Florin Brad


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Rethinking the Authorship Verification Experimental Setups
Florin Brad | Andrei Manolache | Elena Burceanu | Antonio Barbalau | Radu Tudor Ionescu | Marius Popescu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

One of the main drivers of the recent advances in authorship verification is the PAN large-scale authorship dataset. Despite generating significant progress in the field, inconsistent performance differences between the closed and open test sets have been reported. To this end, we improve the experimental setup by proposing five new public splits over the PAN dataset, specifically designed to isolate and identify biases related to the text topic and to the author’s writing style. We evaluate several BERT-like baselines on these splits, showing that such models are competitive with authorship verification state-of-the-art methods. Furthermore, using explainable AI, we find that these baselines are biased towards named entities. We show that models trained without the named entities obtain better results and generalize better when tested on DarkReddit, our new dataset for authorship verification.


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DATE: Detecting Anomalies in Text via Self-Supervision of Transformers
Andrei Manolache | Florin Brad | Elena Burceanu
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Leveraging deep learning models for Anomaly Detection (AD) has seen widespread use in recent years due to superior performances over traditional methods. Recent deep methods for anomalies in images learn better features of normality in an end-to-end self-supervised setting. These methods train a model to discriminate between different transformations applied to visual data and then use the output to compute an anomaly score. We use this approach for AD in text, by introducing a novel pretext task on text sequences. We learn our DATE model end-to-end, enforcing two independent and complementary self-supervision signals, one at the token-level and one at the sequence-level. Under this new task formulation, we show strong quantitative and qualitative results on the 20Newsgroups and AG News datasets. In the semi-supervised setting, we outperform state-of-the-art results by +13.5% and +6.9%, respectively (AUROC). In the unsupervised configuration, DATE surpasses all other methods even when 10% of its training data is contaminated with outliers (compared with 0% for the others).


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Neural Approaches for Natural Language Interfaces to Databases: A Survey
Radu Cristian Alexandru Iacob | Florin Brad | Elena-Simona Apostol | Ciprian-Octavian Truică | Ionel Alexandru Hosu | Traian Rebedea
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

A natural language interface to databases (NLIDB) enables users without technical expertise to easily access information from relational databases. Interest in NLIDBs has resurged in the past years due to the availability of large datasets and improvements to neural sequence-to-sequence models. In this survey we focus on the key design decisions behind current state of the art neural approaches, which we group into encoder and decoder improvements. We highlight the three most important directions, namely linking question tokens to database schema elements (schema linking), better architectures for encoding the textual query taking into account the schema (schema encoding), and improved generation of structured queries using autoregressive neural models (grammar-based decoders). To foster future research, we also present an overview of the most important NLIDB datasets, together with a comparison of the top performing neural models and a short insight into recent non deep learning solutions.


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Natural Language Interface for Databases Using a Dual-Encoder Model
Ionel Alexandru Hosu | Radu Cristian Alexandru Iacob | Florin Brad | Stefan Ruseti | Traian Rebedea
Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

We propose a sketch-based two-step neural model for generating structured queries (SQL) based on a user’s request in natural language. The sketch is obtained by using placeholders for specific entities in the SQL query, such as column names, table names, aliases and variables, in a process similar to semantic parsing. The first step is to apply a sequence-to-sequence (SEQ2SEQ) model to determine the most probable SQL sketch based on the request in natural language. Then, a second network designed as a dual-encoder SEQ2SEQ model using both the text query and the previously obtained sketch is employed to generate the final SQL query. Our approach shows improvements over previous approaches on two recent large datasets (WikiSQL and SENLIDB) suitable for data-driven solutions for natural language interfaces for databases.


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Neural Paraphrase Generation using Transfer Learning
Florin Brad | Traian Rebedea
Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Natural Language Generation

Progress in statistical paraphrase generation has been hindered for a long time by the lack of large monolingual parallel corpora. In this paper, we adapt the neural machine translation approach to paraphrase generation and perform transfer learning from the closely related task of entailment generation. We evaluate the model on the Microsoft Research Paraphrase (MSRP) corpus and show that the model is able to generate sentences that capture part of the original meaning, but fails to pick up on important words or to show large lexical variation.

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Dataset for a Neural Natural Language Interface for Databases (NNLIDB)
Florin Brad | Radu Cristian Alexandru Iacob | Ionel Alexandru Hosu | Traian Rebedea
Proceedings of the Eighth International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Progress in natural language interfaces to databases (NLIDB) has been slow mainly due to linguistic issues (such as language ambiguity) and domain portability. Moreover, the lack of a large corpus to be used as a standard benchmark has made data-driven approaches difficult to develop and compare. In this paper, we revisit the problem of NLIDBs and recast it as a sequence translation problem. To this end, we introduce a large dataset extracted from the Stack Exchange Data Explorer website, which can be used for training neural natural language interfaces for databases. We also report encouraging baseline results on a smaller manually annotated test corpus, obtained using an attention-based sequence-to-sequence neural network.