Patrick Xia


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Interpreting User Requests in the Context of Natural Language Standing Instructions
Nikita Moghe | Patrick Xia | Jacob Andreas | Jason Eisner | Benjamin Van Durme | Harsh Jhamtani
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2024

Users of natural language interfaces, frequently powered by Large Language Models (LLMs), must often repeat their full set of preferences each time they make a similar request. We describe an approach to LLM-based dialogue modeling in which persistent user constraints and preferences – collectively termed standing instructions – are provided as additional context for such interfaces. For example, when a user states “I’m hungry”, a previously expressed preference for Persian food can be automatically added to the LLM prompt, influencing the search for relevant restaurants.We develop NLSI, a language-to-program dataset consisting of over 2.4K English dialogues spanning 17 domains, in which each dialogue is paired with a user profile (a set of user-specific standing instructions) and corresponding structured representations (a sequence of API calls). A key challenge in NLSI is to identify which subset of the standing instructions is applicable to a given dialogue. NLSI contains diverse phenomena, from simple preferences to interdependent instructions such as triggering a hotel search whenever the user is booking tickets to an event. We conduct experiments on NLSI using prompting with large language models and various retrieval approaches, achieving a maximum of 46% exact match on API prediction. Our results demonstrate the challenges in identifying the relevant standing instructions and their interpretation into API calls


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Few-Shot Adaptation for Parsing Contextual Utterances with LLMs
Kevin Lin | Patrick Xia | Hao Fang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: IJCNLP-AACL 2023 (Findings)

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Multilingual Coreference Resolution in Multiparty Dialogue
Boyuan Zheng | Patrick Xia | Mahsa Yarmohammadi | Benjamin Van Durme
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 11

Existing multiparty dialogue datasets for entity coreference resolution are nascent, and many challenges are still unaddressed. We create a large-scale dataset, Multilingual Multiparty Coref (MMC), for this task based on TV transcripts. Due to the availability of gold-quality subtitles in multiple languages, we propose reusing the annotations to create silver coreference resolution data in other languages (Chinese and Farsi) via annotation projection. On the gold (English) data, off-the-shelf models perform relatively poorly on MMC, suggesting that MMC has broader coverage of multiparty coreference than prior datasets. On the silver data, we find success both using it for data augmentation and training from scratch, which effectively simulates the zero-shot cross-lingual setting.


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Automatic Document Selection for Efficient Encoder Pretraining
Yukun Feng | Patrick Xia | Benjamin Van Durme | João Sedoc
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Building pretrained language models is considered expensive and data-intensive, but must we increase dataset size to achieve better performance? We propose an alternative to larger training sets by automatically identifying smaller yet domain-representative subsets. We extend Cynical Data Selection, a statistical sentence scoring method that conditions on a representative target domain corpus. As an example, we treat the OntoNotes corpus as a target domain and pretrain a RoBERTa-like encoder from a cynically selected subset of the Pile. On both perplexity and across several downstream tasks in the target domain, it consistently outperforms random selection with 20x less data, 3x fewer training iterations, and 2x less estimated cloud compute cost, validating the recipe of automatic document selection for LM pretraining.

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Adapting Coreference Resolution Models through Active Learning
Michelle Yuan | Patrick Xia | Chandler May | Benjamin Van Durme | Jordan Boyd-Graber
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Neural coreference resolution models trained on one dataset may not transfer to new, low-resource domains. Active learning mitigates this problem by sampling a small subset of data for annotators to label. While active learning is well-defined for classification tasks, its application to coreference resolution is neither well-defined nor fully understood. This paper explores how to actively label coreference, examining sources of model uncertainty and document reading costs. We compare uncertainty sampling strategies and their advantages through thorough error analysis. In both synthetic and human experiments, labeling spans within the same document is more effective than annotating spans across documents. The findings contribute to a more realistic development of coreference resolution models.

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Online Neural Coreference Resolution with Rollback
Patrick Xia | Benjamin Van Durme
Proceedings of the Fifth Workshop on Computational Models of Reference, Anaphora and Coreference

Humans process natural language online, whether reading a document or participating in multiparty dialogue. Recent advances in neural coreference resolution have focused on offline approaches that assume the full communication history as input. This is neither realistic nor sufficient if we wish to support dialogue understanding in real-time. We benchmark two existing, offline, models and highlight their shortcomings in the online setting. We then modify these models to perform online inference and introduce rollback: a short-term mechanism to correct mistakes. We demonstrate across five English datasets the effectiveness of this approach against an offline and a naive online model in terms of latency, final document-level coreference F1, and average running F1.


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On Generalization in Coreference Resolution
Shubham Toshniwal | Patrick Xia | Sam Wiseman | Karen Livescu | Kevin Gimpel
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Computational Models of Reference, Anaphora and Coreference

While coreference resolution is defined independently of dataset domain, most models for performing coreference resolution do not transfer well to unseen domains. We consolidate a set of 8 coreference resolution datasets targeting different domains to evaluate the off-the-shelf performance of models. We then mix three datasets for training; even though their domain, annotation guidelines, and metadata differ, we propose a method for jointly training a single model on this heterogeneous data mixture by using data augmentation to account for annotation differences and sampling to balance the data quantities. We find that in a zero-shot setting, models trained on a single dataset transfer poorly while joint training yields improved overall performance, leading to better generalization in coreference resolution models. This work contributes a new benchmark for robust coreference resolution and multiple new state-of-the-art results.

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LOME: Large Ontology Multilingual Extraction
Patrick Xia | Guanghui Qin | Siddharth Vashishtha | Yunmo Chen | Tongfei Chen | Chandler May | Craig Harman | Kyle Rawlins | Aaron Steven White | Benjamin Van Durme
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

We present LOME, a system for performing multilingual information extraction. Given a text document as input, our core system identifies spans of textual entity and event mentions with a FrameNet (Baker et al., 1998) parser. It subsequently performs coreference resolution, fine-grained entity typing, and temporal relation prediction between events. By doing so, the system constructs an event and entity focused knowledge graph. We can further apply third-party modules for other types of annotation, like relation extraction. Our (multilingual) first-party modules either outperform or are competitive with the (monolingual) state-of-the-art. We achieve this through the use of multilingual encoders like XLM-R (Conneau et al., 2020) and leveraging multilingual training data. LOME is available as a Docker container on Docker Hub. In addition, a lightweight version of the system is accessible as a web demo.

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Moving on from OntoNotes: Coreference Resolution Model Transfer
Patrick Xia | Benjamin Van Durme
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Academic neural models for coreference resolution (coref) are typically trained on a single dataset, OntoNotes, and model improvements are benchmarked on that same dataset. However, real-world applications of coref depend on the annotation guidelines and the domain of the target dataset, which often differ from those of OntoNotes. We aim to quantify transferability of coref models based on the number of annotated documents available in the target dataset. We examine eleven target datasets and find that continued training is consistently effective and especially beneficial when there are few target documents. We establish new benchmarks across several datasets, including state-of-the-art results on PreCo.


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UniMorph 3.0: Universal Morphology
Arya D. McCarthy | Christo Kirov | Matteo Grella | Amrit Nidhi | Patrick Xia | Kyle Gorman | Ekaterina Vylomova | Sabrina J. Mielke | Garrett Nicolai | Miikka Silfverberg | Timofey Arkhangelskiy | Nataly Krizhanovsky | Andrew Krizhanovsky | Elena Klyachko | Alexey Sorokin | John Mansfield | Valts Ernštreits | Yuval Pinter | Cassandra L. Jacobs | Ryan Cotterell | Mans Hulden | David Yarowsky
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

The Universal Morphology (UniMorph) project is a collaborative effort providing broad-coverage instantiated normalized morphological paradigms for hundreds of diverse world languages. The project comprises two major thrusts: a language-independent feature schema for rich morphological annotation and a type-level resource of annotated data in diverse languages realizing that schema. We have implemented several improvements to the extraction pipeline which creates most of our data, so that it is both more complete and more correct. We have added 66 new languages, as well as new parts of speech for 12 languages. We have also amended the schema in several ways. Finally, we present three new community tools: two to validate data for resource creators, and one to make morphological data available from the command line. UniMorph is based at the Center for Language and Speech Processing (CLSP) at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. This paper details advances made to the schema, tooling, and dissemination of project resources since the UniMorph 2.0 release described at LREC 2018.

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Multi-Sentence Argument Linking
Seth Ebner | Patrick Xia | Ryan Culkin | Kyle Rawlins | Benjamin Van Durme
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We present a novel document-level model for finding argument spans that fill an event’s roles, connecting related ideas in sentence-level semantic role labeling and coreference resolution. Because existing datasets for cross-sentence linking are small, development of our neural model is supported through the creation of a new resource, Roles Across Multiple Sentences (RAMS), which contains 9,124 annotated events across 139 types. We demonstrate strong performance of our model on RAMS and other event-related datasets.

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CopyNext: Explicit Span Copying and Alignment in Sequence to Sequence Models
Abhinav Singh | Patrick Xia | Guanghui Qin | Mahsa Yarmohammadi | Benjamin Van Durme
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Structured Prediction for NLP

Copy mechanisms are employed in sequence to sequence (seq2seq) models to generate reproductions of words from the input to the output. These frameworks, operating at the lexical type level, fail to provide an explicit alignment that records where each token was copied from. Further, they require contiguous token sequences from the input (spans) to be copied individually. We present a model with an explicit token-level copy operation and extend it to copying entire spans. Our model provides hard alignments between spans in the input and output, allowing for nontraditional applications of seq2seq, like information extraction. We demonstrate the approach on Nested Named Entity Recognition, achieving near state-of-the-art accuracy with an order of magnitude increase in decoding speed.

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Which *BERT? A Survey Organizing Contextualized Encoders
Patrick Xia | Shijie Wu | Benjamin Van Durme
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Pretrained contextualized text encoders are now a staple of the NLP community. We present a survey on language representation learning with the aim of consolidating a series of shared lessons learned across a variety of recent efforts. While significant advancements continue at a rapid pace, we find that enough has now been discovered, in different directions, that we can begin to organize advances according to common themes. Through this organization, we highlight important considerations when interpreting recent contributions and choosing which model to use.

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Incremental Neural Coreference Resolution in Constant Memory
Patrick Xia | João Sedoc | Benjamin Van Durme
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

We investigate modeling coreference resolution under a fixed memory constraint by extending an incremental clustering algorithm to utilize contextualized encoders and neural components. Given a new sentence, our end-to-end algorithm proposes and scores each mention span against explicit entity representations created from the earlier document context (if any). These spans are then used to update the entity’s representations before being forgotten; we only retain a fixed set of salient entities throughout the document. In this work, we successfully convert a high-performing model (Joshi et al., 2020), asymptotically reducing its memory usage to constant space with only a 0.3% relative loss in F1 on OntoNotes 5.0.


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Probing What Different NLP Tasks Teach Machines about Function Word Comprehension
Najoung Kim | Roma Patel | Adam Poliak | Patrick Xia | Alex Wang | Tom McCoy | Ian Tenney | Alexis Ross | Tal Linzen | Benjamin Van Durme | Samuel R. Bowman | Ellie Pavlick
Proceedings of the Eighth Joint Conference on Lexical and Computational Semantics (*SEM 2019)

We introduce a set of nine challenge tasks that test for the understanding of function words. These tasks are created by structurally mutating sentences from existing datasets to target the comprehension of specific types of function words (e.g., prepositions, wh-words). Using these probing tasks, we explore the effects of various pretraining objectives for sentence encoders (e.g., language modeling, CCG supertagging and natural language inference (NLI)) on the learned representations. Our results show that pretraining on CCG—our most syntactic objective—performs the best on average across our probing tasks, suggesting that syntactic knowledge helps function word comprehension. Language modeling also shows strong performance, supporting its widespread use for pretraining state-of-the-art NLP models. Overall, no pretraining objective dominates across the board, and our function word probing tasks highlight several intuitive differences between pretraining objectives, e.g., that NLI helps the comprehension of negation.

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Improved Lexically Constrained Decoding for Translation and Monolingual Rewriting
J. Edward Hu | Huda Khayrallah | Ryan Culkin | Patrick Xia | Tongfei Chen | Matt Post | Benjamin Van Durme
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)

Lexically-constrained sequence decoding allows for explicit positive or negative phrase-based constraints to be placed on target output strings in generation tasks such as machine translation or monolingual text rewriting. We describe vectorized dynamic beam allocation, which extends work in lexically-constrained decoding to work with batching, leading to a five-fold improvement in throughput when working with positive constraints. Faster decoding enables faster exploration of constraint strategies: we illustrate this via data augmentation experiments with a monolingual rewriter applied to the tasks of natural language inference, question answering and machine translation, showing improvements in all three.

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Can You Tell Me How to Get Past Sesame Street? Sentence-Level Pretraining Beyond Language Modeling
Alex Wang | Jan Hula | Patrick Xia | Raghavendra Pappagari | R. Thomas McCoy | Roma Patel | Najoung Kim | Ian Tenney | Yinghui Huang | Katherin Yu | Shuning Jin | Berlin Chen | Benjamin Van Durme | Edouard Grave | Ellie Pavlick | Samuel R. Bowman
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Natural language understanding has recently seen a surge of progress with the use of sentence encoders like ELMo (Peters et al., 2018a) and BERT (Devlin et al., 2019) which are pretrained on variants of language modeling. We conduct the first large-scale systematic study of candidate pretraining tasks, comparing 19 different tasks both as alternatives and complements to language modeling. Our primary results support the use language modeling, especially when combined with pretraining on additional labeled-data tasks. However, our results are mixed across pretraining tasks and show some concerning trends: In ELMo’s pretrain-then-freeze paradigm, random baselines are worryingly strong and results vary strikingly across target tasks. In addition, fine-tuning BERT on an intermediate task often negatively impacts downstream transfer. In a more positive trend, we see modest gains from multitask training, suggesting the development of more sophisticated multitask and transfer learning techniques as an avenue for further research.


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UniMorph 2.0: Universal Morphology
Christo Kirov | Ryan Cotterell | John Sylak-Glassman | Géraldine Walther | Ekaterina Vylomova | Patrick Xia | Manaal Faruqui | Sabrina J. Mielke | Arya McCarthy | Sandra Kübler | David Yarowsky | Jason Eisner | Mans Hulden
Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2018)


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CoNLL-SIGMORPHON 2017 Shared Task: Universal Morphological Reinflection in 52 Languages
Ryan Cotterell | Christo Kirov | John Sylak-Glassman | Géraldine Walther | Ekaterina Vylomova | Patrick Xia | Manaal Faruqui | Sandra Kübler | David Yarowsky | Jason Eisner | Mans Hulden
Proceedings of the CoNLL SIGMORPHON 2017 Shared Task: Universal Morphological Reinflection

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Deriving Consensus for Multi-Parallel Corpora: an English Bible Study
Patrick Xia | David Yarowsky
Proceedings of the Eighth International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 2: Short Papers)

What can you do with multiple noisy versions of the same text? We present a method which generates a single consensus between multi-parallel corpora. By maximizing a function of linguistic features between word pairs, we jointly learn a single corpus-wide multiway alignment: a consensus between 27 versions of the English Bible. We additionally produce English paraphrases, word-level distributions of tags, and consensus dependency parses. Our method is language independent and applicable to any multi-parallel corpora. Given the Bible’s unique role as alignable bitext for over 800 of the world’s languages, this consensus alignment and resulting resources offer value for multilingual annotation projection, and also shed potential insights into the Bible itself.