Isabel Cachola


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Model Distillation for Faithful Explanations of Medical Code Predictions
Zach Wood-Doughty | Isabel Cachola | Mark Dredze
Proceedings of the 21st Workshop on Biomedical Language Processing

Machine learning models that offer excellent predictive performance often lack the interpretability necessary to support integrated human machine decision-making. In clinical medicine and other high-risk settings, domain experts may be unwilling to trust model predictions without explanations. Work in explainable AI must balance competing objectives along two different axes: 1) Models should ideally be both accurate and simple. 2) Explanations must balance faithfulness to the model’s decision-making with their plausibility to a domain expert. We propose to use knowledge distillation, or training a student model that mimics the behavior of a trained teacher model, as a technique to generate faithful and plausible explanations. We evaluate our approach on the task of assigning ICD codes to clinical notes to demonstrate that the student model is faithful to the teacher model’s behavior and produces quality natural language explanations.


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Explaining Relationships Between Scientific Documents
Kelvin Luu | Xinyi Wu | Rik Koncel-Kedziorski | Kyle Lo | Isabel Cachola | Noah A. Smith
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)

We address the task of explaining relationships between two scientific documents using natural language text. This task requires modeling the complex content of long technical documents, deducing a relationship between these documents, and expressing the details of that relationship in text. In addition to the theoretical interest of this task, successful solutions can help improve researcher efficiency in search and review. In this paper we establish a dataset of 622K examples from 154K documents. We pretrain a large language model to serve as the foundation for autoregressive approaches to the task. We explore the impact of taking different views on the two documents, including the use of dense representations extracted with scientific IE systems. We provide extensive automatic and human evaluations which show the promise of such models, but make clear challenges for future work.


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TLDR: Extreme Summarization of Scientific Documents
Isabel Cachola | Kyle Lo | Arman Cohan | Daniel Weld
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

We introduce TLDR generation, a new form of extreme summarization, for scientific papers. TLDR generation involves high source compression and requires expert background knowledge and understanding of complex domain-specific language. To facilitate study on this task, we introduce SCITLDR, a new multi-target dataset of 5.4K TLDRs over 3.2K papers. SCITLDR contains both author-written and expert-derived TLDRs, where the latter are collected using a novel annotation protocol that produces high-quality summaries while minimizing annotation burden. We propose CATTS, a simple yet effective learning strategy for generating TLDRs that exploits titles as an auxiliary training signal. CATTS improves upon strong baselines under both automated metrics and human evaluations. Data and code are publicly available at


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Expressively vulgar: The socio-dynamics of vulgarity and its effects on sentiment analysis in social media
Isabel Cachola | Eric Holgate | Daniel Preoţiuc-Pietro | Junyi Jessy Li
Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Vulgarity is a common linguistic expression and is used to perform several linguistic functions. Understanding their usage can aid both linguistic and psychological phenomena as well as benefit downstream natural language processing applications such as sentiment analysis. This study performs a large-scale, data-driven empirical analysis of vulgar words using social media data. We analyze the socio-cultural and pragmatic aspects of vulgarity using tweets from users with known demographics. Further, we collect sentiment ratings for vulgar tweets to study the relationship between the use of vulgar words and perceived sentiment and show that explicitly modeling vulgar words can boost sentiment analysis performance.

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Why Swear? Analyzing and Inferring the Intentions of Vulgar Expressions
Eric Holgate | Isabel Cachola | Daniel Preoţiuc-Pietro | Junyi Jessy Li
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Vulgar words are employed in language use for several different functions, ranging from expressing aggression to signaling group identity or the informality of the communication. This versatility of usage of a restricted set of words is challenging for downstream applications and has yet to be studied quantitatively or using natural language processing techniques. We introduce a novel data set of 7,800 tweets from users with known demographic traits where all instances of vulgar words are annotated with one of the six categories of vulgar word use. Using this data set, we present the first analysis of the pragmatic aspects of vulgarity and how they relate to social factors. We build a model able to predict the category of a vulgar word based on the immediate context it appears in with 67.4 macro F1 across six classes. Finally, we demonstrate the utility of modeling the type of vulgar word use in context by using this information to achieve state-of-the-art performance in hate speech detection on a benchmark data set.