Zaid Sheikh


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Reducing Confusion in Active Learning for Part-Of-Speech Tagging
Aditi Chaudhary | Antonios Anastasopoulos | Zaid Sheikh | Graham Neubig
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 9

Active learning (AL) uses a data selection algorithm to select useful training samples to minimize annotation cost. This is now an essential tool for building low-resource syntactic analyzers such as part-of-speech (POS) taggers. Existing AL heuristics are generally designed on the principle of selecting uncertain yet representative training instances, where annotating these instances may reduce a large number of errors. However, in an empirical study across six typologically diverse languages (German, Swedish, Galician, North Sami, Persian, and Ukrainian), we found the surprising result that even in an oracle scenario where we know the true uncertainty of predictions, these current heuristics are far from optimal. Based on this analysis, we pose the problem of AL as selecting instances that maximally reduce the confusion between particular pairs of output tags. Extensive experimentation on the aforementioned languages shows that our proposed AL strategy outperforms other AL strategies by a significant margin. We also present auxiliary results demonstrating the importance of proper calibration of models, which we ensure through cross-view training, and analysis demonstrating how our proposed strategy selects examples that more closely follow the oracle data distribution. The code is publicly released here.1


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Automatic Extraction of Rules Governing Morphological Agreement
Aditi Chaudhary | Antonios Anastasopoulos | Adithya Pratapa | David R. Mortensen | Zaid Sheikh | Yulia Tsvetkov | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Creating a descriptive grammar of a language is an indispensable step for language documentation and preservation. However, at the same time it is a tedious, time-consuming task. In this paper, we take steps towards automating this process by devising an automated framework for extracting a first-pass grammatical specification from raw text in a concise, human- and machine-readable format. We focus on extracting rules describing agreement, a morphosyntactic phenomenon at the core of the grammars of many of the world’s languages. We apply our framework to all languages included in the Universal Dependencies project, with promising results. Using cross-lingual transfer, even with no expert annotations in the language of interest, our framework extracts a grammatical specification which is nearly equivalent to those created with large amounts of gold-standard annotated data. We confirm this finding with human expert evaluations of the rules that our framework produces, which have an average accuracy of 78%. We release an interface demonstrating the extracted rules at


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A Little Annotation does a Lot of Good: A Study in Bootstrapping Low-resource Named Entity Recognizers
Aditi Chaudhary | Jiateng Xie | Zaid Sheikh | Graham Neubig | Jaime Carbonell
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Most state-of-the-art models for named entity recognition (NER) rely on the availability of large amounts of labeled data, making them challenging to extend to new, lower-resourced languages. However, there are now many proposed solutions to this problem involving either cross-lingual transfer learning, which learns from other highly resourced languages, or active learning, which efficiently selects effective training data based on model predictions. In this paper, we ask the question: given this recent progress, and some amount of human annotation, what is the most effective method for efficiently creating high-quality entity recognizers in under-resourced languages? Based on extensive experimentation using both simulated and real human annotation, we settle on a recipe of starting with a cross-lingual transferred model, then performing targeted annotation of only uncertain entity spans in the target language, minimizing annotator effort. Results demonstrate that cross-lingual transfer is a powerful tool when very little data can be annotated, but an entity-targeted annotation strategy can achieve competitive accuracy quickly, with just one-tenth of training data.


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Parser combinators for Tigrinya and Oromo morphology
Patrick Littell | Tom McCoy | Na-Rae Han | Shruti Rijhwani | Zaid Sheikh | David Mortensen | Teruko Mitamura | Lori Levin
Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2018)


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Multilingual deep bottle neck features: a study on language selection and training techniques
Markus Müller | Sebastian Stüker | Zaid Sheikh | Florian Metze | Alex Waibel
Proceedings of the 11th International Workshop on Spoken Language Translation: Papers

Previous work has shown that training the neural networks for bottle neck feature extraction in a multilingual way can lead to improvements in word error rate and average term weighted value in a telephone key word search task. In this work we conduct a systematic study on a) which multilingual training strategy to employ, b) the effect of language selection and amount of multilingual training data used and c) how to find a suitable combination for languages. We conducted our experiment on the key word search task and the languages of the IARPA BABEL program. In a first step, we assessed the performance of a single language out of all available languages in combination with the target language. Based on these results, we then combined a multitude of languages. We also examined the influence of the amount of training data per language, as well as different techniques for combining the languages during network training. Our experiments show that data from arbitrary additional languages does not necessarily increase the performance of a system. But when combining a suitable set of languages, a significant gain in performance can be achieved.