Varun Gangal


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Coarse2Fine: Fine-grained Text Classification on Coarsely-grained Annotated Data
Dheeraj Mekala | Varun Gangal | Jingbo Shang
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Existing text classification methods mainly focus on a fixed label set, whereas many real-world applications require extending to new fine-grained classes as the number of samples per label increases. To accommodate such requirements, we introduce a new problem called coarse-to-fine grained classification, which aims to perform fine-grained classification on coarsely annotated data. Instead of asking for new fine-grained human annotations, we opt to leverage label surface names as the only human guidance and weave in rich pre-trained generative language models into the iterative weak supervision strategy. Specifically, we first propose a label-conditioned fine-tuning formulation to attune these generators for our task. Furthermore, we devise a regularization objective based on the coarse-fine label constraints derived from our problem setting, giving us even further improvements over the prior formulation. Our framework uses the fine-tuned generative models to sample pseudo-training data for training the classifier, and bootstraps on real unlabeled data for model refinement. Extensive experiments and case studies on two real-world datasets demonstrate superior performance over SOTA zero-shot classification baselines.

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Investigating Robustness of Dialog Models to Popular Figurative Language Constructs
Harsh Jhamtani | Varun Gangal | Eduard Hovy | Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Humans often employ figurative language use in communication, including during interactions with dialog systems. Thus, it is important for real-world dialog systems to be able to handle popular figurative language constructs like metaphor and simile. In this work, we analyze the performance of existing dialog models in situations where the input dialog context exhibits use of figurative language. We observe large gaps in handling of figurative language when evaluating the models on two open domain dialog datasets. When faced with dialog contexts consisting of figurative language, some models show very large drops in performance compared to contexts without figurative language. We encourage future research in dialog modeling to separately analyze and report results on figurative language in order to better test model capabilities relevant to real-world use. Finally, we propose lightweight solutions to help existing models become more robust to figurative language by simply using an external resource to translate figurative language to literal (non-figurative) forms while preserving the meaning to the best extent possible.

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A Survey of Data Augmentation Approaches for NLP
Steven Y. Feng | Varun Gangal | Jason Wei | Sarath Chandar | Soroush Vosoughi | Teruko Mitamura | Eduard Hovy
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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Improving Automated Evaluation of Open Domain Dialog via Diverse Reference Augmentation
Varun Gangal | Harsh Jhamtani | Eduard Hovy | Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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SAPPHIRE: Approaches for Enhanced Concept-to-Text Generation
Steven Y. Feng | Jessica Huynh | Chaitanya Prasad Narisetty | Eduard Hovy | Varun Gangal
Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Natural Language Generation

We motivate and propose a suite of simple but effective improvements for concept-to-text generation called SAPPHIRE: Set Augmentation and Post-hoc PHrase Infilling and REcombination. We demonstrate their effectiveness on generative commonsense reasoning, a.k.a. the CommonGen task, through experiments using both BART and T5 models. Through extensive automatic and human evaluation, we show that SAPPHIRE noticeably improves model performance. An in-depth qualitative analysis illustrates that SAPPHIRE effectively addresses many issues of the baseline model generations, including lack of commonsense, insufficient specificity, and poor fluency.

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The GEM Benchmark: Natural Language Generation, its Evaluation and Metrics
Sebastian Gehrmann | Tosin Adewumi | Karmanya Aggarwal | Pawan Sasanka Ammanamanchi | Anuoluwapo Aremu | Antoine Bosselut | Khyathi Raghavi Chandu | Miruna-Adriana Clinciu | Dipanjan Das | Kaustubh Dhole | Wanyu Du | Esin Durmus | Ondřej Dušek | Chris Chinenye Emezue | Varun Gangal | Cristina Garbacea | Tatsunori Hashimoto | Yufang Hou | Yacine Jernite | Harsh Jhamtani | Yangfeng Ji | Shailza Jolly | Mihir Kale | Dhruv Kumar | Faisal Ladhak | Aman Madaan | Mounica Maddela | Khyati Mahajan | Saad Mahamood | Bodhisattwa Prasad Majumder | Pedro Henrique Martins | Angelina McMillan-Major | Simon Mille | Emiel van Miltenburg | Moin Nadeem | Shashi Narayan | Vitaly Nikolaev | Andre Niyongabo Rubungo | Salomey Osei | Ankur Parikh | Laura Perez-Beltrachini | Niranjan Ramesh Rao | Vikas Raunak | Juan Diego Rodriguez | Sashank Santhanam | João Sedoc | Thibault Sellam | Samira Shaikh | Anastasia Shimorina | Marco Antonio Sobrevilla Cabezudo | Hendrik Strobelt | Nishant Subramani | Wei Xu | Diyi Yang | Akhila Yerukola | Jiawei Zhou
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Natural Language Generation, Evaluation, and Metrics (GEM 2021)

We introduce GEM, a living benchmark for natural language Generation (NLG), its Evaluation, and Metrics. Measuring progress in NLG relies on a constantly evolving ecosystem of automated metrics, datasets, and human evaluation standards. Due to this moving target, new models often still evaluate on divergent anglo-centric corpora with well-established, but flawed, metrics. This disconnect makes it challenging to identify the limitations of current models and opportunities for progress. Addressing this limitation, GEM provides an environment in which models can easily be applied to a wide set of tasks and in which evaluation strategies can be tested. Regular updates to the benchmark will help NLG research become more multilingual and evolve the challenge alongside models. This paper serves as the description of the data for the 2021 shared task at the associated GEM Workshop.


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GenAug: Data Augmentation for Finetuning Text Generators
Steven Y. Feng | Varun Gangal | Dongyeop Kang | Teruko Mitamura | Eduard Hovy
Proceedings of Deep Learning Inside Out (DeeLIO): The First Workshop on Knowledge Extraction and Integration for Deep Learning Architectures

In this paper, we investigate data augmentation for text generation, which we call GenAug. Text generation and language modeling are important tasks within natural language processing, and are especially challenging for low-data regimes. We propose and evaluate various augmentation methods, including some that incorporate external knowledge, for finetuning GPT-2 on a subset of Yelp Reviews. We also examine the relationship between the amount of augmentation and the quality of the generated text. We utilize several metrics that evaluate important aspects of the generated text including its diversity and fluency. Our experiments demonstrate that insertion of character-level synthetic noise and keyword replacement with hypernyms are effective augmentation methods, and that the quality of generations improves to a peak at approximately three times the amount of original data.

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SCDE: Sentence Cloze Dataset with High Quality Distractors From Examinations
Xiang Kong | Varun Gangal | Eduard Hovy
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We introduce SCDE, a dataset to evaluate the performance of computational models through sentence prediction. SCDE is a human created sentence cloze dataset, collected from public school English examinations. Our task requires a model to fill up multiple blanks in a passage from a shared candidate set with distractors designed by English teachers. Experimental results demonstrate that this task requires the use of non-local, discourse-level context beyond the immediate sentence neighborhood. The blanks require joint solving and significantly impair each other’s context. Furthermore, through ablations, we show that the distractors are of high quality and make the task more challenging. Our experiments show that there is a significant performance gap between advanced models (72%) and humans (87%), encouraging future models to bridge this gap.

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BERTering RAMS: What and How Much does BERT Already Know About Event Arguments? - A Study on the RAMS Dataset
Varun Gangal | Eduard Hovy
Proceedings of the Third BlackboxNLP Workshop on Analyzing and Interpreting Neural Networks for NLP

Using the attention map based probing framework from (Clark et al., 2019), we observe that, on the RAMS dataset (Ebner et al., 2020), BERT’s attention heads have modest but well above-chance ability to spot event arguments sans any training or domain finetuning, varying from a low of 17.77% for Place to a high of 51.61% for Artifact. Next, we find that linear combinations of these heads, estimated with approx. 11% of available total event argument detection supervision, can push performance well higher for some roles — highest two being Victim (68.29% Accuracy) and Artifact (58.82% Accuracy). Furthermore, we investigate how well our methods do for cross-sentence event arguments. We propose a procedure to isolate “best heads” for cross-sentence argument detection separately of those for intra-sentence arguments. The heads thus estimated have superior cross-sentence performance compared to their jointly estimated equivalents, albeit only under the unrealistic assumption that we already know the argument is present in another sentence. Lastly, we seek to isolate to what extent our numbers stem from lexical frequency based associations between gold arguments and roles. We propose NONCE, a scheme to create adversarial test examples by replacing gold arguments with randomly generated “nonce” words. We find that learnt linear combinations are robust to NONCE, though individual best heads can be more sensitive.


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(Male, Bachelor) and (Female, Ph.D) have different connotations: Parallelly Annotated Stylistic Language Dataset with Multiple Personas
Dongyeop Kang | Varun Gangal | Eduard Hovy
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Stylistic variation in text needs to be studied with different aspects including the writer’s personal traits, interpersonal relations, rhetoric, and more. Despite recent attempts on computational modeling of the variation, the lack of parallel corpora of style language makes it difficult to systematically control the stylistic change as well as evaluate such models. We release PASTEL, the parallel and annotated stylistic language dataset, that contains ~41K parallel sentences (8.3K parallel stories) annotated across different personas. Each persona has different styles in conjunction: gender, age, country, political view, education, ethnic, and time-of-writing. The dataset is collected from human annotators with solid control of input denotation: not only preserving original meaning between text, but promoting stylistic diversity to annotators. We test the dataset on two interesting applications of style language, where PASTEL helps design appropriate experiment and evaluation. First, in predicting a target style (e.g., male or female in gender) given a text, multiple styles of PASTEL make other external style variables controlled (or fixed), which is a more accurate experimental design. Second, a simple supervised model with our parallel text outperforms the unsupervised models using nonparallel text in style transfer. Our dataset is publicly available.


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Learning to Generate Move-by-Move Commentary for Chess Games from Large-Scale Social Forum Data
Harsh Jhamtani | Varun Gangal | Eduard Hovy | Graham Neubig | Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

This paper examines the problem of generating natural language descriptions of chess games. We introduce a new large-scale chess commentary dataset and propose methods to generate commentary for individual moves in a chess game. The introduced dataset consists of more than 298K chess move-commentary pairs across 11K chess games. We highlight how this task poses unique research challenges in natural language generation: the data contain a large variety of styles of commentary and frequently depend on pragmatic context. We benchmark various baselines and propose an end-to-end trainable neural model which takes into account multiple pragmatic aspects of the game state that may be commented upon to describe a given chess move. Through a human study on predictions for a subset of the data which deals with direct move descriptions, we observe that outputs from our models are rated similar to ground truth commentary texts in terms of correctness and fluency.


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Detecting and Explaining Causes From Text For a Time Series Event
Dongyeop Kang | Varun Gangal | Ang Lu | Zheng Chen | Eduard Hovy
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Explaining underlying causes or effects about events is a challenging but valuable task. We define a novel problem of generating explanations of a time series event by (1) searching cause and effect relationships of the time series with textual data and (2) constructing a connecting chain between them to generate an explanation. To detect causal features from text, we propose a novel method based on the Granger causality of time series between features extracted from text such as N-grams, topics, sentiments, and their composition. The generation of the sequence of causal entities requires a commonsense causative knowledge base with efficient reasoning. To ensure good interpretability and appropriate lexical usage we combine symbolic and neural representations, using a neural reasoning algorithm trained on commonsense causal tuples to predict the next cause step. Our quantitative and human analysis show empirical evidence that our method successfully extracts meaningful causality relationships between time series with textual features and generates appropriate explanation between them.

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Charmanteau: Character Embedding Models For Portmanteau Creation
Varun Gangal | Harsh Jhamtani | Graham Neubig | Eduard Hovy | Eric Nyberg
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Portmanteaus are a word formation phenomenon where two words combine into a new word. We propose character-level neural sequence-to-sequence (S2S) methods for the task of portmanteau generation that are end-to-end-trainable, language independent, and do not explicitly use additional phonetic information. We propose a noisy-channel-style model, which allows for the incorporation of unsupervised word lists, improving performance over a standard source-to-target model. This model is made possible by an exhaustive candidate generation strategy specifically enabled by the features of the portmanteau task. Experiments find our approach superior to a state-of-the-art FST-based baseline with respect to ground truth accuracy and human evaluation.

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Shakespearizing Modern Language Using Copy-Enriched Sequence to Sequence Models
Harsh Jhamtani | Varun Gangal | Eduard Hovy | Eric Nyberg
Proceedings of the Workshop on Stylistic Variation

Variations in writing styles are commonly used to adapt the content to a specific context, audience, or purpose. However, applying stylistic variations is still by and large a manual process, and there have been little efforts towards automating it. In this paper we explore automated methods to transform text from modern English to Shakespearean English using an end to end trainable neural model with pointers to enable copy action. To tackle limited amount of parallel data, we pre-train embeddings of words by leveraging external dictionaries mapping Shakespearean words to modern English words as well as additional text. Our methods are able to get a BLEU score of 31+, an improvement of ≈ 6 points above the strongest baseline. We publicly release our code to foster further research in this area.