Transition-based parsers for Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) rely on node-to-word alignments. These alignments are learned separately from parser training and require a complex pipeline of rule-based components, pre-processing, and post-processing to satisfy domain-specific constraints. Parsers also train on a point-estimate of the alignment pipeline, neglecting the uncertainty due to the inherent ambiguity of alignment. In this work we explore two avenues for overcoming these limitations. First, we propose a neural aligner for AMR that learns node-to-word alignments without relying on complex pipelines. We subsequently explore a tighter integration of aligner and parser training by considering a distribution over oracle action sequences arising from aligner uncertainty. Empirical results show this approach leads to more accurate alignments and generalization better from the AMR2.0 to AMR3.0 corpora. We attain a new state-of-the art for gold-only trained models, matching silver-trained performance without the need for beam search on AMR3.0.
We propose DiffCSE, an unsupervised contrastive learning framework for learning sentence embeddings. DiffCSE learns sentence embeddings that are sensitive to the difference between the original sentence and an edited sentence, where the edited sentence is obtained by stochastically masking out the original sentence and then sampling from a masked language model. We show that DiffSCE is an instance of equivariant contrastive learning, which generalizes contrastive learning and learns representations that are insensitive to certain types of augmentations and sensitive to other “harmful” types of augmentations. Our experiments show that DiffCSE achieves state-of-the-art results among unsupervised sentence representation learning methods, outperforming unsupervised SimCSE by 2.3 absolute points on semantic textual similarity tasks.
The finetuning of pretrained transformer-based language generation models are typically conducted in an end-to-end manner, where the model learns to attend to relevant parts of the input by itself. However, there does not exist a mechanism to directly control the model’s focus. This work aims to develop a control mechanism by which a user can select spans of context as “highlights” for the model to focus on, and generate relevant output. To achieve this goal, we augment a pretrained model with trainable “focus vectors” that are directly applied to the model’s embeddings, while the model itself is kept fixed. These vectors, trained on automatic annotations derived from attribution methods, act as indicators for context importance. We test our approach on two core generation tasks: dialogue response generation and abstractive summarization. We also collect evaluation data where the highlight-generation pairs are annotated by humans. Our experiments show that the trained focus vectors are effective in steering the model to generate outputs that are relevant to user-selected highlights.
Next-word predictions from autoregressive neural language models show remarkable sensitivity to syntax. This work evaluates the extent to which this behavior arises as a result of a learned ability to maintain implicit representations of incremental syntactic structures. We extend work in syntactic probing to the incremental setting and present several probes for extracting incomplete syntactic structure (operationalized through parse states from a stack-based parser) from autoregressive language models. We find that our probes can be used to predict model preferences on ambiguous sentence prefixes and causally intervene on model representations and steer model behavior. This suggests implicit incremental syntactic inferences underlie next-word predictions in autoregressive neural language models.
A long-running goal of the clinical NLP community is the extraction of important variables trapped in clinical notes. However, roadblocks have included dataset shift from the general domain and a lack of public clinical corpora and annotations. In this work, we show that large language models, such as InstructGPT (Ouyang et al., 2022), perform well at zero- and few-shot information extraction from clinical text despite not being trained specifically for the clinical domain. Whereas text classification and generation performance have already been studied extensively in such models, here we additionally demonstrate how to leverage them to tackle a diverse set of NLP tasks which require more structured outputs, including span identification, token-level sequence classification, and relation extraction. Further, due to the dearth of available data to evaluate these systems, we introduce new datasets for benchmarking few-shot clinical information extraction based on a manual re-annotation of the CASI dataset (Moon et al., 2014) for new tasks. On the clinical extraction tasks we studied, the GPT-3 systems significantly outperform existing zero- and few-shot baselines.
This paper describes a neural transducer that maintains the flexibility of standard sequence-to-sequence (seq2seq) models while incorporating hierarchical phrases as a source of inductive bias during training and as explicit constraints during inference. Our approach trains two models: a discriminative parser based on a bracketing transduction grammar whose derivation tree hierarchically aligns source and target phrases, and a neural seq2seq model that learns to translate the aligned phrases one-by-one. We use the same seq2seq model to translate at all phrase scales, which results in two inference modes: one mode in which the parser is discarded and only the seq2seq component is used at the sequence-level, and another in which the parser is combined with the seq2seq model. Decoding in the latter mode is done with the cube-pruned CKY algorithm, which is more involved but can make use of new translation rules during inference. We formalize our model as a source-conditioned synchronous grammar and develop an efficient variational inference algorithm for training. When applied on top of both randomly initialized and pretrained seq2seq models, we find that it performs well compared to baselines on small scale machine translation benchmarks.
The large size of pretrained networks makes them difficult to deploy for multiple tasks in storage-constrained settings. Diff pruning enables parameter-efficient transfer learning that scales well with new tasks. The approach learns a task-specific “diff” vector that extends the original pretrained parameters. This diff vector is adaptively pruned during training with a differentiable approximation to the L0-norm penalty to encourage sparsity. As the number of tasks increases, diff pruning remains parameter-efficient, as it requires storing only a small diff vector for each task. Since it does not require access to all tasks during training, it is attractive in on-device deployment settings where tasks arrive in stream or even from different providers. Diff pruning can match the performance of finetuned baselines on the GLUE benchmark while only modifying 0.5% of the pretrained model’s parameters per task and scales favorably in comparison to popular pruning approaches.
While vector-based language representations from pretrained language models have set a new standard for many NLP tasks, there is not yet a complete accounting of their inner workings. In particular, it is not entirely clear what aspects of sentence-level syntax are captured by these representations, nor how (if at all) they are built along the stacked layers of the network. In this paper, we aim to address such questions with a general class of interventional, input perturbation-based analyses of representations from pretrained language models. Importing from computational and cognitive neuroscience the notion of representational invariance, we perform a series of probes designed to test the sensitivity of these representations to several kinds of structure in sentences. Each probe involves swapping words in a sentence and comparing the representations from perturbed sentences against the original. We experiment with three different perturbations: (1) random permutations of n-grams of varying width, to test the scale at which a representation is sensitive to word position; (2) swapping of two spans which do or do not form a syntactic phrase, to test sensitivity to global phrase structure; and (3) swapping of two adjacent words which do or do not break apart a syntactic phrase, to test sensitivity to local phrase structure. Results from these probes collectively suggest that Transformers build sensitivity to larger parts of the sentence along their layers, and that hierarchical phrase structure plays a role in this process. More broadly, our results also indicate that structured input perturbations widens the scope of analyses that can be performed on often-opaque deep learning systems, and can serve as a complement to existing tools (such as supervised linear probes) for interpreting complex black-box models.
Despite their empirical success, neural networks still have difficulty capturing compositional aspects of natural language. This work proposes a simple data augmentation approach to encourage compositional behavior in neural models for sequence-to-sequence problems. Our approach, SeqMix, creates new synthetic examples by softly combining input/output sequences from the training set. We connect this approach to existing techniques such as SwitchOut and word dropout, and show that these techniques are all essentially approximating variants of a single objective. SeqMix consistently yields approximately 1.0 BLEU improvement on five different translation datasets over strong Transformer baselines. On tasks that require strong compositional generalization such as SCAN and semantic parsing, SeqMix also offers further improvements.
Recurrent neural network grammars (RNNG) are generative models of language which jointly model syntax and surface structure by incrementally generating a syntax tree and sentence in a top-down, left-to-right order. Supervised RNNGs achieve strong language modeling and parsing performance, but require an annotated corpus of parse trees. In this work, we experiment with unsupervised learning of RNNGs. Since directly marginalizing over the space of latent trees is intractable, we instead apply amortized variational inference. To maximize the evidence lower bound, we develop an inference network parameterized as a neural CRF constituency parser. On language modeling, unsupervised RNNGs perform as well their supervised counterparts on benchmarks in English and Chinese. On constituency grammar induction, they are competitive with recent neural language models that induce tree structures from words through attention mechanisms.
We study a formalization of the grammar induction problem that models sentences as being generated by a compound probabilistic context free grammar. In contrast to traditional formulations which learn a single stochastic grammar, our context-free rule probabilities are modulated by a per-sentence continuous latent variable, which induces marginal dependencies beyond the traditional context-free assumptions. Inference in this context-dependent grammar is performed by collapsed variational inference, in which an amortized variational posterior is placed on the continuous variable, and the latent trees are marginalized with dynamic programming. Experiments on English and Chinese show the effectiveness of our approach compared to recent state-of-the-art methods for grammar induction from words with neural language models.
The proposed tutorial will cover deep latent variable models both in the case where exact inference over the latent variables is tractable and when it is not. The former case includes neural extensions of unsupervised tagging and parsing models. Our discussion of the latter case, where inference cannot be performed tractably, will restrict itself to continuous latent variables. In particular, we will discuss recent developments both in neural variational inference (e.g., relating to Variational Auto-encoders) and in implicit density modeling (e.g., relating to Generative Adversarial Networks). We will highlight the challenges of applying these families of methods to NLP problems, and discuss recent successes and best practices.
In a controlled experiment of sequence-to-sequence approaches for the task of sentence correction, we find that character-based models are generally more effective than word-based models and models that encode subword information via convolutions, and that modeling the output data as a series of diffs improves effectiveness over standard approaches. Our strongest sequence-to-sequence model improves over our strongest phrase-based statistical machine translation model, with access to the same data, by 6 M2 (0.5 GLEU) points. Additionally, in the data environment of the standard CoNLL-2014 setup, we demonstrate that modeling (and tuning against) diffs yields similar or better M2 scores with simpler models and/or significantly less data than previous sequence-to-sequence approaches.