Jesse Vig


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CaPE: Contrastive Parameter Ensembling for Reducing Hallucination in Abstractive Summarization
Prafulla Kumar Choubey | Alex Fabbri | Jesse Vig | Chien-Sheng Wu | Wenhao Liu | Nazneen Rajani
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Hallucination is a known issue for neural abstractive summarization models. Recent work suggests that the degree of hallucination may depend on factual errors in the training data. In this work, we propose a new method called Contrastive Parameter Ensembling (CaPE) to use training data more effectively, utilizing variations in noise in training samples to reduce hallucination. Starting with a base model fine-tuned on an entire dataset, we additionally train expert and anti-expert models on clean and noisy subsets of the data, respectively. We then adjust the parameters of the base model by adding (subtracting) the parameters of the expert (anti-expert), advancing the recent work on additive parameter ensembling approaches. Trained on a much smaller data subset, expert and anti-expert models only fractionally (<14%) increases the total training time. Further, CaPE uses parameter ensembling and does not increase the inference time. Experimental results show that CaPE improves performance across different automatic factual metrics and human evaluation, with a maximum improvement of 16.69% and 15.38% on summary-level dependency-arc entailment accuracy for the XSUM and CNN/DM datasets. The CaPE model performs comparably to the base model on metrics of informativeness such as ROUGE.

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NLP+Vis: NLP Meets Visualization
Shafiq Joty | Enamul Hoque | Jesse Vig
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: Tutorial Abstracts

Natural language and visualization (Vis) are two powerful modalities of human communication. The goal of this tutorial is to push forward the agenda of tightly integrating these two modalities. To this end, the tutorial will introduce NLP+Vis with a focus on two main threads of work: (i) NLP for Vis: How to develop and adapt state-of-the-art NLP models for solving various visualization tasks? and (ii) Vis for NLP: How to leverage visualization techniques to interpret and explain complex NLP models effectively? The tutorial will first motivate why NLP+Vis is an important area of research and provide an overview of research topics on combining NLP and Vis techniques. Then an overview of state-of-the-art deep learning models for NLP will be covered. Next, we will provide an overview of applying visualization techniques to help make NLP models more interpretable and explainable. In the final part, we will focus on various application tasks at the intersection of NLP and Vis. We will conclude with an interactive discussion of future challenges for NLP+Vis applications. The audience will include researchers interested in applying NLP for visualizations as well as others who focus more generally at the intersection of machine learning and visualization.

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Did You Read the Instructions? Rethinking the Effectiveness of Task Definitions in Instruction Learning
Fan Yin | Jesse Vig | Philippe Laban | Shafiq Joty | Caiming Xiong | Chien-Sheng Wu
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Large language models (LLMs) have shown impressive performance in following natural language instructions to solve unseen tasks. However, it remains unclear whether models truly understand task definitions and whether the human-written definitions are optimal. In this paper, we systematically study the role of task definitions in instruction learning. We first conduct an ablation analysis informed by human annotations to understand which parts of a task definition are most important, and find that model performance only drops substantially when removing contents describing the task output, in particular label information. Next, we propose an automatic algorithm to compress task definitions to a minimal supporting set of tokens, and find that 60% of tokens can be removed while maintaining or even improving model performance. Based on these results, we propose two strategies to help models better leverage task instructions: (1) providing only key information for tasks in a common structured format, and (2) adding a meta-tuning stage to help the model better understand the definitions. With these two strategies, we achieve a 4.2 Rouge-L improvement over 119 unseen test tasks.

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SWiPE: A Dataset for Document-Level Simplification of Wikipedia Pages
Philippe Laban | Jesse Vig | Wojciech Kryscinski | Shafiq Joty | Caiming Xiong | Chien-Sheng Wu
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Text simplification research has mostly focused on sentence-level simplification, even though many desirable edits - such as adding relevant background information or reordering content - may require document-level context. Prior work has also predominantly framed simplification as a single-step, input-to-output task, only implicitly modeling the fine-grained, span-level edits that elucidate the simplification process. To address both gaps, we introduce the SWiPE dataset, which reconstructs the document-level editing process from English Wikipedia (EW) articles to paired Simple Wikipedia (SEW) articles. In contrast to prior work, SWiPE leverages the entire revision history when pairing pages in order to better identify simplification edits. We work with Wikipedia editors to annotate 5,000 EW-SEW document pairs, labeling more than 40,000 edits with proposed 19 categories. To scale our efforts, we propose several models to automatically label edits, achieving an F-1 score of up to 70.9, indicating that this is a tractable but challenging NLU task. Finally, we categorize the edits produced by several simplification models and find that SWiPE-trained models generate more complex edits while reducing unwanted edits.


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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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Improving Factual Consistency in Summarization with Compression-Based Post-Editing
Alex Fabbri | Prafulla Kumar Choubey | Jesse Vig | Chien-Sheng Wu | Caiming Xiong
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

State-of-the-art summarization models still struggle to be factually consistent with the input text. A model-agnostic way to address this problem is post-editing the generated summaries. However, existing approaches typically fail to remove entity errors if a suitable input entity replacement is not available or may insert erroneous content. In our work, we focus on removing extrinsic entity errors, or entities not in the source, to improve consistency while retaining the summary’s essential information and form. We propose to use sentence-compression data to train the post-editing model to take a summary with extrinsic entity errors marked with special tokens and output a compressed, well-formed summary with those errors removed. We show that this model improves factual consistency while maintaining ROUGE, improving entity precision by up to 30% on XSum, and that this model can be applied on top of another post-editor, improving entity precision by up to a total of 38%. We perform an extensive comparison of post-editing approaches that demonstrate trade-offs between factual consistency, informativeness, and grammaticality, and we analyze settings where post-editors show the largest improvements.


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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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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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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.