Konstantine Arkoudas


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Low-Resource Compositional Semantic Parsing with Concept Pretraining
Subendhu Rongali | Mukund Sridhar | Haidar Khan | Konstantine Arkoudas | Wael Hamza | Andrew McCallum
Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Semantic parsing plays a key role in digital voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant by mapping natural language to structured meaning representations. When we want to improve the capabilities of a voice assistant by adding a new domain, the underlying semantic parsing model needs to be retrained using thousands of annotated examples from the new domain, which is time-consuming and expensive. In this work, we present an architecture to perform such domain adaptation automatically, with only a small amount of metadata about the new domain and without any new training data (zero-shot) or with very few examples (few-shot). We use a base seq2seq (sequence-to-sequence) architecture and augment it with a concept encoder that encodes intent and slot tags from the new domain. We also introduce a novel decoder-focused approach to pretrain seq2seq models to be concept aware using Wikidata and use it to help our model learn important concepts and perform well in low-resource settings. We report few-shot and zero-shot results for compositional semantic parsing on the TOPv2 dataset and show that our model outperforms prior approaches in few-shot settings for the TOPv2 and SNIPS datasets.


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Cross-TOP: Zero-Shot Cross-Schema Task-Oriented Parsing
Melanie Rubino | Nicolas Guenon des Mesnards | Uday Shah | Nanjiang Jiang | Weiqi Sun | Konstantine Arkoudas
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Deep Learning for Low-Resource Natural Language Processing

Deep learning methods have enabled taskoriented semantic parsing of increasingly complex utterances. However, a single model is still typically trained and deployed for each task separately, requiring labeled training data for each, which makes it challenging to support new tasks, even within a single business vertical (e.g., food-ordering or travel booking). In this paper we describe Cross-TOP (Cross-Schema Task-Oriented Parsing), a zero-shot method for complex semantic parsing in a given vertical. By leveraging the fact that user requests from the same vertical share lexical and semantic similarities, a single cross-schema parser is trained to service an arbitrary number of tasks, seen or unseen, within a vertical. We show that Cross-TOP can achieve high accuracy on a previously unseen task without requiring any additional training data, thereby providing a scalable way to bootstrap semantic parsers for new tasks. As part of this work we release the FoodOrdering dataset, a task-oriented parsing dataset in the food-ordering vertical, with utterances and annotations derived from five schemas, each from a different restaurant menu.

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Compositional Task-Oriented Parsing as Abstractive Question Answering
Wenting Zhao | Konstantine Arkoudas | Weiqi Sun | Claire Cardie
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Task-oriented parsing (TOP) aims to convert natural language into machine-readable representations of specific tasks, such as setting an alarm. A popular approach to TOP is to apply seq2seq models to generate linearized parse trees. A more recent line of work argues that pretrained seq2seq2 models are better at generating outputs that are themselves natural language, so they replace linearized parse trees with canonical natural-language paraphrases that can then be easily translated into parse trees, resulting in so-called naturalized parsers. In this work we continue to explore naturalized semantic parsing by presenting a general reduction of TOP to abstractive question answering that overcomes some limitations of canonical paraphrasing. Experimental results show that our QA-based technique outperforms state-of-the-art methods in full-data settings while achieving dramatic improvements in few-shot settings.


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Combining Weakly Supervised ML Techniques for Low-Resource NLU
Victor Soto | Konstantine Arkoudas
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies: Industry Papers

Recent advances in transfer learning have improved the performance of virtual assistants considerably. Nevertheless, creating sophisticated voice-enabled applications for new domains remains a challenge, and meager training data is often a key bottleneck. Accordingly, unsupervised learning and SSL (semi-supervised learning) techniques continue to be of vital importance. While a number of such methods have been explored previously in isolation, in this paper we investigate the synergistic use of a number of weakly supervised techniques with a view to improving NLU (Natural Language Understanding) accuracy in low-resource settings. We explore three different approaches incorporating anonymized, unlabeled and automatically transcribed user utterances into the training process, two focused on data augmentation via SSL and another one focused on unsupervised and transfer learning. We show promising results, obtaining gains that range from 4.73% to 7.65% relative improvements on semantic error rate for each individual approach. Moreover, the combination of all three methods together yields a relative improvement of 11.77% over our current baseline model. Our methods are applicable to any new domain with minimal training data, and can be deployed over time into a cycle of continual learning.


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Delexicalized Paraphrase Generation
Boya Yu | Konstantine Arkoudas | Wael Hamza
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Industry Track

We present a neural model for paraphrasing and train it to generate delexicalized sentences. We achieve this by creating training data in which each input is paired with a number of reference paraphrases. These sets of reference paraphrases represent a weak type of semantic equivalence based on annotated slots and intents. To understand semantics from different types of slots, other than anonymizing slots, we apply convolutional neural networks (CNN) prior to pooling on slot values and use pointers to locate slots in the output. We show empirically that the generated paraphrases are of high quality, leading to an additional 1.29% exact match on live utterances. We also show that natural language understanding (NLU) tasks, such as intent classification and named entity recognition, can benefit from data augmentation using automatically generated paraphrases.


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Grammatical Sequence Prediction for Real-Time Neural Semantic Parsing
Chunyang Xiao | Christoph Teichmann | Konstantine Arkoudas
Proceedings of the Workshop on Deep Learning and Formal Languages: Building Bridges

While sequence-to-sequence (seq2seq) models achieve state-of-the-art performance in many natural language processing tasks, they can be too slow for real-time applications. One performance bottleneck is predicting the most likely next token over a large vocabulary; methods to circumvent this bottleneck are a current research topic. We focus specifically on using seq2seq models for semantic parsing, where we observe that grammars often exist which specify valid formal representations of utterance semantics. By developing a generic approach for restricting the predictions of a seq2seq model to grammatically permissible continuations, we arrive at a widely applicable technique for speeding up semantic parsing. The technique leads to a 74% speed-up on an in-house dataset with a large vocabulary, compared to the same neural model without grammatical restrictions