Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: Tutorial Abstracts
Crowdsourcing from non-experts is one of the most common approaches to collecting data and annotations in NLP. Even though it is such a fundamental tool in NLP, crowdsourcing use is largely guided by common practices and the personal experience of researchers. Developing a theory of crowdsourcing use for practical language problems remains an open challenge. However, there are various principles and practices that have proven effective in generating high quality and diverse data. This tutorial exposes NLP researchers to such data collection crowdsourcing methods and principles through a detailed discussion of a diverse set of case studies. The selection of case studies focuses on challenging settings where crowdworkers are asked to write original text or otherwise perform relatively unconstrained work. Through these case studies, we discuss in detail processes that were carefully designed to achieve data with specific properties, for example to require logical inference, grounded reasoning or conversational understanding. Each case study focuses on data collection crowdsourcing protocol details that often receive limited attention in research presentations, for example in conferences, but are critical for research success.
In this tutorial, we will show where we are and where we will be to those researchers interested in this topic. We divide this tutorial into three parts, including coarse-grained financial opinion mining, fine-grained financial opinion mining, and possible research directions. This tutorial starts by introducing the components in a financial opinion proposed in our research agenda and summarizes their related studies. We also highlight the task of mining customers’ opinions toward financial services in the FinTech industry, and compare them with usual opinions. Several potential research questions will be addressed. We hope the audiences of this tutorial will gain an overview of financial opinion mining and figure out their research directions.
Knowledge-enriched text generation poses unique challenges in modeling and learning, driving active research in several core directions, ranging from integrated modeling of neural representations and symbolic information in the sequential/hierarchical/graphical structures, learning without direct supervisions due to the cost of structured annotation, efficient optimization and inference with massive and global constraints, to language grounding on multiple modalities, and generative reasoning with implicit commonsense knowledge and background knowledge. In this tutorial we will present a roadmap to line up the state-of-the-art methods to tackle these challenges on this cutting-edge problem. We will dive deep into various technical components: how to represent knowledge, how to feed knowledge into a generation model, how to evaluate generation results, and what are the remaining challenges?
Question answering (QA) is one of the most challenging and impactful tasks in natural language processing. Most research in QA, however, has focused on the open-domain or monolingual setting while most real-world applications deal with specific domains or languages. In this tutorial, we attempt to bridge this gap. Firstly, we introduce standard benchmarks in multi-domain and multilingual QA. In both scenarios, we discuss state-of-the-art approaches that achieve impressive performance, ranging from zero-shot transfer learning to out-of-the-box training with open-domain QA systems. Finally, we will present open research problems that this new research agenda poses such as multi-task learning, cross-lingual transfer learning, domain adaptation and training large scale pre-trained multilingual language models.
Recent studies show that many NLP systems are sensitive and vulnerable to a small perturbation of inputs and do not generalize well across different datasets. This lack of robustness derails the use of NLP systems in real-world applications. This tutorial aims at bringing awareness of practical concerns about NLP robustness. It targets NLP researchers and practitioners who are interested in building reliable NLP systems. In particular, we will review recent studies on analyzing the weakness of NLP systems when facing adversarial inputs and data with a distribution shift. We will provide the audience with a holistic view of 1) how to use adversarial examples to examine the weakness of NLP models and facilitate debugging; 2) how to enhance the robustness of existing NLP models and defense against adversarial inputs; and 3) how the consideration of robustness affects the real-world NLP applications used in our daily lives. We will conclude the tutorial by outlining future research directions in this area.
This tutorial surveys the latest technical progress of syntactic parsing and the role of syntax in end-to-end natural language processing (NLP) tasks, in which semantic role labeling (SRL) and machine translation (MT) are the representative NLP tasks that have always been beneficial from informative syntactic clues since a long time ago, though the advance from end-to-end deep learning models shows new results. In this tutorial, we will first introduce the background and the latest progress of syntactic parsing and SRL/NMT. Then, we will summarize the key evidence about the syntactic impacts over these two concerning tasks, and explore the behind reasons from both computational and linguistic backgrounds.