Hansi Hettiarachchi


2021

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Can Multilingual Transformers Fight the COVID-19 Infodemic?
Lasitha Uyangodage | Tharindu Ranasinghe | Hansi Hettiarachchi
Proceedings of the International Conference on Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing (RANLP 2021)

The massive spread of false information on social media has become a global risk especially in a global pandemic situation like COVID-19. False information detection has thus become a surging research topic in recent months. In recent years, supervised machine learning models have been used to automatically identify false information in social media. However, most of these machine learning models focus only on the language they were trained on. Given the fact that social media platforms are being used in different languages, managing machine learning models for each and every language separately would be chaotic. In this research, we experiment with multilingual models to identify false information in social media by using two recently released multilingual false information detection datasets. We show that multilingual models perform on par with the monolingual models and sometimes even better than the monolingual models to detect false information in social media making them more useful in real-world scenarios.

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Transformers to Fight the COVID-19 Infodemic
Lasitha Uyangodage | Tharindu Ranasinghe | Hansi Hettiarachchi
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on NLP for Internet Freedom: Censorship, Disinformation, and Propaganda

The massive spread of false information on social media has become a global risk especially in a global pandemic situation like COVID-19. False information detection has thus become a surging research topic in recent months. NLP4IF-2021 shared task on fighting the COVID-19 infodemic has been organised to strengthen the research in false information detection where the participants are asked to predict seven different binary labels regarding false information in a tweet. The shared task has been organised in three languages; Arabic, Bulgarian and English. In this paper, we present our approach to tackle the task objective using transformers. Overall, our approach achieves a 0.707 mean F1 score in Arabic, 0.578 mean F1 score in Bulgarian and 0.864 mean F1 score in English ranking 4th place in all the languages.

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TransWiC at SemEval-2021 Task 2: Transformer-based Multilingual and Cross-lingual Word-in-Context Disambiguation
Hansi Hettiarachchi | Tharindu Ranasinghe
Proceedings of the 15th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2021)

Identifying whether a word carries the same meaning or different meaning in two contexts is an important research area in natural language processing which plays a significant role in many applications such as question answering, document summarisation, information retrieval and information extraction. Most of the previous work in this area rely on language-specific resources making it difficult to generalise across languages. Considering this limitation, our approach to SemEval-2021 Task 2 is based only on pretrained transformer models and does not use any language-specific processing and resources. Despite that, our best model achieves 0.90 accuracy for English-English subtask which is very compatible compared to the best result of the subtask; 0.93 accuracy. Our approach also achieves satisfactory results in other monolingual and cross-lingual language pairs as well.

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DAAI at CASE 2021 Task 1: Transformer-based Multilingual Socio-political and Crisis Event Detection
Hansi Hettiarachchi | Mariam Adedoyin-Olowe | Jagdev Bhogal | Mohamed Medhat Gaber
Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Challenges and Applications of Automated Extraction of Socio-political Events from Text (CASE 2021)

Automatic socio-political and crisis event detection has been a challenge for natural language processing as well as social and political science communities, due to the diversity and nuance in such events and high accuracy requirements. In this paper, we propose an approach which can handle both document and cross-sentence level event detection in a multilingual setting using pretrained transformer models. Our approach became the winning solution in document level predictions and secured the 3rd place in cross-sentence level predictions for the English language. We could also achieve competitive results for other languages to prove the effectiveness and universality of our approach.

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Discovering Black Lives Matter Events in the United States: Shared Task 3, CASE 2021
Salvatore Giorgi | Vanni Zavarella | Hristo Tanev | Nicolas Stefanovitch | Sy Hwang | Hansi Hettiarachchi | Tharindu Ranasinghe | Vivek Kalyan | Paul Tan | Shaun Tan | Martin Andrews | Tiancheng Hu | Niklas Stoehr | Francesco Ignazio Re | Daniel Vegh | Dennis Atzenhofer | Brenda Curtis | Ali Hürriyetoğlu
Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Challenges and Applications of Automated Extraction of Socio-political Events from Text (CASE 2021)

Evaluating the state-of-the-art event detection systems on determining spatio-temporal distribution of the events on the ground is performed unfrequently. But, the ability to both (1) extract events “in the wild” from text and (2) properly evaluate event detection systems has potential to support a wide variety of tasks such as monitoring the activity of socio-political movements, examining media coverage and public support of these movements, and informing policy decisions. Therefore, we study performance of the best event detection systems on detecting Black Lives Matter (BLM) events from tweets and news articles. The murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, at the hands of police officers received global attention throughout the second half of 2020. Protests against police violence emerged worldwide and the BLM movement, which was once mostly regulated to the United States, was now seeing activity globally. This shared task asks participants to identify BLM related events from large unstructured data sources, using systems pretrained to extract socio-political events from text. We evaluate several metrics, accessing each system’s ability to identify protest events both temporally and spatially. Results show that identifying daily protest counts is an easier task than classifying spatial and temporal protest trends simultaneously, with maximum performance of 0.745 and 0.210 (Pearson r), respectively. Additionally, all baselines and participant systems suffered from low recall, with a maximum recall of 5.08.

2020

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BRUMS at SemEval-2020 Task 3: Contextualised Embeddings for Predicting the (Graded) Effect of Context in Word Similarity
Hansi Hettiarachchi | Tharindu Ranasinghe
Proceedings of the Fourteenth Workshop on Semantic Evaluation

This paper presents the team BRUMS submission to SemEval-2020 Task 3: Graded Word Similarity in Context. The system utilises state-of-the-art contextualised word embeddings, which have some task-specific adaptations, including stacked embeddings and average embeddings. Overall, the approach achieves good evaluation scores across all the languages, while maintaining simplicity. Following the final rankings, our approach is ranked within the top 5 solutions of each language while preserving the 1st position of Finnish subtask 2.

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BRUMS at SemEval-2020 Task 12: Transformer Based Multilingual Offensive Language Identification in Social Media
Tharindu Ranasinghe | Hansi Hettiarachchi
Proceedings of the Fourteenth Workshop on Semantic Evaluation

In this paper, we describe the team BRUMS entry to OffensEval 2: Multilingual Offensive Language Identification in Social Media in SemEval-2020. The OffensEval organizers provided participants with annotated datasets containing posts from social media in Arabic, Danish, English, Greek and Turkish. We present a multilingual deep learning model to identify offensive language in social media. Overall, the approach achieves acceptable evaluation scores, while maintaining flexibility between languages.

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InfoMiner at WNUT-2020 Task 2: Transformer-based Covid-19 Informative Tweet Extraction
Hansi Hettiarachchi | Tharindu Ranasinghe
Proceedings of the Sixth Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text (W-NUT 2020)

Identifying informative tweets is an important step when building information extraction systems based on social media. WNUT-2020 Task 2 was organised to recognise informative tweets from noise tweets. In this paper, we present our approach to tackle the task objective using transformers. Overall, our approach achieves 10th place in the final rankings scoring 0.9004 F1 score for the test set.

2019

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Emoji Powered Capsule Network to Detect Type and Target of Offensive Posts in Social Media
Hansi Hettiarachchi | Tharindu Ranasinghe
Proceedings of the International Conference on Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing (RANLP 2019)

This paper describes a novel research approach to detect type and target of offensive posts in social media using a capsule network. The input to the network was character embeddings combined with emoji embeddings. The approach was evaluated on all three subtasks in Task 6 - SemEval 2019: OffensEval: Identifying and Categorizing Offensive Language in Social Media. The evaluation also showed that even though the capsule networks have not been used commonly in natural language processing tasks, they can outperform existing state of the art solutions for offensive language detection in social media.