Matthew Gombolay


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FedPerC: Federated Learning for Language Generation with Personal and Context Preference Embeddings
Andrew Silva | Pradyumna Tambwekar | Matthew Gombolay
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EACL 2023

Federated learning is a training paradigm that learns from multiple distributed users without aggregating data on a centralized server, promising the ability to deploy machine-learning to a diverse population of users without first collecting large, labeled datasets. As federated learning involves averaging gradient updates across a decentralized population, there is a growing need for personalization of federated learning systems (i.e. conversational agents must personalize to individual users and the context of an interaction).In this work, we propose a new direction for personalization research within federated learning, leveraging both personal embeddings and shared context embeddings.We also present an approach to predict these “preference” embeddings, enabling personalization without backpropagation. Compared to state-of-the-art personalization baselines, our approach achieves a 50% improvement in test-time perplexity using 0.001% of the memory required by baseline approaches, and achieving greater sample- and compute-efficiency.

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A Computational Interface to Translate Strategic Intent from Unstructured Language in a Low-Data Setting
Pradyumna Tambwekar | Lakshita Dodeja | Nathan Vaska | Wei Xu | Matthew Gombolay
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Many real-world tasks involve a mixed-initiative setup, wherein humans and AI systems collaboratively perform a task. While significant work has been conducted towards enabling humans to specify, through language, exactly how an agent should complete a task (i.e., low-level specification), prior work lacks on interpreting the high-level strategic intent of the human commanders. Parsing strategic intent from language will allow autonomous systems to independently operate according to the user’s plan without frequent guidance or instruction. In this paper, we build a computational interface capable of translating unstructured language strategies into actionable intent in the form of goals and constraints. Leveraging a game environment, we collect a dataset of over 1000 examples, mapping language strategies to the corresponding goals and constraints, and show that our model, trained on this dataset, significantly outperforms human interpreters in inferring strategic intent (i.e., goals and constraints) from language (p < 0.05). Furthermore, we show that our model (125M parameters) significantly outperforms ChatGPT for this task (p < 0.05) in a low-data setting.


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Towards a Comprehensive Understanding and Accurate Evaluation of Societal Biases in Pre-Trained Transformers
Andrew Silva | Pradyumna Tambwekar | Matthew Gombolay
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

The ease of access to pre-trained transformers has enabled developers to leverage large-scale language models to build exciting applications for their users. While such pre-trained models offer convenient starting points for researchers and developers, there is little consideration for the societal biases captured within these model risking perpetuation of racial, gender, and other harmful biases when these models are deployed at scale. In this paper, we investigate gender and racial bias across ubiquitous pre-trained language models, including GPT-2, XLNet, BERT, RoBERTa, ALBERT and DistilBERT. We evaluate bias within pre-trained transformers using three metrics: WEAT, sequence likelihood, and pronoun ranking. We conclude with an experiment demonstrating the ineffectiveness of word-embedding techniques, such as WEAT, signaling the need for more robust bias testing in transformers.