Marc-Alexandre Côté


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Interactive Machine Comprehension with Information Seeking Agents
Xingdi Yuan | Jie Fu | Marc-Alexandre Côté | Yi Tay | Chris Pal | Adam Trischler
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Existing machine reading comprehension (MRC) models do not scale effectively to real-world applications like web-level information retrieval and question answering (QA). We argue that this stems from the nature of MRC datasets: most of these are static environments wherein the supporting documents and all necessary information are fully observed. In this paper, we propose a simple method that reframes existing MRC datasets as interactive, partially observable environments. Specifically, we “occlude” the majority of a document’s text and add context-sensitive commands that reveal “glimpses” of the hidden text to a model. We repurpose SQuAD and NewsQA as an initial case study, and then show how the interactive corpora can be used to train a model that seeks relevant information through sequential decision making. We believe that this setting can contribute in scaling models to web-level QA scenarios.


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Interactive Language Learning by Question Answering
Xingdi Yuan | Marc-Alexandre Côté | Jie Fu | Zhouhan Lin | Chris Pal | Yoshua Bengio | Adam Trischler
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Humans observe and interact with the world to acquire knowledge. However, most existing machine reading comprehension (MRC) tasks miss the interactive, information-seeking component of comprehension. Such tasks present models with static documents that contain all necessary information, usually concentrated in a single short substring. Thus, models can achieve strong performance through simple word- and phrase-based pattern matching. We address this problem by formulating a novel text-based question answering task: Question Answering with Interactive Text (QAit). In QAit, an agent must interact with a partially observable text-based environment to gather information required to answer questions. QAit poses questions about the existence, location, and attributes of objects found in the environment. The data is built using a text-based game generator that defines the underlying dynamics of interaction with the environment. We propose and evaluate a set of baseline models for the QAit task that includes deep reinforcement learning agents. Experiments show that the task presents a major challenge for machine reading systems, while humans solve it with relative ease.


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Lessons Learned in Multilingual Grounded Language Learning
Ákos Kádár | Desmond Elliott | Marc-Alexandre Côté | Grzegorz Chrupała | Afra Alishahi
Proceedings of the 22nd Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning

Recent work has shown how to learn better visual-semantic embeddings by leveraging image descriptions in more than one language. Here, we investigate in detail which conditions affect the performance of this type of grounded language learning model. We show that multilingual training improves over bilingual training, and that low-resource languages benefit from training with higher-resource languages. We demonstrate that a multilingual model can be trained equally well on either translations or comparable sentence pairs, and that annotating the same set of images in multiple language enables further improvements via an additional caption-caption ranking objective.

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Revisiting the Hierarchical Multiscale LSTM
Ákos Kádár | Marc-Alexandre Côté | Grzegorz Chrupała | Afra Alishahi
Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Hierarchical Multiscale LSTM (Chung et. al., 2016) is a state-of-the-art language model that learns interpretable structure from character-level input. Such models can provide fertile ground for (cognitive) computational linguistics studies. However, the high complexity of the architecture, training and implementations might hinder its applicability. We provide a detailed reproduction and ablation study of the architecture, shedding light on some of the potential caveats of re-purposing complex deep-learning architectures. We further show that simplifying certain aspects of the architecture can in fact improve its performance. We also investigate the linguistic units (segments) learned by various levels of the model, and argue that their quality does not correlate with the overall performance of the model on language modeling.