Tal Schuster


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PropSegmEnt: A Large-Scale Corpus for Proposition-Level Segmentation and Entailment Recognition
Sihao Chen | Senaka Buthpitiya | Alex Fabrikant | Dan Roth | Tal Schuster
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

The widely studied task of Natural Language Inference (NLI) requires a system to recognize whether one piece of text is textually entailed by another, i.e. whether the entirety of its meaning can be inferred from the other. In current NLI datasets and models, textual entailment relations are typically defined on the sentence- or paragraph-level. However, even a simple sentence often contains multiple propositions, i.e. distinct units of meaning conveyed by the sentence. As these propositions can carry different truth values in the context of a given premise, we argue for the need to recognize the textual entailment relation of each proposition in a sentence individually. We propose PropSegmEnt, a corpus of over 45K propositions annotated by expert human raters. Our dataset structure resembles the tasks of (1) segmenting sentences within a document to the set of propositions, and (2) classifying the entailment relation of each proposition with respect to a different yet topically-aligned document, i.e. documents describing the same event or entity. We establish strong baselines for the segmentation and entailment tasks. Through case studies on summary hallucination detection and document-level NLI, we demonstrate that our conceptual framework is potentially useful for understanding and explaining the compositionality of NLI labels.

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Proceedings of The Fourth Workshop on Simple and Efficient Natural Language Processing (SustaiNLP)
Nafise Sadat Moosavi | Iryna Gurevych | Yufang Hou | Gyuwan Kim | Young Jin Kim | Tal Schuster | Ameeta Agrawal
Proceedings of The Fourth Workshop on Simple and Efficient Natural Language Processing (SustaiNLP)

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LAIT: Efficient Multi-Segment Encoding in Transformers with Layer-Adjustable Interaction
Jeremiah Milbauer | Annie Louis | Mohammad Javad Hosseini | Alex Fabrikant | Donald Metzler | Tal Schuster
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Transformer encoders contextualize token representations by attending to all other tokens at each layer, leading to quadratic increase in compute effort with the input length. In practice, however, the input text of many NLP tasks can be seen as a sequence of related segments (e.g., the sequence of sentences within a passage, or the hypothesis and premise in NLI). While attending across these segments is highly beneficial for many tasks, we hypothesize that this interaction can be delayed until later encoding stages. To this end, we introduce Layer-Adjustable Interactions in Transformers (LAIT). Within LAIT, segmented inputs are first encoded independently, and then jointly. This partial two-tower architecture bridges the gap between a Dual Encoder’s ability to pre-compute representations for segments and a fully self-attentive Transformer’s capacity to model cross-segment attention. The LAIT framework effectively leverages existing pretrained Transformers and converts them into the hybrid of the two aforementioned architectures, allowing for easy and intuitive control over the performance-efficiency tradeoff. Experimenting on a wide range of NLP tasks, we find LAIT able to reduce 30-50% of the attention FLOPs on many tasks, while preserving high accuracy; in some practical settings, LAIT could reduce actual latency by orders of magnitude.


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Stretching Sentence-pair NLI Models to Reason over Long Documents and Clusters
Tal Schuster | Sihao Chen | Senaka Buthpitiya | Alex Fabrikant | Donald Metzler
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Natural Language Inference (NLI) has been extensively studied by the NLP community as a framework for estimating the semantic relation between sentence pairs. While early work identified certain biases in NLI models, recent advancements in modeling and datasets demonstrated promising performance. In this work, we further explore the direct zero-shot applicability of NLI models to real applications, beyond the sentence-pair setting they were trained on. First, we analyze the robustness of these models to longer and out-of-domain inputs. Then, we develop new aggregation methods to allow operating over full documents, reaching state-of-the-art performance on the ContractNLI dataset. Interestingly, we find NLI scores to provide strong retrieval signals, leading to more relevant evidence extractions compared to common similarity-based methods. Finally, we go further and investigate whole document clusters to identify both discrepancies and consensus among sources. In a test case, we find real inconsistencies between Wikipedia pages in different languages about the same topic.

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Tomayto, Tomahto. Beyond Token-level Answer Equivalence for Question Answering Evaluation
Jannis Bulian | Christian Buck | Wojciech Gajewski | Benjamin Börschinger | Tal Schuster
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The predictions of question answering (QA) systems are typically evaluated against manually annotated finite sets of one or more answers. This leads to a coverage limitation that results in underestimating the true performance of systems, and is typically addressed by extending over exact match (EM) with predefined rules or with the token-level F1 measure. In this paper, we present the first systematic conceptual and data-driven analysis to examine the shortcomings of token-level equivalence measures. To this end, we define the asymmetric notion of answer equivalence (AE), accepting answers that are equivalent to or improve over the reference, and publish over 23k human judgements for candidates produced by multiple QA systems on SQuAD.Through a careful analysis of this data, we reveal and quantify several concrete limitations of the F1 measure, such as a false impression of graduality, or missing dependence on the question. Since collecting AE annotations for each evaluated model is expensive, we learn a BERT matching (BEM) measure to approximate this task. Being a simpler task than QA, we find BEM to provide significantly better AE approximations than F1, and to more accurately reflect the performance of systems. Finally, we demonstrate the practical utility of AE and BEM on the concrete application of minimal accurate prediction sets, reducing the number of required answers by up to X2.6.


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Consistent Accelerated Inference via Confident Adaptive Transformers
Tal Schuster | Adam Fisch | Tommi Jaakkola | Regina Barzilay
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We develop a novel approach for confidently accelerating inference in the large and expensive multilayer Transformers that are now ubiquitous in natural language processing (NLP). Amortized or approximate computational methods increase efficiency, but can come with unpredictable performance costs. In this work, we present CATs – Confident Adaptive Transformers – in which we simultaneously increase computational efficiency, while guaranteeing a specifiable degree of consistency with the original model with high confidence. Our method trains additional prediction heads on top of intermediate layers, and dynamically decides when to stop allocating computational effort to each input using a meta consistency classifier. To calibrate our early prediction stopping rule, we formulate a unique extension of conformal prediction. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach on four classification and regression tasks.

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Get Your Vitamin C! Robust Fact Verification with Contrastive Evidence
Tal Schuster | Adam Fisch | Regina Barzilay
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Typical fact verification models use retrieved written evidence to verify claims. Evidence sources, however, often change over time as more information is gathered and revised. In order to adapt, models must be sensitive to subtle differences in supporting evidence. We present VitaminC, a benchmark infused with challenging cases that require fact verification models to discern and adjust to slight factual changes. We collect over 100,000 Wikipedia revisions that modify an underlying fact, and leverage these revisions, together with additional synthetically constructed ones, to create a total of over 400,000 claim-evidence pairs. Unlike previous resources, the examples in VitaminC are contrastive, i.e., they contain evidence pairs that are nearly identical in language and content, with the exception that one supports a given claim while the other does not. We show that training using this design increases robustness—improving accuracy by 10% on adversarial fact verification and 6% on adversarial natural language inference (NLI). Moreover, the structure of VitaminC leads us to define additional tasks for fact-checking resources: tagging relevant words in the evidence for verifying the claim, identifying factual revisions, and providing automatic edits via factually consistent text generation.


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Distilling the Evidence to Augment Fact Verification Models
Beatrice Portelli | Jason Zhao | Tal Schuster | Giuseppe Serra | Enrico Santus
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Fact Extraction and VERification (FEVER)

The alarming spread of fake news in social media, together with the impossibility of scaling manual fact verification, motivated the development of natural language processing techniques to automatically verify the veracity of claims. Most approaches perform a claim-evidence classification without providing any insights about why the claim is trustworthy or not. We propose, instead, a model-agnostic framework that consists of two modules: (1) a span extractor, which identifies the crucial information connecting claim and evidence; and (2) a classifier that combines claim, evidence, and the extracted spans to predict the veracity of the claim. We show that the spans are informative for the classifier, improving performance and robustness. Tested on several state-of-the-art models over the Fever dataset, the enhanced classifiers consistently achieve higher accuracy while also showing reduced sensitivity to artifacts in the claims.

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The Limitations of Stylometry for Detecting Machine-Generated Fake News
Tal Schuster | Roei Schuster | Darsh J. Shah | Regina Barzilay
Computational Linguistics, Volume 46, Issue 2 - June 2020

Recent developments in neural language models (LMs) have raised concerns about their potential misuse for automatically spreading misinformation. In light of these concerns, several studies have proposed to detect machine-generated fake news by capturing their stylistic differences from human-written text. These approaches, broadly termed stylometry, have found success in source attribution and misinformation detection in human-written texts. However, in this work, we show that stylometry is limited against machine-generated misinformation. Whereas humans speak differently when trying to deceive, LMs generate stylistically consistent text, regardless of underlying motive. Thus, though stylometry can successfully prevent impersonation by identifying text provenance, it fails to distinguish legitimate LM applications from those that introduce false information. We create two benchmarks demonstrating the stylistic similarity between malicious and legitimate uses of LMs, utilized in auto-completion and editing-assistance settings.1 Our findings highlight the need for non-stylometry approaches in detecting machine-generated misinformation, and open up the discussion on the desired evaluation benchmarks.


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Towards Debiasing Fact Verification Models
Tal Schuster | Darsh Shah | Yun Jie Serene Yeo | Daniel Roberto Filizzola Ortiz | Enrico Santus | Regina Barzilay
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Fact verification requires validating a claim in the context of evidence. We show, however, that in the popular FEVER dataset this might not necessarily be the case. Claim-only classifiers perform competitively with top evidence-aware models. In this paper, we investigate the cause of this phenomenon, identifying strong cues for predicting labels solely based on the claim, without considering any evidence. We create an evaluation set that avoids those idiosyncrasies. The performance of FEVER-trained models significantly drops when evaluated on this test set. Therefore, we introduce a regularization method which alleviates the effect of bias in the training data, obtaining improvements on the newly created test set. This work is a step towards a more sound evaluation of reasoning capabilities in fact verification models.

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Cross-Lingual Alignment of Contextual Word Embeddings, with Applications to Zero-shot Dependency Parsing
Tal Schuster | Ori Ram | Regina Barzilay | Amir Globerson
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)

We introduce a novel method for multilingual transfer that utilizes deep contextual embeddings, pretrained in an unsupervised fashion. While contextual embeddings have been shown to yield richer representations of meaning compared to their static counterparts, aligning them poses a challenge due to their dynamic nature. To this end, we construct context-independent variants of the original monolingual spaces and utilize their mapping to derive an alignment for the context-dependent spaces. This mapping readily supports processing of a target language, improving transfer by context-aware embeddings. Our experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach for zero-shot and few-shot learning of dependency parsing. Specifically, our method consistently outperforms the previous state-of-the-art on 6 tested languages, yielding an improvement of 6.8 LAS points on average.