Prashant Shiralkar


2023

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Extracting Shopping Interest-Related Product Types from the Web
Yinghao Li | Colin Lockard | Prashant Shiralkar | Chao Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Recommending a diversity of product types (PTs) is important for a good shopping experience when customers are looking for products around their high-level shopping interests (SIs) such as hiking. However, the SI-PT connection is typically absent in e-commerce product catalogs and expensive to construct manually due to the volume of potential SIs, which prevents us from establishing a recommender with easily accessible knowledge systems. To establish such connections, we propose to extract PTs from the Web pages containing hand-crafted PT recommendations for SIs. The extraction task is formulated as binary HTML node classification given the general observation that an HTML node in our target Web pages can present one and only one PT phrase. Accordingly, we introduce TrENC, which stands for Tree-Transformer Encoders for Node Classification. It improves the inter-node dependency modeling with modified attention mechanisms that preserve the long-term sibling and ancestor-descendant relations. TrENC also injects SI into node features for better semantic representation. Trained on pages regarding limited SIs, TrEnc is ready to be applied to other unobserved interests. Experiments on our manually constructed dataset, WebPT, show that TrENC outperforms the best baseline model by 2.37 F1 points in the zero-shot setup. The performance indicates the feasibility of constructing SI-PT relations and using them to power downstream applications such as search and recommendation.

2020

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ZeroShotCeres: Zero-Shot Relation Extraction from Semi-Structured Webpages
Colin Lockard | Prashant Shiralkar | Xin Luna Dong | Hannaneh Hajishirzi
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

In many documents, such as semi-structured webpages, textual semantics are augmented with additional information conveyed using visual elements including layout, font size, and color. Prior work on information extraction from semi-structured websites has required learning an extraction model specific to a given template via either manually labeled or distantly supervised data from that template. In this work, we propose a solution for “zero-shot” open-domain relation extraction from webpages with a previously unseen template, including from websites with little overlap with existing sources of knowledge for distant supervision and websites in entirely new subject verticals. Our model uses a graph neural network-based approach to build a rich representation of text fields on a webpage and the relationships between them, enabling generalization to new templates. Experiments show this approach provides a 31% F1 gain over a baseline for zero-shot extraction in a new subject vertical.

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TriggerNER: Learning with Entity Triggers as Explanations for Named Entity Recognition
Bill Yuchen Lin | Dong-Ho Lee | Ming Shen | Ryan Moreno | Xiao Huang | Prashant Shiralkar | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Training neural models for named entity recognition (NER) in a new domain often requires additional human annotations (e.g., tens of thousands of labeled instances) that are usually expensive and time-consuming to collect. Thus, a crucial research question is how to obtain supervision in a cost-effective way. In this paper, we introduce “entity triggers,” an effective proxy of human explanations for facilitating label-efficient learning of NER models. An entity trigger is defined as a group of words in a sentence that helps to explain why humans would recognize an entity in the sentence. We crowd-sourced 14k entity triggers for two well-studied NER datasets. Our proposed model, Trigger Matching Network, jointly learns trigger representations and soft matching module with self-attention such that can generalize to unseen sentences easily for tagging. Our framework is significantly more cost-effective than the traditional neural NER frameworks. Experiments show that using only 20% of the trigger-annotated sentences results in a comparable performance as using 70% of conventional annotated sentences.

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Multi-modal Information Extraction from Text, Semi-structured, and Tabular Data on the Web
Xin Luna Dong | Hannaneh Hajishirzi | Colin Lockard | Prashant Shiralkar
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Tutorial Abstracts

The World Wide Web contains vast quantities of textual information in several forms: unstructured text, template-based semi-structured webpages (which present data in key-value pairs and lists), and tables. Methods for extracting information from these sources and converting it to a structured form have been a target of research from the natural language processing (NLP), data mining, and database communities. While these researchers have largely separated extraction from web data into different problems based on the modality of the data, they have faced similar problems such as learning with limited labeled data, defining (or avoiding defining) ontologies, making use of prior knowledge, and scaling solutions to deal with the size of the Web. In this tutorial we take a holistic view toward information extraction, exploring the commonalities in the challenges and solutions developed to address these different forms of text. We will explore the approaches targeted at unstructured text that largely rely on learning syntactic or semantic textual patterns, approaches targeted at semi-structured documents that learn to identify structural patterns in the template, and approaches targeting web tables which rely heavily on entity linking and type information. While these different data modalities have largely been considered separately in the past, recent research has started taking a more inclusive approach toward textual extraction, in which the multiple signals offered by textual, layout, and visual clues are combined into a single extraction model made possible by new deep learning approaches. At the same time, trends within purely textual extraction have shifted toward full-document understanding rather than considering sentences as independent units. With this in mind, it is worth considering the information extraction problem as a whole to motivate solutions that harness textual semantics along with visual and semi-structured layout information. We will discuss these approaches and suggest avenues for future work.

2019

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OpenCeres: When Open Information Extraction Meets the Semi-Structured Web
Colin Lockard | Prashant Shiralkar | Xin Luna Dong
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)

Open Information Extraction (OpenIE), the problem of harvesting triples from natural language text whose predicate relations are not aligned to any pre-defined ontology, has been a popular subject of research for the last decade. However, this research has largely ignored the vast quantity of facts available in semi-structured webpages. In this paper, we define the problem of OpenIE from semi-structured websites to extract such facts, and present an approach for solving it. We also introduce a labeled evaluation dataset to motivate research in this area. Given a semi-structured website and a set of seed facts for some relations existing on its pages, we employ a semi-supervised label propagation technique to automatically create training data for the relations present on the site. We then use this training data to learn a classifier for relation extraction. Experimental results of this method on our new benchmark dataset obtained a precision of over 70%. A larger scale extraction experiment on 31 websites in the movie vertical resulted in the extraction of over 2 million triples.