Ethan A Chi
Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Evaluation and Comparison of NLP Systems


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Multilingual BERT, ergativity, and grammatical subjecthood
Isabel Papadimitriou | Ethan A. Chi | Richard Futrell | Kyle Mahowald
Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics 2021

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Align-Refine: Non-Autoregressive Speech Recognition via Iterative Realignment
Ethan A. Chi | Julian Salazar | Katrin Kirchhoff
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Non-autoregressive encoder-decoder models greatly improve decoding speed over autoregressive models, at the expense of generation quality. To mitigate this, iterative decoding models repeatedly infill or refine the proposal of a non-autoregressive model. However, editing at the level of output sequences limits model flexibility. We instead propose *iterative realignment*, which by refining latent alignments allows more flexible edits in fewer steps. Our model, Align-Refine, is an end-to-end Transformer which iteratively realigns connectionist temporal classification (CTC) alignments. On the WSJ dataset, Align-Refine matches an autoregressive baseline with a 14x decoding speedup; on LibriSpeech, we reach an LM-free test-other WER of 9.0% (19% relative improvement on comparable work) in three iterations. We release our code at

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Deep Subjecthood: Higher-Order Grammatical Features in Multilingual BERT
Isabel Papadimitriou | Ethan A. Chi | Richard Futrell | Kyle Mahowald
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

We investigate how Multilingual BERT (mBERT) encodes grammar by examining how the high-order grammatical feature of morphosyntactic alignment (how different languages define what counts as a “subject”) is manifested across the embedding spaces of different languages. To understand if and how morphosyntactic alignment affects contextual embedding spaces, we train classifiers to recover the subjecthood of mBERT embeddings in transitive sentences (which do not contain overt information about morphosyntactic alignment) and then evaluate them zero-shot on intransitive sentences (where subjecthood classification depends on alignment), within and across languages. We find that the resulting classifier distributions reflect the morphosyntactic alignment of their training languages. Our results demonstrate that mBERT representations are influenced by high-level grammatical features that are not manifested in any one input sentence, and that this is robust across languages. Further examining the characteristics that our classifiers rely on, we find that features such as passive voice, animacy and case strongly correlate with classification decisions, suggesting that mBERT does not encode subjecthood purely syntactically, but that subjecthood embedding is continuous and dependent on semantic and discourse factors, as is proposed in much of the functional linguistics literature. Together, these results provide insight into how grammatical features manifest in contextual embedding spaces, at a level of abstraction not covered by previous work.

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Stanford MLab at SemEval-2021 Task 1: Tree-Based Modelling of Lexical Complexity using Word Embeddings
Erik Rozi | Niveditha Iyer | Gordon Chi | Enok Choe | Kathy J. Lee | Kevin Liu | Patrick Liu | Zander Lack | Jillian Tang | Ethan A. Chi
Proceedings of the 15th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2021)

This paper presents our system for the single- and multi-word lexical complexity prediction tasks of SemEval Task 1: Lexical Complexity Prediction. Text comprehension depends on the reader’s ability to understand the words present in it; evaluating the lexical complexity of such texts can enable readers to find an appropriate text and systems to tailor a text to an audience’s needs. We present our model pipeline, which applies a combination of embedding-based and manual features to predict lexical complexity on the CompLex English dataset using various tree-based and linear models. Our method is ranked 27 / 54 on single-word prediction and 14 / 37 on multi-word prediction.

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Stanford MLab at SemEval-2021 Task 8: 48 Hours Is All You Need
Patrick Liu | Niveditha Iyer | Erik Rozi | Ethan A. Chi
Proceedings of the 15th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2021)

This paper presents our system for the Quantity span identification, Unit of measurement identification and Value modifier classification subtasks of the MeasEval 2021 task. The purpose of the Quantity span identification task was to locate spans of text that contain a count or measurement, consisting of a value, usually followed by a unit and occasionally additional modifiers. The goal of the modifier classification task was to determine whether an associated text fragment served to indicate range, tolerance, mean value, etc. of a quantity. The developed systems used pre-trained BERT models which were fine-tuned for the task at hand. We present our system, investigate how architectural decisions affected model predictions, and conduct an error analysis. Overall, our system placed 12 / 19 in the shared task and in the 2nd place for the Unit subcategory.


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Finding Universal Grammatical Relations in Multilingual BERT
Ethan A. Chi | John Hewitt | Christopher D. Manning
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Recent work has found evidence that Multilingual BERT (mBERT), a transformer-based multilingual masked language model, is capable of zero-shot cross-lingual transfer, suggesting that some aspects of its representations are shared cross-lingually. To better understand this overlap, we extend recent work on finding syntactic trees in neural networks’ internal representations to the multilingual setting. We show that subspaces of mBERT representations recover syntactic tree distances in languages other than English, and that these subspaces are approximately shared across languages. Motivated by these results, we present an unsupervised analysis method that provides evidence mBERT learns representations of syntactic dependency labels, in the form of clusters which largely agree with the Universal Dependencies taxonomy. This evidence suggests that even without explicit supervision, multilingual masked language models learn certain linguistic universals.