Lea Frermann


2022

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Unsupervised Cross-Lingual Transfer of Structured Predictors without Source Data
Kemal Kurniawan | Lea Frermann | Philip Schulz | Trevor Cohn
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Providing technologies to communities or domains where training data is scarce or protected e.g., for privacy reasons, is becoming increasingly important. To that end, we generalise methods for unsupervised transfer from multiple input models for structured prediction. We show that the means of aggregating over the input models is critical, and that multiplying marginal probabilities of substructures to obtain high-probability structures for distant supervision is substantially better than taking the union of such structures over the input models, as done in prior work. Testing on 18 languages, we demonstrate that the method works in a cross-lingual setting, considering both dependency parsing and part-of-speech structured prediction problems. Our analyses show that the proposed method produces less noisy labels for the distant supervision.

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A Computational Acquisition Model for Multimodal Word Categorization
Uri Berger | Gabriel Stanovsky | Omri Abend | Lea Frermann
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Recent advances in self-supervised modeling of text and images open new opportunities for computational models of child language acquisition, which is believed to rely heavily on cross-modal signals. However, prior studies has been limited by their reliance on vision models trained on large image datasets annotated with a pre-defined set of depicted object categories. This is (a) not faithful to the information children receive and (b) prohibits the evaluation of such models with respect to category learning tasks, due to the pre-imposed category structure. We address this gap, and present a cognitively-inspired, multimodal acquisition model, trained from image-caption pairs on naturalistic data using cross-modal self-supervision. We show that the model learns word categories and object recognition abilities, and presents trends reminiscent of ones reported in the developmental literature.

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Optimising Equal Opportunity Fairness in Model Training
Aili Shen | Xudong Han | Trevor Cohn | Timothy Baldwin | Lea Frermann
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Real-world datasets often encode stereotypes and societal biases. Such biases can be implicitly captured by trained models, leading to biased predictions and exacerbating existing societal preconceptions. Existing debiasing methods, such as adversarial training and removing protected information from representations, have been shown to reduce bias. However, a disconnect between fairness criteria and training objectives makes it difficult to reason theoretically about the effectiveness of different techniques. In this work, we propose two novel training objectives which directly optimise for the widely-used criterion of equal opportunity, and show that they are effective in reducing bias while maintaining high performance over two classification tasks.

2021

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Multi-modal Intent Classification for Assistive Robots with Large-scale Naturalistic Datasets
Karun Varghese Mathew | Venkata S Aditya Tarigoppula | Lea Frermann
Proceedings of the The 19th Annual Workshop of the Australasian Language Technology Association

Recent years have brought a tremendous growth in assistive robots/prosthetics for people with partial or complete loss of upper limb control. These technologies aim to help the users with various reaching and grasping tasks in their daily lives such as picking up an object and transporting it to a desired location; and their utility critically depends on the ease and effectiveness of communication between the user and robot. One of the natural ways of communicating with assistive technologies is through verbal instructions. The meaning of natural language commands depends on the current configuration of the surrounding environment and needs to be interpreted in this multi-modal context, as accurate interpretation of the command is essential for a successful execution of the user’s intent by an assistive device. The research presented in this paper demonstrates how large-scale situated natural language datasets can support the development of robust assistive technologies. We leveraged a navigational dataset comprising >25k human-provided natural language commands covering diverse situations. We demonstrated a way to extend the dataset in a task-informed way and use it to develop multi-modal intent classifiers for pick and place tasks. Our best classifier reached >98% accuracy in a 16-way multi-modal intent classification task, suggesting high robustness and flexibility.

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Principled Analysis of Energy Discourse across Domains with Thesaurus-based Automatic Topic Labeling
Thomas Scelsi | Alfonso Martinez Arranz | Lea Frermann
Proceedings of the The 19th Annual Workshop of the Australasian Language Technology Association

With the increasing impact of Natural Language Processing tools like topic models in social science research, the experimental rigor and comparability of models and datasets has come under scrutiny. Especially when contributing to research on topics with worldwide impacts like energy policy, objective analyses and reliable datasets are necessary. We contribute toward this goal in two ways: first, we release two diachronic corpora covering 23 years of energy discussions in the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Secondly, we propose a simple and theoretically sound method for automatic topic labelling drawing on political thesauri. We empirically evaluate the quality of our labels, and apply our labelling to topics induced by diachronic topic models on our energy corpora, and present a detailed analysis.

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PTST-UoM at SemEval-2021 Task 10: Parsimonious Transfer for Sequence Tagging
Kemal Kurniawan | Lea Frermann | Philip Schulz | Trevor Cohn
Proceedings of the 15th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2021)

This paper describes PTST, a source-free unsupervised domain adaptation technique for sequence tagging, and its application to the SemEval-2021 Task 10 on time expression recognition. PTST is an extension of the cross-lingual parsimonious parser transfer framework, which uses high-probability predictions of the source model as a supervision signal in self-training. We extend the framework to a sequence prediction setting, and demonstrate its applicability to unsupervised domain adaptation. PTST achieves F1 score of 79.6% on the official test set, with the precision of 90.1%, the highest out of 14 submissions.

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Commonsense Knowledge in Word Associations and ConceptNet
Chunhua Liu | Trevor Cohn | Lea Frermann
Proceedings of the 25th Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning

Humans use countless basic, shared facts about the world to efficiently navigate in their environment. This commonsense knowledge is rarely communicated explicitly, however, understanding how commonsense knowledge is represented in different paradigms is important for (a) a deeper understanding of human cognition and (b) augmenting automatic reasoning systems. This paper presents an in-depth comparison of two large-scale resources of general knowledge: ConceptNet, an engineered relational database, and SWOW, a knowledge graph derived from crowd-sourced word associations. We examine the structure, overlap and differences between the two graphs, as well as the extent of situational commonsense knowledge present in the two resources. We finally show empirically that both resources improve downstream task performance on commonsense reasoning benchmarks over text-only baselines, suggesting that large-scale word association data, which have been obtained for several languages through crowd-sourcing, can be a valuable complement to curated knowledge graphs.

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Framing Unpacked: A Semi-Supervised Interpretable Multi-View Model of Media Frames
Shima Khanehzar | Trevor Cohn | Gosia Mikolajczak | Andrew Turpin | Lea Frermann
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Understanding how news media frame political issues is important due to its impact on public attitudes, yet hard to automate. Computational approaches have largely focused on classifying the frame of a full news article while framing signals are often subtle and local. Furthermore, automatic news analysis is a sensitive domain, and existing classifiers lack transparency in their predictions. This paper addresses both issues with a novel semi-supervised model, which jointly learns to embed local information about the events and related actors in a news article through an auto-encoding framework, and to leverage this signal for document-level frame classification. Our experiments show that: our model outperforms previous models of frame prediction; we can further improve performance with unlabeled training data leveraging the semi-supervised nature of our model; and the learnt event and actor embeddings intuitively corroborate the document-level predictions, providing a nuanced and interpretable article frame representation.

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Fairness-aware Class Imbalanced Learning
Shivashankar Subramanian | Afshin Rahimi | Timothy Baldwin | Trevor Cohn | Lea Frermann
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Class imbalance is a common challenge in many NLP tasks, and has clear connections to bias, in that bias in training data often leads to higher accuracy for majority groups at the expense of minority groups. However there has traditionally been a disconnect between research on class-imbalanced learning and mitigating bias, and only recently have the two been looked at through a common lens. In this work we evaluate long-tail learning methods for tweet sentiment and occupation classification, and extend a margin-loss based approach with methods to enforce fairness. We empirically show through controlled experiments that the proposed approaches help mitigate both class imbalance and demographic biases.

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Evaluating Debiasing Techniques for Intersectional Biases
Shivashankar Subramanian | Xudong Han | Timothy Baldwin | Trevor Cohn | Lea Frermann
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Bias is pervasive for NLP models, motivating the development of automatic debiasing techniques. Evaluation of NLP debiasing methods has largely been limited to binary attributes in isolation, e.g., debiasing with respect to binary gender or race, however many corpora involve multiple such attributes, possibly with higher cardinality. In this paper we argue that a truly fair model must consider ‘gerrymandering’ groups which comprise not only single attributes, but also intersectional groups. We evaluate a form of bias-constrained model which is new to NLP, as well an extension of the iterative nullspace projection technique which can handle multiple identities.

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PPT: Parsimonious Parser Transfer for Unsupervised Cross-Lingual Adaptation
Kemal Kurniawan | Lea Frermann | Philip Schulz | Trevor Cohn
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Cross-lingual transfer is a leading technique for parsing low-resource languages in the absence of explicit supervision. Simple ‘direct transfer’ of a learned model based on a multilingual input encoding has provided a strong benchmark. This paper presents a method for unsupervised cross-lingual transfer that improves over direct transfer systems by using their output as implicit supervision as part of self-training on unlabelled text in the target language. The method assumes minimal resources and provides maximal flexibility by (a) accepting any pre-trained arc-factored dependency parser; (b) assuming no access to source language data; (c) supporting both projective and non-projective parsing; and (d) supporting multi-source transfer. With English as the source language, we show significant improvements over state-of-the-art transfer models on both distant and nearby languages, despite our conceptually simpler approach. We provide analyses of the choice of source languages for multi-source transfer, and the advantage of non-projective parsing. Our code is available online.

2020

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Screenplay Summarization Using Latent Narrative Structure
Pinelopi Papalampidi | Frank Keller | Lea Frermann | Mirella Lapata
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Most general-purpose extractive summarization models are trained on news articles, which are short and present all important information upfront. As a result, such models are biased on position and often perform a smart selection of sentences from the beginning of the document. When summarizing long narratives, which have complex structure and present information piecemeal, simple position heuristics are not sufficient. In this paper, we propose to explicitly incorporate the underlying structure of narratives into general unsupervised and supervised extractive summarization models. We formalize narrative structure in terms of key narrative events (turning points) and treat it as latent in order to summarize screenplays (i.e., extract an optimal sequence of scenes). Experimental results on the CSI corpus of TV screenplays, which we augment with scene-level summarization labels, show that latent turning points correlate with important aspects of a CSI episode and improve summarization performance over general extractive algorithms leading to more complete and diverse summaries.

2019

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Partners in Crime: Multi-view Sequential Inference for Movie Understanding
Nikos Papasarantopoulos | Lea Frermann | Mirella Lapata | Shay B. Cohen
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Multi-view learning algorithms are powerful representation learning tools, often exploited in the context of multimodal problems. However, for problems requiring inference at the token-level of a sequence (that is, a separate prediction must be made for every time step), it is often the case that single-view systems are used, or that more than one views are fused in a simple manner. We describe an incremental neural architecture paired with a novel training objective for incremental inference. The network operates on multi-view data. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach on the problem of predicting perpetrators in crime drama series, for which our model significantly outperforms previous work and strong baselines. Moreover, we introduce two tasks, crime case and speaker type tagging, that contribute to movie understanding and demonstrate the effectiveness of our model on them.

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Book QA: Stories of Challenges and Opportunities
Stefanos Angelidis | Lea Frermann | Diego Marcheggiani | Roi Blanco | Lluís Màrquez
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Machine Reading for Question Answering

We present a system for answering questions based on the full text of books (BookQA), which first selects book passages given a question at hand, and then uses a memory network to reason and predict an answer. To improve generalization, we pretrain our memory network using artificial questions generated from book sentences. We experiment with the recently published NarrativeQA corpus, on the subset of Who questions, which expect book characters as answers. We experimentally show that BERT-based retrieval and pretraining improve over baseline results significantly. At the same time, we confirm that NarrativeQA is a highly challenging data set, and that there is need for novel research in order to achieve high-precision BookQA results. We analyze some of the bottlenecks of the current approach, and we argue that more research is needed on text representation, retrieval of relevant passages, and reasoning, including commonsense knowledge.

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Extractive NarrativeQA with Heuristic Pre-Training
Lea Frermann
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Machine Reading for Question Answering

Although advances in neural architectures for NLP problems as well as unsupervised pre-training have led to substantial improvements on question answering and natural language inference, understanding of and reasoning over long texts still poses a substantial challenge. Here, we consider the task of question answering from full narratives (e.g., books or movie scripts), or their summaries, tackling the NarrativeQA challenge (NQA; Kocisky et al. (2018)). We introduce a heuristic extractive version of the data set, which allows us to approach the more feasible problem of answer extraction (rather than generation). We train systems for passage retrieval as well as answer span prediction using this data set. We use pre-trained BERT embeddings for injecting prior knowledge into our system. We show that our setup leads to state of the art performance on summary-level QA. On QA from full narratives, our model outperforms previous models on the METEOR metric. We analyze the relative contributions of pre-trained embeddings and the extractive training paradigm, and provide a detailed error analysis.

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Inducing Document Structure for Aspect-based Summarization
Lea Frermann | Alexandre Klementiev
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Automatic summarization is typically treated as a 1-to-1 mapping from document to summary. Documents such as news articles, however, are structured and often cover multiple topics or aspects; and readers may be interested in only some of them. We tackle the task of aspect-based summarization, where, given a document and a target aspect, our models generate a summary centered around the aspect. We induce latent document structure jointly with an abstractive summarization objective, and train our models in a scalable synthetic setup. In addition to improvements in summarization over topic-agnostic baselines, we demonstrate the benefit of the learnt document structure: we show that our models (a) learn to accurately segment documents by aspect; (b) can leverage the structure to produce both abstractive and extractive aspect-based summaries; and (c) that structure is particularly advantageous for summarizing long documents. All results transfer from synthetic training documents to natural news articles from CNN/Daily Mail and RCV1.

2018

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Whodunnit? Crime Drama as a Case for Natural Language Understanding
Lea Frermann | Shay B. Cohen | Mirella Lapata
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 6

In this paper we argue that crime drama exemplified in television programs such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is an ideal testbed for approximating real-world natural language understanding and the complex inferences associated with it. We propose to treat crime drama as a new inference task, capitalizing on the fact that each episode poses the same basic question (i.e., who committed the crime) and naturally provides the answer when the perpetrator is revealed. We develop a new dataset based on CSI episodes, formalize perpetrator identification as a sequence labeling problem, and develop an LSTM-based model which learns from multi-modal data. Experimental results show that an incremental inference strategy is key to making accurate guesses as well as learning from representations fusing textual, visual, and acoustic input.

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Unsupervised Induction of Linguistic Categories with Records of Reading, Speaking, and Writing
Maria Barrett | Ana Valeria González-Garduño | Lea Frermann | Anders Søgaard
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long Papers)

When learning POS taggers and syntactic chunkers for low-resource languages, different resources may be available, and often all we have is a small tag dictionary, motivating type-constrained unsupervised induction. Even small dictionaries can improve the performance of unsupervised induction algorithms. This paper shows that performance can be further improved by including data that is readily available or can be easily obtained for most languages, i.e., eye-tracking, speech, or keystroke logs (or any combination thereof). We project information from all these data sources into shared spaces, in which the union of words is represented. For English unsupervised POS induction, the additional information, which is not required at test time, leads to an average error reduction on Ontonotes domains of 1.5% over systems augmented with state-of-the-art word embeddings. On Penn Treebank the best model achieves 5.4% error reduction over a word embeddings baseline. We also achieve significant improvements for syntactic chunk induction. Our analysis shows that improvements are even bigger when the available tag dictionaries are smaller.

2017

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Inducing Semantic Micro-Clusters from Deep Multi-View Representations of Novels
Lea Frermann | György Szarvas
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Automatically understanding the plot of novels is important both for informing literary scholarship and applications such as summarization or recommendation. Various models have addressed this task, but their evaluation has remained largely intrinsic and qualitative. Here, we propose a principled and scalable framework leveraging expert-provided semantic tags (e.g., mystery, pirates) to evaluate plot representations in an extrinsic fashion, assessing their ability to produce locally coherent groupings of novels (micro-clusters) in model space. We present a deep recurrent autoencoder model that learns richly structured multi-view plot representations, and show that they i) yield better micro-clusters than less structured representations; and ii) are interpretable, and thus useful for further literary analysis or labeling of the emerging micro-clusters.

2016

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A Bayesian Model of Diachronic Meaning Change
Lea Frermann | Mirella Lapata
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 4

Word meanings change over time and an automated procedure for extracting this information from text would be useful for historical exploratory studies, information retrieval or question answering. We present a dynamic Bayesian model of diachronic meaning change, which infers temporal word representations as a set of senses and their prevalence. Unlike previous work, we explicitly model language change as a smooth, gradual process. We experimentally show that this modeling decision is beneficial: our model performs competitively on meaning change detection tasks whilst inducing discernible word senses and their development over time. Application of our model to the SemEval-2015 temporal classification benchmark datasets further reveals that it performs on par with highly optimized task-specific systems.

2015

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A Bayesian Model for Joint Learning of Categories and their Features
Lea Frermann | Mirella Lapata
Proceedings of the 2015 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

2014

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A Hierarchical Bayesian Model for Unsupervised Induction of Script Knowledge
Lea Frermann | Ivan Titov | Manfred Pinkal
Proceedings of the 14th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics

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Incremental Bayesian Learning of Semantic Categories
Lea Frermann | Mirella Lapata
Proceedings of the 14th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics

2012

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Cross-lingual Parse Disambiguation based on Semantic Correspondence
Lea Frermann | Francis Bond
Proceedings of the 50th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)