Urvashi Khandelwal


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With Little Power Comes Great Responsibility
Dallas Card | Peter Henderson | Urvashi Khandelwal | Robin Jia | Kyle Mahowald | Dan Jurafsky
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Despite its importance to experimental design, statistical power (the probability that, given a real effect, an experiment will reject the null hypothesis) has largely been ignored by the NLP community. Underpowered experiments make it more difficult to discern the difference between statistical noise and meaningful model improvements, and increase the chances of exaggerated findings. By meta-analyzing a set of existing NLP papers and datasets, we characterize typical power for a variety of settings and conclude that underpowered experiments are common in the NLP literature. In particular, for several tasks in the popular GLUE benchmark, small test sets mean that most attempted comparisons to state of the art models will not be adequately powered. Similarly, based on reasonable assumptions, we find that the most typical experimental design for human rating studies will be underpowered to detect small model differences, of the sort that are frequently studied. For machine translation, we find that typical test sets of 2000 sentences have approximately 75% power to detect differences of 1 BLEU point. To improve the situation going forward, we give an overview of best practices for power analysis in NLP and release a series of notebooks to assist with future power analyses.


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Proceedings of the Workshop on Methods for Optimizing and Evaluating Neural Language Generation
Antoine Bosselut | Asli Celikyilmaz | Marjan Ghazvininejad | Srinivasan Iyer | Urvashi Khandelwal | Hannah Rashkin | Thomas Wolf
Proceedings of the Workshop on Methods for Optimizing and Evaluating Neural Language Generation

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What Does BERT Look at? An Analysis of BERT’s Attention
Kevin Clark | Urvashi Khandelwal | Omer Levy | Christopher D. Manning
Proceedings of the 2019 ACL Workshop BlackboxNLP: Analyzing and Interpreting Neural Networks for NLP

Large pre-trained neural networks such as BERT have had great recent success in NLP, motivating a growing body of research investigating what aspects of language they are able to learn from unlabeled data. Most recent analysis has focused on model outputs (e.g., language model surprisal) or internal vector representations (e.g., probing classifiers). Complementary to these works, we propose methods for analyzing the attention mechanisms of pre-trained models and apply them to BERT. BERT’s attention heads exhibit patterns such as attending to delimiter tokens, specific positional offsets, or broadly attending over the whole sentence, with heads in the same layer often exhibiting similar behaviors. We further show that certain attention heads correspond well to linguistic notions of syntax and coreference. For example, we find heads that attend to the direct objects of verbs, determiners of nouns, objects of prepositions, and coreferent mentions with remarkably high accuracy. Lastly, we propose an attention-based probing classifier and use it to further demonstrate that substantial syntactic information is captured in BERT’s attention.

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BAM! Born-Again Multi-Task Networks for Natural Language Understanding
Kevin Clark | Minh-Thang Luong | Urvashi Khandelwal | Christopher D. Manning | Quoc V. Le
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

It can be challenging to train multi-task neural networks that outperform or even match their single-task counterparts. To help address this, we propose using knowledge distillation where single-task models teach a multi-task model. We enhance this training with teacher annealing, a novel method that gradually transitions the model from distillation to supervised learning, helping the multi-task model surpass its single-task teachers. We evaluate our approach by multi-task fine-tuning BERT on the GLUE benchmark. Our method consistently improves over standard single-task and multi-task training.


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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.