Jesse Vig


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Exploring Neural Models for Query-Focused Summarization
Jesse Vig | Alexander Fabbri | Wojciech Kryscinski | Chien-Sheng Wu | Wenhao Liu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

Query-focused summarization (QFS) aims to produce summaries that answer particular questions of interest, enabling greater user control and personalization. While recently released datasets, such as QMSum or AQuaMuSe, facilitate research efforts in QFS, the field lacks a comprehensive study of the broad space of applicable modeling methods. In this paper we conduct a systematic exploration of neural approaches to QFS, considering two general classes of methods: two-stage extractive-abstractive solutions and end-to-end models. Within those categories, we investigate existing models and explore strategies for transfer learning. We also present two modeling extensions that achieve state-of-the-art performance on the QMSum dataset, up to a margin of 3.38 ROUGE-1, 3.72 ROUGE2, and 3.28 ROUGE-L when combined with transfer learning strategies. Results from human evaluation suggest that the best models produce more comprehensive and factually consistent summaries compared to a baseline model. Code and checkpoints are made publicly available:


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SummVis: Interactive Visual Analysis of Models, Data, and Evaluation for Text Summarization
Jesse Vig | Wojciech Kryscinski | Karan Goel | Nazneen Rajani
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

Novel neural architectures, training strategies, and the availability of large-scale corpora haven been the driving force behind recent progress in abstractive text summarization. However, due to the black-box nature of neural models, uninformative evaluation metrics, and scarce tooling for model and data analysis the true performance and failure modes of summarization models remain largely unknown. To address this limitation, we introduce SummVis, an open-source tool for visualizing abstractive summaries that enables fine-grained analysis of the models, data, and evaluation metrics associated with text summarization. Through its lexical and semantic visualizations, the tools offers an easy entry point for in-depth model prediction exploration across important dimensions such as factual consistency or abstractiveness. The tool together with several pre-computed model outputs is available at

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Robustness Gym: Unifying the NLP Evaluation Landscape
Karan Goel | Nazneen Fatema Rajani | Jesse Vig | Zachary Taschdjian | Mohit Bansal | Christopher Ré
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies: Demonstrations

Despite impressive performance on standard benchmarks, natural language processing (NLP) models are often brittle when deployed in real-world systems. In this work, we identify challenges with evaluating NLP systems and propose a solution in the form of Robustness Gym (RG), a simple and extensible evaluation toolkit that unifies 4 standard evaluation paradigms: subpopulations, transformations, evaluation sets, and adversarial attacks. By providing a common platform for evaluation, RG enables practitioners to compare results from disparate evaluation paradigms with a single click, and to easily develop and share novel evaluation methods using a built-in set of abstractions. RG is under active development and we welcome feedback & contributions from the community.

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Goodwill Hunting: Analyzing and Repurposing Off-the-Shelf Named Entity Linking Systems
Karan Goel | Laurel Orr | Nazneen Fatema Rajani | Jesse Vig | Christopher Ré
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies: Industry Papers

Named entity linking (NEL) or mapping “strings” to “things” in a knowledge base is a fundamental preprocessing step in systems that require knowledge of entities such as information extraction and question answering. In this work, we lay out and investigate two challenges faced by individuals or organizations building NEL systems. Can they directly use an off-the-shelf system? If not, how easily can such a system be repurposed for their use case? First, we conduct a study of off-the-shelf commercial and academic NEL systems. We find that most systems struggle to link rare entities, with commercial solutions lagging their academic counterparts by 10%+. Second, for a use case where the NEL model is used in a sports question-answering (QA) system, we investigate how to close the loop in our analysis by repurposing the best off-the-shelf model (Bootleg) to correct sport-related errors. We show how tailoring a simple technique for patching models using weak labeling can provide a 25% absolute improvement in accuracy of sport-related errors.


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Analyzing the Structure of Attention in a Transformer Language Model
Jesse Vig | Yonatan Belinkov
Proceedings of the 2019 ACL Workshop BlackboxNLP: Analyzing and Interpreting Neural Networks for NLP

The Transformer is a fully attention-based alternative to recurrent networks that has achieved state-of-the-art results across a range of NLP tasks. In this paper, we analyze the structure of attention in a Transformer language model, the GPT-2 small pretrained model. We visualize attention for individual instances and analyze the interaction between attention and syntax over a large corpus. We find that attention targets different parts of speech at different layer depths within the model, and that attention aligns with dependency relations most strongly in the middle layers. We also find that the deepest layers of the model capture the most distant relationships. Finally, we extract exemplar sentences that reveal highly specific patterns targeted by particular attention heads.

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A Multiscale Visualization of Attention in the Transformer Model
Jesse Vig
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

The Transformer is a sequence model that forgoes traditional recurrent architectures in favor of a fully attention-based approach. Besides improving performance, an advantage of using attention is that it can also help to interpret a model by showing how the model assigns weight to different input elements. However, the multi-layer, multi-head attention mechanism in the Transformer model can be difficult to decipher. To make the model more accessible, we introduce an open-source tool that visualizes attention at multiple scales, each of which provides a unique perspective on the attention mechanism. We demonstrate the tool on BERT and OpenAI GPT-2 and present three example use cases: detecting model bias, locating relevant attention heads, and linking neurons to model behavior.