Florian Mai


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Bag-of-Vectors Autoencoders for Unsupervised Conditional Text Generation
Florian Mai | James Henderson
Proceedings of the 2nd Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 12th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Text autoencoders are often used for unsupervised conditional text generation by applying mappings in the latent space to change attributes to the desired values. Recently, Mai et al. (2020) proposed Emb2Emb, a method to learn these mappings in the embedding space of an autoencoder. However, their method is restricted to autoencoders with a single-vector embedding, which limits how much information can be retained. We address this issue by extending their method to Bag-of-Vectors Autoencoders (BoV-AEs), which encode the text into a variable-size bag of vectors that grows with the size of the text, as in attention-based models. This allows to encode and reconstruct much longer texts than standard autoencoders. Analogous to conventional autoencoders, we propose regularization techniques that facilitate learning meaningful operations in the latent space. Finally, we adapt Emb2Emb for a training scheme that learns to map an input bag to an output bag, including a novel loss function and neural architecture. Our empirical evaluations on unsupervised sentiment transfer show that our method performs substantially better than a standard autoencoder.


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Plug and Play Autoencoders for Conditional Text Generation
Florian Mai | Nikolaos Pappas | Ivan Montero | Noah A. Smith | James Henderson
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Text autoencoders are commonly used for conditional generation tasks such as style transfer. We propose methods which are plug and play, where any pretrained autoencoder can be used, and only require learning a mapping within the autoencoder’s embedding space, training embedding-to-embedding (Emb2Emb). This reduces the need for labeled training data for the task and makes the training procedure more efficient. Crucial to the success of this method is a loss term for keeping the mapped embedding on the manifold of the autoencoder and a mapping which is trained to navigate the manifold by learning offset vectors. Evaluations on style transfer tasks both with and without sequence-to-sequence supervision show that our method performs better than or comparable to strong baselines while being up to four times faster.