Michael Auli


2021

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The Source-Target Domain Mismatch Problem in Machine Translation
Jiajun Shen | Peng-Jen Chen | Matthew Le | Junxian He | Jiatao Gu | Myle Ott | Michael Auli | Marc’Aurelio Ranzato
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

While we live in an increasingly interconnected world, different places still exhibit strikingly different cultures and many events we experience in our every day life pertain only to the specific place we live in. As a result, people often talk about different things in different parts of the world. In this work we study the effect of local context in machine translation and postulate that this causes the domains of the source and target language to greatly mismatch. We first formalize the concept of source-target domain mismatch, propose a metric to quantify it, and provide empirical evidence for its existence. We conclude with an empirical study of how source-target domain mismatch affects training of machine translation systems on low resource languages. While this may severely affect back-translation, the degradation can be alleviated by combining back-translation with self-training and by increasing the amount of target side monolingual data.

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Self-training Improves Pre-training for Natural Language Understanding
Jingfei Du | Edouard Grave | Beliz Gunel | Vishrav Chaudhary | Onur Celebi | Michael Auli | Veselin Stoyanov | Alexis Conneau
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Unsupervised pre-training has led to much recent progress in natural language understanding. In this paper, we study self-training as another way to leverage unlabeled data through semi-supervised learning. To obtain additional data for a specific task, we introduce SentAugment, a data augmentation method which computes task-specific query embeddings from labeled data to retrieve sentences from a bank of billions of unlabeled sentences crawled from the web. Unlike previous semi-supervised methods, our approach does not require in-domain unlabeled data and is therefore more generally applicable. Experiments show that self-training is complementary to strong RoBERTa baselines on a variety of tasks. Our augmentation approach leads to scalable and effective self-training with improvements of up to 2.6% on standard text classification benchmarks. Finally, we also show strong gains on knowledge-distillation and few-shot learning.

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Multilingual Speech Translation from Efficient Finetuning of Pretrained Models
Xian Li | Changhan Wang | Yun Tang | Chau Tran | Yuqing Tang | Juan Pino | Alexei Baevski | Alexis Conneau | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We present a simple yet effective approach to build multilingual speech-to-text (ST) translation through efficient transfer learning from a pretrained speech encoder and text decoder. Our key finding is that a minimalistic LNA (LayerNorm and Attention) finetuning can achieve zero-shot crosslingual and cross-modality transfer ability by only finetuning 10 50% of the pretrained parameters. This effectively leverages large pretrained models at low training cost such as wav2vec 2.0 for acoustic modeling, and mBART for multilingual text generation. This sets a new state-of-the-art for 36 translation directions (and surpassing cascaded ST for 26 of them) on the large-scale multilingual ST benchmark CoVoST 2 (+6.4 BLEU on average for En-X directions and +6.7 BLEU for X-En directions). Our approach demonstrates strong zero-shot performance in a many-to-many multilingual model (+5.6 BLEU on average across 28 non-English directions), making it an appealing approach for attaining high-quality speech translation with improved parameter and data efficiency.

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Reservoir Transformers
Sheng Shen | Alexei Baevski | Ari Morcos | Kurt Keutzer | Michael Auli | Douwe Kiela
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We demonstrate that transformers obtain impressive performance even when some of the layers are randomly initialized and never updated. Inspired by old and well-established ideas in machine learning, we explore a variety of non-linear “reservoir” layers interspersed with regular transformer layers, and show improvements in wall-clock compute time until convergence, as well as overall performance, on various machine translation and (masked) language modelling tasks.

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Discriminative Reranking for Neural Machine Translation
Ann Lee | Michael Auli | Marc’Aurelio Ranzato
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Reranking models enable the integration of rich features to select a better output hypothesis within an n-best list or lattice. These models have a long history in NLP, and we revisit discriminative reranking for modern neural machine translation models by training a large transformer architecture. This takes as input both the source sentence as well as a list of hypotheses to output a ranked list. The reranker is trained to predict the observed distribution of a desired metric, e.g. BLEU, over the n-best list. Since such a discriminator contains hundreds of millions of parameters, we improve its generalization using pre-training and data augmentation techniques. Experiments on four WMT directions show that our discriminative reranking approach is effective and complementary to existing generative reranking approaches, yielding improvements of up to 4 BLEU over the beam search output.

2020

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On The Evaluation of Machine Translation Systems Trained With Back-Translation
Sergey Edunov | Myle Ott | Marc’Aurelio Ranzato | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Back-translation is a widely used data augmentation technique which leverages target monolingual data. However, its effectiveness has been challenged since automatic metrics such as BLEU only show significant improvements for test examples where the source itself is a translation, or translationese. This is believed to be due to translationese inputs better matching the back-translated training data. In this work, we show that this conjecture is not empirically supported and that back-translation improves translation quality of both naturally occurring text as well as translationese according to professional human translators. We provide empirical evidence to support the view that back-translation is preferred by humans because it produces more fluent outputs. BLEU cannot capture human preferences because references are translationese when source sentences are natural text. We recommend complementing BLEU with a language model score to measure fluency.

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Language Models not just for Pre-training: Fast Online Neural Noisy Channel Modeling
Shruti Bhosale | Kyra Yee | Sergey Edunov | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the Fifth Conference on Machine Translation

Pre-training models on vast quantities of unlabeled data has emerged as an effective approach to improving accuracy on many NLP tasks. On the other hand, traditional machine translation has a long history of leveraging unlabeled data through noisy channel modeling. The same idea has recently been shown to achieve strong improvements for neural machine translation. Unfortunately, na ̈ıve noisy channel modeling with modern sequence to sequence models is up to an order of magnitude slower than alternatives. We address this issue by introducing efficient approximations to make inference with the noisy channel approach as fast as strong ensembles while increasing accuracy. We also show that the noisy channel approach can outperform strong pre-training results by achieving a new state of the art on WMT Romanian-English translation.

2019

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Cloze-driven Pretraining of Self-attention Networks
Alexei Baevski | Sergey Edunov | Yinhan Liu | Luke Zettlemoyer | Michael Auli
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 present a new approach for pretraining a bi-directional transformer model that provides significant performance gains across a variety of language understanding problems. Our model solves a cloze-style word reconstruction task, where each word is ablated and must be predicted given the rest of the text. Experiments demonstrate large performance gains on GLUE and new state of the art results on NER as well as constituency parsing benchmarks, consistent with BERT. We also present a detailed analysis of a number of factors that contribute to effective pretraining, including data domain and size, model capacity, and variations on the cloze objective.

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Simple and Effective Noisy Channel Modeling for Neural Machine Translation
Kyra Yee | Yann Dauphin | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Previous work on neural noisy channel modeling relied on latent variable models that incrementally process the source and target sentence. This makes decoding decisions based on partial source prefixes even though the full source is available. We pursue an alternative approach based on standard sequence to sequence models which utilize the entire source. These models perform remarkably well as channel models, even though they have neither been trained on, nor designed to factor over incomplete target sentences. Experiments with neural language models trained on billions of words show that noisy channel models can outperform a direct model by up to 3.2 BLEU on WMT’17 German-English translation. We evaluate on four language-pairs and our channel models consistently outperform strong alternatives such right-to-left reranking models and ensembles of direct models.

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Pre-trained language model representations for language generation
Sergey Edunov | Alexei Baevski | Michael Auli
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)

Pre-trained language model representations have been successful in a wide range of language understanding tasks. In this paper, we examine different strategies to integrate pre-trained representations into sequence to sequence models and apply it to neural machine translation and abstractive summarization. We find that pre-trained representations are most effective when added to the encoder network which slows inference by only 14%. Our experiments in machine translation show gains of up to 5.3 BLEU in a simulated resource-poor setup. While returns diminish with more labeled data, we still observe improvements when millions of sentence-pairs are available. Finally, on abstractive summarization we achieve a new state of the art on the full text version of CNN/DailyMail.

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fairseq: A Fast, Extensible Toolkit for Sequence Modeling
Myle Ott | Sergey Edunov | Alexei Baevski | Angela Fan | Sam Gross | Nathan Ng | David Grangier | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Demonstrations)

fairseq is an open-source sequence modeling toolkit that allows researchers and developers to train custom models for translation, summarization, language modeling, and other text generation tasks. The toolkit is based on PyTorch and supports distributed training across multiple GPUs and machines. We also support fast mixed-precision training and inference on modern GPUs. A demo video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtgDdWtHvto

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Facebook FAIR’s WMT19 News Translation Task Submission
Nathan Ng | Kyra Yee | Alexei Baevski | Myle Ott | Michael Auli | Sergey Edunov
Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on Machine Translation (Volume 2: Shared Task Papers, Day 1)

This paper describes Facebook FAIR’s submission to the WMT19 shared news translation task. We participate in four language directions, English <-> German and English <-> Russian in both directions. Following our submission from last year, our baseline systems are large BPE-based transformer models trained with the FAIRSEQ sequence modeling toolkit. This year we experiment with different bitext data filtering schemes, as well as with adding filtered back-translated data. We also ensemble and fine-tune our models on domain-specific data, then decode using noisy channel model reranking. Our system improves on our previous system’s performance by 4.5 BLEU points and achieves the best case-sensitive BLEU score for the translation direction English→Russian.

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ELI5: Long Form Question Answering
Angela Fan | Yacine Jernite | Ethan Perez | David Grangier | Jason Weston | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We introduce the first large-scale corpus for long form question answering, a task requiring elaborate and in-depth answers to open-ended questions. The dataset comprises 270K threads from the Reddit forum “Explain Like I’m Five” (ELI5) where an online community provides answers to questions which are comprehensible by five year olds. Compared to existing datasets, ELI5 comprises diverse questions requiring multi-sentence answers. We provide a large set of web documents to help answer the question. Automatic and human evaluations show that an abstractive model trained with a multi-task objective outperforms conventional Seq2Seq, language modeling, as well as a strong extractive baseline.However, our best model is still far from human performance since raters prefer gold responses in over 86% of cases, leaving ample opportunity for future improvement.

2018

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QuickEdit: Editing Text & Translations by Crossing Words Out
David Grangier | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long Papers)

We propose a framework for computer-assisted text editing. It applies to translation post-editing and to paraphrasing. Our proposal relies on very simple interactions: a human editor modifies a sentence by marking tokens they would like the system to change. Our model then generates a new sentence which reformulates the initial sentence by avoiding marked words. The approach builds upon neural sequence-to-sequence modeling and introduces a neural network which takes as input a sentence along with change markers. Our model is trained on translation bitext by simulating post-edits. We demonstrate the advantage of our approach for translation post-editing through simulated post-edits. We also evaluate our model for paraphrasing through a user study.

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Classical Structured Prediction Losses for Sequence to Sequence Learning
Sergey Edunov | Myle Ott | Michael Auli | David Grangier | Marc’Aurelio Ranzato
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long Papers)

There has been much recent work on training neural attention models at the sequence-level using either reinforcement learning-style methods or by optimizing the beam. In this paper, we survey a range of classical objective functions that have been widely used to train linear models for structured prediction and apply them to neural sequence to sequence models. Our experiments show that these losses can perform surprisingly well by slightly outperforming beam search optimization in a like for like setup. We also report new state of the art results on both IWSLT’14 German-English translation as well as Gigaword abstractive summarization. On the large WMT’14 English-French task, sequence-level training achieves 41.5 BLEU which is on par with the state of the art.

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Controllable Abstractive Summarization
Angela Fan | David Grangier | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Neural Machine Translation and Generation

Current models for document summarization disregard user preferences such as the desired length, style, the entities that the user might be interested in, or how much of the document the user has already read. We present a neural summarization model with a simple but effective mechanism to enable users to specify these high level attributes in order to control the shape of the final summaries to better suit their needs. With user input, our system can produce high quality summaries that follow user preferences. Without user input, we set the control variables automatically – on the full text CNN-Dailymail dataset, we outperform state of the art abstractive systems (both in terms of F1-ROUGE1 40.38 vs. 39.53 F1-ROUGE and human evaluation.

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Scaling Neural Machine Translation
Myle Ott | Sergey Edunov | David Grangier | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the Third Conference on Machine Translation: Research Papers

Sequence to sequence learning models still require several days to reach state of the art performance on large benchmark datasets using a single machine. This paper shows that reduced precision and large batch training can speedup training by nearly 5x on a single 8-GPU machine with careful tuning and implementation. On WMT’14 English-German translation, we match the accuracy of Vaswani et al. (2017) in under 5 hours when training on 8 GPUs and we obtain a new state of the art of 29.3 BLEU after training for 85 minutes on 128 GPUs. We further improve these results to 29.8 BLEU by training on the much larger Paracrawl dataset. On the WMT’14 English-French task, we obtain a state-of-the-art BLEU of 43.2 in 8.5 hours on 128 GPUs.

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Understanding Back-Translation at Scale
Sergey Edunov | Myle Ott | Michael Auli | David Grangier
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

An effective method to improve neural machine translation with monolingual data is to augment the parallel training corpus with back-translations of target language sentences. This work broadens the understanding of back-translation and investigates a number of methods to generate synthetic source sentences. We find that in all but resource poor settings back-translations obtained via sampling or noised beam outputs are most effective. Our analysis shows that sampling or noisy synthetic data gives a much stronger training signal than data generated by beam or greedy search. We also compare how synthetic data compares to genuine bitext and study various domain effects. Finally, we scale to hundreds of millions of monolingual sentences and achieve a new state of the art of 35 BLEU on the WMT’14 English-German test set.

2017

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A Convolutional Encoder Model for Neural Machine Translation
Jonas Gehring | Michael Auli | David Grangier | Yann Dauphin
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

The prevalent approach to neural machine translation relies on bi-directional LSTMs to encode the source sentence. We present a faster and simpler architecture based on a succession of convolutional layers. This allows to encode the source sentence simultaneously compared to recurrent networks for which computation is constrained by temporal dependencies. On WMT’16 English-Romanian translation we achieve competitive accuracy to the state-of-the-art and on WMT’15 English-German we outperform several recently published results. Our models obtain almost the same accuracy as a very deep LSTM setup on WMT’14 English-French translation. We speed up CPU decoding by more than two times at the same or higher accuracy as a strong bi-directional LSTM.

2016

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Neural Text Generation from Structured Data with Application to the Biography Domain
Rémi Lebret | David Grangier | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

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Strategies for Training Large Vocabulary Neural Language Models
Wenlin Chen | David Grangier | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

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Neural Network-based Word Alignment through Score Aggregation
Joël Legrand | Michael Auli | Ronan Collobert
Proceedings of the First Conference on Machine Translation: Volume 1, Research Papers

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Abstractive Sentence Summarization with Attentive Recurrent Neural Networks
Sumit Chopra | Michael Auli | Alexander M. Rush
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

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Expected F-Measure Training for Shift-Reduce Parsing with Recurrent Neural Networks
Wenduan Xu | Michael Auli | Stephen Clark
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

2015

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CCG Supertagging with a Recurrent Neural Network
Wenduan Xu | Michael Auli | Stephen Clark
Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 7th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 2: Short Papers)

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deltaBLEU: A Discriminative Metric for Generation Tasks with Intrinsically Diverse Targets
Michel Galley | Chris Brockett | Alessandro Sordoni | Yangfeng Ji | Michael Auli | Chris Quirk | Margaret Mitchell | Jianfeng Gao | Bill Dolan
Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 7th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 2: Short Papers)

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A Neural Network Approach to Context-Sensitive Generation of Conversational Responses
Alessandro Sordoni | Michel Galley | Michael Auli | Chris Brockett | Yangfeng Ji | Margaret Mitchell | Jian-Yun Nie | Jianfeng Gao | Bill Dolan
Proceedings of the 2015 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

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Learning Translation Models from Monolingual Continuous Representations
Kai Zhao | Hany Hassan | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the 2015 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

2014

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Minimum Translation Modeling with Recurrent Neural Networks
Yuening Hu | Michael Auli | Qin Gao | Jianfeng Gao
Proceedings of the 14th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics

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Large-scale Expected BLEU Training of Phrase-based Reordering Models
Michael Auli | Michel Galley | Jianfeng Gao
Proceedings of the 2014 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

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Decoder Integration and Expected BLEU Training for Recurrent Neural Network Language Models
Michael Auli | Jianfeng Gao
Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

2013

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Joint Language and Translation Modeling with Recurrent Neural Networks
Michael Auli | Michel Galley | Chris Quirk | Geoffrey Zweig
Proceedings of the 2013 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

2011

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Training a Log-Linear Parser with Loss Functions via Softmax-Margin
Michael Auli | Adam Lopez
Proceedings of the 2011 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

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A Comparison of Loopy Belief Propagation and Dual Decomposition for Integrated CCG Supertagging and Parsing
Michael Auli | Adam Lopez
Proceedings of the 49th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

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Efficient CCG Parsing: A* versus Adaptive Supertagging
Michael Auli | Adam Lopez
Proceedings of the 49th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

2009

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A Systematic Analysis of Translation Model Search Spaces
Michael Auli | Adam Lopez | Hieu Hoang | Philipp Koehn
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Statistical Machine Translation