Nicholas Tomlin


2022

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Automated Crossword Solving
Eric Wallace | Nicholas Tomlin | Albert Xu | Kevin Yang | Eshaan Pathak | Matthew Ginsberg | Dan Klein
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We present the Berkeley Crossword Solver, a state-of-the-art approach for automatically solving crossword puzzles. Our system works by generating answer candidates for each crossword clue using neural question answering models and then combines loopy belief propagation with local search to find full puzzle solutions. Compared to existing approaches, our system improves exact puzzle accuracy from 57% to 82% on crosswords from The New York Times and obtains 99.9% letter accuracy on themeless puzzles. Our system also won first place at the top human crossword tournament, which marks the first time that a computer program has surpassed human performance at this event. To facilitate research on question answering and crossword solving, we analyze our system’s remaining errors and release a dataset of over six million question-answer pairs.

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Understanding Game-Playing Agents with Natural Language Annotations
Nicholas Tomlin | Andre He | Dan Klein
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

We present a new dataset containing 10K human-annotated games of Go and show how these natural language annotations can be used as a tool for model interpretability. Given a board state and its associated comment, our approach uses linear probing to predict mentions of domain-specific terms (e.g., ko, atari) from the intermediate state representations of game-playing agents like AlphaGo Zero. We find these game concepts are nontrivially encoded in two distinct policy networks, one trained via imitation learning and another trained via reinforcement learning. Furthermore, mentions of domain-specific terms are most easily predicted from the later layers of both models, suggesting that these policy networks encode high-level abstractions similar to those used in the natural language annotations.