Pablo Piantanida


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Learning Disentangled Textual Representations via Statistical Measures of Similarity
Pierre Colombo | Guillaume Staerman | Nathan Noiry | Pablo Piantanida
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

When working with textual data, a natural application of disentangled representations is the fair classification where the goal is to make predictions without being biased (or influenced) by sensible attributes that may be present in the data (e.g., age, gender or race). Dominant approaches to disentangle a sensitive attribute from textual representations rely on learning simultaneously a penalization term that involves either an adversary loss (e.g., a discriminator) or an information measure (e.g., mutual information). However, these methods require the training of a deep neural network with several parameter updates for each update of the representation model. As a matter of fact, the resulting nested optimization loop is both times consuming, adding complexity to the optimization dynamic, and requires a fine hyperparameter selection (e.g., learning rates, architecture). In this work, we introduce a family of regularizers for learning disentangled representations that do not require training. These regularizers are based on statistical measures of similarity between the conditional probability distributions with respect to the sensible attributes. Our novel regularizers do not require additional training, are faster and do not involve additional tuning while achieving better results both when combined with pretrained and randomly initialized text encoders.


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A Novel Estimator of Mutual Information for Learning to Disentangle Textual Representations
Pierre Colombo | Pablo Piantanida | Chloé Clavel
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)

Learning disentangled representations of textual data is essential for many natural language tasks such as fair classification, style transfer and sentence generation, among others. The existent dominant approaches in the context of text data either rely on training an adversary (discriminator) that aims at making attribute values difficult to be inferred from the latent code or rely on minimising variational bounds of the mutual information between latent code and the value attribute. However, the available methods suffer of the impossibility to provide a fine-grained control of the degree (or force) of disentanglement. In contrast to adversarial methods, which are remarkably simple, although the adversary seems to be performing perfectly well during the training phase, after it is completed a fair amount of information about the undesired attribute still remains. This paper introduces a novel variational upper bound to the mutual information between an attribute and the latent code of an encoder. Our bound aims at controlling the approximation error via the Renyi’s divergence, leading to both better disentangled representations and in particular, a precise control of the desirable degree of disentanglement than state-of-the-art methods proposed for textual data. Furthermore, it does not suffer from the degeneracy of other losses in multi-class scenarios. We show the superiority of this method on fair classification and on textual style transfer tasks. Additionally, we provide new insights illustrating various trade-offs in style transfer when attempting to learn disentangled representations and quality of the generated sentence.

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Automatic Text Evaluation through the Lens of Wasserstein Barycenters
Pierre Colombo | Guillaume Staerman | Chloé Clavel | Pablo Piantanida
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

A new metric BaryScore to evaluate text generation based on deep contextualized embeddings (e.g., BERT, Roberta, ELMo) is introduced. This metric is motivated by a new framework relying on optimal transport tools, i.e., Wasserstein distance and barycenter. By modelling the layer output of deep contextualized embeddings as a probability distribution rather than by a vector embedding; this framework provides a natural way to aggregate the different outputs through the Wasserstein space topology. In addition, it provides theoretical grounds to our metric and offers an alternative to available solutions (e.g., MoverScore and BertScore). Numerical evaluation is performed on four different tasks: machine translation, summarization, data2text generation and image captioning. Our results show that BaryScore outperforms other BERT based metrics and exhibits more consistent behaviour in particular for text summarization.