Matt Gardner


2022

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Evidentiality-guided Generation for Knowledge-Intensive NLP Tasks
Akari Asai | Matt Gardner | Hannaneh Hajishirzi
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Retrieval-augmented generation models have shown state-of-the-art performance across many knowledge-intensive NLP tasks such as open-domain question answering and fact verification. These models are trained to generate a final output given retrieved passages that can be irrelevant to an input query, leading to learning spurious cues or memorization. This work introduces a method to incorporate evidentiality of passages—whether a passage contains correct evidence to support the output—into training the generator. We introduce a multi-task learning framework to jointly generate the final output and predict the evidentiality of each passage. Furthermore, we introduce a new task-agnostic method for obtaining high-quality silver evidentiality labels, addressing the issues of gold evidentiality labels being unavailable in most domains. Our experiments on five datasets across three knowledge-intensive tasks show that our new evidentiality-guided generator significantly outperforms its direct counterpart on all of them, and advances the state of the art on three of them. Our analysis shows that multi-task learning and silver evidentiality mining play key roles. Our code is available at https://github.com/AkariAsai/evidentiality_qa

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Generating Data to Mitigate Spurious Correlations in Natural Language Inference Datasets
Yuxiang Wu | Matt Gardner | Pontus Stenetorp | Pradeep Dasigi
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Natural language processing models often exploit spurious correlations between task-independent features and labels in datasets to perform well only within the distributions they are trained on, while not generalising to different task distributions. We propose to tackle this problem by generating a debiased version of a dataset, which can then be used to train a debiased, off-the-shelf model, by simply replacing its training data. Our approach consists of 1) a method for training data generators to generate high-quality, label-consistent data samples; and 2) a filtering mechanism for removing data points that contribute to spurious correlations, measured in terms of z-statistics. We generate debiased versions of the SNLI and MNLI datasets, and we evaluate on a large suite of debiased, out-of-distribution, and adversarial test sets. Results show that models trained on our debiased datasets generalise better than those trained on the original datasets in all settings. On the majority of the datasets, our method outperforms or performs comparably to previous state-of-the-art debiasing strategies, and when combined with an orthogonal technique, product-of-experts, it improves further and outperforms previous best results of SNLI-hard and MNLI-hard.

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A Meta-framework for Spatiotemporal Quantity Extraction from Text
Qiang Ning | Ben Zhou | Hao Wu | Haoruo Peng | Chuchu Fan | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

News events are often associated with quantities (e.g., the number of COVID-19 patients or the number of arrests in a protest), and it is often important to extract their type, time, and location from unstructured text in order to analyze these quantity events. This paper thus formulates the NLP problem of spatiotemporal quantity extraction, and proposes the first meta-framework for solving it. This meta-framework contains a formalism that decomposes the problem into several information extraction tasks, a shareable crowdsourcing pipeline, and transformer-based baseline models. We demonstrate the meta-framework in three domains—the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests, and 2020 California wildfires—to show that the formalism is general and extensible, the crowdsourcing pipeline facilitates fast and high-quality data annotation, and the baseline system can handle spatiotemporal quantity extraction well enough to be practically useful. We release all resources for future research on this topic at https://github.com/steqe.

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Tailor: Generating and Perturbing Text with Semantic Controls
Alexis Ross | Tongshuang Wu | Hao Peng | Matthew Peters | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Controlled text perturbation is useful for evaluating and improving model generalizability. However, current techniques rely on training a model for every target perturbation, which is expensive and hard to generalize. We present Tailor, a semantically-controlled text generation system. Tailor builds on a pretrained seq2seq model and produces textual outputs conditioned on control codes derived from semantic representations. We craft a set of operations to modify the control codes, which in turn steer generation towards targeted attributes. These operations can be further composed into higher-level ones, allowing for flexible perturbation strategies. We demonstrate the effectiveness of these perturbations in multiple applications. First, we use Tailor to automatically create high-quality contrast sets for four distinct natural language processing (NLP) tasks. These contrast sets contain fewer spurious artifacts and are complementary to manually annotated ones in their lexical diversity. Second, we show that Tailor perturbations can improve model generalization through data augmentation. Perturbing just ∼2% of training data leads to a 5.8-point gain on an NLI challenge set measuring reliance on syntactic heuristics.

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ReCLIP: A Strong Zero-Shot Baseline for Referring Expression Comprehension
Sanjay Subramanian | William Merrill | Trevor Darrell | Matt Gardner | Sameer Singh | Anna Rohrbach
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Training a referring expression comprehension (ReC) model for a new visual domain requires collecting referring expressions, and potentially corresponding bounding boxes, for images in the domain. While large-scale pre-trained models are useful for image classification across domains, it remains unclear if they can be applied in a zero-shot manner to more complex tasks like ReC. We present ReCLIP, a simple but strong zero-shot baseline that repurposes CLIP, a state-of-the-art large-scale model, for ReC. Motivated by the close connection between ReC and CLIP’s contrastive pre-training objective, the first component of ReCLIP is a region-scoring method that isolates object proposals via cropping and blurring, and passes them to CLIP. However, through controlled experiments on a synthetic dataset, we find that CLIP is largely incapable of performing spatial reasoning off-the-shelf. We reduce the gap between zero-shot baselines from prior work and supervised models by as much as 29% on RefCOCOg, and on RefGTA (video game imagery), ReCLIP’s relative improvement over supervised ReC models trained on real images is 8%.

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When to Use Multi-Task Learning vs Intermediate Fine-Tuning for Pre-Trained Encoder Transfer Learning
Orion Weller | Kevin Seppi | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Transfer learning (TL) in natural language processing (NLP) has seen a surge of interest in recent years, as pre-trained models have shown an impressive ability to transfer to novel tasks. Three main strategies have emerged for making use of multiple supervised datasets during fine-tuning: training on an intermediate task before training on the target task (STILTs), using multi-task learning (MTL) to train jointly on a supplementary task and the target task (pairwise MTL), or simply using MTL to train jointly on all available datasets (MTL-ALL). In this work, we compare all three TL methods in a comprehensive analysis on the GLUE dataset suite. We find that there is a simple heuristic for when to use one of these techniques over the other: pairwise MTL is better than STILTs when the target task has fewer instances than the supporting task and vice versa. We show that this holds true in more than 92% of applicable cases on the GLUE dataset and validate this hypothesis with experiments varying dataset size. The simplicity and effectiveness of this heuristic is surprising and warrants additional exploration by the TL community. Furthermore, we find that MTL-ALL is worse than the pairwise methods in almost every case. We hope this study will aid others as they choose between TL methods for NLP tasks.

2021

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Documenting Large Webtext Corpora: A Case Study on the Colossal Clean Crawled Corpus
Jesse Dodge | Maarten Sap | Ana Marasović | William Agnew | Gabriel Ilharco | Dirk Groeneveld | Margaret Mitchell | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Large language models have led to remarkable progress on many NLP tasks, and researchers are turning to ever-larger text corpora to train them. Some of the largest corpora available are made by scraping significant portions of the internet, and are frequently introduced with only minimal documentation. In this work we provide some of the first documentation for the Colossal Clean Crawled Corpus (C4; Raffel et al., 2020), a dataset created by applying a set of filters to a single snapshot of Common Crawl. We begin by investigating where the data came from, and find a significant amount of text from unexpected sources like patents and US military websites. Then we explore the content of the text itself, and find machine-generated text (e.g., from machine translation systems) and evaluation examples from other benchmark NLP datasets. To understand the impact of the filters applied to create this dataset, we evaluate the text that was removed, and show that blocklist filtering disproportionately removes text from and about minority individuals. Finally, we conclude with some recommendations for how to created and document web-scale datasets from a scrape of the internet.

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Competency Problems: On Finding and Removing Artifacts in Language Data
Matt Gardner | William Merrill | Jesse Dodge | Matthew Peters | Alexis Ross | Sameer Singh | Noah A. Smith
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Much recent work in NLP has documented dataset artifacts, bias, and spurious correlations between input features and output labels. However, how to tell which features have “spurious” instead of legitimate correlations is typically left unspecified. In this work we argue that for complex language understanding tasks, all simple feature correlations are spurious, and we formalize this notion into a class of problems which we call competency problems. For example, the word “amazing” on its own should not give information about a sentiment label independent of the context in which it appears, which could include negation, metaphor, sarcasm, etc. We theoretically analyze the difficulty of creating data for competency problems when human bias is taken into account, showing that realistic datasets will increasingly deviate from competency problems as dataset size increases. This analysis gives us a simple statistical test for dataset artifacts, which we use to show more subtle biases than were described in prior work, including demonstrating that models are inappropriately affected by these less extreme biases. Our theoretical treatment of this problem also allows us to analyze proposed solutions, such as making local edits to dataset instances, and to give recommendations for future data collection and model design efforts that target competency problems.

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Paired Examples as Indirect Supervision in Latent Decision Models
Nitish Gupta | Sameer Singh | Matt Gardner | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Compositional, structured models are appealing because they explicitly decompose problems and provide interpretable intermediate outputs that give confidence that the model is not simply latching onto data artifacts. Learning these models is challenging, however, because end-task supervision only provides a weak indirect signal on what values the latent decisions should take. This often results in the model failing to learn to perform the intermediate tasks correctly. In this work, we introduce a way to leverage paired examples that provide stronger cues for learning latent decisions. When two related training examples share internal substructure, we add an additional training objective to encourage consistency between their latent decisions. Such an objective does not require external supervision for the values of the latent output, or even the end task, yet provides an additional training signal to that provided by individual training examples themselves. We apply our method to improve compositional question answering using neural module networks on the DROP dataset. We explore three ways to acquire paired questions in DROP: (a) discovering naturally occurring paired examples within the dataset, (b) constructing paired examples using templates, and (c) generating paired examples using a question generation model. We empirically demonstrate that our proposed approach improves both in- and out-of-distribution generalization and leads to correct latent decision predictions.

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Mitigating False-Negative Contexts in Multi-document Question Answering with Retrieval Marginalization
Ansong Ni | Matt Gardner | Pradeep Dasigi
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Question Answering (QA) tasks requiring information from multiple documents often rely on a retrieval model to identify relevant information for reasoning. The retrieval model is typically trained to maximize the likelihood of the labeled supporting evidence. However, when retrieving from large text corpora such as Wikipedia, the correct answer can often be obtained from multiple evidence candidates. Moreover, not all such candidates are labeled as positive during annotation, rendering the training signal weak and noisy. This problem is exacerbated when the questions are unanswerable or when the answers are Boolean, since the model cannot rely on lexical overlap to make a connection between the answer and supporting evidence. We develop a new parameterization of set-valued retrieval that handles unanswerable queries, and we show that marginalizing over this set during training allows a model to mitigate false negatives in supporting evidence annotations. We test our method on two multi-document QA datasets, IIRC and HotpotQA. On IIRC, we show that joint modeling with marginalization improves model performance by 5.5 F1 points and achieves a new state-of-the-art performance of 50.5 F1. We also show that retrieval marginalization results in 4.1 QA F1 improvement over a non-marginalized baseline on HotpotQA in the fullwiki setting.

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Generative Context Pair Selection for Multi-hop Question Answering
Dheeru Dua | Cicero Nogueira dos Santos | Patrick Ng | Ben Athiwaratkun | Bing Xiang | Matt Gardner | Sameer Singh
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Compositional reasoning tasks such as multi-hop question answering require models to learn how to make latent decisions using only weak supervision from the final answer. Crowdsourced datasets gathered for these tasks, however, often contain only a slice of the underlying task distribution, which can induce unanticipated biases such as shallow word overlap between the question and context. Recent works have shown that discriminative training results in models that exploit these underlying biases to achieve a better held-out performance, without learning the right way to reason. We propose a generative context selection model for multi-hop QA that reasons about how the given question could have been generated given a context pair and not just independent contexts. We show that on HotpotQA, while being comparable to the state-of-the-art answering performance, our proposed generative passage selection model has a better performance (4.9% higher than baseline) on adversarial held-out set which tests robustness of model’s multi-hop reasoning capabilities.

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Learning with Instance Bundles for Reading Comprehension
Dheeru Dua | Pradeep Dasigi | Sameer Singh | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

When training most modern reading comprehension models, all the questions associated with a context are treated as being independent from each other. However, closely related questions and their corresponding answers are not independent, and leveraging these relationships could provide a strong supervision signal to a model. Drawing on ideas from contrastive estimation, we introduce several new supervision losses that compare question-answer scores across multiple related instances. Specifically, we normalize these scores across various neighborhoods of closely contrasting questions and/or answers, adding a cross entropy loss term in addition to traditional maximum likelihood estimation. Our techniques require bundles of related question-answer pairs, which we either mine from within existing data or create using automated heuristics. We empirically demonstrate the effectiveness of training with instance bundles on two datasets—HotpotQA and ROPES—showing up to 9% absolute gains in accuracy.

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COVR: A Test-Bed for Visually Grounded Compositional Generalization with Real Images
Ben Bogin | Shivanshu Gupta | Matt Gardner | Jonathan Berant
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

While interest in models that generalize at test time to new compositions has risen in recent years, benchmarks in the visually-grounded domain have thus far been restricted to synthetic images. In this work, we propose COVR, a new test-bed for visually-grounded compositional generalization with real images. To create COVR, we use real images annotated with scene graphs, and propose an almost fully automatic procedure for generating question-answer pairs along with a set of context images. COVR focuses on questions that require complex reasoning, including higher-order operations such as quantification and aggregation. Due to the automatic generation process, COVR facilitates the creation of compositional splits, where models at test time need to generalize to new concepts and compositions in a zero- or few-shot setting. We construct compositional splits using COVR and demonstrate a myriad of cases where state-of-the-art pre-trained language-and-vision models struggle to compositionally generalize.

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Understanding Mention Detector-Linker Interaction in Neural Coreference Resolution
Zhaofeng Wu | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Computational Models of Reference, Anaphora and Coreference

Despite significant recent progress in coreference resolution, the quality of current state-of-the-art systems still considerably trails behind human-level performance. Using the CoNLL-2012 and PreCo datasets, we dissect the best instantiation of the mainstream end-to-end coreference resolution model that underlies most current best-performing coreference systems, and empirically analyze the behavior of its two components: mention detector and mention linker. While the detector traditionally focuses heavily on recall as a design decision, we demonstrate the importance of precision, calling for their balance. However, we point out the difficulty in building a precise detector due to its inability to make important anaphoricity decisions. We also highlight the enormous room for improving the linker and show that the rest of its errors mainly involve pronoun resolution. We propose promising next steps and hope our findings will help future research in coreference resolution.

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Latent Compositional Representations Improve Systematic Generalization in Grounded Question Answering
Ben Bogin | Sanjay Subramanian | Matt Gardner | Jonathan Berant
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 9

Abstract Answering questions that involve multi-step reasoning requires decomposing them and using the answers of intermediate steps to reach the final answer. However, state-of-the-art models in grounded question answering often do not explicitly perform decomposition, leading to difficulties in generalization to out-of-distribution examples. In this work, we propose a model that computes a representation and denotation for all question spans in a bottom-up, compositional manner using a CKY-style parser. Our model induces latent trees, driven by end-to-end (the answer) supervision only. We show that this inductive bias towards tree structures dramatically improves systematic generalization to out-of- distribution examples, compared to strong baselines on an arithmetic expressions benchmark as well as on C losure, a dataset that focuses on systematic generalization for grounded question answering. On this challenging dataset, our model reaches an accuracy of 96.1%, significantly higher than prior models that almost perfectly solve the task on a random, in-distribution split.

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Enforcing Consistency in Weakly Supervised Semantic Parsing
Nitish Gupta | Sameer Singh | Matt Gardner
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)

The predominant challenge in weakly supervised semantic parsing is that of spurious programs that evaluate to correct answers for the wrong reasons. Prior work uses elaborate search strategies to mitigate the prevalence of spurious programs; however, they typically consider only one input at a time. In this work we explore the use of consistency between the output programs for related inputs to reduce the impact of spurious programs. We bias the program search (and thus the model’s training signal) towards programs that map the same phrase in related inputs to the same sub-parts in their respective programs. Additionally, we study the importance of designing logical formalisms that facilitate this kind of consistency-based training. We find that a more consistent formalism leads to improved model performance even without consistency-based training. When combined together, these two insights lead to a 10% absolute improvement over the best prior result on the Natural Language Visual Reasoning dataset.

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A Dataset of Information-Seeking Questions and Answers Anchored in Research Papers
Pradeep Dasigi | Kyle Lo | Iz Beltagy | Arman Cohan | Noah A. Smith | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Readers of academic research papers often read with the goal of answering specific questions. Question Answering systems that can answer those questions can make consumption of the content much more efficient. However, building such tools requires data that reflect the difficulty of the task arising from complex reasoning about claims made in multiple parts of a paper. In contrast, existing information-seeking question answering datasets usually contain questions about generic factoid-type information. We therefore present Qasper, a dataset of 5049 questions over 1585 Natural Language Processing papers. Each question is written by an NLP practitioner who read only the title and abstract of the corresponding paper, and the question seeks information present in the full text. The questions are then answered by a separate set of NLP practitioners who also provide supporting evidence to answers. We find that existing models that do well on other QA tasks do not perform well on answering these questions, underperforming humans by at least 27 F1 points when answering them from entire papers, motivating further research in document-grounded, information-seeking QA, which our dataset is designed to facilitate.

2020

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Dynamic Sampling Strategies for Multi-Task Reading Comprehension
Ananth Gottumukkala | Dheeru Dua | Sameer Singh | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Building general reading comprehension systems, capable of solving multiple datasets at the same time, is a recent aspirational goal in the research community. Prior work has focused on model architecture or generalization to held out datasets, and largely passed over the particulars of the multi-task learning set up. We show that a simple dynamic sampling strategy, selecting instances for training proportional to the multi-task model’s current performance on a dataset relative to its single task performance, gives substantive gains over prior multi-task sampling strategies, mitigating the catastrophic forgetting that is common in multi-task learning. We also demonstrate that allowing instances of different tasks to be interleaved as much as possible between each epoch and batch has a clear benefit in multitask performance over forcing task homogeneity at the epoch or batch level. Our final model shows greatly increased performance over the best model on ORB, a recently-released multitask reading comprehension benchmark.

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On Importance Sampling-Based Evaluation of Latent Language Models
Robert L. Logan IV | Matt Gardner | Sameer Singh
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Language models that use additional latent structures (e.g., syntax trees, coreference chains, knowledge graph links) provide several advantages over traditional language models. However, likelihood-based evaluation of these models is often intractable as it requires marginalizing over the latent space. Existing works avoid this issue by using importance sampling. Although this approach has asymptotic guarantees, analysis is rarely conducted on the effect of decisions such as sample size and choice of proposal distribution on the reported estimates. In this paper, we carry out this analysis for three models: RNNG, EntityNLM, and KGLM. In addition, we elucidate subtle differences in how importance sampling is applied in these works that can have substantial effects on the final estimates, as well as provide theoretical results which reinforce the validity of this technique.

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Obtaining Faithful Interpretations from Compositional Neural Networks
Sanjay Subramanian | Ben Bogin | Nitish Gupta | Tomer Wolfson | Sameer Singh | Jonathan Berant | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Neural module networks (NMNs) are a popular approach for modeling compositionality: they achieve high accuracy when applied to problems in language and vision, while reflecting the compositional structure of the problem in the network architecture. However, prior work implicitly assumed that the structure of the network modules, describing the abstract reasoning process, provides a faithful explanation of the model’s reasoning; that is, that all modules perform their intended behaviour. In this work, we propose and conduct a systematic evaluation of the intermediate outputs of NMNs on NLVR2 and DROP, two datasets which require composing multiple reasoning steps. We find that the intermediate outputs differ from the expected output, illustrating that the network structure does not provide a faithful explanation of model behaviour. To remedy that, we train the model with auxiliary supervision and propose particular choices for module architecture that yield much better faithfulness, at a minimal cost to accuracy.

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Benefits of Intermediate Annotations in Reading Comprehension
Dheeru Dua | Sameer Singh | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Complex compositional reading comprehension datasets require performing latent sequential decisions that are learned via supervision from the final answer. A large combinatorial space of possible decision paths that result in the same answer, compounded by the lack of intermediate supervision to help choose the right path, makes the learning particularly hard for this task. In this work, we study the benefits of collecting intermediate reasoning supervision along with the answer during data collection. We find that these intermediate annotations can provide two-fold benefits. First, we observe that for any collection budget, spending a fraction of it on intermediate annotations results in improved model performance, for two complex compositional datasets: DROP and Quoref. Second, these annotations encourage the model to learn the correct latent reasoning steps, helping combat some of the biases introduced during the data collection process.

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Break It Down: A Question Understanding Benchmark
Tomer Wolfson | Mor Geva | Ankit Gupta | Matt Gardner | Yoav Goldberg | Daniel Deutch | Jonathan Berant
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 8

Understanding natural language questions entails the ability to break down a question into the requisite steps for computing its answer. In this work, we introduce a Question Decomposition Meaning Representation (QDMR) for questions. QDMR constitutes the ordered list of steps, expressed through natural language, that are necessary for answering a question. We develop a crowdsourcing pipeline, showing that quality QDMRs can be annotated at scale, and release the Break dataset, containing over 83K pairs of questions and their QDMRs. We demonstrate the utility of QDMR by showing that (a) it can be used to improve open-domain question answering on the HotpotQA dataset, (b) it can be deterministically converted to a pseudo-SQL formal language, which can alleviate annotation in semantic parsing applications. Last, we use Break to train a sequence-to-sequence model with copying that parses questions into QDMR structures, and show that it substantially outperforms several natural baselines.

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Evaluating Models’ Local Decision Boundaries via Contrast Sets
Matt Gardner | Yoav Artzi | Victoria Basmov | Jonathan Berant | Ben Bogin | Sihao Chen | Pradeep Dasigi | Dheeru Dua | Yanai Elazar | Ananth Gottumukkala | Nitish Gupta | Hannaneh Hajishirzi | Gabriel Ilharco | Daniel Khashabi | Kevin Lin | Jiangming Liu | Nelson F. Liu | Phoebe Mulcaire | Qiang Ning | Sameer Singh | Noah A. Smith | Sanjay Subramanian | Reut Tsarfaty | Eric Wallace | Ally Zhang | Ben Zhou
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Standard test sets for supervised learning evaluate in-distribution generalization. Unfortunately, when a dataset has systematic gaps (e.g., annotation artifacts), these evaluations are misleading: a model can learn simple decision rules that perform well on the test set but do not capture the abilities a dataset is intended to test. We propose a more rigorous annotation paradigm for NLP that helps to close systematic gaps in the test data. In particular, after a dataset is constructed, we recommend that the dataset authors manually perturb the test instances in small but meaningful ways that (typically) change the gold label, creating contrast sets. Contrast sets provide a local view of a model’s decision boundary, which can be used to more accurately evaluate a model’s true linguistic capabilities. We demonstrate the efficacy of contrast sets by creating them for 10 diverse NLP datasets (e.g., DROP reading comprehension, UD parsing, and IMDb sentiment analysis). Although our contrast sets are not explicitly adversarial, model performance is significantly lower on them than on the original test sets—up to 25% in some cases. We release our contrast sets as new evaluation benchmarks and encourage future dataset construction efforts to follow similar annotation processes.

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MedICaT: A Dataset of Medical Images, Captions, and Textual References
Sanjay Subramanian | Lucy Lu Wang | Ben Bogin | Sachin Mehta | Madeleine van Zuylen | Sravanthi Parasa | Sameer Singh | Matt Gardner | Hannaneh Hajishirzi
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Understanding the relationship between figures and text is key to scientific document understanding. Medical figures in particular are quite complex, often consisting of several subfigures (75% of figures in our dataset), with detailed text describing their content. Previous work studying figures in scientific papers focused on classifying figure content rather than understanding how images relate to the text. To address challenges in figure retrieval and figure-to-text alignment, we introduce MedICaT, a dataset of medical images in context. MedICaT consists of 217K images from 131K open access biomedical papers, and includes captions, inline references for 74% of figures, and manually annotated subfigures and subcaptions for a subset of figures. Using MedICaT, we introduce the task of subfigure to subcaption alignment in compound figures and demonstrate the utility of inline references in image-text matching. Our data and code can be accessed at https://github.com/allenai/medicat.

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Improving Compositional Generalization in Semantic Parsing
Inbar Oren | Jonathan Herzig | Nitish Gupta | Matt Gardner | Jonathan Berant
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Generalization of models to out-of-distribution (OOD) data has captured tremendous attention recently. Specifically, compositional generalization, i.e., whether a model generalizes to new structures built of components observed during training, has sparked substantial interest. In this work, we investigate compositional generalization in semantic parsing, a natural test-bed for compositional generalization, as output programs are constructed from sub-components. We analyze a wide variety of models and propose multiple extensions to the attention module of the semantic parser, aiming to improve compositional generalization. We find that the following factors improve compositional generalization: (a) using contextual representations, such as ELMo and BERT, (b) informing the decoder what input tokens have previously been attended to, (c) training the decoder attention to agree with pre-computed token alignments, and (d) downsampling examples corresponding to frequent program templates. While we substantially reduce the gap between in-distribution and OOD generalization, performance on OOD compositions is still substantially lower.

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IIRC: A Dataset of Incomplete Information Reading Comprehension Questions
James Ferguson | Matt Gardner | Hannaneh Hajishirzi | Tushar Khot | Pradeep Dasigi
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Humans often have to read multiple documents to address their information needs. However, most existing reading comprehension (RC) tasks only focus on questions for which the contexts provide all the information required to answer them, thus not evaluating a system’s performance at identifying a potential lack of sufficient information and locating sources for that information. To fill this gap, we present a dataset, IIRC, with more than 13K questions over paragraphs from English Wikipedia that provide only partial information to answer them, with the missing information occurring in one or more linked documents. The questions were written by crowd workers who did not have access to any of the linked documents, leading to questions that have little lexical overlap with the contexts where the answers appear. This process also gave many questions without answers, and those that require discrete reasoning, increasing the difficulty of the task. We follow recent modeling work on various reading comprehension datasets to construct a baseline model for this dataset, finding that it achieves 31.1% F1 on this task, while estimated human performance is 88.4%. The dataset, code for the baseline system, and a leaderboard can be found at https://allennlp.org/iirc.

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TORQUE: A Reading Comprehension Dataset of Temporal Ordering Questions
Qiang Ning | Hao Wu | Rujun Han | Nanyun Peng | Matt Gardner | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

A critical part of reading is being able to understand the temporal relationships between events described in a passage of text, even when those relationships are not explicitly stated. However, current machine reading comprehension benchmarks have practically no questions that test temporal phenomena, so systems trained on these benchmarks have no capacity to answer questions such as “what happened before/after [some event]?” We introduce TORQUE, a new English reading comprehension benchmark built on 3.2k news snippets with 21k human-generated questions querying temporal relationships. Results show that RoBERTa-large achieves an exact-match score of 51% on the test set of TORQUE, about 30% behind human performance.

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Learning from Task Descriptions
Orion Weller | Nicholas Lourie | Matt Gardner | Matthew E. Peters
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Typically, machine learning systems solve new tasks by training on thousands of examples. In contrast, humans can solve new tasks by reading some instructions, with perhaps an example or two. To take a step toward closing this gap, we introduce a framework for developing NLP systems that solve new tasks after reading their descriptions, synthesizing prior work in this area. We instantiate this frame- work with a new English language dataset, ZEST, structured for task-oriented evaluation on unseen tasks. Formulating task descriptions as questions, we ensure each is general enough to apply to many possible inputs, thus comprehensively evaluating a model’s ability to solve each task. Moreover, the dataset’s structure tests specific types of systematic generalization. We find that the state-of-the-art T5 model achieves a score of 12% on ZEST, leaving a significant challenge for NLP researchers.

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Multi-Step Inference for Reasoning Over Paragraphs
Jiangming Liu | Matt Gardner | Shay B. Cohen | Mirella Lapata
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Complex reasoning over text requires understanding and chaining together free-form predicates and logical connectives. Prior work has largely tried to do this either symbolically or with black-box transformers. We present a middle ground between these two extremes: a compositional model reminiscent of neural module networks that can perform chained logical reasoning. This model first finds relevant sentences in the context and then chains them together using neural modules. Our model gives significant performance improvements (up to 29% relative error reduction when combined with a reranker) on ROPES, a recently-introduced complex reasoning dataset.

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MOCHA: A Dataset for Training and Evaluating Generative Reading Comprehension Metrics
Anthony Chen | Gabriel Stanovsky | Sameer Singh | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Posing reading comprehension as a generation problem provides a great deal of flexibility, allowing for open-ended questions with few restrictions on possible answers. However, progress is impeded by existing generation metrics, which rely on token overlap and are agnostic to the nuances of reading comprehension. To address this, we introduce a benchmark for training and evaluating generative reading comprehension metrics: MOdeling Correctness with Human Annotations. MOCHA contains 40K human judgement scores on model outputs from 6 diverse question answering datasets and an additional set of minimal pairs for evaluation. Using MOCHA, we train a Learned Evaluation metric for Reading Comprehension, LERC, to mimic human judgement scores. LERC outperforms baseline metrics by 10 to 36 absolute Pearson points on held-out annotations. When we evaluate robustness on minimal pairs, LERC achieves 80% accuracy, outperforming baselines by 14 to 26 absolute percentage points while leaving significant room for improvement. MOCHA presents a challenging problem for developing accurate and robust generative reading comprehension metrics.

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Easy, Reproducible and Quality-Controlled Data Collection with CROWDAQ
Qiang Ning | Hao Wu | Pradeep Dasigi | Dheeru Dua | Matt Gardner | Robert L. Logan IV | Ana Marasović | Zhen Nie
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

High-quality and large-scale data are key to success for AI systems. However, large-scale data annotation efforts are often confronted with a set of common challenges: (1) designing a user-friendly annotation interface; (2) training enough annotators efficiently; and (3) reproducibility. To address these problems, we introduce CROWDAQ, an open-source platform that standardizes the data collection pipeline with customizable user-interface components, automated annotator qualification, and saved pipelines in a re-usable format. We show that CROWDAQ simplifies data annotation significantly on a diverse set of data collection use cases and we hope it will be a convenient tool for the community.

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Interpreting Predictions of NLP Models
Eric Wallace | Matt Gardner | Sameer Singh
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: Tutorial Abstracts

Although neural NLP models are highly expressive and empirically successful, they also systematically fail in counterintuitive ways and are opaque in their decision-making process. This tutorial will provide a background on interpretation techniques, i.e., methods for explaining the predictions of NLP models. We will first situate example-specific interpretations in the context of other ways to understand models (e.g., probing, dataset analyses). Next, we will present a thorough study of example-specific interpretations, including saliency maps, input perturbations (e.g., LIME, input reduction), adversarial attacks, and influence functions. Alongside these descriptions, we will walk through source code that creates and visualizes interpretations for a diverse set of NLP tasks. Finally, we will discuss open problems in the field, e.g., evaluating, extending, and improving interpretation methods.

2019

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Universal Adversarial Triggers for Attacking and Analyzing NLP
Eric Wallace | Shi Feng | Nikhil Kandpal | Matt Gardner | Sameer Singh
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Adversarial examples highlight model vulnerabilities and are useful for evaluation and interpretation. We define universal adversarial triggers: input-agnostic sequences of tokens that trigger a model to produce a specific prediction when concatenated to any input from a dataset. We propose a gradient-guided search over tokens which finds short trigger sequences (e.g., one word for classification and four words for language modeling) that successfully trigger the target prediction. For example, triggers cause SNLI entailment accuracy to drop from 89.94% to 0.55%, 72% of “why” questions in SQuAD to be answered “to kill american people”, and the GPT-2 language model to spew racist output even when conditioned on non-racial contexts. Furthermore, although the triggers are optimized using white-box access to a specific model, they transfer to other models for all tasks we consider. Finally, since triggers are input-agnostic, they provide an analysis of global model behavior. For instance, they confirm that SNLI models exploit dataset biases and help to diagnose heuristics learned by reading comprehension models.

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Global Reasoning over Database Structures for Text-to-SQL Parsing
Ben Bogin | Matt Gardner | Jonathan Berant
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

State-of-the-art semantic parsers rely on auto-regressive decoding, emitting one symbol at a time. When tested against complex databases that are unobserved at training time (zero-shot), the parser often struggles to select the correct set of database constants in the new database, due to the local nature of decoding. %since their decisions are based on weak, local information only. In this work, we propose a semantic parser that globally reasons about the structure of the output query to make a more contextually-informed selection of database constants. We use message-passing through a graph neural network to softly select a subset of database constants for the output query, conditioned on the question. Moreover, we train a model to rank queries based on the global alignment of database constants to question words. We apply our techniques to the current state-of-the-art model for Spider, a zero-shot semantic parsing dataset with complex databases, increasing accuracy from 39.4% to 47.4%.

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Do NLP Models Know Numbers? Probing Numeracy in Embeddings
Eric Wallace | Yizhong Wang | Sujian Li | Sameer Singh | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

The ability to understand and work with numbers (numeracy) is critical for many complex reasoning tasks. Currently, most NLP models treat numbers in text in the same way as other tokens—they embed them as distributed vectors. Is this enough to capture numeracy? We begin by investigating the numerical reasoning capabilities of a state-of-the-art question answering model on the DROP dataset. We find this model excels on questions that require numerical reasoning, i.e., it already captures numeracy. To understand how this capability emerges, we probe token embedding methods (e.g., BERT, GloVe) on synthetic list maximum, number decoding, and addition tasks. A surprising degree of numeracy is naturally present in standard embeddings. For example, GloVe and word2vec accurately encode magnitude for numbers up to 1,000. Furthermore, character-level embeddings are even more precise—ELMo captures numeracy the best for all pre-trained methods—but BERT, which uses sub-word units, is less exact.

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Quoref: A Reading Comprehension Dataset with Questions Requiring Coreferential Reasoning
Pradeep Dasigi | Nelson F. Liu | Ana Marasović | Noah A. Smith | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Machine comprehension of texts longer than a single sentence often requires coreference resolution. However, most current reading comprehension benchmarks do not contain complex coreferential phenomena and hence fail to evaluate the ability of models to resolve coreference. We present a new crowdsourced dataset containing more than 24K span-selection questions that require resolving coreference among entities in over 4.7K English paragraphs from Wikipedia. Obtaining questions focused on such phenomena is challenging, because it is hard to avoid lexical cues that shortcut complex reasoning. We deal with this issue by using a strong baseline model as an adversary in the crowdsourcing loop, which helps crowdworkers avoid writing questions with exploitable surface cues. We show that state-of-the-art reading comprehension models perform significantly worse than humans on this benchmark—the best model performance is 70.5 F1, while the estimated human performance is 93.4 F1.

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QuaRTz: An Open-Domain Dataset of Qualitative Relationship Questions
Oyvind Tafjord | Matt Gardner | Kevin Lin | Peter Clark
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

We introduce the first open-domain dataset, called QuaRTz, for reasoning about textual qualitative relationships. QuaRTz contains general qualitative statements, e.g., “A sunscreen with a higher SPF protects the skin longer.”, twinned with 3864 crowdsourced situated questions, e.g., “Billy is wearing sunscreen with a lower SPF than Lucy. Who will be best protected from the sun?”, plus annotations of the properties being compared. Unlike previous datasets, the general knowledge is textual and not tied to a fixed set of relationships, and tests a system’s ability to comprehend and apply textual qualitative knowledge in a novel setting. We find state-of-the-art results are substantially (20%) below human performance, presenting an open challenge to the NLP community.

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AllenNLP Interpret: A Framework for Explaining Predictions of NLP Models
Eric Wallace | Jens Tuyls | Junlin Wang | Sanjay Subramanian | Matt Gardner | Sameer Singh
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP): System Demonstrations

Neural NLP models are increasingly accurate but are imperfect and opaque—they break in counterintuitive ways and leave end users puzzled at their behavior. Model interpretation methods ameliorate this opacity by providing explanations for specific model predictions. Unfortunately, existing interpretation codebases make it difficult to apply these methods to new models and tasks, which hinders adoption for practitioners and burdens interpretability researchers. We introduce AllenNLP Interpret, a flexible framework for interpreting NLP models. The toolkit provides interpretation primitives (e.g., input gradients) for any AllenNLP model and task, a suite of built-in interpretation methods, and a library of front-end visualization components. We demonstrate the toolkit’s flexibility and utility by implementing live demos for five interpretation methods (e.g., saliency maps and adversarial attacks) on a variety of models and tasks (e.g., masked language modeling using BERT and reading comprehension using BiDAF). These demos, alongside our code and tutorials, are available at https://allennlp.org/interpret.

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Reasoning Over Paragraph Effects in Situations
Kevin Lin | Oyvind Tafjord | Peter Clark | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Machine Reading for Question Answering

A key component of successfully reading a passage of text is the ability to apply knowledge gained from the passage to a new situation. In order to facilitate progress on this kind of reading, we present ROPES, a challenging benchmark for reading comprehension targeting Reasoning Over Paragraph Effects in Situations. We target expository language describing causes and effects (e.g., “animal pollinators increase efficiency of fertilization in flowers”), as they have clear implications for new situations. A system is presented a background passage containing at least one of these relations, a novel situation that uses this background, and questions that require reasoning about effects of the relationships in the background passage in the context of the situation. We collect background passages from science textbooks and Wikipedia that contain such phenomena, and ask crowd workers to author situations, questions, and answers, resulting in a 14,322 question dataset. We analyze the challenges of this task and evaluate the performance of state-of-the-art reading comprehension models. The best model performs only slightly better than randomly guessing an answer of the correct type, at 61.6% F1, well below the human performance of 89.0%.

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On Making Reading Comprehension More Comprehensive
Matt Gardner | Jonathan Berant | Hannaneh Hajishirzi | Alon Talmor | Sewon Min
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Machine Reading for Question Answering

Machine reading comprehension, the task of evaluating a machine’s ability to comprehend a passage of text, has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. There are many datasets that are targeted at reading comprehension, and many systems that perform as well as humans on some of these datasets. Despite all of this interest, there is no work that systematically defines what reading comprehension is. In this work, we justify a question answering approach to reading comprehension and describe the various kinds of questions one might use to more fully test a system’s comprehension of a passage, moving beyond questions that only probe local predicate-argument structures. The main pitfall of this approach is that questions can easily have surface cues or other biases that allow a model to shortcut the intended reasoning process. We discuss ways proposed in current literature to mitigate these shortcuts, and we conclude with recommendations for future dataset collection efforts.

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Evaluating Question Answering Evaluation
Anthony Chen | Gabriel Stanovsky | Sameer Singh | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Machine Reading for Question Answering

As the complexity of question answering (QA) datasets evolve, moving away from restricted formats like span extraction and multiple-choice (MC) to free-form answer generation, it is imperative to understand how well current metrics perform in evaluating QA. This is especially important as existing metrics (BLEU, ROUGE, METEOR, and F1) are computed using n-gram similarity and have a number of well-known drawbacks. In this work, we study the suitability of existing metrics in QA. For generative QA, we show that while current metrics do well on existing datasets, converting multiple-choice datasets into free-response datasets is challenging for current metrics. We also look at span-based QA, where F1 is a reasonable metric. We show that F1 may not be suitable for all extractive QA tasks depending on the answer types. Our study suggests that while current metrics may be suitable for existing QA datasets, they limit the complexity of QA datasets that can be created. This is especially true in the context of free-form QA, where we would like our models to be able to generate more complex and abstractive answers, thus necessitating new metrics that go beyond n-gram based matching. As a step towards a better QA metric, we explore using BERTScore, a recently proposed metric for evaluating translation, for QA. We find that although it fails to provide stronger correlation with human judgements, future work focused on tailoring a BERT-based metric to QA evaluation may prove fruitful.

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Comprehensive Multi-Dataset Evaluation of Reading Comprehension
Dheeru Dua | Ananth Gottumukkala | Alon Talmor | Sameer Singh | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Machine Reading for Question Answering

Reading comprehension is one of the crucial tasks for furthering research in natural language understanding. A lot of diverse reading comprehension datasets have recently been introduced to study various phenomena in natural language, ranging from simple paraphrase matching and entity typing to entity tracking and understanding the implications of the context. Given the availability of many such datasets, comprehensive and reliable evaluation is tedious and time-consuming for researchers working on this problem. We present an evaluation server, ORB, that reports performance on seven diverse reading comprehension datasets, encouraging and facilitating testing a single model’s capability in understanding a wide variety of reading phenomena. The evaluation server places no restrictions on how models are trained, so it is a suitable test bed for exploring training paradigms and representation learning for general reading facility. As more suitable datasets are released, they will be added to the evaluation server. We also collect and include synthetic augmentations for these datasets, testing how well models can handle out-of-domain questions.

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Linguistic Knowledge and Transferability of Contextual Representations
Nelson F. Liu | Matt Gardner | Yonatan Belinkov | Matthew E. Peters | Noah A. Smith
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)

Contextual word representations derived from large-scale neural language models are successful across a diverse set of NLP tasks, suggesting that they encode useful and transferable features of language. To shed light on the linguistic knowledge they capture, we study the representations produced by several recent pretrained contextualizers (variants of ELMo, the OpenAI transformer language model, and BERT) with a suite of sixteen diverse probing tasks. We find that linear models trained on top of frozen contextual representations are competitive with state-of-the-art task-specific models in many cases, but fail on tasks requiring fine-grained linguistic knowledge (e.g., conjunct identification). To investigate the transferability of contextual word representations, we quantify differences in the transferability of individual layers within contextualizers, especially between recurrent neural networks (RNNs) and transformers. For instance, higher layers of RNNs are more task-specific, while transformer layers do not exhibit the same monotonic trend. In addition, to better understand what makes contextual word representations transferable, we compare language model pretraining with eleven supervised pretraining tasks. For any given task, pretraining on a closely related task yields better performance than language model pretraining (which is better on average) when the pretraining dataset is fixed. However, language model pretraining on more data gives the best results.

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DROP: A Reading Comprehension Benchmark Requiring Discrete Reasoning Over Paragraphs
Dheeru Dua | Yizhong Wang | Pradeep Dasigi | Gabriel Stanovsky | Sameer Singh | Matt Gardner
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)

Reading comprehension has recently seen rapid progress, with systems matching humans on the most popular datasets for the task. However, a large body of work has highlighted the brittleness of these systems, showing that there is much work left to be done. We introduce a new reading comprehension benchmark, DROP, which requires Discrete Reasoning Over the content of Paragraphs. In this crowdsourced, adversarially-created, 55k-question benchmark, a system must resolve references in a question, perhaps to multiple input positions, and perform discrete operations over them (such as addition, counting, or sorting). These operations require a much more comprehensive understanding of the content of paragraphs, as they remove the paraphrase-and-entity-typing shortcuts available in prior datasets. We apply state-of-the-art methods from both the reading comprehension and semantic parsing literatures on this dataset and show that the best systems only achieve 38.4% F1 on our generalized accuracy metric, while expert human performance is 96%. We additionally present a new model that combines reading comprehension methods with simple numerical reasoning to achieve 51% F1.

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Iterative Search for Weakly Supervised Semantic Parsing
Pradeep Dasigi | Matt Gardner | Shikhar Murty | Luke Zettlemoyer | Eduard Hovy
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)

Training semantic parsers from question-answer pairs typically involves searching over an exponentially large space of logical forms, and an unguided search can easily be misled by spurious logical forms that coincidentally evaluate to the correct answer. We propose a novel iterative training algorithm that alternates between searching for consistent logical forms and maximizing the marginal likelihood of the retrieved ones. This training scheme lets us iteratively train models that provide guidance to subsequent ones to search for logical forms of increasing complexity, thus dealing with the problem of spuriousness. We evaluate these techniques on two hard datasets: WikiTableQuestions (WTQ) and Cornell Natural Language Visual Reasoning (NLVR), and show that our training algorithm outperforms the previous best systems, on WTQ in a comparable setting, and on NLVR with significantly less supervision.

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Compositional Questions Do Not Necessitate Multi-hop Reasoning
Sewon Min | Eric Wallace | Sameer Singh | Matt Gardner | Hannaneh Hajishirzi | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Multi-hop reading comprehension (RC) questions are challenging because they require reading and reasoning over multiple paragraphs. We argue that it can be difficult to construct large multi-hop RC datasets. For example, even highly compositional questions can be answered with a single hop if they target specific entity types, or the facts needed to answer them are redundant. Our analysis is centered on HotpotQA, where we show that single-hop reasoning can solve much more of the dataset than previously thought. We introduce a single-hop BERT-based RC model that achieves 67 F1—comparable to state-of-the-art multi-hop models. We also design an evaluation setting where humans are not shown all of the necessary paragraphs for the intended multi-hop reasoning but can still answer over 80% of questions. Together with detailed error analysis, these results suggest there should be an increasing focus on the role of evidence in multi-hop reasoning and possibly even a shift towards information retrieval style evaluations with large and diverse evidence collections.

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Representing Schema Structure with Graph Neural Networks for Text-to-SQL Parsing
Ben Bogin | Jonathan Berant | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Research on parsing language to SQL has largely ignored the structure of the database (DB) schema, either because the DB was very simple, or because it was observed at both training and test time. In spider, a recently-released text-to-SQL dataset, new and complex DBs are given at test time, and so the structure of the DB schema can inform the predicted SQL query. In this paper, we present an encoder-decoder semantic parser, where the structure of the DB schema is encoded with a graph neural network, and this representation is later used at both encoding and decoding time. Evaluation shows that encoding the schema structure improves our parser accuracy from 33.8% to 39.4%, dramatically above the current state of the art, which is at 19.7%.

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Barack’s Wife Hillary: Using Knowledge Graphs for Fact-Aware Language Modeling
Robert Logan | Nelson F. Liu | Matthew E. Peters | Matt Gardner | Sameer Singh
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Modeling human language requires the ability to not only generate fluent text but also encode factual knowledge. However, traditional language models are only capable of remembering facts seen at training time, and often have difficulty recalling them. To address this, we introduce the knowledge graph language model (KGLM), a neural language model with mechanisms for selecting and copying facts from a knowledge graph that are relevant to the context. These mechanisms enable the model to render information it has never seen before, as well as generate out-of-vocabulary tokens. We also introduce the Linked WikiText-2 dataset, a corpus of annotated text aligned to the Wikidata knowledge graph whose contents (roughly) match the popular WikiText-2 benchmark. In experiments, we demonstrate that the KGLM achieves significantly better performance than a strong baseline language model. We additionally compare different language model’s ability to complete sentences requiring factual knowledge, showing that the KGLM outperforms even very large language models in generating facts.

2018

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AllenNLP: A Deep Semantic Natural Language Processing Platform
Matt Gardner | Joel Grus | Mark Neumann | Oyvind Tafjord | Pradeep Dasigi | Nelson F. Liu | Matthew Peters | Michael Schmitz | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of Workshop for NLP Open Source Software (NLP-OSS)

Modern natural language processing (NLP) research requires writing code. Ideally this code would provide a precise definition of the approach, easy repeatability of results, and a basis for extending the research. However, many research codebases bury high-level parameters under implementation details, are challenging to run and debug, and are difficult enough to extend that they are more likely to be rewritten. This paper describes AllenNLP, a library for applying deep learning methods to NLP research that addresses these issues with easy-to-use command-line tools, declarative configuration-driven experiments, and modular NLP abstractions. AllenNLP has already increased the rate of research experimentation and the sharing of NLP components at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and we are working to have the same impact across the field.

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Structured Alignment Networks for Matching Sentences
Yang Liu | Matt Gardner | Mirella Lapata
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Many tasks in natural language processing involve comparing two sentences to compute some notion of relevance, entailment, or similarity. Typically this comparison is done either at the word level or at the sentence level, with no attempt to leverage the inherent structure of the sentence. When sentence structure is used for comparison, it is obtained during a non-differentiable pre-processing step, leading to propagation of errors. We introduce a model of structured alignments between sentences, showing how to compare two sentences by matching their latent structures. Using a structured attention mechanism, our model matches candidate spans in the first sentence to candidate spans in the second sentence, simultaneously discovering the tree structure of each sentence. Our model is fully differentiable and trained only on the matching objective. We evaluate this model on two tasks, natural entailment detection and answer sentence selection, and find that modeling latent tree structures results in superior performance. Analysis of the learned sentence structures shows they can reflect some syntactic phenomena.

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Writing Code for NLP Research
Matt Gardner | Mark Neumann | Joel Grus | Nicholas Lourie
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: Tutorial Abstracts

Doing modern NLP research requires writing code. Good code enables fast prototyping, easy debugging, controlled experiments, and accessible visualizations that help researchers understand what a model is doing. Bad code leads to research that is at best hard to reproduce and extend, and at worst simply incorrect. Indeed, there is a growing recognition of the importance of having good tools to assist good research in our field, as the upcoming workshop on open source software for NLP demonstrates. This tutorial aims to share best practices for writing code for NLP research, drawing on the instructors' experience designing the recently-released AllenNLP toolkit, a PyTorch-based library for deep learning NLP research. We will explain how a library with the right abstractions and components enables better code and better science, using models implemented in AllenNLP as examples. Participants will learn how to write research code in a way that facilitates good science and easy experimentation, regardless of what framework they use.

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Simple and Effective Multi-Paragraph Reading Comprehension
Christopher Clark | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We introduce a method of adapting neural paragraph-level question answering models to the case where entire documents are given as input. Most current question answering models cannot scale to document or multi-document input, and naively applying these models to each paragraph independently often results in them being distracted by irrelevant text. We show that it is possible to significantly improve performance by using a modified training scheme that teaches the model to ignore non-answer containing paragraphs. Our method involves sampling multiple paragraphs from each document, and using an objective function that requires the model to produce globally correct output. We additionally identify and improve upon a number of other design decisions that arise when working with document-level data. Experiments on TriviaQA and SQuAD shows our method advances the state of the art, including a 10 point gain on TriviaQA.

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Neural Semantic Parsing
Matt Gardner | Pradeep Dasigi | Srinivasan Iyer | Alane Suhr | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Tutorial Abstracts

Semantic parsing, the study of translating natural language utterances into machine-executable programs, is a well-established research area and has applications in question answering, instruction following, voice assistants, and code generation. In the last two years, the models used for semantic parsing have changed dramatically with the introduction of neural encoder-decoder methods that allow us to rethink many of the previous assumptions underlying semantic parsing. We aim to inform those already interested in semantic parsing research of these new developments in the field, as well as introduce the topic as an exciting research area to those who are unfamiliar with it. Current approaches for neural semantic parsing share several similarities with neural machine translation, but the key difference between the two fields is that semantic parsing translates natural language into a formal language, while machine translation translates it into a different natural language. The formal language used in semantic parsing allows for constrained decoding, where the model is constrained to only produce outputs that are valid formal statements. We will describe the various approaches researchers have taken to do this. We will also discuss the choice of formal languages used by semantic parsers, and describe why much recent work has chosen to use standard programming languages instead of more linguistically-motivated representations. We will then describe a particularly challenging setting for semantic parsing, where there is additional context or interaction that the parser must take into account when translating natural language to formal language, and give an overview of recent work in this direction. Finally, we will introduce some tools available in AllenNLP for doing semantic parsing research.

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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.

2017

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Crowdsourcing Multiple Choice Science Questions
Johannes Welbl | Nelson F. Liu | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text

We present a novel method for obtaining high-quality, domain-targeted multiple choice questions from crowd workers. Generating these questions can be difficult without trading away originality, relevance or diversity in the answer options. Our method addresses these problems by leveraging a large corpus of domain-specific text and a small set of existing questions. It produces model suggestions for document selection and answer distractor choice which aid the human question generation process. With this method we have assembled SciQ, a dataset of 13.7K multiple choice science exam questions. We demonstrate that the method produces in-domain questions by providing an analysis of this new dataset and by showing that humans cannot distinguish the crowdsourced questions from original questions. When using SciQ as additional training data to existing questions, we observe accuracy improvements on real science exams.

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Neural Semantic Parsing with Type Constraints for Semi-Structured Tables
Jayant Krishnamurthy | Pradeep Dasigi | Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We present a new semantic parsing model for answering compositional questions on semi-structured Wikipedia tables. Our parser is an encoder-decoder neural network with two key technical innovations: (1) a grammar for the decoder that only generates well-typed logical forms; and (2) an entity embedding and linking module that identifies entity mentions while generalizing across tables. We also introduce a novel method for training our neural model with question-answer supervision. On the WikiTableQuestions data set, our parser achieves a state-of-the-art accuracy of 43.3% for a single model and 45.9% for a 5-model ensemble, improving on the best prior score of 38.7% set by a 15-model ensemble. These results suggest that type constraints and entity linking are valuable components to incorporate in neural semantic parsers.

2015

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Translation Invariant Word Embeddings
Kejun Huang | Matt Gardner | Evangelos Papalexakis | Christos Faloutsos | Nikos Sidiropoulos | Tom Mitchell | Partha P. Talukdar | Xiao Fu
Proceedings of the 2015 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

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Efficient and Expressive Knowledge Base Completion Using Subgraph Feature Extraction
Matt Gardner | Tom Mitchell
Proceedings of the 2015 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

2014

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Incorporating Vector Space Similarity in Random Walk Inference over Knowledge Bases
Matt Gardner | Partha Talukdar | Jayant Krishnamurthy | Tom Mitchell
Proceedings of the 2014 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

2013

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Improving Learning and Inference in a Large Knowledge-Base using Latent Syntactic Cues
Matt Gardner | Partha Pratim Talukdar | Bryan Kisiel | Tom Mitchell
Proceedings of the 2013 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

2012

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Adding Distributional Semantics to Knowledge Base Entities through Web-scale Entity Linking
Matt Gardner
Proceedings of the Joint Workshop on Automatic Knowledge Base Construction and Web-scale Knowledge Extraction (AKBC-WEKEX)

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