Kenton Lee


2021

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XOR QA: Cross-lingual Open-Retrieval Question Answering
Akari Asai | Jungo Kasai | Jonathan Clark | Kenton Lee | Eunsol Choi | Hannaneh Hajishirzi
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Multilingual question answering tasks typically assume that answers exist in the same language as the question. Yet in practice, many languages face both information scarcity—where languages have few reference articles—and information asymmetry—where questions reference concepts from other cultures. This work extends open-retrieval question answering to a cross-lingual setting enabling questions from one language to be answered via answer content from another language. We construct a large-scale dataset built on 40K information-seeking questions across 7 diverse non-English languages that TyDi QA could not find same-language answers for. Based on this dataset, we introduce a task framework, called Cross-lingual Open-Retrieval Question Answering (XOR QA), that consists of three new tasks involving cross-lingual document retrieval from multilingual and English resources. We establish baselines with state-of-the-art machine translation systems and cross-lingual pretrained models. Experimental results suggest that XOR QA is a challenging task that will facilitate the development of novel techniques for multilingual question answering. Our data and code are available at https://nlp.cs.washington.edu/xorqa/.

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Joint Passage Ranking for Diverse Multi-Answer Retrieval
Sewon Min | Kenton Lee | Ming-Wei Chang | Kristina Toutanova | Hannaneh Hajishirzi
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We study multi-answer retrieval, an under-explored problem that requires retrieving passages to cover multiple distinct answers for a given question. This task requires joint modeling of retrieved passages, as models should not repeatedly retrieve passages containing the same answer at the cost of missing a different valid answer. Prior work focusing on single-answer retrieval is limited as it cannot reason about the set of passages jointly. In this paper, we introduce JPR, a joint passage retrieval model focusing on reranking. To model the joint probability of the retrieved passages, JPR makes use of an autoregressive reranker that selects a sequence of passages, equipped with novel training and decoding algorithms. Compared to prior approaches, JPR achieves significantly better answer coverage on three multi-answer datasets. When combined with downstream question answering, the improved retrieval enables larger answer generation models since they need to consider fewer passages, establishing a new state-of-the-art.

2020

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CapWAP: Image Captioning with a Purpose
Adam Fisch | Kenton Lee | Ming-Wei Chang | Jonathan Clark | Regina Barzilay
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

The traditional image captioning task uses generic reference captions to provide textual information about images. Different user populations, however, will care about different visual aspects of images. In this paper, we propose a new task, Captioning with A Purpose (CapWAP). Our goal is to develop systems that can be tailored to be useful for the information needs of an intended population, rather than merely provide generic information about an image. In this task, we use question-answer (QA) pairs—a natural expression of information need—from users, instead of reference captions, for both training and post-inference evaluation. We show that it is possible to use reinforcement learning to directly optimize for the intended information need, by rewarding outputs that allow a question answering model to provide correct answers to sampled user questions. We convert several visual question answering datasets into CapWAP datasets, and demonstrate that under a variety of scenarios our purposeful captioning system learns to anticipate and fulfill specific information needs better than its generic counterparts, as measured by QA performance on user questions from unseen images, when using the caption alone as context.

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High Performance Natural Language Processing
Gabriel Ilharco | Cesar Ilharco | Iulia Turc | Tim Dettmers | Felipe Ferreira | Kenton Lee
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: Tutorial Abstracts

Scale has played a central role in the rapid progress natural language processing has enjoyed in recent years. While benchmarks are dominated by ever larger models, efficient hardware use is critical for their widespread adoption and further progress in the field. In this cutting-edge tutorial, we will recapitulate the state-of-the-art in natural language processing with scale in perspective. After establishing these foundations, we will cover a wide range of techniques for improving efficiency, including knowledge distillation, quantization, pruning, more efficient architectures, along with case studies and practical implementation tricks.

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Probabilistic Assumptions Matter: Improved Models for Distantly-Supervised Document-Level Question Answering
Hao Cheng | Ming-Wei Chang | Kenton Lee | Kristina Toutanova
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We address the problem of extractive question answering using document-level distant super-vision, pairing questions and relevant documents with answer strings. We compare previously used probability space and distant supervision assumptions (assumptions on the correspondence between the weak answer string labels and possible answer mention spans). We show that these assumptions interact, and that different configurations provide complementary benefits. We demonstrate that a multi-objective model can efficiently combine the advantages of multiple assumptions and outperform the best individual formulation. Our approach outperforms previous state-of-the-art models by 4.3 points in F1 on TriviaQA-Wiki and 1.7 points in Rouge-L on NarrativeQA summaries.

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Exploring Unexplored Generalization Challenges for Cross-Database Semantic Parsing
Alane Suhr | Ming-Wei Chang | Peter Shaw | Kenton Lee
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We study the task of cross-database semantic parsing (XSP), where a system that maps natural language utterances to executable SQL queries is evaluated on databases unseen during training. Recently, several datasets, including Spider, were proposed to support development of XSP systems. We propose a challenging evaluation setup for cross-database semantic parsing, focusing on variation across database schemas and in-domain language use. We re-purpose eight semantic parsing datasets that have been well-studied in the setting where in-domain training data is available, and instead use them as additional evaluation data for XSP systems instead. We build a system that performs well on Spider, and find that it struggles to generalize to our re-purposed set. Our setup uncovers several generalization challenges for cross-database semantic parsing, demonstrating the need to use and develop diverse training and evaluation datasets.

2019

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BoolQ: Exploring the Surprising Difficulty of Natural Yes/No Questions
Christopher Clark | Kenton Lee | Ming-Wei Chang | Tom Kwiatkowski | Michael Collins | Kristina Toutanova
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers)

In this paper we study yes/no questions that are naturally occurring — meaning that they are generated in unprompted and unconstrained settings. We build a reading comprehension dataset, BoolQ, of such questions, and show that they are unexpectedly challenging. They often query for complex, non-factoid information, and require difficult entailment-like inference to solve. We also explore the effectiveness of a range of transfer learning baselines. We find that transferring from entailment data is more effective than transferring from paraphrase or extractive QA data, and that it, surprisingly, continues to be very beneficial even when starting from massive pre-trained language models such as BERT. Our best method trains BERT on MultiNLI and then re-trains it on our train set. It achieves 80.4% accuracy compared to 90% accuracy of human annotators (and 62% majority-baseline), leaving a significant gap for future work.

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BERT: Pre-training of Deep Bidirectional Transformers for Language Understanding
Jacob Devlin | Ming-Wei Chang | Kenton Lee | Kristina Toutanova
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers)

We introduce a new language representation model called BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Unlike recent language representation models (Peters et al., 2018a; Radford et al., 2018), BERT is designed to pre-train deep bidirectional representations from unlabeled text by jointly conditioning on both left and right context in all layers. As a result, the pre-trained BERT model can be fine-tuned with just one additional output layer to create state-of-the-art models for a wide range of tasks, such as question answering and language inference, without substantial task-specific architecture modifications. BERT is conceptually simple and empirically powerful. It obtains new state-of-the-art results on eleven natural language processing tasks, including pushing the GLUE score to 80.5 (7.7 point absolute improvement), MultiNLI accuracy to 86.7% (4.6% absolute improvement), SQuAD v1.1 question answering Test F1 to 93.2 (1.5 point absolute improvement) and SQuAD v2.0 Test F1 to 83.1 (5.1 point absolute improvement).

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Zero-Shot Entity Linking by Reading Entity Descriptions
Lajanugen Logeswaran | Ming-Wei Chang | Kenton Lee | Kristina Toutanova | Jacob Devlin | Honglak Lee
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We present the zero-shot entity linking task, where mentions must be linked to unseen entities without in-domain labeled data. The goal is to enable robust transfer to highly specialized domains, and so no metadata or alias tables are assumed. In this setting, entities are only identified by text descriptions, and models must rely strictly on language understanding to resolve the new entities. First, we show that strong reading comprehension models pre-trained on large unlabeled data can be used to generalize to unseen entities. Second, we propose a simple and effective adaptive pre-training strategy, which we term domain-adaptive pre-training (DAP), to address the domain shift problem associated with linking unseen entities in a new domain. We present experiments on a new dataset that we construct for this task and show that DAP improves over strong pre-training baselines, including BERT. The data and code are available at https://github.com/lajanugen/zeshel.

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Latent Retrieval for Weakly Supervised Open Domain Question Answering
Kenton Lee | Ming-Wei Chang | Kristina Toutanova
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Recent work on open domain question answering (QA) assumes strong supervision of the supporting evidence and/or assumes a blackbox information retrieval (IR) system to retrieve evidence candidates. We argue that both are suboptimal, since gold evidence is not always available, and QA is fundamentally different from IR. We show for the first time that it is possible to jointly learn the retriever and reader from question-answer string pairs and without any IR system. In this setting, evidence retrieval from all of Wikipedia is treated as a latent variable. Since this is impractical to learn from scratch, we pre-train the retriever with an Inverse Cloze Task. We evaluate on open versions of five QA datasets. On datasets where the questioner already knows the answer, a traditional IR system such as BM25 is sufficient. On datasets where a user is genuinely seeking an answer, we show that learned retrieval is crucial, outperforming BM25 by up to 19 points in exact match.

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Natural Questions: A Benchmark for Question Answering Research
Tom Kwiatkowski | Jennimaria Palomaki | Olivia Redfield | Michael Collins | Ankur Parikh | Chris Alberti | Danielle Epstein | Illia Polosukhin | Jacob Devlin | Kenton Lee | Kristina Toutanova | Llion Jones | Matthew Kelcey | Ming-Wei Chang | Andrew M. Dai | Jakob Uszkoreit | Quoc Le | Slav Petrov
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 7

We present the Natural Questions corpus, a question answering data set. Questions consist of real anonymized, aggregated queries issued to the Google search engine. An annotator is presented with a question along with a Wikipedia page from the top 5 search results, and annotates a long answer (typically a paragraph) and a short answer (one or more entities) if present on the page, or marks null if no long/short answer is present. The public release consists of 307,373 training examples with single annotations; 7,830 examples with 5-way annotations for development data; and a further 7,842 examples with 5-way annotated sequestered as test data. We present experiments validating quality of the data. We also describe analysis of 25-way annotations on 302 examples, giving insights into human variability on the annotation task. We introduce robust metrics for the purposes of evaluating question answering systems; demonstrate high human upper bounds on these metrics; and establish baseline results using competitive methods drawn from related literature.

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Giving BERT a Calculator: Finding Operations and Arguments with Reading Comprehension
Daniel Andor | Luheng He | Kenton Lee | Emily Pitler
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Reading comprehension models have been successfully applied to extractive text answers, but it is unclear how best to generalize these models to abstractive numerical answers. We enable a BERT-based reading comprehension model to perform lightweight numerical reasoning. We augment the model with a predefined set of executable ‘programs’ which encompass simple arithmetic as well as extraction. Rather than having to learn to manipulate numbers directly, the model can pick a program and execute it. On the recent Discrete Reasoning Over Passages (DROP) dataset, designed to challenge reading comprehension models, we show a 33% absolute improvement by adding shallow programs. The model can learn to predict new operations when appropriate in a math word problem setting (Roy and Roth, 2015) with very few training examples.

2018

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Syntactic Scaffolds for Semantic Structures
Swabha Swayamdipta | Sam Thomson | Kenton Lee | Luke Zettlemoyer | Chris Dyer | Noah A. Smith
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We introduce the syntactic scaffold, an approach to incorporating syntactic information into semantic tasks. Syntactic scaffolds avoid expensive syntactic processing at runtime, only making use of a treebank during training, through a multitask objective. We improve over strong baselines on PropBank semantics, frame semantics, and coreference resolution, achieving competitive performance on all three tasks.

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Deep Contextualized Word Representations
Matthew E. Peters | Mark Neumann | Mohit Iyyer | Matt Gardner | Christopher Clark | Kenton Lee | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long Papers)

We introduce a new type of deep contextualized word representation that models both (1) complex characteristics of word use (e.g., syntax and semantics), and (2) how these uses vary across linguistic contexts (i.e., to model polysemy). Our word vectors are learned functions of the internal states of a deep bidirectional language model (biLM), which is pre-trained on a large text corpus. We show that these representations can be easily added to existing models and significantly improve the state of the art across six challenging NLP problems, including question answering, textual entailment and sentiment analysis. We also present an analysis showing that exposing the deep internals of the pre-trained network is crucial, allowing downstream models to mix different types of semi-supervision signals.

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Higher-Order Coreference Resolution with Coarse-to-Fine Inference
Kenton Lee | Luheng He | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 2 (Short Papers)

We introduce a fully-differentiable approximation to higher-order inference for coreference resolution. Our approach uses the antecedent distribution from a span-ranking architecture as an attention mechanism to iteratively refine span representations. This enables the model to softly consider multiple hops in the predicted clusters. To alleviate the computational cost of this iterative process, we introduce a coarse-to-fine approach that incorporates a less accurate but more efficient bilinear factor, enabling more aggressive pruning without hurting accuracy. Compared to the existing state-of-the-art span-ranking approach, our model significantly improves accuracy on the English OntoNotes benchmark, while being far more computationally efficient.

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Jointly Predicting Predicates and Arguments in Neural Semantic Role Labeling
Luheng He | Kenton Lee | Omer Levy | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Recent BIO-tagging-based neural semantic role labeling models are very high performing, but assume gold predicates as part of the input and cannot incorporate span-level features. We propose an end-to-end approach for jointly predicting all predicates, arguments spans, and the relations between them. The model makes independent decisions about what relationship, if any, holds between every possible word-span pair, and learns contextualized span representations that provide rich, shared input features for each decision. Experiments demonstrate that this approach sets a new state of the art on PropBank SRL without gold predicates.

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Long Short-Term Memory as a Dynamically Computed Element-wise Weighted Sum
Omer Levy | Kenton Lee | Nicholas FitzGerald | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

LSTMs were introduced to combat vanishing gradients in simple RNNs by augmenting them with gated additive recurrent connections. We present an alternative view to explain the success of LSTMs: the gates themselves are versatile recurrent models that provide more representational power than previously appreciated. We do this by decoupling the LSTM’s gates from the embedded simple RNN, producing a new class of RNNs where the recurrence computes an element-wise weighted sum of context-independent functions of the input. Ablations on a range of problems demonstrate that the gating mechanism alone performs as well as an LSTM in most settings, strongly suggesting that the gates are doing much more in practice than just alleviating vanishing gradients.

2017

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End-to-end Neural Coreference Resolution
Kenton Lee | Luheng He | Mike Lewis | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We introduce the first end-to-end coreference resolution model and show that it significantly outperforms all previous work without using a syntactic parser or hand-engineered mention detector. The key idea is to directly consider all spans in a document as potential mentions and learn distributions over possible antecedents for each. The model computes span embeddings that combine context-dependent boundary representations with a head-finding attention mechanism. It is trained to maximize the marginal likelihood of gold antecedent spans from coreference clusters and is factored to enable aggressive pruning of potential mentions. Experiments demonstrate state-of-the-art performance, with a gain of 1.5 F1 on the OntoNotes benchmark and by 3.1 F1 using a 5-model ensemble, despite the fact that this is the first approach to be successfully trained with no external resources.

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Deep Semantic Role Labeling: What Works and What’s Next
Luheng He | Kenton Lee | Mike Lewis | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We introduce a new deep learning model for semantic role labeling (SRL) that significantly improves the state of the art, along with detailed analyses to reveal its strengths and limitations. We use a deep highway BiLSTM architecture with constrained decoding, while observing a number of recent best practices for initialization and regularization. Our 8-layer ensemble model achieves 83.2 F1 on theCoNLL 2005 test set and 83.4 F1 on CoNLL 2012, roughly a 10% relative error reduction over the previous state of the art. Extensive empirical analysis of these gains show that (1) deep models excel at recovering long-distance dependencies but can still make surprisingly obvious errors, and (2) that there is still room for syntactic parsers to improve these results.

2016

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Global Neural CCG Parsing with Optimality Guarantees
Kenton Lee | Mike Lewis | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

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LSTM CCG Parsing
Mike Lewis | Kenton Lee | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

2015

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Event Detection and Factuality Assessment with Non-Expert Supervision
Kenton Lee | Yoav Artzi | Yejin Choi | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of the 2015 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

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Broad-coverage CCG Semantic Parsing with AMR
Yoav Artzi | Kenton Lee | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of the 2015 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

2014

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Context-dependent Semantic Parsing for Time Expressions
Kenton Lee | Yoav Artzi | Jesse Dodge | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)