Mahnaz Koupaee


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Don’t Let Discourse Confine Your Model: Sequence Perturbations for Improved Event Language Models
Mahnaz Koupaee | Greg Durrett | Nathanael Chambers | Niranjan Balasubramanian
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Event language models represent plausible sequences of events. Most existing approaches train autoregressive models on text, which successfully capture event co-occurrence but unfortunately constrain the model to follow the discourse order in which events are presented. Other domains may employ different discourse orders, and for many applications, we may care about different notions of ordering (e.g., temporal) or not care about ordering at all (e.g., when predicting related events in a schema). We propose a simple yet surprisingly effective strategy for improving event language models by perturbing event sequences so we can relax model dependence on text order. Despite generating completely synthetic event orderings, we show that this technique improves the performance of the event language models on both applications and out-of-domain events data.


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Author’s Sentiment Prediction
Mohaddeseh Bastan | Mahnaz Koupaee | Youngseo Son | Richard Sicoli | Niranjan Balasubramanian
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Even though sentiment analysis has been well-studied on a wide range of domains, there hasn’tbeen much work on inferring author sentiment in news articles. To address this gap, we introducePerSenT, a crowd-sourced dataset that captures the sentiment of an author towards the mainentity in a news article. Our benchmarks of multiple strong baselines show that this is a difficultclassification task. BERT performs the best amongst the baselines. However, it only achievesa modest performance overall suggesting that fine-tuning document-level representations aloneisn’t adequate for this task. Making paragraph-level decisions and aggregating over the entiredocument is also ineffective. We present empirical and qualitative analyses that illustrate thespecific challenges posed by this dataset. We release this dataset with 5.3k documents and 38kparagraphs with 3.2k unique entities as a challenge in entity sentiment analysis.

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Modeling Preconditions in Text with a Crowd-sourced Dataset
Heeyoung Kwon | Mahnaz Koupaee | Pratyush Singh | Gargi Sawhney | Anmol Shukla | Keerthi Kumar Kallur | Nathanael Chambers | Niranjan Balasubramanian
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Preconditions provide a form of logical connection between events that explains why some events occur together and information that is complementary to the more widely studied relations such as causation, temporal ordering, entailment, and discourse relations. Modeling preconditions in text has been hampered in part due to the lack of large scale labeled data grounded in text. This paper introduces PeKo, a crowd-sourced annotation of preconditions between event pairs in newswire, an order of magnitude larger than prior text annotations. To complement this new corpus, we also introduce two challenge tasks aimed at modeling preconditions: (i) Precondition Identification – a standard classification task defined over pairs of event mentions, and (ii) Precondition Generation – a generative task aimed at testing a more general ability to reason about a given event. Evaluation on both tasks shows that modeling preconditions is challenging even for today’s large language models (LM). This suggests that precondition knowledge is not easily accessible in LM-derived representations alone. Our generation results show that fine-tuning an LM on PeKo yields better conditional relations than when trained on raw text or temporally-ordered corpora.