Nikos Athanasiou


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Cross-Topic Distributional Semantic Representations Via Unsupervised Mappings
Eleftheria Briakou | Nikos Athanasiou | Alexandros Potamianos
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)

In traditional Distributional Semantic Models (DSMs) the multiple senses of a polysemous word are conflated into a single vector space representation. In this work, we propose a DSM that learns multiple distributional representations of a word based on different topics. First, a separate DSM is trained for each topic and then each of the topic-based DSMs is aligned to a common vector space. Our unsupervised mapping approach is motivated by the hypothesis that words preserving their relative distances in different topic semantic sub-spaces constitute robust semantic anchors that define the mappings between them. Aligned cross-topic representations achieve state-of-the-art results for the task of contextual word similarity. Furthermore, evaluation on NLP downstream tasks shows that multiple topic-based embeddings outperform single-prototype models.


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Neural Activation Semantic Models: Computational lexical semantic models of localized neural activations
Nikos Athanasiou | Elias Iosif | Alexandros Potamianos
Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Neural activation models have been proposed in the literature that use a set of example words for which fMRI measurements are available in order to find a mapping between word semantics and localized neural activations. Successful mappings let us expand to the full lexicon of concrete nouns using the assumption that similarity of meaning implies similar neural activation patterns. In this paper, we propose a computational model that estimates semantic similarity in the neural activation space and investigates the relative performance of this model for various natural language processing tasks. Despite the simplicity of the proposed model and the very small number of example words used to bootstrap it, the neural activation semantic model performs surprisingly well compared to state-of-the-art word embeddings. Specifically, the neural activation semantic model performs better than the state-of-the-art for the task of semantic similarity estimation between very similar or very dissimilar words, while performing well on other tasks such as entailment and word categorization. These are strong indications that neural activation semantic models can not only shed some light into human cognition but also contribute to computation models for certain tasks.