Vinh Nguyen


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Solving the Right Problem is Key for Translational NLP: A Case Study in UMLS Vocabulary Insertion
Bernal Gutierrez | Yuqing Mao | Vinh Nguyen | Kin Fung | Yu Su | Olivier Bodenreider
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

As the immense opportunities enabled by large language models become more apparent, NLP systems will be increasingly expected to excel in real-world settings. However, in many instances, powerful models alone will not yield translational NLP solutions, especially if the formulated problem is not well aligned with the real-world task. In this work, we study the case of UMLS vocabulary insertion, an important real-world task in which hundreds of thousands of new terms, referred to as atoms, are added to the UMLS, one of the most comprehensive open-source biomedical knowledge bases. Previous work aimed to develop an automated NLP system to make this time-consuming, costly, and error-prone task more efficient. Nevertheless, practical progress in this direction has been difficult to achieve due to a problem formulation and evaluation gap between research output and the real-world task. In order to address this gap, we introduce a new formulation for UMLS vocabulary insertion which mirrors the real-world task, datasets which faithfully represent it and several strong baselines we developed through re-purposing existing solutions. Additionally, we propose an effective rule-enhanced biomedical language model which enables important new model behavior, outperforms all strong baselines and provides measurable qualitative improvements to editors who carry out the UVI task. We hope this case study provides insight into the considerable importance of problem formulation for the success of translational NLP solutions.


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Evaluating Biomedical Word Embeddings for Vocabulary Alignment at Scale in the UMLS Metathesaurus Using Siamese Networks
Goonmeet Bajaj | Vinh Nguyen | Thilini Wijesiriwardene | Hong Yung Yip | Vishesh Javangula | Amit Sheth | Srinivasan Parthasarathy | Olivier Bodenreider
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Insights from Negative Results in NLP

Recent work uses a Siamese Network, initialized with BioWordVec embeddings (distributed word embeddings), for predicting synonymy among biomedical terms to automate a part of the UMLS (Unified Medical Language System) Metathesaurus construction process. We evaluate the use of contextualized word embeddings extracted from nine different biomedical BERT-based models for synonym prediction in the UMLS by replacing BioWordVec embeddings with embeddings extracted from each biomedical BERT model using different feature extraction methods. Finally, we conduct a thorough grid search, which prior work lacks, to find the best set of hyperparameters. Surprisingly, we find that Siamese Networks initialized with BioWordVec embeddings still out perform the Siamese Networks initialized with embedding extracted from biomedical BERT model.