Hamed Firooz


pdf bib
COFFEE: Counterfactual Fairness for Personalized Text Generation in Explainable Recommendation
Nan Wang | Qifan Wang | Yi-Chia Wang | Maziar Sanjabi | Jingzhou Liu | Hamed Firooz | Hongning Wang | Shaoliang Nie
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

As language models become increasingly integrated into our digital lives, Personalized Text Generation (PTG) has emerged as a pivotal component with a wide range of applications. However, the bias inherent in user written text, often used for PTG model training, can inadvertently associate different levels of linguistic quality with users’ protected attributes. The model can inherit the bias and perpetuate inequality in generating text w.r.t. users’ protected attributes, leading to unfair treatment when serving users. In this work, we investigate fairness of PTG in the context of personalized explanation generation for recommendations. We first discuss the biases in generated explanations and their fairness implications. To promote fairness, we introduce a general framework to achieve measure-specific counterfactual fairness in explanation generation. Extensive experiments and human evaluations demonstrate the effectiveness of our method.

pdf bib
Meta-training with Demonstration Retrieval for Efficient Few-shot Learning
Aaron Mueller | Kanika Narang | Lambert Mathias | Qifan Wang | Hamed Firooz
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Large language models show impressive results on few-shot NLP tasks. However, these models are memory and computation-intensive. Meta-training allows one to leverage smaller models for few-shot generalization in a domain-general and task-agnostic manner; however, these methods alone results in models that may not have sufficient parameterization or knowledge to adapt quickly to a large variety of tasks. To overcome this issue, we propose meta-training with demonstration retrieval, where we use a dense passage retriever to retrieve semantically similar labeled demonstrations to each example for more varied supervision. By separating external knowledge from model parameters, we can use meta-training to train parameter-efficient models that generalize well on a larger variety of tasks. We construct a meta-training set from UnifiedQA and CrossFit, and propose a demonstration bank based on UnifiedQA tasks. To our knowledge, our work is the first to combine retrieval with meta-training, to use DPR models to retrieve demonstrations, and to leverage demonstrations from many tasks simultaneously, rather than randomly sampling demonstrations from the training set of the target task. Our approach outperforms a variety of targeted parameter-efficient and retrieval-augmented few-shot methods on QA, NLI, and text classification tasks (including SQuAD, QNLI, and TREC). Our approach can be meta-trained and fine-tuned quickly on a single GPU.

pdf bib
MUSTIE: Multimodal Structural Transformer for Web Information Extraction
Qifan Wang | Jingang Wang | Xiaojun Quan | Fuli Feng | Zenglin Xu | Shaoliang Nie | Sinong Wang | Madian Khabsa | Hamed Firooz | Dongfang Liu
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

The task of web information extraction is to extract target fields of an object from web pages, such as extracting the name, genre and actor from a movie page. Recent sequential modeling approaches have achieved state-of-the-art results on web information extraction. However, most of these methods only focus on extracting information from textual sources while ignoring the rich information from other modalities such as image and web layout. In this work, we propose a novel MUltimodal Structural Transformer (MUST) that incorporates multiple modalities for web information extraction. Concretely, we develop a structural encoder that jointly encodes the multimodal information based on the HTML structure of the web layout, where high-level DOM nodes, and low-level text and image tokens are introduced to represent the entire page. Structural attention patterns are designed to learn effective cross-modal embeddings for all DOM nodes and low-level tokens. An extensive set of experiments are conducted on WebSRC and Common Crawl benchmarks. Experimental results demonstrate the superior performance of MUST over several state-of-the-art baselines.


pdf bib
UNIREX: A Unified Learning Framework for Language Model Rationale Extraction
Aaron Chan | Maziar Sanjabi | Lambert Mathias | Liang Tan | Shaoliang Nie | Xiaochang Peng | Xiang Ren | Hamed Firooz
Proceedings of BigScience Episode #5 -- Workshop on Challenges & Perspectives in Creating Large Language Models

An extractive rationale explains a language model’s (LM’s) prediction on a given task instance by highlighting the text inputs that most influenced the prediction. Ideally, rationale extraction should be faithful (reflective of LM’s actual behavior) and plausible (convincing to humans), without compromising the LM’s (i.e., task model’s) task performance. Although attribution algorithms and select-predict pipelines are commonly used in rationale extraction, they both rely on certain heuristics that hinder them from satisfying all three desiderata. In light of this, we propose UNIREX, a flexible learning framework which generalizes rationale extractor optimization as follows: (1) specify architecture for a learned rationale extractor; (2) select explainability objectives (i.e., faithfulness and plausibility criteria); and (3) jointly the train task model and rationale extractor on the task using selected objectives. UNIREX enables replacing prior works’ heuristic design choices with a generic learned rationale extractor in (1) and optimizing it for all three desiderata in (2)-(3). To facilitate comparison between methods w.r.t. multiple desiderata, we introduce the Normalized Relative Gain (NRG) metric. Across five English text classification datasets, our best UNIREX configuration outperforms the strongest baselines by an average of 32.9% NRG. Plus, we find that UNIREX-trained rationale extractors’ faithfulness can even generalize to unseen datasets and tasks.

pdf bib
A Survey on Multimodal Disinformation Detection
Firoj Alam | Stefano Cresci | Tanmoy Chakraborty | Fabrizio Silvestri | Dimiter Dimitrov | Giovanni Da San Martino | Shaden Shaar | Hamed Firooz | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Recent years have witnessed the proliferation of offensive content online such as fake news, propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation. While initially this was mostly about textual content, over time images and videos gained popularity, as they are much easier to consume, attract more attention, and spread further than text. As a result, researchers started leveraging different modalities and combinations thereof to tackle online multimodal offensive content. In this study, we offer a survey on the state-of-the-art on multimodal disinformation detection covering various combinations of modalities: text, images, speech, video, social media network structure, and temporal information. Moreover, while some studies focused on factuality, others investigated how harmful the content is. While these two components in the definition of disinformation – (i) factuality, and (ii) harmfulness –, are equally important, they are typically studied in isolation. Thus, we argue for the need to tackle disinformation detection by taking into account multiple modalities as well as both factuality and harmfulness, in the same framework. Finally, we discuss current challenges and future research directions.

pdf bib
Detection, Disambiguation, Re-ranking: Autoregressive Entity Linking as a Multi-Task Problem
Khalil Mrini | Shaoliang Nie | Jiatao Gu | Sinong Wang | Maziar Sanjabi | Hamed Firooz
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

We propose an autoregressive entity linking model, that is trained with two auxiliary tasks, and learns to re-rank generated samples at inference time. Our proposed novelties address two weaknesses in the literature. First, a recent method proposes to learn mention detection and then entity candidate selection, but relies on predefined sets of candidates. We use encoder-decoder autoregressive entity linking in order to bypass this need, and propose to train mention detection as an auxiliary task instead. Second, previous work suggests that re-ranking could help correct prediction errors. We add a new, auxiliary task, match prediction, to learn re-ranking. Without the use of a knowledge base or candidate sets, our model sets a new state of the art in two benchmark datasets of entity linking: COMETA in the biomedical domain, and AIDA-CoNLL in the news domain. We show through ablation studies that each of the two auxiliary tasks increases performance, and that re-ranking is an important factor to the increase. Finally, our low-resource experimental results suggest that performance on the main task benefits from the knowledge learned by the auxiliary tasks, and not just from the additional training data.

pdf bib
ER-Test: Evaluating Explanation Regularization Methods for Language Models
Brihi Joshi | Aaron Chan | Ziyi Liu | Shaoliang Nie | Maziar Sanjabi | Hamed Firooz | Xiang Ren
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

By explaining how humans would solve a given task, human rationales can provide strong learning signal for neural language models (NLMs). Explanation regularization (ER) aims to improve NLM generalization by pushing the NLM’s machine rationales (Which input tokens did the NLM focus on?) to align with human rationales (Which input tokens would humans focus on). Though prior works primarily study ER via in-distribution (ID) evaluation, out-of-distribution (OOD) generalization is often more critical in real-world scenarios, yet ER’s effect on OOD generalization has been underexplored.In this paper, we introduce ER-Test, a framework for evaluating ER models’ OOD generalization along three dimensions: unseen datasets, contrast set tests, and functional tests. Using ER-Test, we comprehensively analyze how ER models’ OOD generalization varies with the rationale alignment criterion (loss function), human rationale type (instance-level v/s task-level), number and choice of rationale-annotated instances, and time budget for rationale annotation. Across two tasks and six datasets, we show that ER has little impact on ID performance but yields large OOD performance gains, with the best ER criterion being task-dependent. Also, ER can improve OOD performance even with task-level or few human rationales. Finally, we find that rationale annotation is more time-efficient than label annotation for improving OOD performance. Our results with ER-Test help demonstrate ER’s utility and establish best practices for using ER effectively.


pdf bib
MSD: Saliency-aware Knowledge Distillation for Multimodal Understanding
Woojeong Jin | Maziar Sanjabi | Shaoliang Nie | Liang Tan | Xiang Ren | Hamed Firooz
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

To reduce a model size but retain performance, we often rely on knowledge distillation (KD) which transfers knowledge from a large “teacher” model to a smaller “student” model. However, KD on multimodal datasets such as vision-language tasks is relatively unexplored, and digesting multimodal information is challenging since different modalities present different types of information. In this paper, we perform a large-scale empirical study to investigate the importance and effects of each modality in knowledge distillation. Furthermore, we introduce a multimodal knowledge distillation framework, modality-specific distillation (MSD), to transfer knowledge from a teacher on multimodal tasks by learning the teacher’s behavior within each modality. The idea aims at mimicking a teacher’s modality-specific predictions by introducing auxiliary loss terms for each modality. Furthermore, because each modality has different saliency for predictions, we define saliency scores for each modality and investigate saliency-based weighting schemes for the auxiliary losses. We further study a weight learning approach to learn the optimal weights on these loss terms. In our empirical analysis, we examine the saliency of each modality in KD, demonstrate the effectiveness of the weighting scheme in MSD, and show that it achieves better performance than KD on four multimodal datasets.

pdf bib
SemEval-2021 Task 6: Detection of Persuasion Techniques in Texts and Images
Dimitar Dimitrov | Bishr Bin Ali | Shaden Shaar | Firoj Alam | Fabrizio Silvestri | Hamed Firooz | Preslav Nakov | Giovanni Da San Martino
Proceedings of the 15th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2021)

We describe SemEval-2021 task 6 on Detection of Persuasion Techniques in Texts and Images: the data, the annotation guidelines, the evaluation setup, the results, and the participating systems. The task focused on memes and had three subtasks: (i) detecting the techniques in the text, (ii) detecting the text spans where the techniques are used, and (iii) detecting techniques in the entire meme, i.e., both in the text and in the image. It was a popular task, attracting 71 registrations, and 22 teams that eventually made an official submission on the test set. The evaluation results for the third subtask confirmed the importance of both modalities, the text and the image. Moreover, some teams reported benefits when not just combining the two modalities, e.g., by using early or late fusion, but rather modeling the interaction between them in a joint model.

pdf bib
Detecting Propaganda Techniques in Memes
Dimitar Dimitrov | Bishr Bin Ali | Shaden Shaar | Firoj Alam | Fabrizio Silvestri | Hamed Firooz | Preslav Nakov | Giovanni Da San Martino
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)

Propaganda can be defined as a form of communication that aims to influence the opinions or the actions of people towards a specific goal; this is achieved by means of well-defined rhetorical and psychological devices. Propaganda, in the form we know it today, can be dated back to the beginning of the 17th century. However, it is with the advent of the Internet and the social media that propaganda has started to spread on a much larger scale than before, thus becoming major societal and political issue. Nowadays, a large fraction of propaganda in social media is multimodal, mixing textual with visual content. With this in mind, here we propose a new multi-label multimodal task: detecting the type of propaganda techniques used in memes. We further create and release a new corpus of 950 memes, carefully annotated with 22 propaganda techniques, which can appear in the text, in the image, or in both. Our analysis of the corpus shows that understanding both modalities together is essential for detecting these techniques. This is further confirmed in our experiments with several state-of-the-art multimodal models.

pdf bib
Modality-specific Distillation
Woojeong Jin | Maziar Sanjabi | Shaoliang Nie | Liang Tan | Xiang Ren | Hamed Firooz
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Multimodal Artificial Intelligence

Large neural networks are impractical to deploy on mobile devices due to their heavy computational cost and slow inference. Knowledge distillation (KD) is a technique to reduce the model size while retaining performance by transferring knowledge from a large “teacher” model to a smaller “student” model. However, KD on multimodal datasets such as vision-language datasets is relatively unexplored and digesting such multimodal information is challenging since different modalities present different types of information. In this paper, we propose modality-specific distillation (MSD) to effectively transfer knowledge from a teacher on multimodal datasets. Existing KD approaches can be applied to multimodal setup, but a student doesn’t have access to modality-specific predictions. Our idea aims at mimicking a teacher’s modality-specific predictions by introducing an auxiliary loss term for each modality. Because each modality has different importance for predictions, we also propose weighting approaches for the auxiliary losses; a meta-learning approach to learn the optimal weights on these loss terms. In our experiments, we demonstrate the effectiveness of our MSD and the weighting scheme and show that it achieves better performance than KD.