Vivian Lai


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Evaluating Evaluation Metrics: A Framework for Analyzing NLG Evaluation Metrics using Measurement Theory
Ziang Xiao | Susu Zhang | Vivian Lai | Q. Vera Liao
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We address a fundamental challenge in Natural Language Generation (NLG) model evaluation—the design and evaluation of evaluation metrics. Recognizing the limitations of existing automatic metrics and noises from how current human evaluation was conducted, we propose MetricEval, a framework informed by measurement theory, the foundation of educational test design, for conceptualizing and evaluating the reliability and validity of NLG evaluation metrics. The framework formalizes the source of measurement error and offers statistical tools for evaluating evaluation metrics based on empirical data. With our framework, one can quantify the uncertainty of the metrics to better interpret the result. To exemplify the use of our framework in practice, we analyzed a set of evaluation metrics for summarization and identified issues related to conflated validity structure in human-eval and reliability in LLM-based metrics. Through MetricEval, we aim to promote the design, evaluation, and interpretation of valid and reliable metrics to advance robust and effective NLG models.


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An Exploration of Post-Editing Effectiveness in Text Summarization
Vivian Lai | Alison Smith-Renner | Ke Zhang | Ruijia Cheng | Wenjuan Zhang | Joel Tetreault | Alejandro Jaimes-Larrarte
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Automatic summarization methods are efficient but can suffer from low quality. In comparison, manual summarization is expensive but produces higher quality. Can humans and AI collaborate to improve summarization performance? In similar text generation tasks (e.g., machine translation), human-AI collaboration in the form of “post-editing” AI-generated text reduces human workload and improves the quality of AI output. Therefore, we explored whether post-editing offers advantages in text summarization. Specifically, we conducted an experiment with 72 participants, comparing post-editing provided summaries with manual summarization for summary quality, human efficiency, and user experience on formal (XSum news) and informal (Reddit posts) text. This study sheds valuable insights on when post-editing is useful for text summarization: it helped in some cases (e.g., when participants lacked domain knowledge) but not in others (e.g., when provided summaries include inaccurate information). Participants’ different editing strategies and needs for assistance offer implications for future human-AI summarization systems.


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Many Faces of Feature Importance: Comparing Built-in and Post-hoc Feature Importance in Text Classification
Vivian Lai | Zheng Cai | Chenhao Tan
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Feature importance is commonly used to explain machine predictions. While feature importance can be derived from a machine learning model with a variety of methods, the consistency of feature importance via different methods remains understudied. In this work, we systematically compare feature importance from built-in mechanisms in a model such as attention values and post-hoc methods that approximate model behavior such as LIME. Using text classification as a testbed, we find that 1) no matter which method we use, important features from traditional models such as SVM and XGBoost are more similar with each other, than with deep learning models; 2) post-hoc methods tend to generate more similar important features for two models than built-in methods. We further demonstrate how such similarity varies across instances. Notably, important features do not always resemble each other better when two models agree on the predicted label than when they disagree.