Peng Qi


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RobustQA: Benchmarking the Robustness of Domain Adaptation for Open-Domain Question Answering
Rujun Han | Peng Qi | Yuhao Zhang | Lan Liu | Juliette Burger | William Yang Wang | Zhiheng Huang | Bing Xiang | Dan Roth
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Open-domain question answering (ODQA) is a crucial task in natural language processing. A typical ODQA system relies on a retriever module to select relevant contexts from a large corpus for a downstream reading comprehension model. Existing ODQA datasets consist mainly of Wikipedia corpus, and are insufficient to study models’ generalizability across diverse domains as models are trained and evaluated on the same genre of data. We propose **RobustQA**, a novel benchmark consisting of datasets from 8 different domains, which facilitates the evaluation of ODQA’s domain robustness. To build **RobustQA**, we annotate QA pairs in retrieval datasets with rigorous quality control. We further examine improving QA performances by incorporating unsupervised learning methods with target-domain corpus and adopting large generative language models. These methods can effectively improve model performances on **RobustQA**. However, experimental results demonstrate a significant gap from in-domain training, suggesting that **RobustQA** is a challenging benchmark to evaluate ODQA domain robustness.

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PragmatiCQA: A Dataset for Pragmatic Question Answering in Conversations
Peng Qi | Nina Du | Christopher Manning | Jing Huang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Pragmatic reasoning about another speaker’s unspoken intent and state of mind is crucial to efficient and effective human communication. It is virtually omnipresent in conversations between humans, e.g., when someone asks “do you have a minute?”, instead of interpreting it literally as a query about your schedule, you understand that the speaker might have requests that take time, and respond accordingly. In this paper, we present PragmatiCQA, the first large-scale open-domain question answering (QA) dataset featuring 6873 QA pairs that explores pragmatic reasoning in conversations over a diverse set of topics. We designed innovative crowdsourcing mechanisms for interest-based and task-driven data collection to address the common issue of incentive misalignment between crowdworkers and potential users. To compare computational models’ capability at pragmatic reasoning, we also propose several quantitative metrics to evaluate question answering systems on PragmatiCQA. We find that state-of-the-art systems still struggle to perform human-like pragmatic reasoning, and highlight their limitations for future research.

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Language Agnostic Multilingual Information Retrieval with Contrastive Learning
Xiyang Hu | Xinchi Chen | Peng Qi | Deguang Kong | Kunlun Liu | William Yang Wang | Zhiheng Huang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Multilingual information retrieval (IR) is challenging since annotated training data is costly to obtain in many languages. We present an effective method to train multilingual IR systems when only English IR training data and some parallel corpora between English and other languages are available. We leverage parallel and non-parallel corpora to improve the pretrained multilingual language models’ cross-lingual transfer ability. We design a semantic contrastive loss to align representations of parallel sentences that share the same semantics in different languages, and a new language contrastive loss to leverage parallel sentence pairs to remove language-specific information in sentence representations from non-parallel corpora. When trained on English IR data with these losses and evaluated zero-shot on non-English data, our model demonstrates significant improvement to prior work on retrieval performance, while it requires much less computational effort. We also demonstrate the value of our model for a practical setting when a parallel corpus is only available for a few languages, but a lack of parallel corpora resources persists for many other low-resource languages. Our model can work well even with a small number of parallel sentences, and be used as an add-on module to any backbones and other tasks.

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Hybrid Hierarchical Retrieval for Open-Domain Question Answering
Manoj Ghuhan Arivazhagan | Lan Liu | Peng Qi | Xinchi Chen | William Yang Wang | Zhiheng Huang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Retrieval accuracy is crucial to the performance of open-domain question answering (ODQA) systems. Recent work has demonstrated that dense hierarchical retrieval (DHR), which retrieves document candidates first and then relevant passages from the refined document set, can significantly outperform the single stage dense passage retriever (DPR). While effective, this approach requires document structure information to learn document representation and is hard to adopt to other domains without this information. Additionally, the dense retrievers tend to generalize poorly on out-of-domain data comparing with sparse retrievers such as BM25. In this paper, we propose Hybrid Hierarchical Retrieval (HHR) to address the existing limitations. Instead of relying solely on dense retrievers, we can apply sparse retriever, dense retriever, and a combination of them in both stages of document and passage retrieval. We perform extensive experiments on ODQA benchmarks and observe that our framework not only brings in-domain gains, but also generalizes better to zero-shot TriviaQA and Web Questions datasets with an average of 4.69% improvement on recall@100 over DHR. We also offer practical insights to trade off between retrieval accuracy, latency, and storage cost. The code is available on github.

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Two Heads Are Better Than One: Improving Fake News Video Detection by Correlating with Neighbors
Peng Qi | Yuyang Zhao | Yufeng Shen | Wei Ji | Juan Cao | Tat-Seng Chua
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

The prevalence of short video platforms has spawned a lot of fake news videos, which have stronger propagation ability than textual fake news. Thus, automatically detecting fake news videos has been an important countermeasure in practice. Previous works commonly verify each news video individually with multimodal information. Nevertheless, news videos from different perspectives regarding the same event are commonly posted together, which contain complementary or contradictory information and thus can be used to evaluate each other mutually. To this end, we introduce a new and practical paradigm, i.e., cross-sample fake news video detection, and propose a novel framework, Neighbor-Enhanced fakE news video Detection (NEED), which integrates the neighborhood relationship of new videos belonging to the same event. NEED can be readily combined with existing single-sample detectors and further enhance their performances with the proposed graph aggregation (GA) and debunking rectification (DR) modules. Specifically, given the feature representations obtained from single-sample detectors, GA aggregates the neighborhood information with the dynamic graph to enrich the features of independent samples. After that, DR explicitly leverages the relationship between debunking videos and fake news videos to refute the candidate videos via textual and visual consistency. Extensive experiments on the public benchmark demonstrate that NEED greatly improves the performance of both single-modal (up to 8.34% in accuracy) and multimodal (up to 4.97% in accuracy) base detectors.

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Tokenization Consistency Matters for Generative Models on Extractive NLP Tasks
Kaiser Sun | Peng Qi | Yuhao Zhang | Lan Liu | William Wang | Zhiheng Huang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Generative models have been widely applied to solve extractive tasks, where parts of the input is extracted to form the desired output, and achieved significant success. For example, in extractive question answering (QA), generative models have constantly yielded state-of-the-art results. In this work, we study the issue of tokenization inconsistency that is commonly neglected in training these models. This issue damages the extractive nature of these tasks after the input and output are tokenized inconsistently by the tokenizer, and thus leads to performance drop as well as hallucination. We propose a simple yet effective fix to this issue and conduct a case study on extractive QA. We show that, with consistent tokenization, the model performs better in both in-domain and out-of-domain datasets, with a notable average of +1.7 F1 gain when a BART model is trained on SQuAD and evaluated on 8 QA datasets. Further, the model converges faster, and becomes less likely to generate out-of-context answers. Our results demonstrate the need for increased scrutiny regarding how tokenization is done in extractive tasks and the benefits of consistent tokenization during training.


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Neural Generation Meets Real People: Building a Social, Informative Open-Domain Dialogue Agent
Ethan A. Chi | Ashwin Paranjape | Abigail See | Caleb Chiam | Trenton Chang | Kathleen Kenealy | Swee Kiat Lim | Amelia Hardy | Chetanya Rastogi | Haojun Li | Alexander Iyabor | Yutong He | Hari Sowrirajan | Peng Qi | Kaushik Ram Sadagopan | Nguyet Minh Phu | Dilara Soylu | Jillian Tang | Avanika Narayan | Giovanni Campagna | Christopher Manning
Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

We present Chirpy Cardinal, an open-domain social chatbot. Aiming to be both informative and conversational, our bot chats with users in an authentic, emotionally intelligent way. By integrating controlled neural generation with scaffolded, hand-written dialogue, we let both the user and bot take turns driving the conversation, producing an engaging and socially fluent experience. Deployed in the fourth iteration of the Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge, Chirpy Cardinal handled thousands of conversations per day, placing second out of nine bots with an average user rating of 3.58/5.

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Improving Time Sensitivity for Question Answering over Temporal Knowledge Graphs
Chao Shang | Guangtao Wang | Peng Qi | Jing Huang
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Question answering over temporal knowledge graphs (KGs) efficiently uses facts contained in a temporal KG, which records entity relations and when they occur in time, to answer natural language questions (e.g., “Who was the president of the US before Obama?”). These questions often involve three time-related challenges that previous work fail to adequately address: 1) questions often do not specify exact timestamps of interest (e.g., “Obama” instead of 2000); 2) subtle lexical differences in time relations (e.g., “before” vs “after”); 3) off-the-shelf temporal KG embeddings that previous work builds on ignore the temporal order of timestamps, which is crucial for answering temporal-order related questions. In this paper, we propose a time-sensitive question answering (TSQA) framework to tackle these problems. TSQA features a timestamp estimation module to infer the unwritten timestamp from the question. We also employ a time-sensitive KG encoder to inject ordering information into the temporal KG embeddings that TSQA is based on. With the help of techniques to reduce the search space for potential answers, TSQA significantly outperforms the previous state of the art on a new benchmark for question answering over temporal KGs, especially achieving a 32% (absolute) error reduction on complex questions that require multiple steps of reasoning over facts in the temporal KG.


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Do Syntax Trees Help Pre-trained Transformers Extract Information?
Devendra Sachan | Yuhao Zhang | Peng Qi | William L. Hamilton
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Much recent work suggests that incorporating syntax information from dependency trees can improve task-specific transformer models. However, the effect of incorporating dependency tree information into pre-trained transformer models (e.g., BERT) remains unclear, especially given recent studies highlighting how these models implicitly encode syntax. In this work, we systematically study the utility of incorporating dependency trees into pre-trained transformers on three representative information extraction tasks: semantic role labeling (SRL), named entity recognition, and relation extraction. We propose and investigate two distinct strategies for incorporating dependency structure: a late fusion approach, which applies a graph neural network on the output of a transformer, and a joint fusion approach, which infuses syntax structure into the transformer attention layers. These strategies are representative of prior work, but we introduce additional model design elements that are necessary for obtaining improved performance. Our empirical analysis demonstrates that these syntax-infused transformers obtain state-of-the-art results on SRL and relation extraction tasks. However, our analysis also reveals a critical shortcoming of these models: we find that their performance gains are highly contingent on the availability of human-annotated dependency parses, which raises important questions regarding the viability of syntax-augmented transformers in real-world applications.

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Entity and Evidence Guided Document-Level Relation Extraction
Kevin Huang | Peng Qi | Guangtao Wang | Tengyu Ma | Jing Huang
Proceedings of the 6th Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP (RepL4NLP-2021)

Document-level relation extraction is a challenging task, requiring reasoning over multiple sentences to predict a set of relations in a document. In this paper, we propose a novel framework E2GRE (Entity and Evidence Guided Relation Extraction) that jointly extracts relations and the underlying evidence sentences by using large pretrained language model (LM) as input encoder. First, we propose to guide the pretrained LM’s attention mechanism to focus on relevant context by using attention probabilities as additional features for evidence prediction. Furthermore, instead of feeding the whole document into pretrained LMs to obtain entity representation, we concatenate document text with head entities to help LMs concentrate on parts of the document that are more related to the head entity. Our E2GRE jointly learns relation extraction and evidence prediction effectively, showing large gains on both these tasks, which we find are highly correlated.

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Graph Ensemble Learning over Multiple Dependency Trees for Aspect-level Sentiment Classification
Xiaochen Hou | Peng Qi | Guangtao Wang | Rex Ying | Jing Huang | Xiaodong He | Bowen Zhou
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Recent work on aspect-level sentiment classification has demonstrated the efficacy of incorporating syntactic structures such as dependency trees with graph neural networks (GNN), but these approaches are usually vulnerable to parsing errors. To better leverage syntactic information in the face of unavoidable errors, we propose a simple yet effective graph ensemble technique, GraphMerge, to make use of the predictions from different parsers. Instead of assigning one set of model parameters to each dependency tree, we first combine the dependency relations from different parses before applying GNNs over the resulting graph. This allows GNN models to be robust to parse errors at no additional computational cost, and helps avoid overparameterization and overfitting from GNN layer stacking by introducing more connectivity into the ensemble graph. Our experiments on the SemEval 2014 Task 4 and ACL 14 Twitter datasets show that our GraphMerge model not only outperforms models with single dependency tree, but also beats other ensemble models without adding model parameters.

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Selective Attention Based Graph Convolutional Networks for Aspect-Level Sentiment Classification
Xiaochen Hou | Jing Huang | Guangtao Wang | Peng Qi | Xiaodong He | Bowen Zhou
Proceedings of the Fifteenth Workshop on Graph-Based Methods for Natural Language Processing (TextGraphs-15)

Recent work on aspect-level sentiment classification has employed Graph Convolutional Networks (GCN) over dependency trees to learn interactions between aspect terms and opinion words. In some cases, the corresponding opinion words for an aspect term cannot be reached within two hops on dependency trees, which requires more GCN layers to model. However, GCNs often achieve the best performance with two layers, and deeper GCNs do not bring any additional gain. Therefore, we design a novel selective attention based GCN model. On one hand, the proposed model enables the direct interaction between aspect terms and context words via the self-attention operation without the distance limitation on dependency trees. On the other hand, a top-k selection procedure is designed to locate opinion words by selecting k context words with the highest attention scores. We conduct experiments on several commonly used benchmark datasets and the results show that our proposed SA-GCN outperforms strong baseline models.

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Answering Open-Domain Questions of Varying Reasoning Steps from Text
Peng Qi | Haejun Lee | Tg Sido | Christopher Manning
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We develop a unified system to answer directly from text open-domain questions that may require a varying number of retrieval steps. We employ a single multi-task transformer model to perform all the necessary subtasks—retrieving supporting facts, reranking them, and predicting the answer from all retrieved documents—in an iterative fashion. We avoid crucial assumptions of previous work that do not transfer well to real-world settings, including exploiting knowledge of the fixed number of retrieval steps required to answer each question or using structured metadata like knowledge bases or web links that have limited availability. Instead, we design a system that can answer open-domain questions on any text collection without prior knowledge of reasoning complexity. To emulate this setting, we construct a new benchmark, called BeerQA, by combining existing one- and two-step datasets with a new collection of 530 questions that require three Wikipedia pages to answer, unifying Wikipedia corpora versions in the process. We show that our model demonstrates competitive performance on both existing benchmarks and this new benchmark. We make the new benchmark available at


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Stanza: A Python Natural Language Processing Toolkit for Many Human Languages
Peng Qi | Yuhao Zhang | Yuhui Zhang | Jason Bolton | Christopher D. Manning
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

We introduce Stanza, an open-source Python natural language processing toolkit supporting 66 human languages. Compared to existing widely used toolkits, Stanza features a language-agnostic fully neural pipeline for text analysis, including tokenization, multi-word token expansion, lemmatization, part-of-speech and morphological feature tagging, dependency parsing, and named entity recognition. We have trained Stanza on a total of 112 datasets, including the Universal Dependencies treebanks and other multilingual corpora, and show that the same neural architecture generalizes well and achieves competitive performance on all languages tested. Additionally, Stanza includes a native Python interface to the widely used Java Stanford CoreNLP software, which further extends its functionality to cover other tasks such as coreference resolution and relation extraction. Source code, documentation, and pretrained models for 66 languages are available at

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Stay Hungry, Stay Focused: Generating Informative and Specific Questions in Information-Seeking Conversations
Peng Qi | Yuhao Zhang | Christopher D. Manning
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

We investigate the problem of generating informative questions in information-asymmetric conversations. Unlike previous work on question generation which largely assumes knowledge of what the answer might be, we are interested in the scenario where the questioner is not given the context from which answers are drawn, but must reason pragmatically about how to acquire new information, given the shared conversation history. We identify two core challenges: (1) formally defining the informativeness of potential questions, and (2) exploring the prohibitively large space of potential questions to find the good candidates. To generate pragmatic questions, we use reinforcement learning to optimize an informativeness metric we propose, combined with a reward function designed to promote more specific questions. We demonstrate that the resulting pragmatic questioner substantially improves the informativeness and specificity of questions generated over a baseline model, as evaluated by our metrics as well as humans.


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Answering Complex Open-domain Questions Through Iterative Query Generation
Peng Qi | Xiaowen Lin | Leo Mehr | Zijian Wang | Christopher D. Manning
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

It is challenging for current one-step retrieve-and-read question answering (QA) systems to answer questions like “Which novel by the author of ‘Armada’ will be adapted as a feature film by Steven Spielberg?” because the question seldom contains retrievable clues about the missing entity (here, the author). Answering such a question requires multi-hop reasoning where one must gather information about the missing entity (or facts) to proceed with further reasoning. We present GoldEn (Gold Entity) Retriever, which iterates between reading context and retrieving more supporting documents to answer open-domain multi-hop questions. Instead of using opaque and computationally expensive neural retrieval models, GoldEn Retriever generates natural language search queries given the question and available context, and leverages off-the-shelf information retrieval systems to query for missing entities. This allows GoldEn Retriever to scale up efficiently for open-domain multi-hop reasoning while maintaining interpretability. We evaluate GoldEn Retriever on the recently proposed open-domain multi-hop QA dataset, HotpotQA, and demonstrate that it outperforms the best previously published model despite not using pretrained language models such as BERT.


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Sharp Nearby, Fuzzy Far Away: How Neural Language Models Use Context
Urvashi Khandelwal | He He | Peng Qi | Dan Jurafsky
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We know very little about how neural language models (LM) use prior linguistic context. In this paper, we investigate the role of context in an LSTM LM, through ablation studies. Specifically, we analyze the increase in perplexity when prior context words are shuffled, replaced, or dropped. On two standard datasets, Penn Treebank and WikiText-2, we find that the model is capable of using about 200 tokens of context on average, but sharply distinguishes nearby context (recent 50 tokens) from the distant history. The model is highly sensitive to the order of words within the most recent sentence, but ignores word order in the long-range context (beyond 50 tokens), suggesting the distant past is modeled only as a rough semantic field or topic. We further find that the neural caching model (Grave et al., 2017b) especially helps the LSTM to copy words from within this distant context. Overall, our analysis not only provides a better understanding of how neural LMs use their context, but also sheds light on recent success from cache-based models.

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Universal Dependency Parsing from Scratch
Peng Qi | Timothy Dozat | Yuhao Zhang | Christopher D. Manning
Proceedings of the CoNLL 2018 Shared Task: Multilingual Parsing from Raw Text to Universal Dependencies

This paper describes Stanford’s system at the CoNLL 2018 UD Shared Task. We introduce a complete neural pipeline system that takes raw text as input, and performs all tasks required by the shared task, ranging from tokenization and sentence segmentation, to POS tagging and dependency parsing. Our single system submission achieved very competitive performance on big treebanks. Moreover, after fixing an unfortunate bug, our corrected system would have placed the 2nd, 1st, and 3rd on the official evaluation metrics LAS, MLAS, and BLEX, and would have outperformed all submission systems on low-resource treebank categories on all metrics by a large margin. We further show the effectiveness of different model components through extensive ablation studies.

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Graph Convolution over Pruned Dependency Trees Improves Relation Extraction
Yuhao Zhang | Peng Qi | Christopher D. Manning
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Dependency trees help relation extraction models capture long-range relations between words. However, existing dependency-based models either neglect crucial information (e.g., negation) by pruning the dependency trees too aggressively, or are computationally inefficient because it is difficult to parallelize over different tree structures. We propose an extension of graph convolutional networks that is tailored for relation extraction, which pools information over arbitrary dependency structures efficiently in parallel. To incorporate relevant information while maximally removing irrelevant content, we further apply a novel pruning strategy to the input trees by keeping words immediately around the shortest path between the two entities among which a relation might hold. The resulting model achieves state-of-the-art performance on the large-scale TACRED dataset, outperforming existing sequence and dependency-based neural models. We also show through detailed analysis that this model has complementary strengths to sequence models, and combining them further improves the state of the art.

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HotpotQA: A Dataset for Diverse, Explainable Multi-hop Question Answering
Zhilin Yang | Peng Qi | Saizheng Zhang | Yoshua Bengio | William Cohen | Ruslan Salakhutdinov | Christopher D. Manning
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Existing question answering (QA) datasets fail to train QA systems to perform complex reasoning and provide explanations for answers. We introduce HotpotQA, a new dataset with 113k Wikipedia-based question-answer pairs with four key features: (1) the questions require finding and reasoning over multiple supporting documents to answer; (2) the questions are diverse and not constrained to any pre-existing knowledge bases or knowledge schemas; (3) we provide sentence-level supporting facts required for reasoning, allowing QA systems to reason with strong supervision and explain the predictions; (4) we offer a new type of factoid comparison questions to test QA systems’ ability to extract relevant facts and perform necessary comparison. We show that HotpotQA is challenging for the latest QA systems, and the supporting facts enable models to improve performance and make explainable predictions.


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Arc-swift: A Novel Transition System for Dependency Parsing
Peng Qi | Christopher D. Manning
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Transition-based dependency parsers often need sequences of local shift and reduce operations to produce certain attachments. Correct individual decisions hence require global information about the sentence context and mistakes cause error propagation. This paper proposes a novel transition system, arc-swift, that enables direct attachments between tokens farther apart with a single transition. This allows the parser to leverage lexical information more directly in transition decisions. Hence, arc-swift can achieve significantly better performance with a very small beam size. Our parsers reduce error by 3.7–7.6% relative to those using existing transition systems on the Penn Treebank dependency parsing task and English Universal Dependencies.

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Stanford’s Graph-based Neural Dependency Parser at the CoNLL 2017 Shared Task
Timothy Dozat | Peng Qi | Christopher D. Manning
Proceedings of the CoNLL 2017 Shared Task: Multilingual Parsing from Raw Text to Universal Dependencies

This paper describes the neural dependency parser submitted by Stanford to the CoNLL 2017 Shared Task on parsing Universal Dependencies. Our system uses relatively simple LSTM networks to produce part of speech tags and labeled dependency parses from segmented and tokenized sequences of words. In order to address the rare word problem that abounds in languages with complex morphology, we include a character-based word representation that uses an LSTM to produce embeddings from sequences of characters. Our system was ranked first according to all five relevant metrics for the system: UPOS tagging (93.09%), XPOS tagging (82.27%), unlabeled attachment score (81.30%), labeled attachment score (76.30%), and content word labeled attachment score (72.57%).