Omid Rohanian


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Disfluent Cues for Enhanced Speech Understanding in Large Language Models
Morteza Rohanian | Farhad Nooralahzadeh | Omid Rohanian | David Clifton | Michael Krauthammer
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

In computational linguistics, the common practice is to “clean” disfluent content from spontaneous speech. However, we hypothesize that these disfluencies might serve as more than mere noise, potentially acting as informative cues. We use a range of pre-trained models for a reading comprehension task involving disfluent queries, specifically featuring different types of speech repairs. The findings indicate that certain disfluencies can indeed improve model performance, particularly those stemming from context-based adjustments. However, large-scale language models struggle to handle repairs involving decision-making or the correction of lexical or syntactic errors, suggesting a crucial area for potential improvement. This paper thus highlights the importance of a nuanced approach to disfluencies, advocating for their potential utility in enhancing model performance rather than their removal.

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Using Bottleneck Adapters to Identify Cancer in Clinical Notes under Low-Resource Constraints
Omid Rohanian | Hannah Jauncey | Mohammadmahdi Nouriborji | Vinod Kumar | Bronner P. Gonalves | Christiana Kartsonaki | Isaric Clinical Characterisation Group | Laura Merson | David Clifton
The 22nd Workshop on Biomedical Natural Language Processing and BioNLP Shared Tasks

Processing information locked within clinical health records is a challenging task that remains an active area of research in biomedical NLP. In this work, we evaluate a broad set of machine learning techniques ranging from simple RNNs to specialised transformers such as BioBERT on a dataset containing clinical notes along with a set of annotations indicating whether a sample is cancer-related or not. Furthermore, we specifically employ efficient fine-tuning methods from NLP, namely, bottleneck adapters and prompt tuning, to adapt the models to our specialised task. Our evaluations suggest that fine-tuning a frozen BERT model pre-trained on natural language and with bottleneck adapters outperforms all other strategies, including full fine-tuning of the specialised BioBERT model. Based on our findings, we suggest that using bottleneck adapters in low-resource situations with limited access to labelled data or processing capacity could be a viable strategy in biomedical text mining.

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MiniALBERT: Model Distillation via Parameter-Efficient Recursive Transformers
Mohammadmahdi Nouriborji | Omid Rohanian | Samaneh Kouchaki | David A. Clifton
Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Pre-trained Language Models (LMs) have become an integral part of Natural Language Processing (NLP) in recent years, due to their superior performance in downstream applications. In spite of this resounding success, the usability of LMs is constrained by computational and time complexity, along with their increasing size; an issue that has been referred to as overparameterisation. Different strategies have been proposed in the literature to alleviate these problems, with the aim to create effective compact models that nearly match the performance of their bloated counterparts with negligible performance losses. One of the most popular techniques in this area of research is model distillation. Another potent but underutilised technique is cross-layer parameter sharing. In this work, we combine these two strategies and present MiniALBERT, a technique for converting the knowledge of fully parameterised LMs (such as BERT) into a compact recursive student. In addition, we investigate the application of bottleneck adapters for layer-wise adaptation of our recursive student, and also explore the efficacy of adapter tuning for fine-tuning of compact models. We test our proposed models on a number of general and biomedical NLP tasks to demonstrate their viability and compare them with the state-of-the-art and other existing compact models. All the codes used in the experiments and the pre-trained compact models will be made publicly available.


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Nowruz at SemEval-2022 Task 7: Tackling Cloze Tests with Transformers and Ordinal Regression
Mohammadmahdi Nouriborji | Omid Rohanian | David Clifton
Proceedings of the 16th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2022)

This paper outlines the system using which team Nowruz participated in SemEval 2022 Task 7 “Identifying Plausible Clarifications of Implicit and Underspecified Phrases” for both subtasks A and B. Using a pre-trained transformer as a backbone, the model targeted the task of multi-task classification and ranking in the context of finding the best fillers for a cloze task related to instructional texts on the website Wikihow. The system employed a combination of two ordinal regression components to tackle this task in a multi-task learning scenario. According to the official leaderboard of the shared task, this system was ranked 5th in the ranking and 7th in the classification subtasks out of 21 participating teams. With additional experiments, the models have since been further optimised. The code used in the experiments is going to be publicly available.


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Verbal Multiword Expressions for Identification of Metaphor
Omid Rohanian | Marek Rei | Shiva Taslimipoor | Le An Ha
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Metaphor is a linguistic device in which a concept is expressed by mentioning another. Identifying metaphorical expressions, therefore, requires a non-compositional understanding of semantics. Multiword Expressions (MWEs), on the other hand, are linguistic phenomena with varying degrees of semantic opacity and their identification poses a challenge to computational models. This work is the first attempt at analysing the interplay of metaphor and MWEs processing through the design of a neural architecture whereby classification of metaphors is enhanced by informing the model of the presence of MWEs. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first “MWE-aware” metaphor identification system paving the way for further experiments on the complex interactions of these phenomena. The results and analyses show that this proposed architecture reach state-of-the-art on two different established metaphor datasets.


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Cross-lingual Transfer Learning and Multitask Learning for Capturing Multiword Expressions
Shiva Taslimipoor | Omid Rohanian | Le An Ha
Proceedings of the Joint Workshop on Multiword Expressions and WordNet (MWE-WN 2019)

Recent developments in deep learning have prompted a surge of interest in the application of multitask and transfer learning to NLP problems. In this study, we explore for the first time, the application of transfer learning (TRL) and multitask learning (MTL) to the identification of Multiword Expressions (MWEs). For MTL, we exploit the shared syntactic information between MWE and dependency parsing models to jointly train a single model on both tasks. We specifically predict two types of labels: MWE and dependency parse. Our neural MTL architecture utilises the supervision of dependency parsing in lower layers and predicts MWE tags in upper layers. In the TRL scenario, we overcome the scarcity of data by learning a model on a larger MWE dataset and transferring the knowledge to a resource-poor setting in another language. In both scenarios, the resulting models achieved higher performance compared to standard neural approaches.

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GCN-Sem at SemEval-2019 Task 1: Semantic Parsing using Graph Convolutional and Recurrent Neural Networks
Shiva Taslimipoor | Omid Rohanian | Sara Može
Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation

This paper describes the system submitted to the SemEval 2019 shared task 1 ‘Cross-lingual Semantic Parsing with UCCA’. We rely on the semantic dependency parse trees provided in the shared task which are converted from the original UCCA files and model the task as tagging. The aim is to predict the graph structure of the output along with the types of relations among the nodes. Our proposed neural architecture is composed of Graph Convolution and BiLSTM components. The layers of the system share their weights while predicting dependency links and semantic labels. The system is applied to the CONLLU format of the input data and is best suited for semantic dependency parsing.

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Bridging the Gap: Attending to Discontinuity in Identification of Multiword Expressions
Omid Rohanian | Shiva Taslimipoor | Samaneh Kouchaki | Le An Ha | Ruslan Mitkov
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)

We introduce a new method to tag Multiword Expressions (MWEs) using a linguistically interpretable language-independent deep learning architecture. We specifically target discontinuity, an under-explored aspect that poses a significant challenge to computational treatment of MWEs. Two neural architectures are explored: Graph Convolutional Network (GCN) and multi-head self-attention. GCN leverages dependency parse information, and self-attention attends to long-range relations. We finally propose a combined model that integrates complementary information from both, through a gating mechanism. The experiments on a standard multilingual dataset for verbal MWEs show that our model outperforms the baselines not only in the case of discontinuous MWEs but also in overall F-score.


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WLV at SemEval-2018 Task 3: Dissecting Tweets in Search of Irony
Omid Rohanian | Shiva Taslimipoor | Richard Evans | Ruslan Mitkov
Proceedings of the 12th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation

This paper describes the systems submitted to SemEval 2018 Task 3 “Irony detection in English tweets” for both subtasks A and B. The first system leveraging a combination of sentiment, distributional semantic, and text surface features is ranked third among 44 teams according to the official leaderboard of the subtask A. The second system with slightly different representation of the features ranked ninth in subtask B. We present a method that entails decomposing tweets into separate parts. Searching for contrast within the constituents of a tweet is an integral part of our system. We embrace an extensive definition of contrast which leads to a vast coverage in detecting ironic content.

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Wolves at SemEval-2018 Task 10: Semantic Discrimination based on Knowledge and Association
Shiva Taslimipoor | Omid Rohanian | Le An Ha | Gloria Corpas Pastor | Ruslan Mitkov
Proceedings of the 12th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation

This paper describes the system submitted to SemEval 2018 shared task 10 ‘Capturing Dicriminative Attributes’. We use a combination of knowledge-based and co-occurrence features to capture the semantic difference between two words in relation to an attribute. We define scores based on association measures, ngram counts, word similarity, and ConceptNet relations. The system is ranked 4th (joint) on the official leaderboard of the task.


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Using Gaze Data to Predict Multiword Expressions
Omid Rohanian | Shiva Taslimipoor | Victoria Yaneva | Le An Ha
Proceedings of the International Conference Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing, RANLP 2017

In recent years gaze data has been increasingly used to improve and evaluate NLP models due to the fact that it carries information about the cognitive processing of linguistic phenomena. In this paper we conduct a preliminary study towards the automatic identification of multiword expressions based on gaze features from native and non-native speakers of English. We report comparisons between a part-of-speech (POS) and frequency baseline to: i) a prediction model based solely on gaze data and ii) a combined model of gaze data, POS and frequency. In spite of the challenging nature of the task, best performance was achieved by the latter. Furthermore, we explore how the type of gaze data (from native versus non-native speakers) affects the prediction, showing that data from the two groups is discriminative to an equal degree for the task. Finally, we show that late processing measures are more predictive than early ones, which is in line with previous research on idioms and other formulaic structures.

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Investigating the Opacity of Verb-Noun Multiword Expression Usages in Context
Shiva Taslimipoor | Omid Rohanian | Ruslan Mitkov | Afsaneh Fazly
Proceedings of the 13th Workshop on Multiword Expressions (MWE 2017)

This study investigates the supervised token-based identification of Multiword Expressions (MWEs). This is an ongoing research to exploit the information contained in the contexts in which different instances of an expression could occur. This information is used to investigate the question of whether an expression is literal or MWE. Lexical and syntactic context features derived from vector representations are shown to be more effective over traditional statistical measures to identify tokens of MWEs.

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Combining Multiple Corpora for Readability Assessment for People with Cognitive Disabilities
Victoria Yaneva | Constantin Orăsan | Richard Evans | Omid Rohanian
Proceedings of the 12th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications

Given the lack of large user-evaluated corpora in disability-related NLP research (e.g. text simplification or readability assessment for people with cognitive disabilities), the question of choosing suitable training data for NLP models is not straightforward. The use of large generic corpora may be problematic because such data may not reflect the needs of the target population. The use of the available user-evaluated corpora may be problematic because these datasets are not large enough to be used as training data. In this paper we explore a third approach, in which a large generic corpus is combined with a smaller population-specific corpus to train a classifier which is evaluated using two sets of unseen user-evaluated data. One of these sets, the ASD Comprehension corpus, is developed for the purposes of this study and made freely available. We explore the effects of the size and type of the training data used on the performance of the classifiers, and the effects of the type of the unseen test datasets on the classification performance.