Iain Murray


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Regularising Fisher Information Improves Cross-lingual Generalisation
Asa Cooper Stickland | Iain Murray
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Multilingual Representation Learning

Many recent works use ‘consistency regularisation’ to improve the generalisation of fine-tuned pre-trained models, both multilingual and English-only. These works encourage model outputs to be similar between a perturbed and normal version of the input, usually via penalising the Kullback–Leibler (KL) divergence between the probability distribution of the perturbed and normal model. We believe that consistency losses may be implicitly regularizing the loss landscape. In particular, we build on work hypothesising that implicitly or explicitly regularizing trace of the Fisher Information Matrix (FIM), amplifies the implicit bias of SGD to avoid memorization. Our initial results show both empirically and theoretically that consistency losses are related to the FIM, and show that the flat minima implied by a small trace of the FIM improves performance when fine-tuning a multilingual model on additional languages. We aim to confirm these initial results on more datasets, and use our insights to develop better multilingual fine-tuning techniques.


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Aye or naw, whit dae ye hink? Scottish independence and linguistic identity on social media
Philippa Shoemark | Debnil Sur | Luke Shrimpton | Iain Murray | Sharon Goldwater
Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Volume 1, Long Papers

Political surveys have indicated a relationship between a sense of Scottish identity and voting decisions in the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum. Identity is often reflected in language use, suggesting the intuitive hypothesis that individuals who support Scottish independence are more likely to use distinctively Scottish words than those who oppose it. In the first large-scale study of sociolinguistic variation on social media in the UK, we identify distinctively Scottish terms in a data-driven way, and find that these terms are indeed used at a higher rate by users of pro-independence hashtags than by users of anti-independence hashtags. However, we also find that in general people are less likely to use distinctively Scottish words in tweets with referendum-related hashtags than in their general Twitter activity. We attribute this difference to style shifting relative to audience, aligning with previous work showing that Twitter users tend to use fewer local variants when addressing a broader audience.