Shiran Dudy


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Refocusing on Relevance: Personalization in NLG
Shiran Dudy | Steven Bedrick | Bonnie Webber
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Many NLG tasks such as summarization, dialogue response, or open domain question answering, focus primarily on a source text in order to generate a target response. This standard approach falls short, however, when a user’s intent or context of work is not easily recoverable based solely on that source text– a scenario that we argue is more of the rule than the exception. In this work, we argue that NLG systems in general should place a much higher level of emphasis on making use of additional context, and suggest that relevance (as used in Information Retrieval) be thought of as a crucial tool for designing user-oriented text-generating tasks. We further discuss possible harms and hazards around such personalization, and argue that value-sensitive design represents a crucial path forward through these challenges.


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Are Some Words Worth More than Others?
Shiran Dudy | Steven Bedrick
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Evaluation and Comparison of NLP Systems

Current evaluation metrics for language modeling and generation rely heavily on the accuracy of predicted (or generated) words as compared to a reference ground truth. While important, token-level accuracy only captures one aspect of a language model’s behavior, and ignores linguistic properties of words that may allow some mis-predicted tokens to be useful in practice. Furthermore, statistics directly tied to prediction accuracy (including perplexity) may be confounded by the Zipfian nature of written language, as the majority of the prediction attempts will occur with frequently-occurring types. A model’s performance may vary greatly between high- and low-frequency words, which in practice could lead to failure modes such as repetitive and dull generated text being produced by a downstream consumer of a language model. To address this, we propose two new intrinsic evaluation measures within the framework of a simple word prediction task that are designed to give a more holistic picture of a language model’s performance. We evaluate several commonly-used large English language models using our proposed metrics, and demonstrate that our approach reveals functional differences in performance between the models that are obscured by more traditional metrics.

Long-Tail Predictions with Continuous-Output Language Models
Shiran Dudy | Steven Bedrick
Proceedings of the The Fourth Widening Natural Language Processing Workshop

Neural language models typically employ a categorical approach to prediction and training, leading to well-known computational and numerical limitations. An under-explored alternative approach is to perform prediction directly against a continuous word embedding space, which according to recent research is more akin to how lexemes are represented in the brain. Choosing this method opens the door for for large-vocabulary, language models and enables substantially smaller and simpler computational complexities. In this research we explore a different important trait - the continuous output prediction models reach low-frequency vocabulary words which we show are often ignored by the categorical model. Such words are essential, as they can contribute to personalization and user vocabulary adaptation. In this work, we explore continuous-space language modeling in the context of a word prediction task over two different textual domains (newswire text and biomedical journal articles). We investigate both traditional and adversarial training approaches, and report results using several different embedding spaces and decoding mechanisms. We find that our continuous-prediction approach outperforms the standard categorical approach in terms of term diversity, in particular with rare words.


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Noisy Neural Language Modeling for Typing Prediction in BCI Communication
Rui Dong | David Smith | Shiran Dudy | Steven Bedrick
Proceedings of the Eighth Workshop on Speech and Language Processing for Assistive Technologies

Language models have broad adoption in predictive typing tasks. When the typing history contains numerous errors, as in open-vocabulary predictive typing with brain-computer interface (BCI) systems, we observe significant performance degradation in both n-gram and recurrent neural network language models trained on clean text. In evaluations of ranking character predictions, training recurrent LMs on noisy text makes them much more robust to noisy histories, even when the error model is misspecified. We also propose an effective strategy for combining evidence from multiple ambiguous histories of BCI electroencephalogram measurements.


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A Multi-Context Character Prediction Model for a Brain-Computer Interface
Shiran Dudy | Shaobin Xu | Steven Bedrick | David Smith
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Subword/Character LEvel Models

Brain-computer interfaces and other augmentative and alternative communication devices introduce language-modeing challenges distinct from other character-entry methods. In particular, the acquired signal of the EEG (electroencephalogram) signal is noisier, which, in turn, makes the user intent harder to decipher. In order to adapt to this condition, we propose to maintain ambiguous history for every time step, and to employ, apart from the character language model, word information to produce a more robust prediction system. We present preliminary results that compare this proposed Online-Context Language Model (OCLM) to current algorithms that are used in this type of setting. Evaluation on both perplexity and predictive accuracy demonstrates promising results when dealing with ambiguous histories in order to provide to the front end a distribution of the next character the user might type.

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Compositional Language Modeling for Icon-Based Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Shiran Dudy | Steven Bedrick
Proceedings of the Workshop on Deep Learning Approaches for Low-Resource NLP

Icon-based communication systems are widely used in the field of Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Typically, icon-based systems have lagged behind word- and character-based systems in terms of predictive typing functionality, due to the challenges inherent to training icon-based language models. We propose a method for synthesizing training data for use in icon-based language models, and explore two different modeling strategies. We propose a method to generate language models for corpus-less symbol-set.