Mounica Maddela


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Training Models to Generate, Recognize, and Reframe Unhelpful Thoughts
Mounica Maddela | Megan Ung | Jing Xu | Andrea Madotto | Heather Foran | Y-Lan Boureau
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Many cognitive approaches to well-being, such as recognizing and reframing unhelpful thoughts, have received considerable empirical support over the past decades, yet still lack truly widespread adoption in self-help format. A barrier to that adoption is a lack of adequately specific and diverse dedicated practice material. This work examines whether current language models can be leveraged to both produce a virtually unlimited quantity of practice material illustrating standard unhelpful thought patterns matching specific given contexts, and generate suitable positive reframing proposals. We propose PATTERNREFRAME, a novel dataset of about 10k examples of thoughts containing unhelpful thought patterns conditioned on a given persona, accompanied by about 27k positive reframes. By using this dataset to train and/or evaluate current models, we show that existing models can already be powerful tools to help generate an abundance of tailored practice material and hypotheses, with no or minimal additional model training required.

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LENS: A Learnable Evaluation Metric for Text Simplification
Mounica Maddela | Yao Dou | David Heineman | Wei Xu
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Training learnable metrics using modern language models has recently emerged as a promising method for the automatic evaluation of machine translation. However, existing human evaluation datasets for text simplification have limited annotations that are based on unitary or outdated models, making them unsuitable for this approach. To address these issues, we introduce the SimpEval corpus that contains: SimpEval_past, comprising 12K human ratings on 2.4K simplifications of 24 past systems, and SimpEval_2022, a challenging simplification benchmark consisting of over 1K human ratings of 360 simplifications including GPT-3.5 generated text. Training on SimpEval, we present LENS, a Learnable Evaluation Metric for Text Simplification. Extensive empirical results show that LENS correlates much better with human judgment than existing metrics, paving the way for future progress in the evaluation of text simplification. We also introduce Rank & Rate, a human evaluation framework that rates simplifications from several models in a list-wise manner using an interactive interface, which ensures both consistency and accuracy in the evaluation process and is used to create the SimpEval datasets.


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Extractive Entity-Centric Summarization as Sentence Selection using Bi-Encoders
Ella Hofmann-Coyle | Mayank Kulkarni | Lingjue Xie | Mounica Maddela | Daniel Preotiuc-Pietro
Proceedings of the 2nd Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 12th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Entity-centric summarization is a type of controllable summarization that aims to produce a summary of a document that is specific to a given target entity. Extractive summaries possess multiple advantages over abstractive ones such as preserving factuality and can be directly used in downstream tasks like target-based sentiment analysis or incorporated into search applications. In this paper, we explore methods to solve this task by recasting it as a sentence selection task, as supported by the EntSUM data set. We use methods inspired by information retrieval, where the input to the model is a pair representing a sentence from the original document and the target entity, in place of the query. We explore different architecture variants and loss functions in this framework with results showing an up to 5.8 F1 improvement over past state-of-the-art and outperforming the competitive entity-centric Lead 3 heuristic by 1.1 F1. In addition, we also demonstrate similarly strong results on the related task of salient sentence selection for an entity.

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A Dataset of Word-Complexity Judgements from Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Adults for Text Simplification
Oliver Alonzo | Sooyeon Lee | Mounica Maddela | Wei Xu | Matt Huenerfauth
Proceedings of the Workshop on Text Simplification, Accessibility, and Readability (TSAR-2022)

Research has explored the use of automatic text simplification (ATS), which consists of techniques to make text simpler to read, to provide reading assistance to Deaf and Hard-of-hearing (DHH) adults with various literacy levels. Prior work in this area has identified interest in and benefits from ATS-based reading assistance tools. However, no prior work on ATS has gathered judgements from DHH adults as to what constitutes complex text. Thus, following approaches in prior NLP work, this paper contributes new word-complexity judgements from 11 DHH adults on a dataset of 15,000 English words that had been previously annotated by L2 speakers, which we also augmented to include automatic annotations of linguistic characteristics of the words. Additionally, we conduct a supplementary analysis of the interaction effect between the linguistic characteristics of the words and the groups of annotators. This analysis highlights the importance of collecting judgements from DHH adults for training ATS systems, as it revealed statistically significant interaction effects for nearly all of the linguistic characteristics of the words.

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EntSUM: A Data Set for Entity-Centric Extractive Summarization
Mounica Maddela | Mayank Kulkarni | Daniel Preotiuc-Pietro
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Controllable summarization aims to provide summaries that take into account user-specified aspects and preferences to better assist them with their information need, as opposed to the standard summarization setup which build a single generic summary of a document. We introduce a human-annotated data set EntSUM for controllable summarization with a focus on named entities as the aspects to control. We conduct an extensive quantitative analysis to motivate the task of entity-centric summarization and show that existing methods for controllable summarization fail to generate entity-centric summaries. We propose extensions to state-of-the-art summarization approaches that achieve substantially better results on our data set. Our analysis and results show the challenging nature of this task and of the proposed data set.


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The GEM Benchmark: Natural Language Generation, its Evaluation and Metrics
Sebastian Gehrmann | Tosin Adewumi | Karmanya Aggarwal | Pawan Sasanka Ammanamanchi | Anuoluwapo Aremu | Antoine Bosselut | Khyathi Raghavi Chandu | Miruna-Adriana Clinciu | Dipanjan Das | Kaustubh Dhole | Wanyu Du | Esin Durmus | Ondřej Dušek | Chris Chinenye Emezue | Varun Gangal | Cristina Garbacea | Tatsunori Hashimoto | Yufang Hou | Yacine Jernite | Harsh Jhamtani | Yangfeng Ji | Shailza Jolly | Mihir Kale | Dhruv Kumar | Faisal Ladhak | Aman Madaan | Mounica Maddela | Khyati Mahajan | Saad Mahamood | Bodhisattwa Prasad Majumder | Pedro Henrique Martins | Angelina McMillan-Major | Simon Mille | Emiel van Miltenburg | Moin Nadeem | Shashi Narayan | Vitaly Nikolaev | Andre Niyongabo Rubungo | Salomey Osei | Ankur Parikh | Laura Perez-Beltrachini | Niranjan Ramesh Rao | Vikas Raunak | Juan Diego Rodriguez | Sashank Santhanam | João Sedoc | Thibault Sellam | Samira Shaikh | Anastasia Shimorina | Marco Antonio Sobrevilla Cabezudo | Hendrik Strobelt | Nishant Subramani | Wei Xu | Diyi Yang | Akhila Yerukola | Jiawei Zhou
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Natural Language Generation, Evaluation, and Metrics (GEM 2021)

We introduce GEM, a living benchmark for natural language Generation (NLG), its Evaluation, and Metrics. Measuring progress in NLG relies on a constantly evolving ecosystem of automated metrics, datasets, and human evaluation standards. Due to this moving target, new models often still evaluate on divergent anglo-centric corpora with well-established, but flawed, metrics. This disconnect makes it challenging to identify the limitations of current models and opportunities for progress. Addressing this limitation, GEM provides an environment in which models can easily be applied to a wide set of tasks and in which evaluation strategies can be tested. Regular updates to the benchmark will help NLG research become more multilingual and evolve the challenge alongside models. This paper serves as the description of the data for the 2021 shared task at the associated GEM Workshop.

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BiSECT: Learning to Split and Rephrase Sentences with Bitexts
Joongwon Kim | Mounica Maddela | Reno Kriz | Wei Xu | Chris Callison-Burch
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

An important task in NLP applications such as sentence simplification is the ability to take a long, complex sentence and split it into shorter sentences, rephrasing as necessary. We introduce a novel dataset and a new model for this ‘split and rephrase’ task. Our BiSECT training data consists of 1 million long English sentences paired with shorter, meaning-equivalent English sentences. We obtain these by extracting 1-2 sentence alignments in bilingual parallel corpora and then using machine translation to convert both sides of the corpus into the same language. BiSECT contains higher quality training examples than the previous Split and Rephrase corpora, with sentence splits that require more significant modifications. We categorize examples in our corpus and use these categories in a novel model that allows us to target specific regions of the input sentence to be split and edited. Moreover, we show that models trained on BiSECT can perform a wider variety of split operations and improve upon previous state-of-the-art approaches in automatic and human evaluations.

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Controllable Text Simplification with Explicit Paraphrasing
Mounica Maddela | Fernando Alva-Manchego | Wei Xu
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Text Simplification improves the readability of sentences through several rewriting transformations, such as lexical paraphrasing, deletion, and splitting. Current simplification systems are predominantly sequence-to-sequence models that are trained end-to-end to perform all these operations simultaneously. However, such systems limit themselves to mostly deleting words and cannot easily adapt to the requirements of different target audiences. In this paper, we propose a novel hybrid approach that leverages linguistically-motivated rules for splitting and deletion, and couples them with a neural paraphrasing model to produce varied rewriting styles. We introduce a new data augmentation method to improve the paraphrasing capability of our model. Through automatic and manual evaluations, we show that our proposed model establishes a new state-of-the-art for the task, paraphrasing more often than the existing systems, and can control the degree of each simplification operation applied to the input texts.


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Code and Named Entity Recognition in StackOverflow
Jeniya Tabassum | Mounica Maddela | Wei Xu | Alan Ritter
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

There is an increasing interest in studying natural language and computer code together, as large corpora of programming texts become readily available on the Internet. For example, StackOverflow currently has over 15 million programming related questions written by 8.5 million users. Meanwhile, there is still a lack of fundamental NLP techniques for identifying code tokens or software-related named entities that appear within natural language sentences. In this paper, we introduce a new named entity recognition (NER) corpus for the computer programming domain, consisting of 15,372 sentences annotated with 20 fine-grained entity types. We trained in-domain BERT representations (BERTOverflow) on 152 million sentences from StackOverflow, which lead to an absolute increase of +10 F1 score over off-the-shelf BERT. We also present the SoftNER model which achieves an overall 79.10 F-1 score for code and named entity recognition on StackOverflow data. Our SoftNER model incorporates a context-independent code token classifier with corpus-level features to improve the BERT-based tagging model. Our code and data are available at:

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Neural CRF Model for Sentence Alignment in Text Simplification
Chao Jiang | Mounica Maddela | Wuwei Lan | Yang Zhong | Wei Xu
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

The success of a text simplification system heavily depends on the quality and quantity of complex-simple sentence pairs in the training corpus, which are extracted by aligning sentences between parallel articles. To evaluate and improve sentence alignment quality, we create two manually annotated sentence-aligned datasets from two commonly used text simplification corpora, Newsela and Wikipedia. We propose a novel neural CRF alignment model which not only leverages the sequential nature of sentences in parallel documents but also utilizes a neural sentence pair model to capture semantic similarity. Experiments demonstrate that our proposed approach outperforms all the previous work on monolingual sentence alignment task by more than 5 points in F1. We apply our CRF aligner to construct two new text simplification datasets, Newsela-Auto and Wiki-Auto, which are much larger and of better quality compared to the existing datasets. A Transformer-based seq2seq model trained on our datasets establishes a new state-of-the-art for text simplification in both automatic and human evaluation.


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Multi-task Pairwise Neural Ranking for Hashtag Segmentation
Mounica Maddela | Wei Xu | Daniel Preoţiuc-Pietro
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Hashtags are often employed on social media and beyond to add metadata to a textual utterance with the goal of increasing discoverability, aiding search, or providing additional semantics. However, the semantic content of hashtags is not straightforward to infer as these represent ad-hoc conventions which frequently include multiple words joined together and can include abbreviations and unorthodox spellings. We build a dataset of 12,594 hashtags split into individual segments and propose a set of approaches for hashtag segmentation by framing it as a pairwise ranking problem between candidate segmentations. Our novel neural approaches demonstrate 24.6% error reduction in hashtag segmentation accuracy compared to the current state-of-the-art method. Finally, we demonstrate that a deeper understanding of hashtag semantics obtained through segmentation is useful for downstream applications such as sentiment analysis, for which we achieved a 2.6% increase in average recall on the SemEval 2017 sentiment analysis dataset.


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A Word-Complexity Lexicon and A Neural Readability Ranking Model for Lexical Simplification
Mounica Maddela | Wei Xu
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Current lexical simplification approaches rely heavily on heuristics and corpus level features that do not always align with human judgment. We create a human-rated word-complexity lexicon of 15,000 English words and propose a novel neural readability ranking model with a Gaussian-based feature vectorization layer that utilizes these human ratings to measure the complexity of any given word or phrase. Our model performs better than the state-of-the-art systems for different lexical simplification tasks and evaluation datasets. Additionally, we also produce SimplePPDB++, a lexical resource of over 10 million simplifying paraphrase rules, by applying our model to the Paraphrase Database (PPDB).