Mrinmaya Sachan


2022

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Slangvolution: A Causal Analysis of Semantic Change and Frequency Dynamics in Slang
Daphna Keidar | Andreas Opedal | Zhijing Jin | Mrinmaya Sachan
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Languages are continuously undergoing changes, and the mechanisms that underlie these changes are still a matter of debate. In this work, we approach language evolution through the lens of causality in order to model not only how various distributional factors associate with language change, but how they causally affect it. In particular, we study slang, which is an informal language that is typically restricted to a specific group or social setting. We analyze the semantic change and frequency shift of slang words and compare them to those of standard, nonslang words. With causal discovery and causal inference techniques, we measure the effect that word type (slang/nonslang) has on both semantic change and frequency shift, as well as its relationship to frequency, polysemy and part of speech. Our analysis provides some new insights in the study of language change, e.g., we show that slang words undergo less semantic change but tend to have larger frequency shifts over time.

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Calibration of Machine Reading Systems at Scale
Shehzaad Dhuliawala | Leonard Adolphs | Rajarshi Das | Mrinmaya Sachan
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

In typical machine learning systems, an estimate of the probability of the prediction is used to assess the system’s confidence in the prediction.This confidence measure is usually uncalibrated; i.e. the system’s confidence in the prediction does not match the true probability of the predicted output.In this paper, we present an investigation into calibrating open setting machine reading systemssuch as open-domain question answering and claim verification systems.We show that calibrating such complex systems which contain discrete retrieval and deep reading components is challenging and current calibration techniques fail to scale to these settings. We propose simple extensions to existing calibration approaches that allows us to adapt them to these settings.Our experimental results reveal that the approach works well, and can be useful to selectively predict answers when question answering systems are posed with unanswerable or out-of-the-training distribution questions.

2021

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Differentiable Subset Pruning of Transformer Heads
Jiaoda Li | Ryan Cotterell | Mrinmaya Sachan
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 9

Abstract Multi-head attention, a collection of several attention mechanisms that independently attend to different parts of the input, is the key ingredient in the Transformer. Recent work has shown, however, that a large proportion of the heads in a Transformer’s multi-head attention mechanism can be safely pruned away without significantly harming the performance of the model; such pruning leads to models that are noticeably smaller and faster in practice. Our work introduces a new head pruning technique that we term differentiable subset pruning. ntuitively, our method learns per- head importance variables and then enforces a user-specified hard constraint on the number of unpruned heads. he importance variables are learned via stochastic gradient descent. e conduct experiments on natural language inference and machine translation; we show that differentiable subset pruning performs comparably or better than previous works while offering precise control of the sparsity level.1

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How Good Is NLP? A Sober Look at NLP Tasks through the Lens of Social Impact
Zhijing Jin | Geeticka Chauhan | Brian Tse | Mrinmaya Sachan | Rada Mihalcea
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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Scaling Within Document Coreference to Long Texts
Raghuveer Thirukovalluru | Nicholas Monath | Kumar Shridhar | Manzil Zaheer | Mrinmaya Sachan | Andrew McCallum
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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“Let Your Characters Tell Their Story”: A Dataset for Character-Centric Narrative Understanding
Faeze Brahman | Meng Huang | Oyvind Tafjord | Chao Zhao | Mrinmaya Sachan | Snigdha Chaturvedi
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

When reading a literary piece, readers often make inferences about various characters’ roles, personalities, relationships, intents, actions, etc. While humans can readily draw upon their past experiences to build such a character-centric view of the narrative, understanding characters in narratives can be a challenging task for machines. To encourage research in this field of character-centric narrative understanding, we present LiSCU – a new dataset of literary pieces and their summaries paired with descriptions of characters that appear in them. We also introduce two new tasks on LiSCU: Character Identification and Character Description Generation. Our experiments with several pre-trained language models adapted for these tasks demonstrate that there is a need for better models of narrative comprehension.

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Bird’s Eye: Probing for Linguistic Graph Structures with a Simple Information-Theoretic Approach
Yifan Hou | Mrinmaya Sachan
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)

NLP has a rich history of representing our prior understanding of language in the form of graphs. Recent work on analyzing contextualized text representations has focused on hand-designed probe models to understand how and to what extent do these representations encode a particular linguistic phenomenon. However, due to the inter-dependence of various phenomena and randomness of training probe models, detecting how these representations encode the rich information in these linguistic graphs remains a challenging problem. In this paper, we propose a new information-theoretic probe, Bird’s Eye, which is a fairly simple probe method for detecting if and how these representations encode the information in these linguistic graphs. Instead of using model performance, our probe takes an information-theoretic view of probing and estimates the mutual information between the linguistic graph embedded in a continuous space and the contextualized word representations. Furthermore, we also propose an approach to use our probe to investigate localized linguistic information in the linguistic graphs using perturbation analysis. We call this probing setup Worm’s Eye. Using these probes, we analyze the BERT models on its ability to encode a syntactic and a semantic graph structure, and find that these models encode to some degree both syntactic as well as semantic information; albeit syntactic information to a greater extent.

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Efficient Text-based Reinforcement Learning by Jointly Leveraging State and Commonsense Graph Representations
Keerthiram Murugesan | Mattia Atzeni | Pavan Kapanipathi | Kartik Talamadupula | Mrinmaya Sachan | Murray Campbell
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)

Text-based games (TBGs) have emerged as useful benchmarks for evaluating progress at the intersection of grounded language understanding and reinforcement learning (RL). Recent work has proposed the use of external knowledge to improve the efficiency of RL agents for TBGs. In this paper, we posit that to act efficiently in TBGs, an agent must be able to track the state of the game while retrieving and using relevant commonsense knowledge. Thus, we propose an agent for TBGs that induces a graph representation of the game state and jointly grounds it with a graph of commonsense knowledge from ConceptNet. This combination is achieved through bidirectional knowledge graph attention between the two symbolic representations. We show that agents that incorporate commonsense into the game state graph outperform baseline agents.

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Causal Direction of Data Collection Matters: Implications of Causal and Anticausal Learning for NLP
Zhijing Jin | Julius von Kügelgen | Jingwei Ni | Tejas Vaidhya | Ayush Kaushal | Mrinmaya Sachan | Bernhard Schoelkopf
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The principle of independent causal mechanisms (ICM) states that generative processes of real world data consist of independent modules which do not influence or inform each other. While this idea has led to fruitful developments in the field of causal inference, it is not widely-known in the NLP community. In this work, we argue that the causal direction of the data collection process bears nontrivial implications that can explain a number of published NLP findings, such as differences in semi-supervised learning (SSL) and domain adaptation (DA) performance across different settings. We categorize common NLP tasks according to their causal direction and empirically assay the validity of the ICM principle for text data using minimum description length. We conduct an extensive meta-analysis of over 100 published SSL and 30 DA studies, and find that the results are consistent with our expectations based on causal insights. This work presents the first attempt to analyze the ICM principle in NLP, and provides constructive suggestions for future modeling choices.

2020

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Knowledge Graph Embedding Compression
Mrinmaya Sachan
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Knowledge graph (KG) representation learning techniques that learn continuous embeddings of entities and relations in the KG have become popular in many AI applications. With a large KG, the embeddings consume a large amount of storage and memory. This is problematic and prohibits the deployment of these techniques in many real world settings. Thus, we propose an approach that compresses the KG embedding layer by representing each entity in the KG as a vector of discrete codes and then composes the embeddings from these codes. The approach can be trained end-to-end with simple modifications to any existing KG embedding technique. We evaluate the approach on various standard KG embedding evaluations and show that it achieves 50-1000x compression of embeddings with a minor loss in performance. The compressed embeddings also retain the ability to perform various reasoning tasks such as KG inference.

2019

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Discourse in Multimedia: A Case Study in Extracting Geometry Knowledge from Textbooks
Mrinmaya Sachan | Avinava Dubey | Eduard H. Hovy | Tom M. Mitchell | Dan Roth | Eric P. Xing
Computational Linguistics, Volume 45, Issue 4 - December 2019

To ensure readability, text is often written and presented with due formatting. These text formatting devices help the writer to effectively convey the narrative. At the same time, these help the readers pick up the structure of the discourse and comprehend the conveyed information. There have been a number of linguistic theories on discourse structure of text. However, these theories only consider unformatted text. Multimedia text contains rich formatting features that can be leveraged for various NLP tasks. In this article, we study some of these discourse features in multimedia text and what communicative function they fulfill in the context. As a case study, we use these features to harvest structured subject knowledge of geometry from textbooks. We conclude that the discourse and text layout features provide information that is complementary to lexical semantic information. Finally, we show that the harvested structured knowledge can be used to improve an existing solver for geometry problems, making it more accurate as well as more explainable.

2018

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Contextual Parameter Generation for Universal Neural Machine Translation
Emmanouil Antonios Platanios | Mrinmaya Sachan | Graham Neubig | Tom Mitchell
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We propose a simple modification to existing neural machine translation (NMT) models that enables using a single universal model to translate between multiple languages while allowing for language specific parameterization, and that can also be used for domain adaptation. Our approach requires no changes to the model architecture of a standard NMT system, but instead introduces a new component, the contextual parameter generator (CPG), that generates the parameters of the system (e.g., weights in a neural network). This parameter generator accepts source and target language embeddings as input, and generates the parameters for the encoder and the decoder, respectively. The rest of the model remains unchanged and is shared across all languages. We show how this simple modification enables the system to use monolingual data for training and also perform zero-shot translation. We further show it is able to surpass state-of-the-art performance for both the IWSLT-15 and IWSLT-17 datasets and that the learned language embeddings are able to uncover interesting relationships between languages.

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Standardized Tests as benchmarks for Artificial Intelligence
Mrinmaya Sachan | Minjoon Seo | Hannaneh Hajishirzi | Eric Xing
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: Tutorial Abstracts

Standardized tests have recently been proposed as replacements to the Turing test as a driver for progress in AI (Clark, 2015). These include tests on understanding passages and stories and answering questions about them (Richardson et al., 2013; Rajpurkar et al., 2016a, inter alia), science question answering (Schoenick et al., 2016, inter alia), algebra word problems (Kushman et al., 2014, inter alia), geometry problems (Seo et al., 2015; Sachan et al., 2016), visual question answering (Antol et al., 2015), etc. Many of these tests require sophisticated understanding of the world, aiming to push the boundaries of AI. For this tutorial, we broadly categorize these tests into two categories: open domain tests such as reading comprehensions and elementary school tests where the goal is to find the support for an answer from the student curriculum, and closed domain tests such as intermediate level math and science tests (algebra, geometry, Newtonian physics problems, etc.). Unlike open domain tests, closed domain tests require the system to have significant domain knowledge and reasoning capabilities. For example, geometry questions typically involve a number of geometry primitives (lines, quadrilaterals, circles, etc) and require students to use axioms and theorems of geometry (Pythagoras theorem, alternating angles, etc) to solve them. These closed domains often have a formal logical basis and the question can be mapped to a formal language by semantic parsing. The formal question representation can then provided as an input to an expert system to solve the question.

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Self-Training for Jointly Learning to Ask and Answer Questions
Mrinmaya Sachan | Eric Xing
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long Papers)

Building curious machines that can answer as well as ask questions is an important challenge for AI. The two tasks of question answering and question generation are usually tackled separately in the NLP literature. At the same time, both require significant amounts of supervised data which is hard to obtain in many domains. To alleviate these issues, we propose a self-training method for jointly learning to ask as well as answer questions, leveraging unlabeled text along with labeled question answer pairs for learning. We evaluate our approach on four benchmark datasets: SQUAD, MS MARCO, WikiQA and TrecQA, and show significant improvements over a number of established baselines on both question answering and question generation tasks. We also achieved new state-of-the-art results on two competitive answer sentence selection tasks: WikiQA and TrecQA.

2017

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From Textbooks to Knowledge: A Case Study in Harvesting Axiomatic Knowledge from Textbooks to Solve Geometry Problems
Mrinmaya Sachan | Kumar Dubey | Eric Xing
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Textbooks are rich sources of information. Harvesting structured knowledge from textbooks is a key challenge in many educational applications. As a case study, we present an approach for harvesting structured axiomatic knowledge from math textbooks. Our approach uses rich contextual and typographical features extracted from raw textbooks. It leverages the redundancy and shared ordering across multiple textbooks to further refine the harvested axioms. These axioms are then parsed into rules that are used to improve the state-of-the-art in solving geometry problems.

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Learning to Solve Geometry Problems from Natural Language Demonstrations in Textbooks
Mrinmaya Sachan | Eric Xing
Proceedings of the 6th Joint Conference on Lexical and Computational Semantics (*SEM 2017)

Humans as well as animals are good at imitation. Inspired by this, the learning by demonstration view of machine learning learns to perform a task from detailed example demonstrations. In this paper, we introduce the task of question answering using natural language demonstrations where the question answering system is provided with detailed demonstrative solutions to questions in natural language. As a case study, we explore the task of learning to solve geometry problems using demonstrative solutions available in textbooks. We collect a new dataset of demonstrative geometry solutions from textbooks and explore approaches that learn to interpret these demonstrations as well as to use these interpretations to solve geometry problems. Our approaches show improvements over the best previously published system for solving geometry problems.

2016

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Easy Questions First? A Case Study on Curriculum Learning for Question Answering
Mrinmaya Sachan | Eric Xing
Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

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Learning Concept Taxonomies from Multi-modal Data
Hao Zhang | Zhiting Hu | Yuntian Deng | Mrinmaya Sachan | Zhicheng Yan | Eric Xing
Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

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Science Question Answering using Instructional Materials
Mrinmaya Sachan | Kumar Dubey | Eric Xing
Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

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Machine Comprehension using Rich Semantic Representations
Mrinmaya Sachan | Eric Xing
Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

2015

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Learning Answer-Entailing Structures for Machine Comprehension
Mrinmaya Sachan | Kumar Dubey | Eric Xing | Matthew Richardson
Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 7th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

2013

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A Structured Distributional Semantic Model for Event Co-reference
Kartik Goyal | Sujay Kumar Jauhar | Huiying Li | Mrinmaya Sachan | Shashank Srivastava | Eduard Hovy
Proceedings of the 51st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

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Identifying Metaphorical Word Use with Tree Kernels
Dirk Hovy | Shashank Srivastava | Sujay Kumar Jauhar | Mrinmaya Sachan | Kartik Goyal | Huying Li | Whitney Sanders | Eduard Hovy
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Metaphor in NLP

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A Structured Distributional Semantic Model : Integrating Structure with Semantics
Kartik Goyal | Sujay Kumar Jauhar | Huiying Li | Mrinmaya Sachan | Shashank Srivastava | Eduard Hovy
Proceedings of the Workshop on Continuous Vector Space Models and their Compositionality

2011

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Using Text Reviews for Product Entity Completion
Mrinmaya Sachan | Tanveer Faruquie | L. V. Subramaniam | Mukesh Mohania
Proceedings of 5th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing