Zheng Cai


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Spatial AMR: Expanded Spatial Annotation in the Context of a Grounded Minecraft Corpus
Julia Bonn | Martha Palmer | Zheng Cai | Kristin Wright-Bettner
Proceedings of the 12th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

This paper presents an expansion to the Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) annotation schema that captures fine-grained semantically and pragmatically derived spatial information in grounded corpora. We describe a new lexical category conceptualization and set of spatial annotation tools built in the context of a multimodal corpus consisting of 170 3D structure-building dialogues between a human architect and human builder in Minecraft. Minecraft provides a particularly beneficial spatial relation-elicitation environment because it automatically tracks locations and orientations of objects and avatars in the space according to an absolute Cartesian coordinate system. Through a two-step process of sentence-level and document-level annotation designed to capture implicit information, we leverage these coordinates and bearings in the AMRs in combination with spatial framework annotation to ground the spatial language in the dialogues to absolute space.

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From Spatial Relations to Spatial Configurations
Soham Dan | Parisa Kordjamshidi | Julia Bonn | Archna Bhatia | Zheng Cai | Martha Palmer | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 12th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Spatial Reasoning from language is essential for natural language understanding. Supporting it requires a representation scheme that can capture spatial phenomena encountered in language as well as in images and videos.Existing spatial representations are not sufficient for describing spatial configurations used in complex tasks. This paper extends the capabilities of existing spatial representation languages and increases coverage of the semantic aspects that are needed to ground spatial meaning of natural language text in the world. Our spatial relation language is able to represent a large, comprehensive set of spatial concepts crucial for reasoning and is designed to support composition of static and dynamic spatial configurations. We integrate this language with the Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) annotation schema and present a corpus annotated by this extended AMR. To exhibit the applicability of our representation scheme, we annotate text taken from diverse datasets and show how we extend the capabilities of existing spatial representation languages with fine-grained decomposition of semantics and blend it seamlessly with AMRs of sentences and discourse representations as a whole.


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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.

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Towards Near-imperceptible Steganographic Text
Falcon Dai | Zheng Cai
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We show that the imperceptibility of several existing linguistic steganographic systems (Fang et al., 2017; Yang et al., 2018) relies on implicit assumptions on statistical behaviors of fluent text. We formally analyze them and empirically evaluate these assumptions. Furthermore, based on these observations, we propose an encoding algorithm called patient-Huffman with improved near-imperceptible guarantees.


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Glyph-aware Embedding of Chinese Characters
Falcon Dai | Zheng Cai
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Subword and Character Level Models in NLP

Given the advantage and recent success of English character-level and subword-unit models in several NLP tasks, we consider the equivalent modeling problem for Chinese. Chinese script is logographic and many Chinese logograms are composed of common substructures that provide semantic, phonetic and syntactic hints. In this work, we propose to explicitly incorporate the visual appearance of a character’s glyph in its representation, resulting in a novel glyph-aware embedding of Chinese characters. Being inspired by the success of convolutional neural networks in computer vision, we use them to incorporate the spatio-structural patterns of Chinese glyphs as rendered in raw pixels. In the context of two basic Chinese NLP tasks of language modeling and word segmentation, the model learns to represent each character’s task-relevant semantic and syntactic information in the character-level embedding.

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Pay Attention to the Ending:Strong Neural Baselines for the ROC Story Cloze Task
Zheng Cai | Lifu Tu | Kevin Gimpel
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

We consider the ROC story cloze task (Mostafazadeh et al., 2016) and present several findings. We develop a model that uses hierarchical recurrent networks with attention to encode the sentences in the story and score candidate endings. By discarding the large training set and only training on the validation set, we achieve an accuracy of 74.7%. Even when we discard the story plots (sentences before the ending) and only train to choose the better of two endings, we can still reach 72.5%. We then analyze this “ending-only” task setting. We estimate human accuracy to be 78% and find several types of clues that lead to this high accuracy, including those related to sentiment, negation, and general ending likelihood regardless of the story context.