Eugene Ie


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Multi-Level Gazetteer-Free Geocoding
Sayali Kulkarni | Shailee Jain | Mohammad Javad Hosseini | Jason Baldridge | Eugene Ie | Li Zhang
Proceedings of Second International Combined Workshop on Spatial Language Understanding and Grounded Communication for Robotics

We present a multi-level geocoding model (MLG) that learns to associate texts to geographic coordinates. The Earth’s surface is represented using space-filling curves that decompose the sphere into a hierarchical grid. MLG balances classification granularity and accuracy by combining losses across multiple levels and jointly predicting cells at different levels simultaneously. It obtains large gains without any gazetteer metadata, demonstrating that it can effectively learn the connection between text spans and coordinates—and thus makes it a gazetteer-free geocoder. Furthermore, MLG obtains state-of-the-art results for toponym resolution on three English datasets without any dataset-specific tuning.

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On the Evaluation of Vision-and-Language Navigation Instructions
Ming Zhao | Peter Anderson | Vihan Jain | Su Wang | Alexander Ku | Jason Baldridge | Eugene Ie
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Vision-and-Language Navigation wayfinding agents can be enhanced by exploiting automatically generated navigation instructions. However, existing instruction generators have not been comprehensively evaluated, and the automatic evaluation metrics used to develop them have not been validated. Using human wayfinders, we show that these generators perform on par with or only slightly better than a template-based generator and far worse than human instructors. Furthermore, we discover that BLEU, ROUGE, METEOR and CIDEr are ineffective for evaluating grounded navigation instructions. To improve instruction evaluation, we propose an instruction-trajectory compatibility model that operates without reference instructions. Our model shows the highest correlation with human wayfinding outcomes when scoring individual instructions. For ranking instruction generation systems, if reference instructions are available we recommend using SPICE.


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BabyWalk: Going Farther in Vision-and-Language Navigation by Taking Baby Steps
Wang Zhu | Hexiang Hu | Jiacheng Chen | Zhiwei Deng | Vihan Jain | Eugene Ie | Fei Sha
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Learning to follow instructions is of fundamental importance to autonomous agents for vision-and-language navigation (VLN). In this paper, we study how an agent can navigate long paths when learning from a corpus that consists of shorter ones. We show that existing state-of-the-art agents do not generalize well. To this end, we propose BabyWalk, a new VLN agent that is learned to navigate by decomposing long instructions into shorter ones (BabySteps) and completing them sequentially. A special design memory buffer is used by the agent to turn its past experiences into contexts for future steps. The learning process is composed of two phases. In the first phase, the agent uses imitation learning from demonstration to accomplish BabySteps. In the second phase, the agent uses curriculum-based reinforcement learning to maximize rewards on navigation tasks with increasingly longer instructions. We create two new benchmark datasets (of long navigation tasks) and use them in conjunction with existing ones to examine BabyWalk’s generalization ability. Empirical results show that BabyWalk achieves state-of-the-art results on several metrics, in particular, is able to follow long instructions better. The codes and the datasets are released on our project page:

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Retouchdown: Releasing Touchdown on StreetLearn as a Public Resource for Language Grounding Tasks in Street View
Harsh Mehta | Yoav Artzi | Jason Baldridge | Eugene Ie | Piotr Mirowski
Proceedings of the Third International Workshop on Spatial Language Understanding

The Touchdown dataset (Chen et al., 2019) provides instructions by human annotators for navigation through New York City streets and for resolving spatial descriptions at a given location. To enable the wider research community to work effectively with the Touchdown tasks, we are publicly releasing the 29k raw Street View panoramas needed for Touchdown. We follow the process used for the StreetLearn data release (Mirowski et al., 2019) to check panoramas for personally identifiable information and blur them as necessary. These have been added to the StreetLearn dataset and can be obtained via the same process as used previously for StreetLearn. We also provide a reference implementation for both Touchdown tasks: vision and language navigation (VLN) and spatial description resolution (SDR). We compare our model results to those given in (Chen et al., 2019) and show that the panoramas we have added to StreetLearn support both Touchdown tasks and can be used effectively for further research and comparison.

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Learning to Represent Image and Text with Denotation Graph
Bowen Zhang | Hexiang Hu | Vihan Jain | Eugene Ie | Fei Sha
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Learning to fuse vision and language information and representing them is an important research problem with many applications. Recent progresses have leveraged the ideas of pre-training (from language modeling) and attention layers in Transformers to learn representation from datasets containing images aligned with linguistic expressions that describe the images. In this paper, we propose learning representations from a set of implied, visually grounded expressions between image and text, automatically mined from those datasets. In particular, we use denotation graphs to represent how specific concepts (such as sentences describing images) can be linked to abstract and generic concepts (such as short phrases) that are also visually grounded. This type of generic-to-specific relations can be discovered using linguistic analysis tools. We propose methods to incorporate such relations into learning representation. We show that state-of-the-art multimodal learning models can be further improved by leveraging automatically harvested structural relations. The representations lead to stronger empirical results on downstream tasks of cross-modal image retrieval, referring expression, and compositional attribute-object recognition. Both our codes and the extracted denotation graphs on the Flickr30K and the COCO datasets are publically available on

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Room-Across-Room: Multilingual Vision-and-Language Navigation with Dense Spatiotemporal Grounding
Alexander Ku | Peter Anderson | Roma Patel | Eugene Ie | Jason Baldridge
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

We introduce Room-Across-Room (RxR), a new Vision-and-Language Navigation (VLN) dataset. RxR is multilingual (English, Hindi, and Telugu) and larger (more paths and instructions) than other VLN datasets. It emphasizes the role of language in VLN by addressing known biases in paths and eliciting more references to visible entities. Furthermore, each word in an instruction is time-aligned to the virtual poses of instruction creators and validators. We establish baseline scores for monolingual and multilingual settings and multitask learning when including Room-to-Room annotations (Anderson et al., 2018). We also provide results for a model that learns from synchronized pose traces by focusing only on portions of the panorama attended to in human demonstrations. The size, scope and detail of RxR dramatically expands the frontier for research on embodied language agents in photorealistic simulated environments.


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Multi-modal Discriminative Model for Vision-and-Language Navigation
Haoshuo Huang | Vihan Jain | Harsh Mehta | Jason Baldridge | Eugene Ie
Proceedings of the Combined Workshop on Spatial Language Understanding (SpLU) and Grounded Communication for Robotics (RoboNLP)

Vision-and-Language Navigation (VLN) is a natural language grounding task where agents have to interpret natural language instructions in the context of visual scenes in a dynamic environment to achieve prescribed navigation goals. Successful agents must have the ability to parse natural language of varying linguistic styles, ground them in potentially unfamiliar scenes, plan and react with ambiguous environmental feedback. Generalization ability is limited by the amount of human annotated data. In particular, paired vision-language sequence data is expensive to collect. We develop a discriminator that evaluates how well an instruction explains a given path in VLN task using multi-modal alignment. Our study reveals that only a small fraction of the high-quality augmented data from Fried et al., as scored by our discriminator, is useful for training VLN agents with similar performance. We also show that a VLN agent warm-started with pre-trained components from the discriminator outperforms the benchmark success rates of 35.5 by 10% relative measure.

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Stay on the Path: Instruction Fidelity in Vision-and-Language Navigation
Vihan Jain | Gabriel Magalhaes | Alexander Ku | Ashish Vaswani | Eugene Ie | Jason Baldridge
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Advances in learning and representations have reinvigorated work that connects language to other modalities. A particularly exciting direction is Vision-and-Language Navigation(VLN), in which agents interpret natural language instructions and visual scenes to move through environments and reach goals. Despite recent progress, current research leaves unclear how much of a role language under-standing plays in this task, especially because dominant evaluation metrics have focused on goal completion rather than the sequence of actions corresponding to the instructions. Here, we highlight shortcomings of current metrics for the Room-to-Room dataset (Anderson et al.,2018b) and propose a new metric, Coverage weighted by Length Score (CLS). We also show that the existing paths in the dataset are not ideal for evaluating instruction following because they are direct-to-goal shortest paths. We join existing short paths to form more challenging extended paths to create a new data set, Room-for-Room (R4R). Using R4R and CLS, we show that agents that receive rewards for instruction fidelity outperform agents that focus on goal completion.

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Learning Dense Representations for Entity Retrieval
Daniel Gillick | Sayali Kulkarni | Larry Lansing | Alessandro Presta | Jason Baldridge | Eugene Ie | Diego Garcia-Olano
Proceedings of the 23rd Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL)

We show that it is feasible to perform entity linking by training a dual encoder (two-tower) model that encodes mentions and entities in the same dense vector space, where candidate entities are retrieved by approximate nearest neighbor search. Unlike prior work, this setup does not rely on an alias table followed by a re-ranker, and is thus the first fully learned entity retrieval model. We show that our dual encoder, trained using only anchor-text links in Wikipedia, outperforms discrete alias table and BM25 baselines, and is competitive with the best comparable results on the standard TACKBP-2010 dataset. In addition, it can retrieve candidates extremely fast, and generalizes well to a new dataset derived from Wikinews. On the modeling side, we demonstrate the dramatic value of an unsupervised negative mining algorithm for this task.