Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Marine Carpuat, Marie-Catherine de Marneffe, Ivan Vladimir Meza Ruiz (Editors)

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Association for Computational Linguistics
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Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies
Marine Carpuat | Marie-Catherine de Marneffe | Ivan Vladimir Meza Ruiz

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Social Norms Guide Reference Resolution
Mitchell Abrams | Matthias Scheutz

Humans use natural language, vision, and context to resolve referents in their environment. While some situated reference resolution is trivial, ambiguous cases arise when the language is underspecified or there are multiple candidate referents. This study investigates howpragmatic modulators external to the linguistic content are critical for the correct interpretation of referents in these scenarios. Inparticular, we demonstrate in a human subjects experiment how the social norms applicable in the given context influence theinterpretation of referring expressions. Additionally, we highlight how current coreference tools in natural language processing fail tohandle these ambiguous cases. We also briefly discuss the implications of this work for assistive robots which will routinely need to resolve referents in their environment.

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Learning Natural Language Generation with Truncated Reinforcement Learning
Alice Martin | Guillaume Quispe | Charles Ollion | Sylvain Le Corff | Florian Strub | Olivier Pietquin

This paper introduces TRUncated ReinForcement Learning for Language (TrufLL), an original approach to train conditional languagemodels without a supervised learning phase, by only using reinforcement learning (RL). As RL methods unsuccessfully scale to large action spaces, we dynamically truncate the vocabulary space using a generic language model. TrufLL thus enables to train a language agent by solely interacting with its environment without any task-specific prior knowledge; it is only guided with a task-agnostic language model. Interestingly, this approach avoids the dependency to labelled datasets and inherently reduces pretrained policy flaws such as language or exposure biases. We evaluate TrufLL on two visual question generation tasks, for which we report positive results over performance and language metrics, which we then corroborate with a human evaluation. To our knowledge, it is the first approach that successfully learns a language generation policy without pre-training, using only reinforcement learning.

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Language Model Augmented Monotonic Attention for Simultaneous Translation
Sathish Reddy Indurthi | Mohd Abbas Zaidi | Beomseok Lee | Nikhil Kumar Lakumarapu | Sangha Kim

The state-of-the-art adaptive policies for Simultaneous Neural Machine Translation (SNMT) use monotonic attention to perform read/write decisions based on the partial source and target sequences. The lack of sufficient information might cause the monotonic attention to take poor read/write decisions, which in turn negatively affects the performance of the SNMT model. On the other hand, human translators make better read/write decisions since they can anticipate the immediate future words using linguistic information and domain knowledge. In this work, we propose a framework to aid monotonic attention with an external language model to improve its decisions. Experiments on MuST-C English-German and English-French speech-to-text translation tasks show the future information from the language model improves the state-of-the-art monotonic multi-head attention model further.

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What Makes a Good and Useful Summary? Incorporating Users in Automatic Summarization Research
Maartje Ter Hoeve | Julia Kiseleva | Maarten Rijke

Automatic text summarization has enjoyed great progress over the years and is used in numerous applications, impacting the lives of many. Despite this development, there is little research that meaningfully investigates how the current research focus in automatic summarization aligns with users’ needs. To bridge this gap, we propose a survey methodology that can be used to investigate the needs of users of automatically generated summaries. Importantly, these needs are dependent on the target group. Hence, we design our survey in such a way that it can be easily adjusted to investigate different user groups. In this work we focus on university students, who make extensive use of summaries during their studies. We find that the current research directions of the automatic summarization community do not fully align with students’ needs. Motivated by our findings, we present ways to mitigate this mismatch in future research on automatic summarization: we propose research directions that impact the design, the development and the evaluation of automatically generated summaries.

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ErAConD: Error Annotated Conversational Dialog Dataset for Grammatical Error Correction
Xun Yuan | Derek Pham | Sam Davidson | Zhou Yu

Currently available grammatical error correction (GEC) datasets are compiled using essays or other long-form text written by language learners, limiting the applicability of these datasets to other domains such as informal writing and conversational dialog. In this paper, we present a novel GEC dataset consisting of parallel original and corrected utterances drawn from open-domain chatbot conversations; this dataset is, to our knowledge, the first GEC dataset targeted to a human-machine conversational setting. We also present a detailed annotation scheme which ranks errors by perceived impact on comprehension, making our dataset more representative of real-world language learning applications. To demonstrate the utility of the dataset, we use our annotated data to fine-tune a state-of-the-art GEC model. Experimental results show the effectiveness of our data in improving GEC model performance in a conversational scenario.

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Semantic Diversity in Dialogue with Natural Language Inference
Katherine Stasaski | Marti Hearst

Generating diverse, interesting responses to chitchat conversations is a problem for neural conversational agents. This paper makes two substantial contributions to improving diversity in dialogue generation. First, we propose a novel metric which uses Natural Language Inference (NLI) to measure the semantic diversity of a set of model responses for a conversation. We evaluate this metric using an established framework (Tevet and Berant, 2021) and find strong evidence indicating NLI Diversity is correlated with semantic diversity. Specifically, we show that the contradiction relation is more useful than the neutral relation for measuring this diversity and that incorporating the NLI model’s confidence achieves state-of-the-art results. Second, we demonstrate how to iteratively improve the semantic diversity of a sampled set of responses via a new generation procedure called Diversity Threshold Generation, which results in an average 137% increase in NLI Diversity compared to standard generation procedures.

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LEA: Meta Knowledge-Driven Self-Attentive Document Embedding for Few-Shot Text Classification
S. K. Hong | Tae Young Jang

Text classification has achieved great success with the prosperity of deep learning and pre-trained language models. However, we often encounter labeled data deficiency problems in real-world text-classification tasks. To overcome such challenging scenarios, interest in few-shot learning has increased, whereas most few-shot text classification studies suffer from a difficulty of utilizing pre-trained language models. In the study, we propose a novel learning method for learning how to attend, called LEA, through which meta-level attention aspects are derived based on our meta-learning strategy. This enables the generation of task-specific document embedding with leveraging pre-trained language models even though a few labeled data instances are given. We evaluate our proposed learning method on five benchmark datasets. The results show that the novel method robustly provides the competitive performance compared to recent few-shot learning methods for all the datasets.

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Enhancing Self-Attention with Knowledge-Assisted Attention Maps
Jiangang Bai | Yujing Wang | Hong Sun | Ruonan Wu | Tianmeng Yang | Pengfei Tang | Defu Cao | Mingliang Zhang1 | Yunhai Tong | Yaming Yang | Jing Bai | Ruofei Zhang | Hao Sun | Wei Shen

Large-scale pre-trained language models have attracted extensive attentions in the research community and shown promising results on various tasks of natural language processing. However, the attention maps, which record the attention scores between tokens in self-attention mechanism, are sometimes ineffective as they are learned implicitly without the guidance of explicit semantic knowledge. Thus, we aim to infuse explicit external knowledge into pre-trained language models to further boost their performance. Existing works of knowledge infusion largely depend on multi-task learning frameworks, which are inefficient and require large-scale re-training when new knowledge is considered. In this paper, we propose a novel and generic solution, KAM-BERT, which directly incorporates knowledge-generated attention maps into the self-attention mechanism. It requires only a few extra parameters and supports efficient fine-tuning once new knowledge is added. KAM-BERT achieves consistent improvements on various academic datasets for natural language understanding. It also outperforms other state-of-the-art methods which conduct knowledge infusion into transformer-based architectures. Moreover, we apply our model to an industry-scale ad relevance application and show its advantages in the real-world scenario.

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Batch-Softmax Contrastive Loss for Pairwise Sentence Scoring Tasks
Anton Chernyavskiy | Dmitry Ilvovsky | Pavel Kalinin | Preslav Nakov

The use of contrastive loss for representation learning has become prominent in computer vision, and it is now getting attention in Natural Language Processing (NLP).Here, we explore the idea of using a batch-softmax contrastive loss when fine-tuning large-scale pre-trained transformer models to learn better task-specific sentence embeddings for pairwise sentence scoring tasks. We introduce and study a number of variations in the calculation of the loss as well as in the overall training procedure; in particular, we find that a special data shuffling can be quite important. Our experimental results show sizable improvements on a number of datasets and pairwise sentence scoring tasks including classification, ranking, and regression. Finally, we offer detailed analysis and discussion, which should be useful for researchers aiming to explore the utility of contrastive loss in NLP.

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NewsEdits: A News Article Revision Dataset and a Novel Document-Level Reasoning Challenge
Alexander Spangher | Xiang Ren | Jonathan May | Nanyun Peng

News article revision histories provide clues to narrative and factual evolution in news articles. To facilitate analysis of this evolution, we present the first publicly available dataset of news revision histories, NewsEdits. Our dataset is large-scale and multilingual; it contains 1.2 million articles with 4.6 million versions from over 22 English- and French-language newspaper sources based in three countries, spanning 15 years of coverage (2006-2021).We define article-level edit actions: Addition, Deletion, Edit and Refactor, and develop a high-accuracy extraction algorithm to identify these actions. To underscore the factual nature of many edit actions, we conduct analyses showing that added and deleted sentences are more likely to contain updating events, main content and quotes than unchanged sentences. Finally, to explore whether edit actions are predictable, we introduce three novel tasks aimed at predicting actions performed during version updates. We show that these tasks are possible for expert humans but are challenging for large NLP models. We hope this can spur research in narrative framing and help provide predictive tools for journalists chasing breaking news.

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Putting the Con in Context: Identifying Deceptive Actors in the Game of Mafia
Samee Ibraheem | Gaoyue Zhou | John DeNero

While neural networks demonstrate a remarkable ability to model linguistic content, capturing contextual information related to a speaker’s conversational role is an open area of research. In this work, we analyze the effect of speaker role on language use through the game of Mafia, in which participants are assigned either an honest or a deceptive role. In addition to building a framework to collect a dataset of Mafia game records, we demonstrate that there are differences in the language produced by players with different roles. We confirm that classification models are able to rank deceptive players as more suspicious than honest ones based only on their use of language. Furthermore, we show that training models on two auxiliary tasks outperforms a standard BERT-based text classification approach. We also present methods for using our trained models to identify features that distinguish between player roles, which could be used to assist players during the Mafia game.

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SUBS: Subtree Substitution for Compositional Semantic Parsing
Jingfeng Yang | Le Zhang | Diyi Yang

Although sequence-to-sequence models often achieve good performance in semantic parsing for i.i.d. data, their performance is still inferior in compositional generalization. Several data augmentation methods have been proposed to alleviate this problem. However, prior work only leveraged superficial grammar or rules for data augmentation, which resulted in limited improvement. We propose to use subtree substitution for compositional data augmentation, where we consider subtrees with similar semantic functions as exchangeable. Our experiments showed that such augmented data led to significantly better performance on Scan and GeoQuery, and reached new SOTA on compositional split of GeoQuery.

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Two Contrasting Data Annotation Paradigms for Subjective NLP Tasks
Paul Rottger | Bertie Vidgen | Dirk Hovy | Janet Pierrehumbert

Labelled data is the foundation of most natural language processing tasks. However, labelling data is difficult and there often are diverse valid beliefs about what the correct data labels should be. So far, dataset creators have acknowledged annotator subjectivity, but rarely actively managed it in the annotation process. This has led to partly-subjective datasets that fail to serve a clear downstream use. To address this issue, we propose two contrasting paradigms for data annotation. The descriptive paradigm encourages annotator subjectivity, whereas the prescriptive paradigm discourages it. Descriptive annotation allows for the surveying and modelling of different beliefs, whereas prescriptive annotation enables the training of models that consistently apply one belief. We discuss benefits and challenges in implementing both paradigms, and argue that dataset creators should explicitly aim for one or the other to facilitate the intended use of their dataset. Lastly, we conduct an annotation experiment using hate speech data that illustrates the contrast between the two paradigms.

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Do Deep Neural Nets Display Human-like Attention in Short Answer Scoring?
Zijie Zeng | Xinyu Li | Dragan Gasevic | Guanliang Chen

Deep Learning (DL) techniques have been increasingly adopted for Automatic Text Scoring in education. However, these techniques often suffer from their inabilities to explain and justify how a prediction is made, which, unavoidably, decreases their trustworthiness and hinders educators from embracing them in practice. This study aimed to investigate whether (and to what extent) DL-based graders align with human graders regarding the important words they identify when marking short answer questions. To this end, we first conducted a user study to ask human graders to manually annotate important words in assessing answer quality and then measured the overlap between these human-annotated words and those identified by DL-based graders (i.e., those receiving large attention weights). Furthermore, we ran a randomized controlled experiment to explore the impact of highlighting important words detected by DL-based graders on human grading. The results showed that: (i) DL-based graders, to a certain degree, displayed alignment with human graders no matter whether DL-based graders and human graders agreed on the quality of an answer; and (ii) it is possible to facilitate human grading by highlighting those DL-detected important words, though further investigations are necessary to understand how human graders exploit such highlighted words.

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Knowledge-Grounded Dialogue Generation with a Unified Knowledge Representation
Yu Li | Baolin Peng | Yelong Shen | Yi Mao | Lars Liden | Zhou Yu | Jianfeng Gao

Knowledge-grounded dialogue systems are challenging to build due to the lack of training data and heterogeneous knowledge sources. Existing systems perform poorly on unseen topics due to limited topics covered in the training data. In addition, it is challenging to generalize to the domains that require different types of knowledge sources. To address the above challenges, we present PLUG, a language model that homogenizes different knowledge sources to a unified knowledge representation for knowledge-grounded dialogue generation tasks. We first retrieve relevant information from heterogeneous knowledge sources (e.g., wiki, dictionary, or knowledge graph); Then the retrieved knowledge is transformed into text and concatenated with dialogue history to feed into the language model for generating responses. PLUG is pre-trained on a large-scale knowledge-grounded dialogue corpus. The empirical evaluation on two benchmarks shows that PLUG generalizes well across different knowledge-grounded dialogue tasks. It achieves comparable performance with state-of-the-art methods in the fully-supervised setting and significantly outperforms other approaches in zero-shot and few-shot settings.

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CERES: Pretraining of Graph-Conditioned Transformer for Semi-Structured Session Data
Rui Feng | Chen Luo | Qingyu Yin | Bing Yin | Tuo Zhao | Chao Zhang

User sessions empower many search and recommendation tasks on a daily basis. Such session data are semi-structured, which encode heterogeneous relations between queries and products, and each item is described by the unstructured text. Despite recent advances in self-supervised learning for text or graphs, there lack of self-supervised learning models that can effectively capture both intra-item semantics and inter-item interactions for semi-structured sessions. To fill this gap, we propose CERES, a graph-based transformer model for semi-structured session data. CERES learns representations that capture both inter- and intra-item semantics with (1) a graph-conditioned masked language pretraining task that jointly learns from item text and item-item relations; and (2) a graph-conditioned transformer architecture that propagates inter-item contexts to item-level representations. We pretrained CERES using ~468 million Amazon sessions and find that CERES outperforms strong pretraining baselines by up to 9% in three session search and entity linking tasks.

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Political Ideology and Polarization: A Multi-dimensional Approach
Barea Sinno | Bernardo Oviedo | Katherine Atwell | Malihe Alikhani | Junyi Jessy Li

Analyzing ideology and polarization is of critical importance in advancing our grasp of modern politics. Recent research has made great strides towards understanding the ideological bias (i.e., stance) of news media along the left-right spectrum. In this work, we instead take a novel and more nuanced approach for the study of ideology based on its left or right positions on the issue being discussed. Aligned with the theoretical accounts in political science, we treat ideology as a multi-dimensional construct, and introduce the first diachronic dataset of news articles whose ideological positions are annotated by trained political scientists and linguists at the paragraph level. We showcase that, by controlling for the author’s stance, our method allows for the quantitative and temporal measurement and analysis of polarization as a multidimensional ideological distance. We further present baseline models for ideology prediction, outlining a challenging task distinct from stance detection.

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Cooperative Self-training of Machine Reading Comprehension
Hongyin Luo | Shang-Wen Li | Mingye Gao | Seunghak Yu | James Glass

Pretrained language models have significantly improved the performance of downstream language understanding tasks, including extractive question answering, by providing high-quality contextualized word embeddings. However, training question answering models still requires large amounts of annotated data for specific domains. In this work, we propose a cooperative self-training framework, RGX, for automatically generating more non-trivial question-answer pairs to improve model performance. RGX is built upon a masked answer extraction task with an interactive learning environment containing an answer entity Recognizer, a question Generator, and an answer eXtractor. Given a passage with a masked entity, the generator generates a question around the entity, and the extractor is trained to extract the masked entity with the generated question and raw texts. The framework allows the training of question generation and answering models on any text corpora without annotation. We further leverage a self-training technique to improve the performance of both question generation and answer extraction models. Experiment results show that RGX outperforms the state-of-the-art (SOTA) pretrained language models and transfer learning approaches on standard question-answering benchmarks, and yields the new SOTA performance under given model size and transfer learning settings.

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GlobEnc: Quantifying Global Token Attribution by Incorporating the Whole Encoder Layer in Transformers
Ali Modarressi | Mohsen Fayyaz | Yadollah Yaghoobzadeh | Mohammad Taher Pilehvar

There has been a growing interest in interpreting the underlying dynamics of Transformers. While self-attention patterns were initially deemed as the primary option, recent studies have shown that integrating other components can yield more accurate explanations. This paper introduces a novel token attribution analysis method that incorporates all the components in the encoder block and aggregates this throughout layers. Through extensive quantitative and qualitative experiments, we demonstrate that our method can produce faithful and meaningful global token attributions. Our experiments reveal that incorporating almost every encoder component results in increasingly more accurate analysis in both local (single layer) and global (the whole model) settings. Our global attribution analysis significantly outperforms previous methods on various tasks regarding correlation with gradient-based saliency scores. Our code is freely available at

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A Robustly Optimized BMRC for Aspect Sentiment Triplet Extraction
Shu Liu | Kaiwen Li | Zuhe Li

Aspect sentiment triplet extraction (ASTE) is a challenging subtask in aspect-based sentiment analysis. It aims to explore the triplets of aspects, opinions and sentiments with complex correspondence from the context. The bidirectional machine reading comprehension (BMRC), can effectively deal with ASTE task, but several problems remains, such as query conflict and probability unilateral decrease. Therefore, this paper presents a robustly optimized BMRC method by incorporating four improvements. The word segmentation is applied to facilitate the semantic learning. Exclusive classifiers are designed to avoid the interference between different queries. A span matching rule is proposed to select the aspects and opinions that better represent the expectations of the model. The probability generation strategy is also introduced to obtain the predicted probability for aspects, opinions and aspect-opinion pairs. We have conducted extensive experiments on multiple benchmark datasets, where our model achieves the state-of-the-art performance.

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Seed-Guided Topic Discovery with Out-of-Vocabulary Seeds
Yu Zhang | Yu Meng | Xuan Wang | Sheng Wang | Jiawei Han

Discovering latent topics from text corpora has been studied for decades. Many existing topic models adopt a fully unsupervised setting, and their discovered topics may not cater to users’ particular interests due to their inability of leveraging user guidance. Although there exist seed-guided topic discovery approaches that leverage user-provided seeds to discover topic-representative terms, they are less concerned with two factors: (1) the existence of out-of-vocabulary seeds and (2) the power of pre-trained language models (PLMs). In this paper, we generalize the task of seed-guided topic discovery to allow out-of-vocabulary seeds. We propose a novel framework, named SeeTopic, wherein the general knowledge of PLMs and the local semantics learned from the input corpus can mutually benefit each other. Experiments on three real datasets from different domains demonstrate the effectiveness of SeeTopic in terms of topic coherence, accuracy, and diversity.

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Towards Process-Oriented, Modular, and Versatile Question Generation that Meets Educational Needs
Xu Wang | Simin Fan | Jessica Houghton | Lu Wang

NLP-powered automatic question generation (QG) techniques carry great pedagogical potential of saving educators’ time and benefiting student learning. Yet, QG systems have not been widely adopted in classrooms to date. In this work, we aim to pinpoint key impediments and investigate how to improve the usability of automatic QG techniques for educational purposes by understanding how instructors construct questions and identifying touch points to enhance the underlying NLP models. We perform an in-depth need finding study with 11 instructors across 7 different universities, and summarize their thought processes and needs when creating questions. While instructors show great interests in using NLP systems to support question design, none of them has used such tools in practice. They resort to multiple sources of information, ranging from domain knowledge to students’ misconceptions, all of which missing from today’s QG systems. We argue that building effective human-NLP collaborative QG systems that emphasize instructor control and explainability is imperative for real-world adoption. We call for QG systems to provide process-oriented support, use modular design, and handle diverse sources of input.

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SwahBERT: Language Model of Swahili
Gati Martin | Medard Edmund Mswahili | Young-Seob Jeong | Jiyoung Woo

The rapid development of social networks, electronic commerce, mobile Internet, and other technologies, has influenced the growth of Web data. Social media and Internet forums are valuable sources of citizens’ opinions, which can be analyzed for community development and user behavior analysis. Unfortunately, the scarcity of resources (i.e., datasets or language models) become a barrier to the development of natural language processing applications in low-resource languages. Thanks to the recent growth of online forums and news platforms of Swahili, we introduce two datasets of Swahili in this paper: a pre-training dataset of approximately 105MB with 16M words and annotated dataset of 13K instances for the emotion classification task. The emotion classification dataset is manually annotated by two native Swahili speakers. We pre-trained a new monolingual language model for Swahili, namely SwahBERT, using our collected pre-training data, and tested it with four downstream tasks including emotion classification. We found that SwahBERT outperforms multilingual BERT, a well-known existing language model, in almost all downstream tasks.

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Deconstructing NLG Evaluation: Evaluation Practices, Assumptions, and Their Implications
Kaitlyn Zhou | Su Lin Blodgett | Adam Trischler | Hal Daumé III | Kaheer Suleman | Alexandra Olteanu

There are many ways to express similar things in text, which makes evaluating natural language generation (NLG) systems difficult. Compounding this difficulty is the need to assess varying quality criteria depending on the deployment setting. While the landscape of NLG evaluation has been well-mapped, practitioners’ goals, assumptions, and constraints—which inform decisions about what, when, and how to evaluate—are often partially or implicitly stated, or not stated at all. Combining a formative semi-structured interview study of NLG practitioners (N=18) with a survey study of a broader sample of practitioners (N=61), we surface goals, community practices, assumptions, and constraints that shape NLG evaluations, examining their implications and how they embody ethical considerations.

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TSTR: Too Short to Represent, Summarize with Details! Intro-Guided Extended Summary Generation
Sajad Sotudeh | Nazli Goharian

Many scientific papers such as those in arXiv and PubMed data collections have abstracts with varying lengths of 50-1000 words and average length of approximately 200 words, where longer abstracts typically convey more information about the source paper. Up to recently, scientific summarization research has typically focused on generating short, abstract-like summaries following the existing datasets used for scientific summarization. In domains where the source text is relatively long-form, such as in scientific documents, such summary is not able to go beyond the general and coarse overview and provide salient information from the source document. The recent interest to tackle this problem motivated curation of scientific datasets, arXiv-Long and PubMed-Long, containing human-written summaries of 400-600 words, hence, providing a venue for research in generating long/extended summaries. Extended summaries facilitate a faster read while providing details beyond coarse information. In this paper, we propose TSTR, an extractive summarizer that utilizes the introductory information of documents as pointers to their salient information. The evaluations on two existing large-scale extended summarization datasets indicate statistically significant improvement in terms of Rouge and average Rouge (F1) scores (except in one case) as compared to strong baselines and state-of-the-art. Comprehensive human evaluations favor our generated extended summaries in terms of cohesion and completeness.

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Empathic Machines: Using Intermediate Features as Levers to Emulate Emotions in Text-To-Speech Systems
Saiteja Kosgi | Sarath Sivaprasad | Niranjan Pedanekar | Anil Nelakanti | Vineet Gandhi

We present a method to control the emotional prosody of Text to Speech (TTS) systems by using phoneme-level intermediate features (pitch, energy, and duration) as levers. As a key idea, we propose Differential Scaling (DS) to disentangle features relating to affective prosody from those arising due to acoustics conditions and speaker identity. With thorough experimental studies, we show that the proposed method improves over the prior art in accurately emulating the desired emotions while retaining the naturalness of speech. We extend the traditional evaluation of using individual sentences for a more complete evaluation of HCI systems. We present a novel experimental setup by replacing an actor with a TTS system in offline and live conversations. The emotion to be rendered is either predicted or manually assigned. The results show that the proposed method is strongly preferred over the state-of-the-art TTS system and adds the much-coveted “human touch” in machine dialogue. Audio samples from our experiments and the code are available at:

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The Why and The How: A Survey on Natural Language Interaction in Visualization
Henrik Voigt | Ozge Alacam | Monique Meuschke | Kai Lawonn | Sina Zarrieß

Natural language as a modality of interaction is becoming increasingly popular in the field of visualization. In addition to the popular query interfaces, other language-based interactions such as annotations, recommendations, explanations, or documentation experience growing interest. In this survey, we provide an overview of natural language-based interaction in the research area of visualization. We discuss a renowned taxonomy of visualization tasks and classify 119 related works to illustrate the state-of-the-art of how current natural language interfaces support their performance. We examine applied NLP methods and discuss human-machine dialogue structures with a focus on initiative, duration, and communicative functions in recent visualization-oriented dialogue interfaces. Based on this overview, we point out interesting areas for the future application of NLP methods in the field of visualization.

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Understand before Answer: Improve Temporal Reading Comprehension via Precise Question Understanding
Hao Huang | Xiubo Geng | Guodong Long | Daxin Jiang

This work studies temporal reading comprehension (TRC), which reads a free-text passage and answers temporal ordering questions. Precise question understanding is critical for temporal reading comprehension. For example, the question “What happened before the victory” and “What happened after the victory” share almost all words except one, while their answers are totally different. Moreover, even if two questions query about similar temporal relations, different varieties might also lead to various answers. For example, although both the question “What usually happened during the press release?” and “What might happen during the press release” query events which happen after “the press release”, they convey divergent semantics. To this end, we propose a novel reading comprehension approach with precise question understanding. Specifically, a temporal ordering question is embedded into two vectors to capture the referred event and the temporal relation. Then we evaluate the temporal relation between candidate events and the referred event based on that. Such fine-grained representations offer two benefits. First, it enables a better understanding of the question by focusing on different elements of a question. Second, it provides good interpretability when evaluating temporal relations. Furthermore, we also harness an auxiliary contrastive loss for representation learning of temporal relations, which aims to distinguish relations with subtle but critical changes. The proposed approach outperforms strong baselines and achieves state-of-the-art performance on the TORQUE dataset. It also increases the accuracy of four pre-trained language models (BERT base, BERT large, RoBERTa base, and RoBETRa large), demonstrating its generic effectiveness on divergent models.

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User-Driven Research of Medical Note Generation Software
Tom Knoll | Francesco Moramarco | Alex Papadopoulos Korfiatis | Rachel Young | Claudia Ruffini | Mark Perera | Christian Perstl | Ehud Reiter | Anya Belz | Aleksandar Savkov

A growing body of work uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) methods to automatically generate medical notes from audio recordings of doctor-patient consultations. However, there are very few studies on how such systems could be used in clinical practice, how clinicians would adjust to using them, or how system design should be influenced by such considerations. In this paper, we present three rounds of user studies, carried out in the context of developing a medical note generation system. We present, analyse and discuss the participating clinicians’ impressions and views of how the system ought to be adapted to be of value to them. Next, we describe a three-week test run of the system in a live telehealth clinical practice. Major findings include (i) the emergence of five different note-taking behaviours; (ii) the importance of the system generating notes in real time during the consultation; and (iii) the identification of a number of clinical use cases that could prove challenging for automatic note generation systems.

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Ask Me Anything in Your Native Language
Nikita Sorokin | Dmitry Abulkhanov | Irina Piontkovskaya | Valentin Malykh

Cross-lingual question answering is a thriving field in the modern world, helping people to search information on the web more efficiently. One of the important scenarios is to give an answer even there is no answer in the language a person asks a question with. We present a novel approach based on single encoder for query and passage for retrieval from multi-lingual collection, together with cross-lingual generative reader. It achieves a new state of the art in both retrieval and end-to-end tasks on the XOR TyDi dataset outperforming the previous results up to 10% on several languages. We find that our approach can be generalized to more than 20 languages in zero-shot approach and outperform all previous models by 12%.

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Diversifying Neural Dialogue Generation via Negative Distillation
Yiwei Li | Shaoxiong Feng | Bin Sun | Kan Li

Generative dialogue models suffer badly from the generic response problem, limiting their applications to a few toy scenarios. Recently, an interesting approach, namely negative training, has been proposed to alleviate this problem by reminding the model not to generate high-frequency responses during training. However, its performance is hindered by two issues, ignoring low-frequency but generic responses and bringing low-frequency but meaningless responses. In this paper, we propose a novel negative training paradigm, called negative distillation, to keep the model away from the undesirable generic responses while avoiding the above problems. First, we introduce a negative teacher model that can produce query-wise generic responses, and then the student model is required to maximize the distance with multi-level negative knowledge. Empirical results show that our method outperforms previous negative training methods significantly.

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On Synthetic Data for Back Translation
Jiahao Xu | Yubin Ruan | Wei Bi | Guoping Huang | Shuming Shi | Lihui Chen | Lemao Liu

Back translation (BT) is one of the most significant technologies in NMT research fields. Existing attempts on BT share a common characteristic: they employ either beam search or random sampling to generate synthetic data with a backward model but seldom work studies the role of synthetic data in the performance of BT. This motivates us to ask a fundamental question: what kind of synthetic data contributes to BT performance?Through both theoretical and empirical studies, we identify two key factors on synthetic data controlling the back-translation NMT performance, which are quality and importance. Furthermore, based on our findings, we propose a simple yet effective method to generate synthetic data to better trade off both factors so as to yield the better performance for BT. We run extensive experiments on WMT14 DE-EN, EN-DE, and RU-EN benchmark tasks. By employing our proposed method to generate synthetic data, our BT model significantly outperforms the standard BT baselines (i.e., beam and sampling based methods for data generation), which proves the effectiveness of our proposed methods.

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Mapping the Design Space of Human-AI Interaction in Text Summarization
Ruijia Cheng | Alison Smith-Renner | Ke Zhang | Joel Tetreault | Alejandro Jaimes-Larrarte

Automatic text summarization systems commonly involve humans for preparing data or evaluating model performance, yet, there lacks a systematic understanding of humans’ roles, experience, and needs when interacting with or being assisted by AI. From a human-centered perspective, we map the design opportunities and considerations for human-AI interaction in text summarization and broader text generation tasks. We first conducted a systematic literature review of 70 papers, developing a taxonomy of five interactions in AI-assisted text generation and relevant design dimensions. We designed text summarization prototypes for each interaction. We then interviewed 16 users, aided by the prototypes, to understand their expectations, experience, and needs regarding efficiency, control, and trust with AI in text summarization and propose design considerations accordingly.

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Towards Robust and Semantically Organised Latent Representations for Unsupervised Text Style Transfer
Sharan Narasimhan | Suvodip Dey | Maunendra Desarkar

Recent studies show that auto-encoder based approaches successfully perform language generation, smooth sentence interpolation, and style transfer over unseen attributes using unlabelled datasets in a zero-shot manner. The latent space geometry of such models is organised well enough to perform on datasets where the style is “coarse-grained” i.e. a small fraction of words alone in a sentence are enough to determine the overall style label. A recent study uses a discrete token-based perturbation approach to map “similar” sentences (“similar” defined by low Levenshtein distance/ high word overlap) close by in latent space. This definition of “similarity” does not look into the underlying nuances of the constituent words while mapping latent space neighbourhoods and therefore fails to recognise sentences with different style-based semantics while mapping latent neighbourhoods. We introduce EPAAEs (Embedding Perturbed Adversarial AutoEncoders) which completes this perturbation model, by adding a finely adjustable noise component on the continuous embeddings space. We empirically show that this (a) produces a better organised latent space that clusters stylistically similar sentences together, (b) performs best on a diverse set of text style transfer tasks than its counterparts, and (c) is capable of fine-grained control of Style Transfer strength. We also extend the text style transfer tasks to NLI datasets and show that these more complex definitions of style are learned best by EPAAE. To the best of our knowledge, extending style transfer to NLI tasks has not been explored before.

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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

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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Automatic Correction of Human Translations
Jessy Lin | Geza Kovacs | Aditya Shastry | Joern Wuebker | John DeNero

We introduce translation error correction (TEC), the task of automatically correcting human-generated translations. Imperfections in machine translations (MT) have long motivated systems for improving translations post-hoc with automatic post-editing. In contrast, little attention has been devoted to the problem of automatically correcting human translations, despite the intuition that humans make distinct errors that machines would be well-suited to assist with, from typos to inconsistencies in translation conventions. To investigate this, we build and release the Aced corpus with three TEC datasets (available at: We show that human errors in TEC exhibit a more diverse range of errors and far fewer translation fluency errors than the MT errors in automatic post-editing datasets, suggesting the need for dedicated TEC models that are specialized to correct human errors. We show that pre-training instead on synthetic errors based on human errors improves TEC F-score by as much as 5.1 points. We conducted a human-in-the-loop user study with nine professional translation editors and found that the assistance of our TEC system led them to produce significantly higher quality revised translations.

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On the Robustness of Reading Comprehension Models to Entity Renaming
Jun Yan | Yang Xiao | Sagnik Mukherjee | Bill Yuchen Lin | Robin Jia | Xiang Ren

We study the robustness of machine reading comprehension (MRC) models to entity renaming—do models make more wrong predictions when the same questions are asked about an entity whose name has been changed? Such failures imply that models overly rely on entity information to answer questions, and thus may generalize poorly when facts about the world change or questions are asked about novel entities. To systematically audit this issue, we present a pipeline to automatically generate test examples at scale, by replacing entity names in the original test sample with names from a variety of sources, ranging from names in the same test set, to common names in life, to arbitrary strings. Across five datasets and three pretrained model architectures, MRC models consistently perform worse when entities are renamed, with particularly large accuracy drops on datasets constructed via distant supervision. We also find large differences between models: SpanBERT, which is pretrained with span-level masking, is more robust than RoBERTa, despite having similar accuracy on unperturbed test data. We further experiment with different masking strategies as the continual pretraining objective and find that entity-based masking can improve the robustness of MRC models.

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Explaining Why: How Instructions and User Interfaces Impact Annotator Rationales When Labeling Text Data
Jamar Sullivan Jr. | Will Brackenbury | Andrew McNutt | Kevin Bryson | Kwam Byll | Yuxin Chen | Michael Littman | Chenhao Tan | Blase Ur

In the context of data labeling, NLP researchers are increasingly interested in having humans select rationales, a subset of input tokens relevant to the chosen label. We conducted a 332-participant online user study to understand how humans select rationales, especially how different instructions and user interface affordances impact the rationales chosen. Participants labeled ten movie reviews as positive or negative, selecting words and phrases supporting their label as rationales. We varied the instructions given, the rationale-selection task, and the user interface. Participants often selected about 12% of input tokens as rationales, but selected fewer if unable to drag over multiple tokens at once. Whereas participants were near unanimous in their data labels, they were far less consistent in their rationales. The user interface affordances and task greatly impacted the types of rationales chosen. We also observed large variance across participants.

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Fine-tuning Pre-trained Language Models for Few-shot Intent Detection: Supervised Pre-training and Isotropization
Haode Zhang | Haowen Liang | Yuwei Zhang | Li-Ming Zhan | Xiao-Ming Wu | Xiaolei Lu | Albert Lam

It is challenging to train a good intent classifier for a task-oriented dialogue system with only a few annotations. Recent studies have shown that fine-tuning pre-trained language models with a small set of labeled utterances from public benchmarks in a supervised manner is extremely helpful. However, we find that supervised pre-training yields an anisotropic feature space, which may suppress the expressive power of the semantic representations. Inspired by recent research in isotropization, we propose to improve supervised pre-training by regularizing the feature space towards isotropy. We propose two regularizers based on contrastive learning and correlation matrix respectively, and demonstrate their effectiveness through extensive experiments. Our main finding is that it is promising to regularize supervised pre-training with isotropization to further improve the performance of few-shot intent detection. The source code can be found at

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Cross-document Misinformation Detection based on Event Graph Reasoning
Xueqing Wu | Kung-Hsiang Huang | Yi Fung | Heng Ji

For emerging events, human readers are often exposed to both real news and fake news. Multiple news articles may contain complementary or contradictory information that readers can leverage to help detect fake news. Inspired by this process, we propose a novel task of cross-document misinformation detection. Given a cluster of topically related news documents, we aim to detect misinformation at both document level and a more fine-grained level, event level. Due to the lack of data, we generate fake news by manipulating real news, and construct 3 new datasets with 422, 276, and 1,413 clusters of topically related documents, respectively. We further propose a graph-based detector that constructs a cross-document knowledge graph using cross-document event coreference resolution and employs a heterogeneous graph neural network to conduct detection at two levels. We then feed the event-level detection results into the document-level detector. Experimental results show that our proposed method significantly outperforms existing methods by up to 7 F1 points on this new task.

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Disentangled Action Recognition with Knowledge Bases
Zhekun Luo | Shalini Ghosh | Devin Guillory | Keizo Kato | Trevor Darrell | Huijuan Xu

Action in video usually involves the interaction of human with objects. Action labels are typically composed of various combinations of verbs and nouns, but we may not have training data for all possible combinations. In this paper, we aim to improve the generalization ability of the compositional action recognition model to novel verbs or novel nouns that are unseen during training time, by leveraging the power of knowledge graphs. Previous work utilizes verb-noun compositional action nodes in the knowledge graph, making it inefficient to scale since the number of compositional action nodes grows quadratically with respect to the number of verbs and nouns. To address this issue, we propose our approach: Disentangled Action Recognition with Knowledge-bases (DARK), which leverages the inherent compositionality of actions. DARK trains a factorized model by first extracting disentangled feature representations for verbs and nouns, and then predicting classification weights using relations in external knowledge graphs. The type constraint between verb and noun is extracted from external knowledge bases and finally applied when composing actions. DARK has better scalability in the number of objects and verbs, and achieves state-of-the-art performance on the Charades dataset. We further propose a new benchmark split based on the Epic-kitchen dataset which is an order of magnitude bigger in the numbers of classes and samples, and benchmark various models on this benchmark.

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Machine-in-the-Loop Rewriting for Creative Image Captioning
Vishakh Padmakumar | He He

Machine-in-the-loop writing aims to build models that assist humans to accomplish their writing tasks more effectively. Prior work has found that providing users a machine-written draft or sentence-level continuations has limited success since the generated text tends to deviate from users’ intention. To allow the user to retain control over the content, we train a rewriting model that, when prompted, modifies specified spans of text within the user’s original draft to introduce descriptive and figurative elements in the text. We evaluate the model on its ability to collaborate with humans on the task of creative image captioning. On a user study through Amazon Mechanical Turk, our model is rated to be more helpful by users than a baseline infilling language model. In addition, third-party evaluation shows that users write more descriptive and figurative captions when collaborating with our model compared to completing the task alone. However, the improvement is not uniform across user groups: the model is more helpful to skilled users, which risks widening the gap between skilled and novice users, highlighting a need for careful, user-centric evaluation of interactive systems.

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A Word is Worth A Thousand Dollars: Adversarial Attack on Tweets Fools Stock Prediction
Yong Xie | Dakuo Wang | Pin-Yu Chen | Jinjun Xiong | Sijia Liu | Oluwasanmi Koyejo

More and more investors and machine learning models rely on social media (e.g., Twitter and Reddit) to gather information and predict movements stock prices. Although text-based models are known to be vulnerable to adversarial attacks, whether stock prediction models have similar vulnerability given necessary constraints is underexplored. In this paper, we experiment with a variety of adversarial attack configurations to fool three stock prediction victim models. We address the task of adversarial generation by solving combinatorial optimization problems with semantics and budget constraints. Our results show that the proposed attack method can achieve consistent success rates and cause significant monetary loss in trading simulation by simply concatenating a perturbed but semantically similar tweet.

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Building Multilingual Machine Translation Systems That Serve Arbitrary XY Translations
Akiko Eriguchi | Shufang Xie | Tao Qin | Hany Hassan

Multilingual Neural Machine Translation (MNMT) enables one system to translate sentences from multiple source languages to multiple target languages, greatly reducing deployment costs compared with conventional bilingual systems. The MNMT training benefit, however, is often limited to many-to-one directions. The model suffers from poor performance in one-to-many and many-to-many with zero-shot setup. To address this issue, this paper discusses how to practically build MNMT systems that serve arbitrary X-Y translation directions while leveraging multilinguality with a two-stage training strategy of pretraining and finetuning. Experimenting with the WMT’21 multilingual translation task, we demonstrate that our systems outperform the conventional baselines of direct bilingual models and pivot translation models for most directions, averagely giving +6.0 and +4.1 BLEU, without the need for architecture change or extra data collection. Moreover, we also examine our proposed approach in an extremely large-scale data setting to accommodate practical deployment scenarios.

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Non-Autoregressive Neural Machine Translation with Consistency Regularization Optimized Variational Framework
Minghao Zhu | Junli Wang | Chungang Yan

Variational Autoencoder (VAE) is an effective framework to model the interdependency for non-autoregressive neural machine translation (NAT). One of the prominent VAE-based NAT frameworks, LaNMT, achieves great improvements to vanilla models, but still suffers from two main issues which lower down the translation quality: (1) mismatch between training and inference circumstances and (2) inadequacy of latent representations. In this work, we target on addressing these issues by proposing posterior consistency regularization. Specifically, we first perform stochastic data augmentation on the input samples to better adapt the model for inference circumstance, and then conduct consistency training on posterior latent variables to construct a more robust latent representations without any expansion on latent size. Experiments on En<->De and En<->Ro benchmarks confirm the effectiveness of our methods with about 1.5/0.7 and 0.8/0.3 BLEU points improvement to the baseline model with about 12.6× faster than autoregressive Transformer.

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User-Centric Gender Rewriting
Bashar Alhafni | Nizar Habash | Houda Bouamor

In this paper, we define the task of gender rewriting in contexts involving two users (I and/or You) – first and second grammatical persons with independent grammatical gender preferences. We focus on Arabic, a gender-marking morphologically rich language. We develop a multi-step system that combines the positive aspects of both rule-based and neural rewriting models. Our results successfully demonstrate the viability of this approach on a recently created corpus for Arabic gender rewriting, achieving 88.42 M2 F0.5 on a blind test set. Our proposed system improves over previous work on the first-person-only version of this task, by 3.05 absolute increase in M2 F0.5. We demonstrate a use case of our gender rewriting system by using it to post-edit the output of a commercial MT system to provide personalized outputs based on the users’ grammatical gender preferences. We make our code, data, and pretrained models publicly available.

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Reframing Human-AI Collaboration for Generating Free-Text Explanations
Sarah Wiegreffe | Jack Hessel | Swabha Swayamdipta | Mark Riedl | Yejin Choi

Large language models are increasingly capable of generating fluent-appearing text with relatively little task-specific supervision. But can these models accurately explain classification decisions? We consider the task of generating free-text explanations using human-written examples in a few-shot manner. We find that (1) authoring higher quality prompts results in higher quality generations; and (2) surprisingly, in a head-to-head comparison, crowdworkers often prefer explanations generated by GPT-3 to crowdsourced explanations in existing datasets. Our human studies also show, however, that while models often produce factual, grammatical, and sufficient explanations, they have room to improve along axes such as providing novel information and supporting the label. We create a pipeline that combines GPT-3 with a supervised filter that incorporates binary acceptability judgments from humans in the loop. Despite the intrinsic subjectivity of acceptability judgments, we demonstrate that acceptability is partially correlated with various fine-grained attributes of explanations. Our approach is able to consistently filter GPT-3-generated explanations deemed acceptable by humans.

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EmRel: Joint Representation of Entities and Embedded Relations for Multi-triple Extraction
Benfeng Xu | Quan Wang | Yajuan Lyu | Yabing Shi | Yong Zhu | Jie Gao | Zhendong Mao

Multi-triple extraction is a challenging task due to the existence of informative inter-triple correlations, and consequently rich interactions across the constituent entities and relations. While existing works only explore entity representations, we propose to explicitly introduce relation representation, jointly represent it with entities, and novelly align them to identify valid triples.We perform comprehensive experiments on document-level relation extraction and joint entity and relation extraction along with ablations to demonstrate the advantage of the proposed method.

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Meta Learning for Natural Language Processing: A Survey
Hung-yi Lee | Shang-Wen Li | Thang Vu

Deep learning has been the mainstream technique in the natural language processing (NLP) area. However, deep learning requires many labeled data and is less generalizable across domains. Meta-learning is an arising field in machine learning. It studies approaches to learning better learning algorithms and aims to improve algorithms in various aspects, including data efficiency and generalizability. The efficacy of meta-learning has been shown in many NLP tasks, but there is no systematic survey of these approaches in NLP, which hinders more researchers from joining the field. Our goal with this survey paper is to offer researchers pointers to relevant meta-learning works in NLP and attract more attention from the NLP community to drive future innovation. This paper first introduces the general concepts of meta-learning and the common approaches. Then we summarize task construction settings, applications of meta-learning for various NLP problems and review the development of meta-learning in the NLP community.

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Analyzing Modality Robustness in Multimodal Sentiment Analysis
Devamanyu Hazarika | Yingting Li | Bo Cheng | Shuai Zhao | Roger Zimmermann | Soujanya Poria

Building robust multimodal models are crucial for achieving reliable deployment in the wild. Despite its importance, less attention has been paid to identifying and improving the robustness of Multimodal Sentiment Analysis (MSA) models. In this work, we hope to address that by (i) Proposing simple diagnostic checks for modality robustness in a trained multimodal model. Using these checks, we find MSA models to be highly sensitive to a single modality, which creates issues in their robustness; (ii) We analyze well-known robust training strategies to alleviate the issues. Critically, we observe that robustness can be achieved without compromising on the original performance. We hope our extensive study–performed across five models and two benchmark datasets–and proposed procedures would make robustness an integral component in MSA research. Our diagnostic checks and robust training solutions are simple to implement and available at

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Fuse It More Deeply! A Variational Transformer with Layer-Wise Latent Variable Inference for Text Generation
Jinyi Hu | Xiaoyuan Yi | Wenhao Li | Maosong Sun | Xing Xie

The past several years have witnessed Variational Auto-Encoder’s superiority in various text generation tasks. However, due to the sequential nature of the text, auto-regressive decoders tend to ignore latent variables and then reduce to simple language models, known as the KL vanishing problem, which would further deteriorate when VAE is combined with Transformer-based structures. To ameliorate this problem, we propose Della, a novel variational Transformer framework. Della learns a series of layer-wise latent variables with each inferred from those of lower layers and tightly coupled with the hidden states by low-rank tensor product. In this way, Della forces these posterior latent variables to be fused deeply with the whole computation path and hence incorporate more information. We theoretically demonstrate that our method can be regarded as entangling latent variables to avoid posterior information decrease through layers, enabling Della to get higher non-zero KL values even without any annealing or thresholding tricks. Experiments on four unconditional and three conditional generation tasks show that Della could better alleviate KL vanishing and improve both quality and diversity compared to several strong baselines.

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Easy Adaptation to Mitigate Gender Bias in Multilingual Text Classification
Xiaolei Huang

Existing approaches to mitigate demographic biases evaluate on monolingual data, however, multilingual data has not been examined. In this work, we treat the gender as domains (e.g., male vs. female) and present a standard domain adaptation model to reduce the gender bias and improve performance of text classifiers under multilingual settings. We evaluate our approach on two text classification tasks, hate speech detection and rating prediction, and demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach with three fair-aware baselines.

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On the Use of External Data for Spoken Named Entity Recognition
Ankita Pasad | Felix Wu | Suwon Shon | Karen Livescu | Kyu Han

Spoken language understanding (SLU) tasks involve mapping from speech signals to semantic labels. Given the complexity of such tasks, good performance is expected to require large labeled datasets, which are difficult to collect for each new task and domain. However, recent advances in self-supervised speech representations have made it feasible to consider learning SLU models with limited labeled data. In this work, we focus on low-resource spoken named entity recognition (NER) and address the question: Beyond self-supervised pre-training, how can we use external speech and/or text data that are not annotated for the task? We consider self-training, knowledge distillation, and transfer learning for end-to-end (E2E) and pipeline (speech recognition followed by text NER) approaches. We find that several of these approaches improve performance in resource-constrained settings beyond the benefits from pre-trained representations. Compared to prior work, we find relative improvements in F1 of up to 16%. While the best baseline model is a pipeline approach, the best performance using external data is ultimately achieved by an E2E model. We provide detailed comparisons and analyses, developing insights on, for example, the effects of leveraging external data on (i) different categories of NER errors and (ii) the switch in performance trends between pipeline and E2E models.

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Long-term Control for Dialogue Generation: Methods and Evaluation
Ramya Ramakrishnan | Hashan Narangodage | Mauro Schilman | Kilian Weinberger | Ryan McDonald

Current approaches for controlling dialogue response generation are primarily focused on high-level attributes like style, sentiment, or topic. In this work, we focus on constrained long-term dialogue generation, which involves more fine-grained control and requires a given set of control words to appear in generated responses. This setting requires a model to not only consider the generation of these control words in the immediate context, but also produce utterances that will encourage the generation of the words at some time in the (possibly distant) future. We define the problem of constrained long-term control for dialogue generation, identify gaps in current methods for evaluation, and propose new metrics that better measure long-term control. We also propose a retrieval-augmented method that improves performance of long-term controlled generation via logit modification techniques. We show through experiments on three task-oriented dialogue datasets that our metrics better assess dialogue control relative to current alternatives and that our method outperforms state-of-the-art constrained generation baselines.

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Learning Dialogue Representations from Consecutive Utterances
Zhihan Zhou | Dejiao Zhang | Wei Xiao | Nicholas Dingwall | Xiaofei Ma | Andrew Arnold | Bing Xiang

Learning high-quality dialogue representations is essential for solving a variety of dialogue-oriented tasks, especially considering that dialogue systems often suffer from data scarcity. In this paper, we introduce Dialogue Sentence Embedding (DSE), a self-supervised contrastive learning method that learns effective dialogue representations suitable for a wide range of dialogue tasks. DSE learns from dialogues by taking consecutive utterances of the same dialogue as positive pairs for contrastive learning. Despite its simplicity, DSE achieves significantly better representation capability than other dialogue representation and universal sentence representation models. We evaluate DSE on five downstream dialogue tasks that examine dialogue representation at different semantic granularities. Experiments in few-shot and zero-shot settings show that DSE outperforms baselines by a large margin, for example, it achieves 13% average performance improvement over the strongest unsupervised baseline in 1-shot intent classification on 6 datasets. We also provide analyses on the benefits and limitations of our model.

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On the Machine Learning of Ethical Judgments from Natural Language
Zeerak Talat | Hagen Blix | Josef Valvoda | Maya Indira Ganesh | Ryan Cotterell | Adina Williams

Ethics is one of the longest standing intellectual endeavors of humanity. In recent years, the fields of AI and NLP have attempted to address issues of harmful outcomes in machine learning systems that are made to interface with humans. One recent approach in this vein is the construction of NLP morality models that can take in arbitrary text and output a moral judgment about the situation described. In this work, we offer a critique of such NLP methods for automating ethical decision-making. Through an audit of recent work on computational approaches for predicting morality, we examine the broader issues that arise from such efforts. We conclude with a discussion of how machine ethics could usefully proceed in NLP, by focusing on current and near-future uses of technology, in a way that centers around transparency, democratic values, and allows for straightforward accountability.

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NeuroLogic A*esque Decoding: Constrained Text Generation with Lookahead Heuristics
Ximing Lu | Sean Welleck | Peter West | Liwei Jiang | Jungo Kasai | Daniel Khashabi | Ronan Le Bras | Lianhui Qin | Youngjae Yu | Rowan Zellers | Noah A. Smith | Yejin Choi

The dominant paradigm for neural text generation is left-to-right decoding from autoregressive language models. Constrained or controllable generation under complex lexical constraints, however, requires foresight to plan ahead feasible future paths. Drawing inspiration from the A* search algorithm, we propose NeuroLogic A*esque, a decoding algorithm that incorporates heuristic estimates of future cost. We develop lookahead heuristics that are efficient for large-scale language models, making our method a drop-in replacement for common techniques such as beam search and top-k sampling. To enable constrained generation, we build on NeuroLogic decoding (Lu et al., 2021), combining its flexibility in incorporating logical constraints with A*esque estimates of future constraint satisfaction. Our approach outperforms competitive baselines on five generation tasks, and achieves new state-of-the-art performance on table-to-text generation, constrained machine translation, and keyword-constrained generation. The improvements are particularly notable on tasks that require complex constraint satisfaction or in few-shot or zero-shot settings. NeuroLogic A*esque illustrates the power of decoding for improving and enabling new capabilities of large-scale language models.

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PARADISE: Exploiting Parallel Data for Multilingual Sequence-to-Sequence Pretraining
Machel Reid | Mikel Artetxe

Despite the success of multilingual sequence-to-sequence pretraining, most existing approaches rely on monolingual corpora and do not make use of the strong cross-lingual signal contained in parallel data. In this paper, we present PARADISE (PARAllel &Denoising Integration in SEquence-to-sequence models), which extends the conventional denoising objective used to train these models by (i) replacing words in the noised sequence according to a multilingual dictionary, and (ii) predicting the reference translation according to a parallel corpus instead of recovering the original sequence. Our experiments on machine translation and cross-lingual natural language inference show an average improvement of 2.0 BLEU points and 6.7 accuracy points from integrating parallel data into pretraining, respectively, obtaining results that are competitive with several popular models at a fraction of their computational cost.

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Explaining Toxic Text via Knowledge Enhanced Text Generation
Rohit Sridhar | Diyi Yang

Warning: This paper contains content that is offensive and may be upsetting. Biased or toxic speech can be harmful to various demographic groups. Therefore, it is not only important for models to detect these speech, but to also output explanations of why a given text is toxic. Previous literature has mostly focused on classifying and detecting toxic speech, and existing efforts on explaining stereotypes in toxic speech mainly use standard text generation approaches, resulting in generic and repetitive explanations. Building on these prior works, we introduce a novel knowledge-informed encoder-decoder framework to utilize multiple knowledge sources to generate implications of biased text. Experiments show that our knowledge informed models outperform prior state-of-the-art models significantly, and can generate detailed explanations of stereotypes in toxic speech compared to baselines, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

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Teaching BERT to Wait: Balancing Accuracy and Latency for Streaming Disfluency Detection
Angelica Chen | Vicky Zayats | Daniel Walker | Dirk Padfield

In modern interactive speech-based systems, speech is consumed and transcribed incrementally prior to having disfluencies removed. While this post-processing step is crucial for producing clean transcripts and high performance on downstream tasks (e.g. machine translation), most current state-of-the-art NLP models such as the Transformer operate non-incrementally, potentially causing unacceptable delays for the user. In this work we propose a streaming BERT-based sequence tagging model that, combined with a novel training objective, is capable of detecting disfluencies in real-time while balancing accuracy and latency. This is accomplished by training the model to decide whether to immediately output a prediction for the current input or to wait for further context, in essence learning to dynamically size the lookahead window. Our results demonstrate that our model produces comparably accurate predictions and does so sooner than our baselines, with lower flicker. Furthermore, the model attains state-of-the-art latency and stability scores when compared with recent work on incremental disfluency detection.

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GRAM: Fast Fine-tuning of Pre-trained Language Models for Content-based Collaborative Filtering
Yoonseok Yang | Kyu Seok Kim | Minsam Kim | Juneyoung Park

Content-based collaborative filtering (CCF) predicts user-item interactions based on both users’ interaction history and items’ content information. Recently, pre-trained language models (PLM) have been used to extract high-quality item encodings for CCF. However, it is resource-intensive to train a PLM-based CCF model in an end-to-end (E2E) manner, since optimization involves back-propagating through every content encoding within a given user interaction sequence. To tackle this issue, we propose GRAM (GRadient Accumulation for Multi-modality in CCF), which exploits the fact that a given item often appears multiple times within a batch of interaction histories. Specifically, Single-step GRAM aggregates each item encoding’s gradients for back-propagation, with theoretic equivalence to the standard E2E training. As an extension of Single-step GRAM, we propose Multi-step GRAM, which increases the gradient update latency, achieving a further speedup with drastically less GPU memory. GRAM significantly improves training efficiency (up to 146x) on five datasets from two task domains of Knowledge Tracing and News Recommendation. Our code is available at

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Generating Repetitions with Appropriate Repeated Words
Toshiki Kawamoto | Hidetaka Kamigaito | Kotaro Funakoshi | Manabu Okumura

A repetition is a response that repeats words in the previous speaker’s utterance in a dialogue. Repetitions are essential in communication to build trust with others, as investigated in linguistic studies. In this work, we focus on repetition generation. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first neural approach to address repetition generation. We propose Weighted Label Smoothing, a smoothing method for explicitly learning which words to repeat during fine-tuning, and a repetition scoring method that can output more appropriate repetitions during decoding. We conducted automatic and human evaluations involving applying these methods to the pre-trained language model T5 for generating repetitions. The experimental results indicate that our methods outperformed baselines in both evaluations.

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Textless Speech-to-Speech Translation on Real Data
Ann Lee | Hongyu Gong | Paul-Ambroise Duquenne | Holger Schwenk | Peng-Jen Chen | Changhan Wang | Sravya Popuri | Yossi Adi | Juan Pino | Jiatao Gu | Wei-Ning Hsu

We present a textless speech-to-speech translation (S2ST) system that can translate speech from one language into another language and can be built without the need of any text data. Different from existing work in the literature, we tackle the challenge in modeling multi-speaker target speech and train the systems with real-world S2ST data. The key to our approach is a self-supervised unit-based speech normalization technique, which finetunes a pre-trained speech encoder with paired audios from multiple speakers and a single reference speaker to reduce the variations due to accents, while preserving the lexical content. With only 10 minutes of paired data for speech normalization, we obtain on average 3.2 BLEU gain when training the S2ST model on the VoxPopuli S2ST dataset, compared to a baseline trained on un-normalized speech target. We also incorporate automatically mined S2ST data and show an additional 2.0 BLEU gain. To our knowledge, we are the first to establish a textless S2ST technique that can be trained with real-world data and works for multiple language pairs.

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WALNUT: A Benchmark on Semi-weakly Supervised Learning for Natural Language Understanding
Guoqing Zheng | Giannis Karamanolakis | Kai Shu | Ahmed Awadallah

Building machine learning models for natural language understanding (NLU) tasks relies heavily on labeled data. Weak supervision has been proven valuable when large amount of labeled data is unavailable or expensive to obtain. Existing works studying weak supervision for NLU either mostly focus on a specific task or simulate weak supervision signals from ground-truth labels. It is thus hard to compare different approaches and evaluate the benefit of weak supervision without access to a unified and systematic benchmark with diverse tasks and real-world weak labeling rules. In this paper, we propose such a benchmark, named WALNUT, to advocate and facilitate research on weak supervision for NLU. WALNUT consists of NLU tasks with different types, including document-level and token-level prediction tasks. WALNUT is the first semi-weakly supervised learning benchmark for NLU, where each task contains weak labels generated by multiple real-world weak sources, together with a small set of clean labels. We conduct baseline evaluations on WALNUT to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of various weak supervision methods and model architectures. Our results demonstrate the benefit of weak supervision for low-resource NLU tasks and highlight interesting patterns across tasks. We expect WALNUT to stimulate further research on methodologies to leverage weak supervision more effectively. The benchmark and code for baselines are available at

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CompactIE: Compact Facts in Open Information Extraction
Farima Fatahi Bayat | Nikita Bhutani | H. Jagadish

A major drawback of modern neural OpenIE systems and benchmarks is that they prioritize high coverage of information in extractions over compactness of their constituents. This severely limits the usefulness of OpenIE extractions in many downstream tasks. The utility of extractions can be improved if extractions are compact and share constituents. To this end, we study the problem of identifying compact extractions with neural-based methods. We propose CompactIE, an OpenIE system that uses a novel pipelined approach to produce compact extractions with overlapping constituents. It first detects constituents of the extractions and then links them to build extractions. We train our system on compact extractions obtained by processing existing benchmarks. Our experiments on CaRB and Wire57 datasets indicate that CompactIE finds 1.5x-2x more compact extractions than previous systems, with high precision, establishing a new state-of-the-art performance in OpenIE.

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CoSIm: Commonsense Reasoning for Counterfactual Scene Imagination
Hyounghun Kim | Abhay Zala | Mohit Bansal

As humans, we can modify our assumptions about a scene by imagining alternative objects or concepts in our minds. For example, we can easily anticipate the implications of the sun being overcast by rain clouds (e.g., the street will get wet) and accordingly prepare for that. In this paper, we introduce a new dataset called Commonsense Reasoning for Counterfactual Scene Imagination (CoSIm) which is designed to evaluate the ability of AI systems to reason about scene change imagination. To be specific, in this multimodal task/dataset, models are given an image and an initial question-response pair about the image. Next, a counterfactual imagined scene change (in textual form) is applied, and the model has to predict the new response to the initial question based on this scene change. We collect 3.5K high-quality and challenging data instances, with each instance consisting of an image, a commonsense question with a response, a description of a counterfactual change, a new response to the question, and three distractor responses. Our dataset contains various complex scene change types (such as object addition/removal/state change, event description, environment change, etc.) that require models to imagine many different scenarios and reason about the changed scenes. We present a baseline model based on a vision-language Transformer (i.e., LXMERT) and ablation studies. Through human evaluation, we demonstrate a large human-model performance gap, suggesting room for promising future work on this challenging, counterfactual multimodal task.

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Abstraction not Memory: BERT and the English Article System
Harish Tayyar Madabushi | Dagmar Divjak | Petar Milin

Article prediction is a task that has long defied accurate linguistic description. As such, this task is ideally suited to evaluate models on their ability to emulate native-speaker intuition. To this end, we compare the performance of native English speakers and pre-trained models on the task of article prediction set up as a three way choice (a/an, the, zero). Our experiments with BERT show that BERT outperforms humans on this task across all articles. In particular, BERT is far superior to humans at detecting the zero article, possibly because we insert them using rules that the deep neural model can easily pick up. More interestingly, we find that BERT tends to agree more with annotators than with the corpus when inter-annotator agreement is high but switches to agreeing more with the corpus as inter-annotator agreement drops. We contend that this alignment with annotators, despite being trained on the corpus, suggests that BERT is not memorising article use, but captures a high level generalisation of article use akin to human intuition.

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OmniTab: Pretraining with Natural and Synthetic Data for Few-shot Table-based Question Answering
Zhengbao Jiang | Yi Mao | Pengcheng He | Graham Neubig | Weizhu Chen

The information in tables can be an important complement to text, making table-based question answering (QA) systems of great value. The intrinsic complexity of handling tables often adds an extra burden to both model design and data annotation. In this paper, we aim to develop a simple table-based QA model with minimal annotation effort. Motivated by the fact that table-based QA requires both alignment between questions and tables and the ability to perform complicated reasoning over multiple table elements, we propose an omnivorous pretraining approach that consumes both natural and synthetic data to endow models with these respective abilities. Specifically, given freely available tables, we leverage retrieval to pair them with relevant natural sentences for mask-based pretraining, and synthesize NL questions by converting SQL sampled from tables for pretraining with a QA loss. We perform extensive experiments in both few-shot and full settings, and the results clearly demonstrate the superiority of our model OmniTab, with the best multitasking approach achieving an absolute gain of 16.2% and 2.7% in 128-shot and full settings respectively, also establishing a new state-of-the-art on WikiTableQuestions. Detailed ablations and analyses reveal different characteristics of natural and synthetic data, shedding light on future directions in omnivorous pretraining.

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Provably Confidential Language Modelling
Xuandong Zhao | Lei Li | Yu-Xiang Wang

Large language models are shown to memorize privacy information such as social security numbers in training data. Given the sheer scale of the training corpus, it is challenging to screen and filter these privacy data, either manually or automatically. In this paper, we propose Confidentially Redacted Training (CRT), a method to train language generation models while protecting the confidential segments. We borrow ideas from differential privacy (which solves a related but distinct problem) and show that our method is able to provably prevent unintended memorization by randomizing parts of the training process. Moreover, we show that redaction with an approximately correct screening policy amplifies the confidentiality guarantee. We implement the method for both LSTM and GPT language models. Our experimental results show that the models trained by CRT obtain almost the same perplexity while preserving strong confidentiality.

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KAT: A Knowledge Augmented Transformer for Vision-and-Language
Liangke Gui | Borui Wang | Qiuyuan Huang | Alexander Hauptmann | Yonatan Bisk | Jianfeng Gao

The primary focus of recent work with large-scale transformers has been on optimizing the amount of information packed into the model’s parameters. In this work, we ask a complementary question: Can multimodal transformers leverage explicit knowledge in their reasoning? Existing, primarily unimodal, methods have explored approaches under the paradigm of knowledge retrieval followed by answer prediction, but leave open questions about the quality and relevance of the retrieved knowledge used, and how the reasoning processes over implicit and explicit knowledge should be integrated. To address these challenges, we propose a - Knowledge Augmented Transformer (KAT) - which achieves a strong state-of-the-art result (+6% absolute) on the open-domain multimodal task of OK-VQA. Our approach integrates implicit and explicit knowledge in an encoder-decoder architecture, while still jointly reasoning over both knowledge sources during answer generation. Additionally, explicit knowledge integration improves interpretability of model predictions in our analysis.

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When a sentence does not introduce a discourse entity, Transformer-based models still sometimes refer to it
Sebastian Schuster | Tal Linzen

Understanding longer narratives or participating in conversations requires tracking of discourse entities that have been mentioned. Indefinite noun phrases (NPs), such as ‘a dog’, frequently introduce discourse entities but this behavior is modulated by sentential operators such as negation. For example, ‘a dog’ in ‘Arthur doesn’t own a dog’ does not introduce a discourse entity due to the presence of negation. In this work, we adapt the psycholinguistic assessment of language models paradigm to higher-level linguistic phenomena and introduce an English evaluation suite that targets the knowledge of the interactions between sentential operators and indefinite NPs. We use this evaluation suite for a fine-grained investigation of the entity tracking abilities of the Transformer-based models GPT-2 and GPT-3. We find that while the models are to a certain extent sensitive to the interactions we investigate, they are all challenged by the presence of multiple NPs and their behavior is not systematic, which suggests that even models at the scale of GPT-3 do not fully acquire basic entity tracking abilities.

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On Curriculum Learning for Commonsense Reasoning
Adyasha Maharana | Mohit Bansal

Commonsense reasoning tasks follow a standard paradigm of finetuning pretrained language models on the target task data, where samples are introduced to the model in a random order during training. However, recent research suggests that data order can have a significant impact on the performance of finetuned models for natural language understanding. Hence, we examine the effect of a human-like easy-to-difficult curriculum during finetuning of language models for commonsense reasoning tasks. We use paced curriculum learning to rank data and sample training mini-batches with increasing levels of difficulty from the ranked dataset during finetuning. Further, we investigate the effect of an adaptive curriculum, i.e., the data ranking is dynamically updated during training based on the current state of the learner model. We use a teacher model to measure difficulty of each sample and experiment with three measures based on question answering probability, variability and out-of-distribution. To understand the effectiveness of curriculum learning in various scenarios, we apply it on full model fine-tuning as well as parameter-efficient prompt-tuning settings. Our results show that fixed as well as adaptive curriculum learning significantly improve performance for five commonsense reasoning tasks, i.e., SocialIQA, CosmosQA, CODAH, HellaSwag, WinoGrande in both tuning settings. Further, we find that prioritizing the difficult samples in the tail end of training improves generalization to unseen in-domain data as well as out-of-domain data. Our work provides evidence and encourages research into curriculum learning for commonsense reasoning.

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DocTime: A Document-level Temporal Dependency Graph Parser
Puneet Mathur | Vlad Morariu | Verena Kaynig-Fittkau | Jiuxiang Gu | Franck Dernoncourt | Quan Tran | Ani Nenkova | Dinesh Manocha | Rajiv Jain

We introduce DocTime - a novel temporal dependency graph (TDG) parser that takes as input a text document and produces a temporal dependency graph. It outperforms previous BERT-based solutions by a relative 4-8% on three datasets from modeling the problem as a graph network with path-prediction loss to incorporate longer range dependencies. This work also demonstrates how the TDG graph can be used to improve the downstream tasks of temporal questions answering and NLI by a relative 4-10% with a new framework that incorporates the temporal dependency graph into the self-attention layer of Transformer models (Time-transformer). Finally, we develop and evaluate on a new temporal dependency graph dataset for the domain of contractual documents, which has not been previously explored in this setting.

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FactPEGASUS: Factuality-Aware Pre-training and Fine-tuning for Abstractive Summarization
David Wan | Mohit Bansal

We present FactPEGASUS, an abstractive summarization model that addresses the problem of factuality during pre-training and fine-tuning: (1) We augment the sentence selection strategy of PEGASUS’s (Zhang et al., 2019) pre-training objective to create pseudo-summaries that are both important and factual; (2) We introduce three complementary components for fine-tuning. The corrector removes hallucinations present in the reference summary, the contrastor uses contrastive learning to better differentiate nonfactual summaries from factual ones, and the connector bridges the gap between the pre-training and fine-tuning for better transfer of knowledge. Experiments on three downstream tasks demonstrate that FactPEGASUS substantially improves factuality evaluated by multiple automatic metrics and humans. Our thorough analysis suggests that FactPEGASUS is more factual than using the original pre-training objective in zero-shot and few-shot settings, retains factual behavior more robustly than strong baselines, and does not rely entirely on becoming more extractive to improve factuality.

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ScAN: Suicide Attempt and Ideation Events Dataset
Bhanu Pratap Singh Rawat | Samuel Kovaly | Hong Yu | Wilfred Pigeon

Suicide is an important public health concern and one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Suicidal behaviors, including suicide attempts (SA) and suicide ideations (SI), are leading risk factors for death by suicide. Information related to patients’ previous and current SA and SI are frequently documented in the electronic health record (EHR) notes. Accurate detection of such documentation may help improve surveillance and predictions of patients’ suicidal behaviors and alert medical professionals for suicide prevention efforts. In this study, we first built Suicide Attempt and Ideation Events (ScAN) dataset, a subset of the publicly available MIMIC III dataset spanning over 12k+ EHR notes with 19k+ annotated SA and SI events information. The annotations also contain attributes such as method of suicide attempt. We also provide a strong baseline model ScANER (Suicide Attempt and Ideation Events Retriever), a multi-task RoBERTa-based model with a retrieval module to extract all the relevant suicidal behavioral evidences from EHR notes of an hospital-stay and, and a prediction module to identify the type of suicidal behavior (SA and SI) concluded during the patient’s stay at the hospital. ScANER achieved a macro-weighted F1-score of 0.83 for identifying suicidal behavioral evidences and a macro F1-score of 0.78 and 0.60 for classification of SA and SI for the patient’s hospital-stay, respectively. ScAN and ScANER are publicly available.

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Socially Aware Bias Measurements for Hindi Language Representations
Vijit Malik | Sunipa Dev | Akihiro Nishi | Nanyun Peng | Kai-Wei Chang

Language representations are an efficient tool used across NLP, but they are strife with encoded societal biases. These biases are studied extensively, but with a primary focus on English language representations and biases common in the context of Western society. In this work, we investigate the biases present in Hindi language representations such as caste and religion associated biases. We demonstrate how biases are unique to specific language representations based on the history and culture of the region they are widely spoken in, and also how the same societal bias (such as binary gender associated biases) when investigated across languages is encoded by different words and text spans. With this work, we emphasize on the necessity of social-awareness along with linguistic and grammatical artefacts when modeling language representations, in order to understand the biases encoded.

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AmbiPun: Generating Humorous Puns with Ambiguous Context
Anirudh Mittal | Yufei Tian | Nanyun Peng

In this paper, we propose a simple yet effective way to generate pun sentences that does not require any training on existing puns. Our approach is inspired by humor theories that ambiguity comes from the context rather than the pun word itself. Given a pair of definitions of a pun word, our model first produces a list of related concepts through a reverse dictionary. We then utilize one-shot GPT3 to generate context words and then generate puns incorporating context words from both concepts. Human evaluation shows that our method successfully generates pun 52% of the time, outperforming well-crafted baselines and the state-of-the-art models by a large margin.

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EmpHi: Generating Empathetic Responses with Human-like Intents
Mao Yan Chen | Siheng Li | Yujiu Yang

In empathetic conversations, humans express their empathy to others with empathetic intents. However, most existing empathetic conversational methods suffer from a lack of empathetic intents, which leads to monotonous empathy. To address the bias of the empathetic intents distribution between empathetic dialogue models and humans, we propose a novel model to generate empathetic responses with human-consistent empathetic intents, EmpHi for short. Precisely, EmpHi learns the distribution of potential empathetic intents with a discrete latent variable, then combines both implicit and explicit intent representation to generate responses with various empathetic intents. Experiments show that EmpHi outperforms state-of-the-art models in terms of empathy, relevance, and diversity on both automatic and human evaluation. Moreover, the case studies demonstrate the high interpretability and outstanding performance of our model.

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Yes, No or IDK: The Challenge of Unanswerable Yes/No Questions
Elior Sulem | Jamaal Hay | Dan Roth

The Yes/No QA task (Clark et al., 2019) consists of “Yes” or “No” questions about a given context. However, in realistic scenarios, the information provided in the context is not always sufficient in order to answer the question. For example, given the context “She married a lawyer from New-York.”, we don’t know whether the answer to the question “Did she marry in New York?” is “Yes” or “No”. In this paper, we extend the Yes/No QA task, adding questions with an IDK answer, and show its considerable difficulty compared to the original 2-label task. For this purpose, we (i) enrich the BoolQ dataset (Clark et al., 2019) to include unanswerable questions and (ii) create out-of-domain test sets for the Yes/No/IDK QA task. We study the contribution of training on other Natural Language Understanding tasks. We focus in particular on Extractive QA (Rajpurkar et al., 2018) and Recognizing Textual Entailments (RTE; Dagan et al., 2013), analyzing the differences between 2 and 3 labels using the new data.

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Inducing and Using Alignments for Transition-based AMR Parsing
Andrew Drozdov | Jiawei Zhou | Radu Florian | Andrew McCallum | Tahira Naseem | Yoon Kim | Ramón Astudillo

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.

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Masked Part-Of-Speech Model: Does Modeling Long Context Help Unsupervised POS-tagging?
Xiang Zhou | Shiyue Zhang | Mohit Bansal

Previous Part-Of-Speech (POS) induction models usually assume certain independence assumptions (e.g., Markov, unidirectional, local dependency) that do not hold in real languages. For example, the subject-verb agreement can be both long-term and bidirectional. To facilitate flexible dependency modeling, we propose a Masked Part-of-Speech Model (MPoSM), inspired by the recent success of Masked Language Models (MLM). MPoSM can model arbitrary tag dependency and perform POS induction through the objective of masked POS reconstruction. We achieve competitive results on both the English Penn WSJ dataset as well as the universal treebank containing 10 diverse languages. Though modeling the long-term dependency should ideally help this task, our ablation study shows mixed trends in different languages. To better understand this phenomenon, we design a novel synthetic experiment that can specifically diagnose the model’s ability to learn tag agreement. Surprisingly, we find that even strong baselines fail to solve this problem consistently in a very simplified setting: the agreement between adjacent words. Nonetheless, MPoSM achieves overall better performance. Lastly, we conduct a detailed error analysis to shed light on other remaining challenges.

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DREAM: Improving Situational QA by First Elaborating the Situation
Yuling Gu | Bhavana Dalvi | Peter Clark

When people answer questions about a specific situation, e.g., “I cheated on my mid-term exam last week. Was that wrong?”, cognitive science suggests that they form a mental picture of that situation before answering. While we do not know how language models (LMs) answer such questions, we conjecture that they may answer more accurately if they are also provided with additional details about the question situation, elaborating the “scene”. To test this conjecture, we train a new model, DREAM, to answer questions that elaborate the scenes that situated questions are about, and then provide those elaborations as additional context to a question-answering (QA) model. We find that DREAM is able to create better scene elaborations (more accurate, useful, and consistent) than a representative state-of-the-art, zero-shot model (Macaw). We also find that using the scene elaborations as additional context improves the answer accuracy of a downstream QA system, including beyond that obtainable by simply further fine-tuning the QA system on DREAM’s training data. These results suggest that adding focused elaborations about a situation can improve a system’s reasoning about it, and may serve as an effective way of injecting new scenario-based knowledge into QA models. Finally, our approach is dataset-neutral; we observe improved QA performance across different models, with even bigger gains on models with fewer parameters.

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CoSe-Co: Text Conditioned Generative CommonSense Contextualizer
Rachit Bansal | Milan Aggarwal | Sumit Bhatia | Jivat Kaur | Balaji Krishnamurthy

Pre-trained Language Models (PTLMs) have been shown to perform well on natural language tasks. Many prior works have leveraged structured commonsense present in the form of entities linked through labeled relations in Knowledge Graphs (KGs) to assist PTLMs. Retrieval approaches use KG as a separate static module which limits coverage since KGs contain finite knowledge. Generative methods train PTLMs on KG triples to improve the scale at which knowledge can be obtained. However, training on symbolic KG entities limits their applicability in tasks involving natural language text where they ignore overall context. To mitigate this, we propose a CommonSense Contextualizer (CoSe-Co) conditioned on sentences as input to make it generically usable in tasks for generating knowledge relevant to the overall context of input text. To train CoSe-Co, we propose a novel dataset comprising of sentence and commonsense knowledge pairs. The knowledge inferred by CoSe-Co is diverse and contain novel entities not present in the underlying KG. We augment generated knowledge in Multi-Choice QA and Open-ended CommonSense Reasoning tasks leading to improvements over current best methods on CSQA, ARC, QASC and OBQA datasets. We also demonstrate its applicability in improving performance of a baseline model for paraphrase generation task.

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Probing via Prompting
Jiaoda Li | Ryan Cotterell | Mrinmaya Sachan

Probing is a popular approach to understand what linguistic information is contained in the representations of pre-trained language models. However, the mechanism of selecting the probe model has recently been subject to intense debate, as it is not clear if the probes are merely extracting information or modelling the linguistic property themselves. To address this challenge, this paper introduces a novel model-free approach to probing via prompting, which formulates probing as a prompting task. We conduct experiments on five probing tasks and show that PP is comparable or better at extracting information than diagnostic probes while learning much less on its own. We further combine the probing via prompting approach with pruning to analyze where the model stores the linguistic information in its architecture. Finally, we apply the probing via prompting approach to examine the usefulness of a linguistic property for pre-training by removing the heads that are essential to it and evaluating the resulting model’s performance on language modeling.

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Database Search Results Disambiguation for Task-Oriented Dialog Systems
Kun Qian | Satwik Kottur | Ahmad Beirami | Shahin Shayandeh | Paul Crook | Alborz Geramifard | Zhou Yu | Chinnadhurai Sankar

As task-oriented dialog systems are becoming increasingly popular in our lives, more realistic tasks have been proposed and explored. However, new practical challenges arise. For instance, current dialog systems cannot effectively handle multiplesearch results when querying a database, due to the lack of such scenarios in existing public datasets. In this paper, we propose Database Search Result (DSR) Disambiguation, a novel task that focuses on disambiguating database search results, which enhances user experience by allowing them to choose from multiple options instead of just one. To study this task, we augment the popular task-oriented dialog datasets (MultiWOZ and SGD) with turns that resolve ambiguities by (a) synthetically generating turns through a pre-defined grammar, and (b) collecting human paraphrases for a subset. We find that training on our augmented dialog data improves the model’s ability to deal with ambiguous scenarios, without sacrificing performance on unmodified turns. Furthermore, pre-fine tuning and multi-task learning help our model to improve performance on DSR-disambiguation even in the absence of in-domain data, suggesting that it can be learned as a universal dialog skill. Our data and code will be made publicly available.

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Unsupervised Slot Schema Induction for Task-oriented Dialog
Dian Yu | Mingqiu Wang | Yuan Cao | Izhak Shafran | Laurent Shafey | Hagen Soltau

Carefully-designed schemas describing how to collect and annotate dialog corpora are a prerequisite towards building task-oriented dialog systems. In practical applications, manually designing schemas can be error-prone, laborious, iterative, and slow, especially when the schema is complicated. To alleviate this expensive and time consuming process, we propose an unsupervised approach for slot schema induction from unlabeled dialog corpora. Leveraging in-domain language models and unsupervised parsing structures, our data-driven approach extracts candidate slots without constraints, followed by coarse-to-fine clustering to induce slot types. We compare our method against several strong supervised baselines, and show significant performance improvement in slot schema induction on MultiWoz and SGD datasets. We also demonstrate the effectiveness of induced schemas on downstream applications including dialog state tracking and response generation.

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Towards a Progression-Aware Autonomous Dialogue Agent
Abraham Sanders | Tomek Strzalkowski | Mei Si | Albert Chang | Deepanshu Dey | Jonas Braasch | Dakuo Wang

Recent advances in large-scale language modeling and generation have enabled the creation of dialogue agents that exhibit human-like responses in a wide range of conversational scenarios spanning a diverse set of tasks, from general chit-chat to focused goal-oriented discourse. While these agents excel at generating high-quality responses that are relevant to prior context, they suffer from a lack of awareness of the overall direction in which the conversation is headed, and the likelihood of task success inherent therein. Thus, we propose a framework in which dialogue agents can evaluate the progression of a conversation toward or away from desired outcomes, and use this signal to inform planning for subsequent responses. Our framework is composed of three key elements: (1) the notion of a “global” dialogue state (GDS) space, (2) a task-specific progression function (PF) computed in terms of a conversation’s trajectory through this space, and (3) a planning mechanism based on dialogue rollouts by which an agent may use progression signals to select its next response.

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Cross-Domain Detection of GPT-2-Generated Technical Text
Juan Diego Rodriguez | Todd Hay | David Gros | Zain Shamsi | Ravi Srinivasan

Machine-generated text presents a potential threat not only to the public sphere, but also to the scientific enterprise, whereby genuine research is undermined by convincing, synthetic text. In this paper we examine the problem of detecting GPT-2-generated technical research text. We first consider the realistic scenario where the defender does not have full information about the adversary’s text generation pipeline, but is able to label small amounts of in-domain genuine and synthetic text in order to adapt to the target distribution. Even in the extreme scenario of adapting a physics-domain detector to a biomedical detector, we find that only a few hundred labels are sufficient for good performance. Finally, we show that paragraph-level detectors can be used to detect the tampering of full-length documents under a variety of threat models.

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DISAPERE: A Dataset for Discourse Structure in Peer Review Discussions
Neha Nayak Kennard | Tim O’Gorman | Rajarshi Das | Akshay Sharma | Chhandak Bagchi | Matthew Clinton | Pranay Kumar Yelugam | Hamed Zamani | Andrew McCallum

At the foundation of scientific evaluation is the labor-intensive process of peer review. This critical task requires participants to consume vast amounts of highly technical text. Prior work has annotated different aspects of review argumentation, but discourse relations between reviews and rebuttals have yet to be examined. We present DISAPERE, a labeled dataset of 20k sentences contained in 506 review-rebuttal pairs in English, annotated by experts. DISAPERE synthesizes label sets from prior work and extends them to include fine-grained annotation of the rebuttal sentences, characterizing their context in the review and the authors’ stance towards review arguments. Further, we annotate every review and rebuttal sentence. We show that discourse cues from rebuttals can shed light on the quality and interpretation of reviews. Further, an understanding of the argumentative strategies employed by the reviewers and authors provides useful signal for area chairs and other decision makers.

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MultiSpanQA: A Dataset for Multi-Span Question Answering
Haonan Li | Martin Tomko | Maria Vasardani | Timothy Baldwin

Most existing reading comprehension datasets focus on single-span answers, which can be extracted as a single contiguous span from a given text passage. Multi-span questions, i.e., questions whose answer is a series of multiple discontiguous spans in the text, are common real life but are less studied. In this paper, we present MultiSpanQA, a new dataset that focuses on multi-span questions. Raw questions and contexts are extracted from the Natural Questions dataset. After multi-span re-annotation, MultiSpanQA consists of over a total of 6,000 multi-span questions in the basic version, and over 19,000 examples with unanswerable questions, and questions with single-, and multi-span answers in the expanded version. We introduce new metrics for the purposes of multi-span question answering evaluation, and establish several baselines using advanced models. Finally, we propose a new model which beats all baselines and achieves state-of-the-art on our dataset.

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Context-Aware Abbreviation Expansion Using Large Language Models
Shanqing Cai | Subhashini Venugopalan | Katrin Tomanek | Ajit Narayanan | Meredith Morris | Michael Brenner

Motivated by the need for accelerating text entry in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for people with severe motor impairments, we propose a paradigm in which phrases are abbreviated aggressively as primarily word-initial letters. Our approach is to expand the abbreviations into full-phrase options by leveraging conversation context with the power of pretrained large language models (LLMs). Through zero-shot, few-shot, and fine-tuning experiments on four public conversation datasets, we show that for replies to the initial turn of a dialog, an LLM with 64B parameters is able to exactly expand over 70% of phrases with abbreviation length up to 10, leading to an effective keystroke saving rate of up to about 77% on these exact expansions. Including a small amount of context in the form of a single conversation turn more than doubles abbreviation expansion accuracies compared to having no context, an effect that is more pronounced for longer phrases. Additionally, the robustness of models against typo noise can be enhanced through fine-tuning on noisy data.

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Theory-Grounded Measurement of U.S. Social Stereotypes in English Language Models
Yang Trista Cao | Anna Sotnikova | Hal Daumé III | Rachel Rudinger | Linda Zou

NLP models trained on text have been shown to reproduce human stereotypes, which can magnify harms to marginalized groups when systems are deployed at scale. We adapt the Agency-Belief-Communion (ABC) stereotype model of Koch et al. (2016) from social psychology as a framework for the systematic study and discovery of stereotypic group-trait associations in language models (LMs). We introduce the sensitivity test (SeT) for measuring stereotypical associations from language models. To evaluate SeT and other measures using the ABC model, we collect group-trait judgments from U.S.-based subjects to compare with English LM stereotypes. Finally, we extend this framework to measure LM stereotyping of intersectional identities.

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Sort by Structure: Language Model Ranking as Dependency Probing
Max Müller-Eberstein | Rob van der Goot | Barbara Plank

Making an informed choice of pre-trained language model (LM) is critical for performance, yet environmentally costly, and as such widely underexplored. The field of Computer Vision has begun to tackle encoder ranking, with promising forays into Natural Language Processing, however they lack coverage of linguistic tasks such as structured prediction. We propose probing to rank LMs, specifically for parsing dependencies in a given language, by measuring the degree to which labeled trees are recoverable from an LM’s contextualized embeddings. Across 46 typologically and architecturally diverse LM-language pairs, our probing approach predicts the best LM choice 79% of the time using orders of magnitude less compute than training a full parser. Within this study, we identify and analyze one recently proposed decoupled LM—RemBERT—and find it strikingly contains less inherent dependency information, but often yields the best parser after full fine-tuning. Without this outlier our approach identifies the best LM in 89% of cases.

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Quantifying Synthesis and Fusion and their Impact on Machine Translation
Arturo Oncevay | Duygu Ataman | Niels Van Berkel | Barry Haddow | Alexandra Birch | Johannes Bjerva

Theoretical work in morphological typology offers the possibility of measuring morphological diversity on a continuous scale. However, literature in Natural Language Processing (NLP) typically labels a whole language with a strict type of morphology, e.g. fusional or agglutinative. In this work, we propose to reduce the rigidity of such claims, by quantifying morphological typology at the word and segment level. We consider Payne (2017)’s approach to classify morphology using two indices: synthesis (e.g. analytic to polysynthetic) and fusion (agglutinative to fusional). For computing synthesis, we test unsupervised and supervised morphological segmentation methods for English, German and Turkish, whereas for fusion, we propose a semi-automatic method using Spanish as a case study. Then, we analyse the relationship between machine translation quality and the degree of synthesis and fusion at word (nouns and verbs for English-Turkish, and verbs in English-Spanish) and segment level (previous language pairs plus English-German in both directions). We complement the word-level analysis with human evaluation, and overall, we observe a consistent impact of both indexes on machine translation quality.

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Commonsense and Named Entity Aware Knowledge Grounded Dialogue Generation
Deeksha Varshney | Akshara Prabhakar | Asif Ekbal

Grounding dialogue on external knowledge and interpreting linguistic patterns in dialogue history context, such as ellipsis, anaphora, and co-reference is critical for dialogue comprehension and generation. In this paper, we present a novel open-domain dialogue generation model which effectively utilizes the large-scale commonsense and named entity based knowledge in addition to the unstructured topic-specific knowledge associated with each utterance. We enhance the commonsense knowledge with named entity-aware structures using co-references. Our proposed model utilizes a multi-hop attention layer to preserve the most accurate and critical parts of the dialogue history and the associated knowledge. In addition, we employ a Commonsense and Named Entity Enhanced Attention Module, which starts with the extracted triples from various sources and gradually finds the relevant supporting set of triples using multi-hop attention with the query vector obtained from the interactive dialogue-knowledge module. Empirical results on two benchmark datasets demonstrate that our model significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art methods in terms of both automatic evaluation metrics and human judgment. Our code is publicly available at;

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Efficient Hierarchical Domain Adaptation for Pretrained Language Models
Alexandra Chronopoulou | Matthew Peters | Jesse Dodge

The remarkable success of large language models has been driven by dense models trained on massive unlabeled, unstructured corpora. These corpora typically contain text from diverse, heterogeneous sources, but information about the source of the text is rarely used during training. Transferring their knowledge to a target domain is typically done by continuing training in-domain. In this paper, we introduce a method to permit domain adaptation to many diverse domains using a computationally efficient adapter approach. Our method is based on the observation that textual domains are partially overlapping, and we represent domains as a hierarchical tree structure where each node in the tree is associated with a set of adapter weights. When combined with a frozen pretrained language model, this approach enables parameter sharing among related domains, while avoiding negative interference between unrelated ones. Experimental results with GPT-2 and a large fraction of the 100 most represented websites in C4 show across-the-board improvements in-domain. We additionally provide an inference time algorithm for a held-out domain and show that averaging over multiple paths through the tree enables further gains in generalization, while adding only a marginal cost to inference.

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Hatemoji: A Test Suite and Adversarially-Generated Dataset for Benchmarking and Detecting Emoji-Based Hate
Hannah Kirk | Bertie Vidgen | Paul Rottger | Tristan Thrush | Scott Hale

Detecting online hate is a complex task, and low-performing models have harmful consequences when used for sensitive applications such as content moderation. Emoji-based hate is an emerging challenge for automated detection. We present HatemojiCheck, a test suite of 3,930 short-form statements that allows us to evaluate performance on hateful language expressed with emoji. Using the test suite, we expose weaknesses in existing hate detection models. To address these weaknesses, we create the HatemojiBuild dataset using a human-and-model-in-the-loop approach. Models built with these 5,912 adversarial examples perform substantially better at detecting emoji-based hate, while retaining strong performance on text-only hate. Both HatemojiCheck and HatemojiBuild are made publicly available.

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On the Economics of Multilingual Few-shot Learning: Modeling the Cost-Performance Trade-offs of Machine Translated and Manual Data
Kabir Ahuja | Monojit Choudhury | Sandipan Dandapat

Borrowing ideas from Production functions in micro-economics, in this paper we introduce a framework to systematically evaluate the performance and cost trade-offs between machine-translated and manually-created labelled data for task-specific fine-tuning of massively multilingual language models. We illustrate the effectiveness of our framework through a case-study on the TyDIQA-GoldP dataset. One of the interesting conclusion of the study is that if the cost of machine translation is greater than zero, the optimal performance at least cost is always achieved with at least some or only manually-created data. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt towards extending the concept of production functions to study data collection strategies for training multilingual models, and can serve as a valuable tool for other similar cost vs data trade-offs in NLP.

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Learning to Selectively Learn for Weakly Supervised Paraphrase Generation with Model-based Reinforcement Learning
Haiyan Yin | Dingcheng Li | Ping Li

Paraphrase generation is an important language generation task attempting to interpret user intents and systematically generate new phrases of identical meanings to the given ones. However, the effectiveness of paraphrase generation is constrained by the access to the golden labeled data pairs where both the amount and the quality of the training data pairs are restricted. In this paper, we propose a new weakly supervised paraphrase generation approach that extends the success of a recent work that leverages reinforcement learning for effective model training with data selection. While data selection is privileged for the target task which has noisy data, developing a reinforced selective learning regime faces several unresolved challenges. In this paper, we carry on important discussions about the above problem and present a new model that could partially overcome the discussed issues with a model-based planning feature and a reward normalization feature. We perform extensive evaluation on four weakly supervised paraphrase generation tasks where the results show that our method could significantly improve the state-of-the-art performance on the evaluation datasets.

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Quality-Aware Decoding for Neural Machine Translation
Patrick Fernandes | António Farinhas | Ricardo Rei | José G. C. de Souza | Perez Ogayo | Graham Neubig | Andre Martins

Despite the progress in machine translation quality estimation and evaluation in the last years, decoding in neural machine translation (NMT) is mostly oblivious to this and centers around finding the most probable translation according to the model (MAP decoding), approximated with beam search. In this paper, we bring together these two lines of research and propose quality-aware decoding for NMT, by leveraging recent breakthroughs in reference-free and reference-based MT evaluation through various inference methods like N-best reranking and minimum Bayes risk decoding. We perform an extensive comparison of various possible candidate generation and ranking methods across four datasets and two model classes and find that quality-aware decoding consistently outperforms MAP-based decoding according both to state-of-the-art automatic metrics (COMET and BLEURT) and to human assessments.

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Pretrained Models for Multilingual Federated Learning
Orion Weller | Marc Marone | Vladimir Braverman | Dawn Lawrie | Benjamin Van Durme

Since the advent of Federated Learning (FL), research has applied these methods to natural language processing (NLP) tasks. Despite a plethora of papers in FL for NLP, no previous works have studied how multilingual text impacts FL algorithms. Furthermore, multilingual text provides an interesting avenue to examine the impact of non-IID text (e.g. different languages) on FL in naturally occurring data. We explore three multilingual language tasks, language modeling, machine translation, and text classification using differing federated and non-federated learning algorithms. Our results show that using pretrained models reduces the negative effects of FL, helping them to perform near or better than centralized (no privacy) learning, even when using non-IID partitioning.

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AcTune: Uncertainty-Based Active Self-Training for Active Fine-Tuning of Pretrained Language Models
Yue Yu | Lingkai Kong | Jieyu Zhang | Rongzhi Zhang | Chao Zhang

Although fine-tuning pre-trained language models (PLMs) renders strong performance in many NLP tasks, it relies on excessive labeled data. Recently, researchers have resorted to active fine-tuning for enhancing the label efficiency of PLM fine-tuning, but existing methods of this type usually ignore the potential of unlabeled data. We develop AcTune, a new framework that improves the label efficiency of active PLM fine-tuning by unleashing the power of unlabeled data via self-training. AcTune switches between data annotation and model self-training based on uncertainty: the unlabeled samples of high-uncertainty are selected for annotation, while the ones from low-uncertainty regions are used for model self-training. Additionally, we design (1) a region-aware sampling strategy to avoid redundant samples when querying annotations and (2) a momentum-based memory bank to dynamically aggregate the model’s pseudo labels to suppress label noise in self-training. Experiments on 6 text classification datasets show that AcTune outperforms the strongest active learning and self-training baselines and improves the label efficiency of PLM fine-tuning by 56.2% on average. Our implementation is available at

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Label Anchored Contrastive Learning for Language Understanding
Zhenyu Zhang | Yuming Zhao | Meng Chen | Xiaodong He

Contrastive learning (CL) has achieved astonishing progress in computer vision, speech, and natural language processing fields recently with self-supervised learning. However, CL approach to the supervised setting is not fully explored, especially for the natural language understanding classification task. Intuitively, the class label itself has the intrinsic ability to perform hard positive/negative mining, which is crucial for CL. Motivated by this, we propose a novel label anchored contrastive learning approach (denoted as LaCon) for language understanding. Specifically, three contrastive objectives are devised, including a multi-head instance-centered contrastive loss (ICL), a label-centered contrastive loss (LCL), and a label embedding regularizer (LER). Our approach does not require any specialized network architecture or any extra data augmentation, thus it can be easily plugged into existing powerful pre-trained language models. Compared to the state-of-the-art baselines, LaCon obtains up to 4.1% improvement on the popular datasets of GLUE and CLUE benchmarks. Besides, LaCon also demonstrates significant advantages under the few-shot and data imbalance settings, which obtains up to 9.4% improvement on the FewGLUE and FewCLUE benchmarking tasks.

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Go Back in Time: Generating Flashbacks in Stories with Event Temporal Prompts
Rujun Han | Hong Chen | Yufei Tian | Nanyun Peng

Stories or narratives are comprised of a sequence of events. To compose interesting stories, professional writers often leverage a creative writing technique called *flashback* that inserts past events into current storylines as we commonly observe in novels and plays. However, it is challenging for machines to generate *flashback* as it requires a solid understanding of event **temporal order** (e.g. *feeling hungry* before *eat*, not vice versa), and the creativity to arrange storylines so that earlier events do not always appear first in **narrative order**. Two major issues in existing systems that exacerbate the challenges: 1) temporal bias in pertaining and story datasets that leads to monotonic event temporal orders; 2) lack of explicit guidance that helps machines decide where to insert *flashbacks*. We propose to address these issues using structured storylines to encode events and their pair-wise temporal relations (before, after and vague) as **temporal prompts** that guide how stories should unfold temporally. We leverage a Plan-and-Write framework enhanced by reinforcement learning to generate storylines and stories end-to-end. Evaluation results show that the proposed method can generate more interesting stories with *flashbacks* while maintaining textual diversity, fluency, and temporal coherence.

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Forecasting COVID-19 Caseloads Using Unsupervised Embedding Clusters of Social Media Posts
Felix Drinkall | Stefan Zohren | Janet Pierrehumbert

We present a novel approach incorporating transformer-based language models into infectious disease modelling. Text-derived features are quantified by tracking high-density clusters of sentence-level representations of Reddit posts within specific US states’ COVID-19 subreddits. We benchmark these clustered embedding features against features extracted from other high-quality datasets. In a threshold-classification task, we show that they outperform all other feature types at predicting upward trend signals, a significant result for infectious disease modelling in areas where epidemiological data is unreliable. Subsequently, in a time-series forecasting task, we fully utilise the predictive power of the caseload and compare the relative strengths of using different supplementary datasets as covariate feature sets in a transformer-based time-series model.

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Many Hands Make Light Work: Using Essay Traits to Automatically Score Essays
Rahul Kumar | Sandeep Mathias | Sriparna Saha | Pushpak Bhattacharyya

Most research in the area of automatic essay grading (AEG) is geared towards scoring the essay holistically while there has also been little work done on scoring individual essay traits. In this paper, we describe a way to score essays using a multi-task learning (MTL) approach, where scoring the essay holistically is the primary task, and scoring the essay traits is the auxiliary task. We compare our results with a single-task learning (STL) approach, using both LSTMs and BiLSTMs. To find out which traits work best for different types of essays, we conduct ablation tests for each of the essay traits. We also report the runtime and number of training parameters for each system. We find that MTL-based BiLSTM system gives the best results for scoring the essay holistically, as well as performing well on scoring the essay traits. The MTL systems also give a speed-up of between 2.30 to 3.70 times the speed of the STL system, when it comes to scoring the essay and all the traits.

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Natural Language Inference with Self-Attention for Veracity Assessment of Pandemic Claims
Miguel Arana-Catania | Elena Kochkina | Arkaitz Zubiaga | Maria Liakata | Robert Procter | Yulan He

We present a comprehensive work on automated veracity assessment from dataset creation to developing novel methods based on Natural Language Inference (NLI), focusing on misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We first describe the construction of the novel PANACEA dataset consisting of heterogeneous claims on COVID-19 and their respective information sources. The dataset construction includes work on retrieval techniques and similarity measurements to ensure a unique set of claims. We then propose novel techniques for automated veracity assessment based on Natural Language Inference including graph convolutional networks and attention based approaches. We have carried out experiments on evidence retrieval and veracity assessment on the dataset using the proposed techniques and found them competitive with SOTA methods, and provided a detailed discussion.

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Beyond Emotion: A Multi-Modal Dataset for Human Desire Understanding
Ao Jia | Yu He | Yazhou Zhang | Sagar Uprety | Dawei Song | Christina Lioma

Desire is a strong wish to do or have something, which involves not only a linguistic expression, but also underlying cognitive phenomena driving human feelings. As the most primitive and basic human instinct, conscious desire is often accompanied by a range of emotional responses. As a strikingly understudied task, it is difficult for machines to model and understand desire due to the unavailability of benchmarking datasets with desire and emotion labels. To bridge this gap, we present MSED, the first multi-modal and multi-task sentiment, emotion and desire dataset, which contains 9,190 text-image pairs, with English text. Each multi-modal sample is annotated with six desires, three sentiments and six emotions. We also propose the state-of-the-art baselines to evaluate the potential of MSED and show the importance of multi-task and multi-modal clues for desire understanding. We hope this study provides a benchmark for human desire analysis. MSED will be publicly available for research.

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Relation-Specific Attentions over Entity Mentions for Enhanced Document-Level Relation Extraction
Jiaxin Yu | Deqing Yang | Shuyu Tian

Compared with traditional sentence-level relation extraction, document-level relation extraction is a more challenging task where an entity in a document may be mentioned multiple times and associated with multiple relations. However, most methods of document-level relation extraction do not distinguish between mention-level features and entity-level features, and just apply simple pooling operation for aggregating mention-level features into entity-level features. As a result, the distinct semantics between the different mentions of an entity are overlooked. To address this problem, we propose RSMAN in this paper which performs selective attentions over different entity mentions with respect to candidate relations. In this manner, the flexible and relation-specific representations of entities are obtained which indeed benefit relation classification. Our extensive experiments upon two benchmark datasets show that our RSMAN can bring significant improvements for some backbone models to achieve state-of-the-art performance, especially when an entity have multiple mentions in the document.

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Twitter-COMMs: Detecting Climate, COVID, and Military Multimodal Misinformation
Giscard Biamby | Grace Luo | Trevor Darrell | Anna Rohrbach

Detecting out-of-context media, such as “miscaptioned” images on Twitter, is a relevant problem, especially in domains of high public significance. In this work we aim to develop defenses against such misinformation for the topics of Climate Change, COVID-19, and Military Vehicles. We first present a large-scale multimodal dataset with over 884k tweets relevant to these topics. Next, we propose a detection method, based on the state-of-the-art CLIP model, that leverages automatically generated hard image-text mismatches. While this approach works well on our automatically constructed out-of-context tweets, we aim to validate its usefulness on data representative of the real world. Thus, we test it on a set of human-generated fakes, created by mimicking in-the-wild misinformation. We achieve an 11% detection improvement in a high precision regime over a strong baseline. Finally, we share insights about our best model design and analyze the challenges of this emerging threat.

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BlonDe: An Automatic Evaluation Metric for Document-level Machine Translation
Yuchen Jiang | Tianyu Liu | Shuming Ma | Dongdong Zhang | Jian Yang | Haoyang Huang | Rico Sennrich | Ryan Cotterell | Mrinmaya Sachan | Ming Zhou

Standard automatic metrics, e.g. BLEU, are not reliable for document-level MT evaluation. They can neither distinguish document-level improvements in translation quality from sentence-level ones, nor identify the discourse phenomena that cause context-agnostic translations. This paper introduces a novel automatic metric BlonDe to widen the scope of automatic MT evaluation from sentence to document level. BlonDe takes discourse coherence into consideration by categorizing discourse-related spans and calculating the similarity-based F1 measure of categorized spans. We conduct extensive comparisons on a newly constructed dataset BWB. The experimental results show that BlonDe possesses better selectivity and interpretability at the document-level, and is more sensitive to document-level nuances. In a large-scale human study, BlonDe also achieves significantly higher Pearson’s r correlation with human judgments compared to previous metrics.

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Disentangled Learning of Stance and Aspect Topics for Vaccine Attitude Detection in Social Media
Lixing Zhu | Zheng Fang | Gabriele Pergola | Robert Procter | Yulan He

Building models to detect vaccine attitudes on social media is challenging because of the composite, often intricate aspects involved, and the limited availability of annotated data. Existing approaches have relied heavily on supervised training that requires abundant annotations and pre-defined aspect categories. Instead, with the aim of leveraging the large amount of unannotated data now available on vaccination, we propose a novel semi-supervised approach for vaccine attitude detection, called VADet. A variational autoencoding architecture based on language models is employed to learn from unlabelled data the topical information of the domain. Then, the model is fine-tuned with a few manually annotated examples of user attitudes. We validate the effectiveness of VADet on our annotated data and also on an existing vaccination corpus annotated with opinions on vaccines. Our results show that VADet is able to learn disentangled stance and aspect topics, and outperforms existing aspect-based sentiment analysis models on both stance detection and tweet clustering.

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SKILL: Structured Knowledge Infusion for Large Language Models
Fedor Moiseev | Zhe Dong | Enrique Alfonseca | Martin Jaggi

Large language models (LLMs) have demonstrated human-level performance on a vast spectrum of natural language tasks. However, it is largely unexplored whether they can better internalize knowledge from a structured data, such as a knowledge graph, or from text. In this work, we propose a method to infuse structured knowledge into LLMs, by directly training T5 models on factual triples of knowledge graphs (KGs). We show that models pre-trained on Wikidata KG with our method outperform the T5 baselines on FreebaseQA and WikiHop, as well as the Wikidata-answerable subset of TriviaQA and NaturalQuestions. The models pre-trained on factual triples compare competitively with the ones on natural language sentences that contain the same knowledge. Trained on a smaller size KG, WikiMovies, we saw 3x improvement of exact match score on MetaQA task. The proposed method has an advantage that no alignment between the knowledge graph and text corpus is required in curating training data. This makes our method particularly useful when working with industry-scale knowledge graphs.

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Same Neurons, Different Languages: Probing Morphosyntax in Multilingual Pre-trained Models
Karolina Stanczak | Edoardo Ponti | Lucas Torroba Hennigen | Ryan Cotterell | Isabelle Augenstein

The success of multilingual pre-trained models is underpinned by their ability to learn representations shared by multiple languages even in absence of any explicit supervision. However, it remains unclear how these models learn to generalise across languages. In this work, we conjecture that multilingual pre-trained models can derive language-universal abstractions about grammar. In particular, we investigate whether morphosyntactic information is encoded in the same subset of neurons in different languages. We conduct the first large-scale empirical study over 43 languages and 14 morphosyntactic categories with a state-of-the-art neuron-level probe. Our findings show that the cross-lingual overlap between neurons is significant, but its extent may vary across categories and depends on language proximity and pre-training data size.

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Aspect Is Not You Need: No-aspect Differential Sentiment Framework for Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis
Jiahao Cao | Rui Liu | Huailiang Peng | Lei Jiang | Xu Bai

Aspect-based sentiment analysis (ABSA) is a fine-grained sentiment classification task. Most recent efforts adopt pre-trained model to classify the sentences with aspects. However, the aspect sentiment bias from pre-trained model brings some noise to the ABSA task. Besides, traditional methods using cross-entropy loss are hard to find the potential associations between sentiment polarities. In this work, we analyze the ABSA task from a novel cognition perspective: humans can often judge the sentiment of an aspect even if they do not know what the aspect is. Moreover, it is easier to distinguish positive and negative sentiments than others for human beings because positive and negative are two opposite sentiments. To this end, we propose a no-aspect differential sentiment (NADS) framework for the ABSA task. We first design a no-aspect template by replacing the aspect with a special unbiased character to eliminate the sentiment bias and obtain a stronger representation. To better get the benefits from the template, we adopt contrastive learning between the no-aspect template and the original sentence. Then we propose a differential sentiment loss instead of the cross-entropy loss to better classify the sentiments by distinguishing the different distances between sentiments. Our proposed model is a general framework and can be combined with almost all traditional ABSA methods. Experiments on SemEval 2014 show that our framework is still able to predict the sentiment of the aspect even we don’t konw what the aspect is. Moreover, our NADS framework boosts three typical ABSA methods and achieves state-of-the-art performance.

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MoEBERT: from BERT to Mixture-of-Experts via Importance-Guided Adaptation
Simiao Zuo | Qingru Zhang | Chen Liang | Pengcheng He | Tuo Zhao | Weizhu Chen

Pre-trained language models have demonstrated superior performance in various natural language processing tasks. However, these models usually contain hundreds of millions of parameters, which limits their practicality because of latency requirements in real-world applications. Existing methods train small compressed models via knowledge distillation. However, performance of these small models drops significantly compared with the pre-trained models due to their reduced model capacity. We propose MoEBERT, which uses a Mixture-of-Experts structure to increase model capacity and inference speed. We initialize MoEBERT by adapting the feed-forward neural networks in a pre-trained model into multiple experts. As such, representation power of the pre-trained model is largely retained. During inference, only one of the experts is activated, such that speed can be improved. We also propose a layer-wise distillation method to train MoEBERT. We validate the efficiency and efficacy of MoEBERT on natural language understanding and question answering tasks. Results show that the proposed method outperforms existing task-specific distillation algorithms. For example, our method outperforms previous approaches by over 2% on the MNLI (mismatched) dataset. Our code is publicly available at

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Implicit n-grams Induced by Recurrence
Xiaobing Sun | Wei Lu

Although self-attention based models such as Transformers have achieved remarkable successes on natural language processing (NLP)tasks, recent studies reveal that they have limitations on modeling sequential transformations (Hahn, 2020), which may promptre-examinations of recurrent neural networks (RNNs) that demonstrated impressive results on handling sequential data. Despite manyprior attempts to interpret RNNs, their internal mechanisms have not been fully understood, and the question on how exactly they capturesequential features remains largely unclear. In this work, we present a study that shows there actually exist some explainable componentsthat reside within the hidden states, which are reminiscent of the classical n-grams features. We evaluated such extracted explainable features from trained RNNs on downstream sentiment analysis tasks and found they could be used to model interesting linguistic phenomena such as negation and intensification. Furthermore, we examined the efficacy of using such n-gram components alone as encoders on tasks such as sentiment analysis and language modeling, revealing they could be playing important roles in contributing to the overall performance of RNNs. We hope our findings could add interpretability to RNN architectures, and also provide inspirations for proposing new architectures for sequential data.

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Guiding Visual Question Generation
Nihir Vedd | Zixu Wang | Marek Rei | Yishu Miao | Lucia Specia

In traditional Visual Question Generation (VQG), most images have multiple concepts (e.g. objects and categories) for which a question could be generated, but models are trained to mimic an arbitrary choice of concept as given in their training data. This makes training difficult and also poses issues for evaluation – multiple valid questions exist for most images but only one or a few are captured by the human references. We present Guiding Visual Question Generation - a variant of VQG which conditions the question generator on categorical information based on expectations on the type of question and the objects it should explore. We propose two variant families: (i) an explicitly guided model that enables an actor (human or automated) to select which objects and categories to generate a question for; and (ii) 2 types of implicitly guided models that learn which objects and categories to condition on, based on discrete variables. The proposed models are evaluated on an answer-category augmented VQA dataset and our quantitative results show a substantial improvement over the current state of the art (over 9 BLEU-4 increase). Human evaluation validates that guidance helps the generation of questions that are grammatically coherent and relevant to the given image and objects.

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OPERA: Operation-Pivoted Discrete Reasoning over Text
Yongwei Zhou | Junwei Bao | Chaoqun Duan | Haipeng Sun | Jiahui Liang | Yifan Wang | Jing Zhao | Youzheng Wu | Xiaodong He | Tiejun Zhao

Machine reading comprehension (MRC) that requires discrete reasoning involving symbolic operations, e.g., addition, sorting, and counting, is a challenging task. According to this nature, semantic parsing-based methods predict interpretable but complex logical forms. However, logical form generation is nontrivial and even a little perturbation in a logical form will lead to wrong answers. To alleviate this issue, multi-predictor -based methods are proposed to directly predict different types of answers and achieve improvements. However, they ignore the utilization of symbolic operations and encounter a lack of reasoning ability and interpretability. To inherit the advantages of these two types of methods, we propose OPERA, an operation-pivoted discrete reasoning framework, where lightweight symbolic operations (compared with logical forms) as neural modules are utilized to facilitate the reasoning ability and interpretability. Specifically, operations are first selected and then softly executed to simulate the answer reasoning procedure. Extensive experiments on both DROP and RACENum datasets show the reasoning ability of OPERA. Moreover, further analysis verifies its interpretability.

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Improving Multi-Document Summarization through Referenced Flexible Extraction with Credit-Awareness
Yun-Zhu Song | Yi-Syuan Chen | Hong-Han Shuai

A notable challenge in Multi-Document Summarization (MDS) is the extremely-long length of the input. In this paper, we present an extract-then-abstract Transformer framework to overcome the problem. Specifically, we leverage pre-trained language models to construct a hierarchical extractor for salient sentence selection across documents and an abstractor for rewriting the selected contents as summaries. However, learning such a framework is challenging since the optimal contents for the abstractor are generally unknown. Previous works typically create pseudo extraction oracle to enable the supervised learning for both the extractor and the abstractor. Nevertheless, we argue that the performance of such methods could be restricted due to the insufficient information for prediction and inconsistent objectives between training and testing. To this end, we propose a loss weighting mechanism that makes the model aware of the unequal importance for the sentences not in the pseudo extraction oracle, and leverage the fine-tuned abstractor to generate summary references as auxiliary signals for learning the extractor. Moreover, we propose a reinforcement learning method that can efficiently apply to the extractor for harmonizing the optimization between training and testing. Experiment results show that our framework substantially outperforms strong baselines with comparable model sizes and achieves the best results on the Multi-News, Multi-XScience, and WikiCatSum corpora.

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Improving Constituent Representation with Hypertree Neural Networks
Hao Zhou | Gongshen Liu | Kewei Tu

Many natural language processing tasks involve text spans and thus high-quality span representations are needed to enhance neural approaches to these tasks. Most existing methods of span representation are based on simple derivations (such as max-pooling) from word representations and do not utilize compositional structures of natural language. In this paper, we aim to improve representations of constituent spans using a novel hypertree neural networks (HTNN) that is structured with constituency parse trees. Each node in the HTNN represents a constituent of the input sentence and each hyperedge represents a composition of smaller child constituents into a larger parent constituent. In each update iteration of the HTNN, the representation of each constituent is computed based on all the hyperedges connected to it, thus incorporating both bottom-up and top-down compositional information. We conduct comprehensive experiments to evaluate HTNNs against other span representation models and the results show the effectiveness of HTNN.

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Measuring Fairness with Biased Rulers: A Comparative Study on Bias Metrics for Pre-trained Language Models
Pieter Delobelle | Ewoenam Tokpo | Toon Calders | Bettina Berendt

An increasing awareness of biased patterns in natural language processing resources such as BERT has motivated many metrics to quantify ‘bias’ and ‘fairness’ in these resources. However, comparing the results of different metrics and the works that evaluate with such metrics remains difficult, if not outright impossible. We survey the literature on fairness metrics for pre-trained language models and experimentally evaluate compatibility, including both biases in language models and in their downstream tasks. We do this by combining traditional literature survey, correlation analysis and empirical evaluations. We find that many metrics are not compatible with each other and highly depend on (i) templates, (ii) attribute and target seeds and (iii) the choice of embeddings. We also see no tangible evidence of intrinsic bias relating to extrinsic bias. These results indicate that fairness or bias evaluation remains challenging for contextualized language models, among other reasons because these choices remain subjective. To improve future comparisons and fairness evaluations, we recommend to avoid embedding-based metrics and focus on fairness evaluations in downstream tasks.

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MuCPAD: A Multi-Domain Chinese Predicate-Argument Dataset
Yahui Liu | Haoping Yang | Chen Gong | Qingrong Xia | Zhenghua Li | Min Zhang

During the past decade, neural network models have made tremendous progress on in-domain semantic role labeling (SRL). However, performance drops dramatically under the out-of-domain setting. In order to facilitate research on cross-domain SRL, this paper presents MuCPAD, a multi-domain Chinese predicate-argument dataset, which consists of 30,897 sentences and 92,051 predicates from six different domains. MuCPAD exhibits three important features. 1) Based on a frame-free annotation methodology, we avoid writing complex frames for new predicates. 2) We explicitly annotate omitted core arguments to recover more complete semantic structure, considering that omission of content words is ubiquitous in multi-domain Chinese texts. 3) We compile 53 pages of annotation guidelines and adopt strict double annotation for improving data quality. This paper describes in detail the annotation methodology and annotation process of MuCPAD, and presents in-depth data analysis. We also give benchmark results on cross-domain SRL based on MuCPAD.

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Representation Learning for Conversational Data using Discourse Mutual Information Maximization
Bishal Santra | Sumegh Roychowdhury | Aishik Mandal | Vasu Gurram | Atharva Naik | Manish Gupta | Pawan Goyal

Although many pretrained models exist for text or images, there have been relatively fewer attempts to train representations specifically for dialog understanding. Prior works usually relied on finetuned representations based on generic text representation models like BERT or GPT-2. But such language modeling pretraining objectives do not take the structural information of conversational text into consideration. Although generative dialog models can learn structural features too, we argue that the structure-unaware word-by-word generation is not suitable for effective conversation modeling. We empirically demonstrate that such representations do not perform consistently across various dialog understanding tasks. Hence, we propose a structure-aware Mutual Information based loss-function DMI (Discourse Mutual Information) for training dialog-representation models, that additionally captures the inherent uncertainty in response prediction. Extensive evaluation on nine diverse dialog modeling tasks shows that our proposed DMI-based models outperform strong baselines by significant margins.

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ValCAT: Variable-Length Contextualized Adversarial Transformations Using Encoder-Decoder Language Model
Chuyun Deng | Mingxuan Liu | Yue Qin | Jia Zhang | Hai-Xin Duan | Donghong Sun

Adversarial texts help explore vulnerabilities in language models, improve model robustness, and explain their working mechanisms. However, existing word-level attack methods trap in a one-to-one attack pattern, i.e., only a single word can be modified in one transformation round, and they ignore the interactions between several consecutive words. In this paper, we propose ValCAT, a black-box attack framework that misleads the language model by applying variable-length contextualized transformations to the original text. Compared to word-level methods, ValCAT expands the basic units of perturbation from single words to spans composed of multiple consecutive words, enhancing the perturbation capability. Experiments show that our method outperforms state-of-the-art methods in terms of attack success rate, perplexity, and semantic similarity on several classification tasks and inference tasks. The comprehensive human evaluation demonstrates that ValCAT has a significant advantage in ensuring the fluency of the adversarial examples and achieves better semantic consistency. We release the code at

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A Study of Syntactic Multi-Modality in Non-Autoregressive Machine Translation
Kexun Zhang | Rui Wang | Xu Tan | Junliang Guo | Yi Ren | Tao Qin | Tie-Yan Liu

It is difficult for non-autoregressive translation (NAT) models to capture the multi-modal distribution of target translations due to their conditional independence assumption, which is known as the “multi-modality problem”, including the lexical multi-modality and the syntactic multi-modality. While the first one has been well studied, the syntactic multi-modality brings severe challenges to the standard cross entropy (XE) loss in NAT and is understudied. In this paper, we conduct a systematic study on the syntactic multi-modality problem. Specifically, we decompose it into short- and long-range syntactic multi-modalities and evaluate several recent NAT algorithms with advanced loss functions on both carefully designed synthesized datasets and real datasets. We find that the Connectionist Temporal Classification (CTC) loss and the Order-Agnostic Cross Entropy (OAXE) loss can better handle short- and long-range syntactic multi-modalities respectively. Furthermore, we take the best of both and design a new loss function to better handle the complicated syntactic multi-modality in real-world datasets. To facilitate practical usage, we provide a guide to using different loss functions for different kinds of syntactic multi-modality.

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CIAug: Equipping Interpolative Augmentation with Curriculum Learning
Ramit Sawhney | Ritesh Soun | Shrey Pandit | Megh Thakkar | Sarvagya Malaviya | Yuval Pinter

Interpolative data augmentation has proven to be effective for NLP tasks. Despite its merits, the sample selection process in mixup is random, which might make it difficult for the model to generalize better and converge faster. We propose CIAug, a novel curriculum-based learning method that builds upon mixup. It leverages the relative position of samples in hyperbolic embedding space as a complexity measure to gradually mix up increasingly difficult and diverse samples along training. CIAug achieves state-of-the-art results over existing interpolative augmentation methods on 10 benchmark datasets across 4 languages in text classification and named-entity recognition tasks. It also converges and achieves benchmark F1 scores 3 times faster. We empirically analyze the various components of CIAug, and evaluate its robustness against adversarial attacks.

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Proposition-Level Clustering for Multi-Document Summarization
Ori Ernst | Avi Caciularu | Ori Shapira | Ramakanth Pasunuru | Mohit Bansal | Jacob Goldberger | Ido Dagan

Text clustering methods were traditionally incorporated into multi-document summarization (MDS) as a means for coping with considerable information repetition. Particularly, clusters were leveraged to indicate information saliency as well as to avoid redundancy. Such prior methods focused on clustering sentences, even though closely related sentences usually contain also non-aligned parts. In this work, we revisit the clustering approach, grouping together sub-sentential propositions, aiming at more precise information alignment. Specifically, our method detects salient propositions, clusters them into paraphrastic clusters, and generates a representative sentence for each cluster via text fusion. Our summarization method improves over the previous state-of-the-art MDS method in the DUC 2004 and TAC 2011 datasets, both in automatic ROUGE scores and human preference.

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Non-Autoregressive Machine Translation: It’s Not as Fast as it Seems
Jindřich Helcl | Barry Haddow | Alexandra Birch

Efficient machine translation models are commercially important as they can increase inference speeds, and reduce costs and carbon emissions. Recently, there has been much interest in non-autoregressive (NAR) models, which promise faster translation. In parallel to the research on NAR models, there have been successful attempts to create optimized autoregressive models as part of the WMT shared task on efficient translation. In this paper, we point out flaws in the evaluation methodology present in the literature on NAR models and we provide a fair comparison between a state-of-the-art NAR model and the autoregressive submissions to the shared task. We make the case for consistent evaluation of NAR models, and also for the importance of comparing NAR models with other widely used methods for improving efficiency. We run experiments with a connectionist-temporal-classification-based (CTC) NAR model implemented in C++ and compare it with AR models using wall clock times. Our results show that, although NAR models are faster on GPUs, with small batch sizes, they are almost always slower under more realistic usage conditions. We call for more realistic and extensive evaluation of NAR models in future work.

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BAD-X: Bilingual Adapters Improve Zero-Shot Cross-Lingual Transfer
Marinela Parović | Goran Glavaš | Ivan Vulić | Anna Korhonen

Adapter modules enable modular and efficient zero-shot cross-lingual transfer, where current state-of-the-art adapter-based approaches learn specialized language adapters (LAs) for individual languages. In this work, we show that it is more effective to learn bilingual language pair adapters (BAs) when the goal is to optimize performance for a particular source-target transfer direction. Our novel BAD-X adapter framework trades off some modularity of dedicated LAs for improved transfer performance: we demonstrate consistent gains in three standard downstream tasks, and for the majority of evaluated low-resource languages.

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Combining Humor and Sarcasm for Improving Political Parody Detection
Xiao Ao | Danae Sanchez Villegas | Daniel Preotiuc-Pietro | Nikolaos Aletras

Parody is a figurative device used for mimicking entities for comedic or critical purposes. Parody is intentionally humorous and often involves sarcasm. This paper explores jointly modelling these figurative tropes with the goal of improving performance of political parody detection in tweets. To this end, we present a multi-encoder model that combines three parallel encoders to enrich parody-specific representations with humor and sarcasm information. Experiments on a publicly available data set of political parody tweets demonstrate that our approach outperforms previous state-of-the-art methods.

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TIE: Topological Information Enhanced Structural Reading Comprehension on Web Pages
Zihan Zhao | Lu Chen | Ruisheng Cao | Hongshen Xu | Xingyu Chen | Kai Yu

Recently, the structural reading comprehension (SRC) task on web pages has attracted increasing research interests. Although previous SRC work has leveraged extra information such as HTML tags or XPaths, the informative topology of web pages is not effectively exploited. In this work, we propose a Topological Information Enhanced model (TIE), which transforms the token-level task into a tag-level task by introducing a two-stage process (i.e. node locating and answer refining). Based on that, TIE integrates Graph Attention Network (GAT) and Pre-trained Language Model (PLM) to leverage the topological information of both logical structures and spatial structures. Experimental results demonstrate that our model outperforms strong baselines and achieves state-of-the-art performances on the web-based SRC benchmark WebSRC at the time of writing. The code of TIE will be publicly available at

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RSTGen: Imbuing Fine-Grained Interpretable Control into Long-FormText Generators
Rilwan Adewoyin | Ritabrata Dutta | Yulan He

In this paper, we study the task of improving the cohesion and coherence of long-form text generated by language models. To this end, we propose RSTGen, a framework that utilises Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST), a classical language theory, to control the discourse structure, semantics and topics of generated text. Firstly, we demonstrate our model’s ability to control structural discourse and semantic features of generated text in open generation evaluation. Then we experiment on the two challenging long-form text tasks of argument generation and story generation. Evaluation using automated metrics and a metric with high correlation to human evaluation, shows that our model performs competitively against existing models, while offering significantly more controls over generated text than alternative methods.

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Intent Detection and Discovery from User Logs via Deep Semi-Supervised Contrastive Clustering
Rajat Kumar | Mayur Patidar | Vaibhav Varshney | Lovekesh Vig | Gautam Shroff

Intent Detection is a crucial component of Dialogue Systems wherein the objective is to classify a user utterance into one of multiple pre-defined intents. A pre-requisite for developing an effective intent identifier is a training dataset labeled with all possible user intents. However, even skilled domain experts are often unable to foresee all possible user intents at design time and for practical applications, novel intents may have to be inferred incrementally on-the-fly from user utterances. Therefore, for any real-world dialogue system, the number of intents increases over time and new intents have to be discovered by analyzing the utterances outside the existing set of intents. In this paper, our objective is to i) detect known intent utterances from a large number of unlabeled utterance samples given a few labeled samples and ii) discover new unknown intents from the remaining unlabeled samples. Existing SOTA approaches address this problem via alternate representation learning and clustering wherein pseudo labels are used for updating the representations and clustering is used for generating the pseudo labels. Unlike existing approaches that rely on epoch wise cluster alignment, we propose an end-to-end deep contrastive clustering algorithm that jointly updates model parameters and cluster centers via supervised and self-supervised learning and optimally utilizes both labeled and unlabeled data. Our proposed approach outperforms competitive baselines on five public datasets for both settings: (i) where the number of undiscovered intents are known in advance, and (ii) where the number of intents are estimated by an algorithm. We also propose a human-in-the-loop variant of our approach for practical deployment which does not require an estimate of new intents and outperforms the end-to-end approach.

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Extending Multi-Text Sentence Fusion Resources via Pyramid Annotations
Daniela Brook Weiss | Paul Roit | Ori Ernst | Ido Dagan

NLP models that process multiple texts often struggle in recognizing corresponding and salient information that is often differently phrased, and consolidating the redundancies across texts. To facilitate research of such challenges, the sentence fusion task was proposed, yet previous datasets for this task were very limited in their size and scope. In this paper, we revisit and substantially extend previous dataset creation efforts. With careful modifications, relabeling, and employing complementing data sources, we were able to more than triple the size of a notable earlier dataset. Moreover, we show that our extended version uses more representative texts for multi-document tasks and provides a more diverse training set, which substantially improves model performance.

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The Devil is in the Details: On the Pitfalls of Vocabulary Selection in Neural Machine Translation
Tobias Domhan | Eva Hasler | Ke Tran | Sony Trenous | Bill Byrne | Felix Hieber

Vocabulary selection, or lexical shortlisting, is a well-known technique to improve latency of Neural Machine Translation models by constraining the set of allowed output words during inference. The chosen set is typically determined by separately trained alignment model parameters, independent of the source-sentence context at inference time. While vocabulary selection appears competitive with respect to automatic quality metrics in prior work, we show that it can fail to select the right set of output words, particularly for semantically non-compositional linguistic phenomena such as idiomatic expressions, leading to reduced translation quality as perceived by humans. Trading off latency for quality by increasing the size of the allowed set is often not an option in real-world scenarios. We propose a model of vocabulary selection, integrated into the neural translation model, that predicts the set of allowed output words from contextualized encoder representations. This restores translation quality of an unconstrained system, as measured by human evaluations on WMT newstest2020 and idiomatic expressions, at an inference latency competitive with alignment-based selection using aggressive thresholds, thereby removing the dependency on separately trained alignment models.

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MultiCite: Modeling realistic citations requires moving beyond the single-sentence single-label setting
Anne Lauscher | Brandon Ko | Bailey Kuehl | Sophie Johnson | Arman Cohan | David Jurgens | Kyle Lo

Citation context analysis (CCA) is an important task in natural language processing that studies how and why scholars discuss each others’ work. Despite decades of study, computational methods for CCA have largely relied on overly-simplistic assumptions of how authors cite, which ignore several important phenomena. For instance, scholarly papers often contain rich discussions of cited work that span multiple sentences and express multiple intents concurrently. Yet, recent work in CCA is often approached as a single-sentence, single-label classification task, and thus many datasets used to develop modern computational approaches fail to capture this interesting discourse. To address this research gap, we highlight three understudied phenomena for CCA and release MULTICITE, a new dataset of 12.6K citation contexts from 1.2K computational linguistics papers that fully models these phenomena. Not only is it the largest collection of expert-annotated citation contexts to-date, MULTICITE contains multi-sentence, multi-label citation contexts annotated through-out entire full paper texts. We demonstrate how MULTICITE can enable the development of new computational methods on three important CCA tasks. We release our code and dataset at

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DEGREE: A Data-Efficient Generation-Based Event Extraction Model
I-Hung Hsu | Kuan-Hao Huang | Elizabeth Boschee | Scott Miller | Prem Natarajan | Kai-Wei Chang | Nanyun Peng

Event extraction requires high-quality expert human annotations, which are usually expensive. Therefore, learning a data-efficient event extraction model that can be trained with only a few labeled examples has become a crucial challenge. In this paper, we focus on low-resource end-to-end event extraction and propose DEGREE, a data-efficient model that formulates event extraction as a conditional generation problem. Given a passage and a manually designed prompt, DEGREE learns to summarize the events mentioned in the passage into a natural sentence that follows a predefined pattern. The final event predictions are then extracted from the generated sentence with a deterministic algorithm. DEGREE has three advantages to learn well with less training data. First, our designed prompts provide semantic guidance for DEGREE to leverage DEGREE and thus better capture the event arguments. Moreover, DEGREE is capable of using additional weakly-supervised information, such as the description of events encoded in the prompts. Finally, DEGREE learns triggers and arguments jointly in an end-to-end manner, which encourages the model to better utilize the shared knowledge and dependencies among them. Our experimental results demonstrate the strong performance of DEGREE for low-resource event extraction.

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Bridging the Gap between Language Models and Cross-Lingual Sequence Labeling
Nuo Chen | Linjun Shou | Ming Gong | Jian Pei | Daxin Jiang

Large-scale cross-lingual pre-trained language models (xPLMs) have shown effective in cross-lingual sequence labeling tasks (xSL), such as machine reading comprehension (xMRC) by transferring knowledge from a high-resource language to low-resource languages. Despite the great success, we draw an empirical observation that there is an training objective gap between pre-training and fine-tuning stages: e.g., mask language modeling objective requires local understanding of the masked token and the span-extraction objective requires understanding and reasoning of the global input passage/paragraph and question, leading to the discrepancy between pre-training and xMRC. In this paper, we first design a pre-training task tailored for xSL named Cross-lingual Language Informative Span Masking (CLISM) to eliminate the objective gap in a self-supervised manner. Second, we present ContrAstive-Consistency Regularization (CACR), which utilizes contrastive learning to encourage the consistency between representations of input parallel sequences via unsupervised cross-lingual instance-wise training signals during pre-training. By these means, our methods not only bridge the gap between pretrain-finetune, but also enhance PLMs to better capture the alignment between different languages. Extensive experiments prove that our method achieves clearly superior results on multiple xSL benchmarks with limited pre-training data. Our methods also surpass the previous state-of-the-art methods by a large margin in few-shot data setting, where only a few hundred training examples are available.

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Hero-Gang Neural Model For Named Entity Recognition
Jinpeng Hu | Yaling Shen | Yang Liu | Xiang Wan | Tsung-Hui Chang

Named entity recognition (NER) is a fundamental and important task in NLP, aiming at identifying named entities (NEs) from free text. Recently, since the multi-head attention mechanism applied in the Transformer model can effectively capture longer contextual information, Transformer-based models have become the mainstream methods and have achieved significant performance in this task. Unfortunately, although these models can capture effective global context information, they are still limited in the local feature and position information extraction, which is critical in NER. In this paper, to address this limitation, we propose a novel Hero-Gang Neural structure (HGN), including the Hero and Gang module, to leverage both global and local information to promote NER. Specifically, the Hero module is composed of a Transformer-based encoder to maintain the advantage of the self-attention mechanism, and the Gang module utilizes a multi-window recurrent module to extract local features and position information under the guidance of the Hero module. Afterward, the proposed multi-window attention effectively combines global information and multiple local features for predicting entity labels. Experimental results on several benchmark datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed model.

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MGIMN: Multi-Grained Interactive Matching Network for Few-shot Text Classification
Jianhai Zhang | Mieradilijiang Maimaiti | Gao Xing | Yuanhang Zheng | Ji Zhang

Text classification struggles to generalize to unseen classes with very few labeled text instances per class. In such a few-shot learning (FSL) setting, metric-based meta-learning approaches have shown promising results. Previous studies mainly aim to derive a prototype representation for each class. However, they neglect that it is challenging-yet-unnecessary to construct a compact representation which expresses the entire meaning for each class. They also ignore the importance to capture the inter-dependency between query and the support set for few-shot text classification. To deal with these issues, we propose a meta-learning based method MGIMN which performs instance-wise comparison followed by aggregation to generate class-wise matching vectors instead of prototype learning. The key of instance-wise comparison is the interactive matching within the class-specific context and episode-specific context. Extensive experiments demonstrate that the proposed method significantly outperforms the existing SOTA approaches, under both the standard FSL and generalized FSL settings.

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All You May Need for VQA are Image Captions
Soravit Changpinyo | Doron Kukliansy | Idan Szpektor | Xi Chen | Nan Ding | Radu Soricut

Visual Question Answering (VQA) has benefited from increasingly sophisticated models, but has not enjoyed the same level of engagement in terms of data creation. In this paper, we propose a method that automatically derives VQA examples at volume, by leveraging the abundance of existing image-caption annotations combined with neural models for textual question generation. We show that the resulting data is of high-quality. VQA models trained on our data improve state-of-the-art zero-shot accuracy by double digits and achieve a level of robustness that lacks in the same model trained on human-annotated VQA data.

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Frustratingly Easy System Combination for Grammatical Error Correction
Muhammad Reza Qorib | Seung-Hoon Na | Hwee Tou Ng

In this paper, we formulate system combination for grammatical error correction (GEC) as a simple machine learning task: binary classification. We demonstrate that with the right problem formulation, a simple logistic regression algorithm can be highly effective for combining GEC models. Our method successfully increases the F0.5 score from the highest base GEC system by 4.2 points on the CoNLL-2014 test set and 7.2 points on the BEA-2019 test set. Furthermore, our method outperforms the state of the art by 4.0 points on the BEA-2019 test set, 1.2 points on the CoNLL-2014 test set with original annotation, and 3.4 points on the CoNLL-2014 test set with alternative annotation. We also show that our system combination generates better corrections with higher F0.5 scores than the conventional ensemble.

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Simple Local Attentions Remain Competitive for Long-Context Tasks
Wenhan Xiong | Barlas Oguz | Anchit Gupta | Xilun Chen | Diana Liskovich | Omer Levy | Scott Yih | Yashar Mehdad

Many NLP tasks require processing long contexts beyond the length limit of pretrained models. In order to scale these models to longer text sequences, many efficient long-range attention variants have been proposed. Despite the abundance of research along this direction, it is still difficult to gauge the relative effectiveness of these models in practical use cases, e.g., if we apply these models following the pretrain-and-finetune paradigm. In this work, we aim to conduct a thorough analysis of these emerging models with large-scale and controlled experiments. For each attention variant, we pretrain large-size models using the same long-doc corpus and then finetune these models for real-world long-context tasks. Our findings reveal pitfalls of an existing widely-used long-range benchmark and show none of the tested efficient attentions can beat a simple local window attention under standard pretraining paradigms. Further analysis on local attention variants suggests that even the commonly used attention-window overlap is not necessary to achieve good downstream results — using disjoint local attentions, we are able to build a simpler and more efficient long-doc QA model that matches the performance of Longformer with half of its pretraining compute.

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Even the Simplest Baseline Needs Careful Re-investigation: A Case Study on XML-CNN
Si-An Chen | Jie-jyun Liu | Tsung-Han Yang | Hsuan-Tien Lin | Chih-Jen Lin

The power and the potential of deep learning models attract many researchers to design advanced and sophisticated architectures. Nevertheless, the progress is sometimes unreal due to various possible reasons. In this work, through an astonishing example we argue that more efforts should be paid to ensure the progress in developing a new deep learning method. For a highly influential multi-label text classification method XML-CNN, we show that the superior performance claimed in the original paper was mainly due to some unbelievable coincidences. We re-examine XML-CNN and make a re-implementation which reveals some contradictory findings to the claims in the original paper. Our study suggests suitable baselines for multi-label text classification tasks and confirms that the progress on a new architecture cannot be confidently justified without a cautious investigation.

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Multi-Relational Graph Transformer for Automatic Short Answer Grading
Rajat Agarwal | Varun Khurana | Karish Grover | Mukesh Mohania | Vikram Goyal

The recent transition to the online educational domain has increased the need for Automatic Short Answer Grading (ASAG). ASAG automatically evaluates a student’s response against a (given) correct response and thus has been a prevalent semantic matching task. Most existing methods utilize sequential context to compare two sentences and ignore the structural context of the sentence; therefore, these methods may not result in the desired performance. In this paper, we overcome this problem by proposing a Multi-Relational Graph Transformer, MitiGaTe, to prepare token representations considering the structural context. Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) graph is created by parsing the text response and then segregated into multiple subgraphs, each corresponding to a particular relationship in AMR. A Graph Transformer is used to prepare relation-specific token embeddings within each subgraph, then aggregated to obtain a subgraph representation. Finally, we compare the correct answer and the student response subgraph representations to yield a final score. Experimental results on Mohler’s dataset show that our system outperforms the existing state-of-the-art methods. We have released our implementation, as we believe that our model can be useful for many future applications.

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Event Schema Induction with Double Graph Autoencoders
Xiaomeng Jin | Manling Li | Heng Ji

Event schema depicts the typical structure of complex events, serving as a scaffolding to effectively analyze, predict, and possibly intervene in the ongoing events. To induce event schemas from historical events, previous work uses an event-by-event scheme, ignoring the global structure of the entire schema graph. We propose a new event schema induction framework using double graph autoencoders, which captures the global dependencies among nodes in event graphs. Specifically, we first extract the event skeleton from an event graph and design a variational directed acyclic graph (DAG) autoencoder to learn its global structure. Then we further fill in the event arguments for the skeleton, and use another Graph Convolutional Network (GCN) based autoencoder to reconstruct entity-entity relations as well as to detect coreferential entities. By performing this two-stage induction decomposition, the model can avoid reconstructing the entire graph in one step, allowing it to focus on learning global structures between events. Experimental results on three event graph datasets demonstrate that our method achieves state-of-the-art performance and induces high-quality event schemas with global consistency.

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CS1QA: A Dataset for Assisting Code-based Question Answering in an Introductory Programming Course
Changyoon Lee | Yeon Seonwoo | Alice Oh

We introduce CS1QA, a dataset for code-based question answering in the programming education domain. CS1QA consists of 9,237 question-answer pairs gathered from chat logs in an introductory programming class using Python, and 17,698 unannotated chat data with code. Each question is accompanied with the student’s code, and the portion of the code relevant to answering the question. We carefully design the annotation process to construct CS1QA, and analyze the collected dataset in detail. The tasks for CS1QA are to predict the question type, the relevant code snippet given the question and the code and retrieving an answer from the annotated corpus. Results for the experiments on several baseline models are reported and thoroughly analyzed. The tasks for CS1QA challenge models to understand both the code and natural language. This unique dataset can be used as a benchmark for source code comprehension and question answering in the educational setting.

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Unsupervised Cross-Lingual Transfer of Structured Predictors without Source Data
Kemal Kurniawan | Lea Frermann | Philip Schulz | Trevor Cohn

Providing technologies to communities or domains where training data is scarce or protected e.g., for privacy reasons, is becoming increasingly important. To that end, we generalise methods for unsupervised transfer from multiple input models for structured prediction. We show that the means of aggregating over the input models is critical, and that multiplying marginal probabilities of substructures to obtain high-probability structures for distant supervision is substantially better than taking the union of such structures over the input models, as done in prior work. Testing on 18 languages, we demonstrate that the method works in a cross-lingual setting, considering both dependency parsing and part-of-speech structured prediction problems. Our analyses show that the proposed method produces less noisy labels for the distant supervision.

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Don’t Take It Literally: An Edit-Invariant Sequence Loss for Text Generation
Guangyi Liu | Zichao Yang | Tianhua Tao | Xiaodan Liang | Junwei Bao | Zhen Li | Xiaodong He | Shuguang Cui | Zhiting Hu

Neural text generation models are typically trained by maximizing log-likelihood with the sequence cross entropy (CE) loss, which encourages an exact token-by-token match between a target sequence with a generated sequence. Such training objective is sub-optimal when the target sequence is not perfect, e.g., when the target sequence is corrupted with noises, or when only weak sequence supervision is available. To address the challenge, we propose a novel Edit-Invariant Sequence Loss (EISL), which computes the matching loss of a target n-gram with all n-grams in the generated sequence. EISL is designed to be robust to various noises and edits in the target sequences. Moreover, the EISL computation is essentially an approximate convolution operation with target n-grams as kernels, which is easy to implement and efficient to compute with existing libraries. To demonstrate the effectiveness of EISL, we conduct experiments on a wide range of tasks, including machine translation with noisy target sequences, unsupervised text style transfer with only weak training signals, and non-autoregressive generation with non-predefined generation order. Experimental results show our method significantly outperforms the common CE loss and other strong baselines on all the tasks. EISL has a simple API that can be used as a drop-in replacement of the CE loss:

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Modeling Exemplification in Long-form Question Answering via Retrieval
Shufan Wang | Fangyuan Xu | Laure Thompson | Eunsol Choi | Mohit Iyyer

Exemplification is a process by which writers explain or clarify a concept by providing an example. While common in all forms of writing, exemplification is particularly useful in the task of long-form question answering (LFQA), where a complicated answer can be made more understandable through simple examples. In this paper, we provide the first computational study of exemplification in QA, performing a fine-grained annotation of different types of examples (e.g., hypotheticals, anecdotes) in three corpora. We show that not only do state-of-the-art LFQA models struggle to generate relevant examples, but also that standard evaluation metrics such as ROUGE are insufficient to judge exemplification quality. We propose to treat exemplification as a retrieval problem in which a partially-written answer is used to query a large set of human-written examples extracted from a corpus. Our approach allows a reliable ranking-type automatic metrics that correlates well with human evaluation. A human evaluation shows that our model’s retrieved examples are more relevant than examples generated from a state-of-the-art LFQA model.

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D2U: Distance-to-Uniform Learning for Out-of-Scope Detection
Eyup Yilmaz | Cagri Toraman

Supervised training with cross-entropy loss implicitly forces models to produce probability distributions that follow a discrete delta distribution. Model predictions in test time are expected to be similar to delta distributions if the classifier determines the class of an input correctly. However, the shape of the predicted probability distribution can become similar to the uniform distribution when the model cannot infer properly. We exploit this observation for detecting out-of-scope (OOS) utterances in conversational systems. Specifically, we propose a zero-shot post-processing step, called Distance-to-Uniform (D2U), exploiting not only the classification confidence score, but the shape of the entire output distribution. We later combine it with a learning procedure that uses D2U for loss calculation in the supervised setup. We conduct experiments using six publicly available datasets. Experimental results show that the performance of OOS detection is improved with our post-processing when there is no OOS training data, as well as with D2U learning procedure when OOS training data is available.

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Reference-free Summarization Evaluation via Semantic Correlation and Compression Ratio
Yizhu Liu | Qi Jia | Kenny Zhu

A document can be summarized in a number of ways. Reference-based evaluation of summarization has been criticized for its inflexibility. The more sufficient the number of abstracts, the more accurate the evaluation results. However, it is difficult to collect sufficient reference summaries. In this paper, we propose a new automatic reference-free evaluation metric that compares semantic distribution between source document and summary by pretrained language models and considers summary compression ratio. The experiments show that this metric is more consistent with human evaluation in terms of coherence, consistency, relevance and fluency.

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KroneckerBERT: Significant Compression of Pre-trained Language Models Through Kronecker Decomposition and Knowledge Distillation
Marzieh Tahaei | Ella Charlaix | Vahid Nia | Ali Ghodsi | Mehdi Rezagholizadeh

The development of over-parameterized pre-trained language models has made a significant contribution toward the success of natural language processing. While over-parameterization of these models is the key to their generalization power, it makes them unsuitable for deployment on low-capacity devices. We push the limits of state-of-the-art Transformer-based pre-trained language model compression using Kronecker decomposition. We present our KroneckerBERT, a compressed version of the BERT_BASE model obtained by compressing the embedding layer and the linear mappings in the multi-head attention, and the feed-forward network modules in the Transformer layers. Our KroneckerBERT is trained via a very efficient two-stage knowledge distillation scheme using far fewer data samples than state-of-the-art models like MobileBERT and TinyBERT. We evaluate the performance of KroneckerBERT on well-known NLP benchmarks. We show that our KroneckerBERT with compression factors of 7.7x and 21x outperforms state-of-the-art compression methods on the GLUE and SQuAD benchmarks. In particular, using only 13% of the teacher model parameters, it retain more than 99% of the accuracy on the majority of GLUE tasks.

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Building a Role Specified Open-Domain Dialogue System Leveraging Large-Scale Language Models
Sanghwan Bae | Donghyun Kwak | Sungdong Kim | Donghoon Ham | Soyoung Kang | Sang-Woo Lee | Woomyoung Park

Recent open-domain dialogue models have brought numerous breakthroughs. However, building a chat system is not scalable since it often requires a considerable volume of human-human dialogue data, especially when enforcing features such as persona, style, or safety. In this work, we study the challenge of imposing roles on open-domain dialogue systems, with the goal of making the systems maintain consistent roles while conversing naturally with humans. To accomplish this, the system must satisfy a role specification that includes certain conditions on the stated features as well as a system policy on whether or not certain types of utterances are allowed. For this, we propose an efficient data collection framework leveraging in-context few-shot learning of large-scale language models for building role-satisfying dialogue dataset from scratch. We then compare various architectures for open-domain dialogue systems in terms of meeting role specifications while maintaining conversational abilities. Automatic and human evaluations show that our models return few out-of-bounds utterances, keeping competitive performance on general metrics. We release a Korean dialogue dataset we built for further research.

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Sentence-Level Resampling for Named Entity Recognition
Xiaochen Wang | Yue Wang

As a fundamental task in natural language processing, named entity recognition (NER) aims to locate and classify named entities in unstructured text. However, named entities are always the minority among all tokens in the text. This data imbalance problem presents a challenge to machine learning models as their learning objective is usually dominated by the majority of non-entity tokens. To alleviate data imbalance, we propose a set of sentence-level resampling methods where the importance of each training sentence is computed based on its tokens and entities. We study the generalizability of these resampling methods on a wide variety of NER models (CRF, Bi-LSTM, and BERT) across corpora from diverse domains (general, social, and medical texts). Extensive experiments show that the proposed methods improve span-level macro F1-scores of the evaluated NER models on multiple corpora, frequently outperforming sub-sentence-level resampling, data augmentation, and special loss functions such as focal and Dice loss.

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Word Tour: One-dimensional Word Embeddings via the Traveling Salesman Problem
Ryoma Sato

Word embeddings are one of the most fundamental technologies used in natural language processing. Existing word embeddings are high-dimensional and consume considerable computational resources. In this study, we propose WordTour, unsupervised one-dimensional word embeddings. To achieve the challenging goal, we propose a decomposition of the desiderata of word embeddings into two parts, completeness and soundness, and focus on soundness in this paper. Owing to the single dimensionality, WordTour is extremely efficient and provides a minimal means to handle word embeddings. We experimentally confirmed the effectiveness of the proposed method via user study and document classification.

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On the Diversity and Limits of Human Explanations
Chenhao Tan

A growing effort in NLP aims to build datasets of human explanations. However, it remains unclear whether these datasets serve their intended goals. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the term explanation is overloaded and refers to a broad range of notions with different properties and ramifications. Our goal is to provide an overview of the diversity of explanations, discuss human limitations in providing explanations, and ultimately provide implications for collecting and using human explanations in NLP.Inspired by prior work in psychology and cognitive sciences, we group existing human explanations in NLP into three categories: proximal mechanism, evidence, and procedure. These three types differ in nature and have implications for the resultant explanations. For instance, procedure is not considered explanation in psychology and connects with a rich body of work on learning from instructions. The diversity of explanations is further evidenced by proxy questions that are needed for annotators to interpret and answer “why is [input] assigned [label]”. Finally, giving explanations may require different, often deeper, understandings than predictions, which casts doubt on whether humans can provide valid explanations in some tasks.

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Locally Aggregated Feature Attribution on Natural Language Model Understanding
Sheng Zhang | Jin Wang | Haitao Jiang | Rui Song

With the growing popularity of deep-learning models, model understanding becomes more important. Much effort has been devoted to demystify deep neural networks for better explainability. Some feature attribution methods have shown promising results in computer vision, especially the gradient-based methods where effectively smoothing the gradients with reference data is the key to a robust and faithful result. However, direct application of these gradient-based methods to NLP tasks is not trivial due to the fact that the input consists of discrete tokens and the “reference” tokens are not explicitly defined. In this work, we propose Locally Aggregated Feature Attribution (LAFA), a novel gradient-based feature attribution method for NLP models. Instead of relying on obscure reference tokens, it smooths gradients by aggregating similar reference texts derived from language model embeddings. For evaluation purpose, we also design experiments on different NLP tasks including Entity Recognition and Sentiment Analysis on public datasets and key words detection on constructed Amazon catalogue dataset. The superior performance of the proposed method is demonstrated through experiments.

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Generic and Trend-aware Curriculum Learning for Relation Extraction
Nidhi Vakil | Hadi Amiri

We present a generic and trend-aware curriculum learning approach that effectively integrates textual and structural information in text graphs for relation extraction between entities, which we consider as node pairs in graphs. The proposed model extends existing curriculum learning approaches by incorporating sample-level loss trends to better discriminate easier from harder samples and schedule them for training. The model results in a robust estimation of sample difficulty and shows sizable improvement over the state-of-the-art approaches across several datasets.

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On Systematic Style Differences between Unsupervised and Supervised MT and an Application for High-Resource Machine Translation
Kelly Marchisio | Markus Freitag | David Grangier

Modern unsupervised machine translation (MT) systems reach reasonable translation quality under clean and controlled data conditions. As the performance gap between supervised and unsupervised MT narrows, it is interesting to ask whether the different training methods result in systematically different output beyond what is visible via quality metrics like adequacy or BLEU. We compare translations from supervised and unsupervised MT systems of similar quality, finding that unsupervised output is more fluent and more structurally different in comparison to human translation than is supervised MT. We then demonstrate a way to combine the benefits of both methods into a single system which results in improved adequacy and fluency as rated by human evaluators. Our results open the door to interesting discussions about how supervised and unsupervised MT might be different yet mutually-beneficial.

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Evidentiality-guided Generation for Knowledge-Intensive NLP Tasks
Akari Asai | Matt Gardner | Hannaneh Hajishirzi

Retrieval-augmented generation models have shown state-of-the-art performance across many knowledge-intensive NLP tasks such as open-domain question answering and fact verification. These models are trained to generate a final output given retrieved passages that can be irrelevant to an input query, leading to learning spurious cues or memorization. This work introduces a method to incorporate evidentiality of passages—whether a passage contains correct evidence to support the output—into training the generator. We introduce a multi-task learning framework to jointly generate the final output and predict the evidentiality of each passage. Furthermore, we introduce a new task-agnostic method for obtaining high-quality silver evidentiality labels, addressing the issues of gold evidentiality labels being unavailable in most domains. Our experiments on five datasets across three knowledge-intensive tasks show that our new evidentiality-guided generator significantly outperforms its direct counterpart on all of them, and advances the state of the art on three of them. Our analysis shows that multi-task learning and silver evidentiality mining play key roles. Our code is available at

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Modularized Transfer Learning with Multiple Knowledge Graphs for Zero-shot Commonsense Reasoning
Yu Jin Kim | Beong-woo Kwak | Youngwook Kim | Reinald Kim Amplayo | Seung-won Hwang | Jinyoung Yeo

Commonsense reasoning systems should be able to generalize to diverse reasoning cases. However, most state-of-the-art approaches depend on expensive data annotations and overfit to a specific benchmark without learning how to perform general semantic reasoning. To overcome these drawbacks, zero-shot QA systems have shown promise as a robust learning scheme by transforming a commonsense knowledge graph (KG) into synthetic QA-form samples for model training. Considering the increasing type of different commonsense KGs, this paper aims to extend the zero-shot transfer learning scenario into multiple-source settings, where different KGs can be utilized synergetically. Towards this goal, we propose to mitigate the loss of knowledge from the interference among the different knowledge sources, by developing a modular variant of the knowledge aggregation as a new zero-shot commonsense reasoning framework. Results on five commonsense reasoning benchmarks demonstrate the efficacy of our framework, improving the performance with multiple KGs.

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Learning to Express in Knowledge-Grounded Conversation
Xueliang Zhao | Tingchen Fu | Chongyang Tao | Wei Wu | Dongyan Zhao | Rui Yan

Grounding dialogue generation by extra knowledge has shown great potentials towards building a system capable of replying with knowledgeable and engaging responses. Existing studies focus on how to synthesize a response with proper knowledge, yet neglect that the same knowledge could be expressed differently by speakers even under the same context. In this work, we mainly consider two aspects of knowledge expression, namely the structure of the response and style of the content in each part. We therefore introduce two sequential latent variables to represent the structure and the content style respectively. We propose a segmentation-based generation model and optimize the model by a variational approach to discover the underlying pattern of knowledge expression in a response. Evaluation results on two benchmarks indicate that our model can learn the structure style defined by a few examples and generate responses in desired content style.

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End-to-End Chinese Speaker Identification
Dian Yu | Ben Zhou | Dong Yu

Speaker identification (SI) in texts aims to identify the speaker(s) for each utterance in texts. Previous studies divide SI into several sub-tasks (e.g., quote extraction, named entity recognition, gender identification, and coreference resolution). However, we are still far from solving these sub-tasks, making SI systems that rely on them seriously suffer from error propagation. End-to-end SI systems, on the other hand, are not limited by individual modules, but suffer from insufficient training data from the existing small-scale datasets. To make large end-to-end models possible, we design a new annotation guideline that regards SI as span extraction from the local context, and we annotate by far the largest SI dataset for Chinese named CSI based on eighteen novels. Viewing SI as a span selection task also introduces the possibility of applying existing storng extractive machine reading comprehension (MRC) baselines. Surprisingly, simply using such a baseline without human-annotated character names and carefully designed rules, we can already achieve performance comparable or better than those of previous state-of-the-art SI methods on all public SI datasets for Chinese. Furthermore, we show that our dataset can serve as additional training data for existing benchmarks, which leads to further gains (up to 6.5% in accuracy). Finally, using CSI as a clean source, we design an effective self-training paradigm to continuously leverage hundreds of unlabeled novels.

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MINION: a Large-Scale and Diverse Dataset for Multilingual Event Detection
Amir Pouran Ben Veyseh | Minh Van Nguyen | Franck Dernoncourt | Thien Nguyen

Event Detection (ED) is the task of identifying and classifying trigger words of event mentions in text. Despite considerable research efforts in recent years for English text, the task of ED in other languages has been significantly less explored. Switching to non-English languages, important research questions for ED include how well existing ED models perform on different languages, how challenging ED is in other languages, and how well ED knowledge and annotation can be transferred across languages. To answer those questions, it is crucial to obtain multilingual ED datasets that provide consistent event annotation for multiple languages. There exist some multilingual ED datasets; however, they tend to cover a handful of languages and mainly focus on popular ones. Many languages are not covered in existing multilingual ED datasets. In addition, the current datasets are often small and not accessible to the public. To overcome those shortcomings, we introduce a new large-scale multilingual dataset for ED (called MINION) that consistently annotates events for 8 different languages; 5 of them have not been supported by existing multilingual datasets. We also perform extensive experiments and analysis to demonstrate the challenges and transferability of ED across languages in MINION that in all call for more research effort in this area. We will release the dataset to promote future research on multilingual ED.

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Do Prompt-Based Models Really Understand the Meaning of Their Prompts?
Albert Webson | Ellie Pavlick

Recently, a boom of papers has shown extraordinary progress in zero-shot and few-shot learning with various prompt-based models. It is commonly argued that prompts help models to learn faster in the same way that humans learn faster when provided with task instructions expressed in natural language. In this study, we experiment with over 30 prompts manually written for natural language inference (NLI). We find that models can learn just as fast with many prompts that are intentionally irrelevant or even pathologically misleading as they do with instructively “good” prompts. Further, such patterns hold even for models as large as 175 billion parameters (Brown et al., 2020) as well as the recently proposed instruction-tuned models which are trained on hundreds of prompts (Sanh et al., 2021). That is, instruction-tuned models often produce good predictions with irrelevant and misleading prompts even at zero shots. In sum, notwithstanding prompt-based models’ impressive improvement, we find evidence of serious limitations that question the degree to which such improvement is derived from models understanding task instructions in ways analogous to humans’ use of task instructions.

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GPL: Generative Pseudo Labeling for Unsupervised Domain Adaptation of Dense Retrieval
Kexin Wang | Nandan Thakur | Nils Reimers | Iryna Gurevych

Dense retrieval approaches can overcome the lexical gap and lead to significantly improved search results. However, they require large amounts of training data which is not available for most domains. As shown in previous work (Thakur et al., 2021b), the performance of dense retrievers severely degrades under a domain shift. This limits the usage of dense retrieval approaches to only a few domains with large training datasets. In this paper, we propose the novel unsupervised domain adaptation method Generative Pseudo Labeling (GPL), which combines a query generator with pseudo labeling from a cross-encoder. On six representative domain-specialized datasets, we find the proposed GPL can outperform an out-of-the-box state-of-the-art dense retrieval approach by up to 9.3 points nDCG@10. GPL requires less (unlabeled) data from the target domain and is more robust in its training than previous methods. We further investigate the role of six recent pre-training methods in the scenario of domain adaptation for retrieval tasks, where only three could yield improved results. The best approach, TSDAE (Wang et al., 2021) can be combined with GPL, yielding another average improvement of 1.4 points nDCG@10 across the six tasks. The code and the models are available at

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Sparse Distillation: Speeding Up Text Classification by Using Bigger Student Models
Qinyuan Ye | Madian Khabsa | Mike Lewis | Sinong Wang | Xiang Ren | Aaron Jaech

Distilling state-of-the-art transformer models into lightweight student models is an effective way to reduce computation cost at inference time. The student models are typically compact transformers with fewer parameters, while expensive operations such as self-attention persist. Therefore, the improved inference speed may still be unsatisfactory for real-time or high-volume use cases. In this paper, we aim to further push the limit of inference speed by distilling teacher models into bigger, sparser student models – bigger in that they scale up to billions of parameters; sparser in that most of the model parameters are n-gram embeddings. Our experiments on six single-sentence text classification tasks show that these student models retain 97% of the RoBERTa-Large teacher performance on average, and meanwhile achieve up to 600x speed-up on both GPUs and CPUs at inference time. Further investigation reveals that our pipeline is also helpful for sentence-pair classification tasks, and in domain generalization settings.

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Towards Understanding Large-Scale Discourse Structures in Pre-Trained and Fine-Tuned Language Models
Patrick Huber | Giuseppe Carenini

In this paper, we extend the line of BERTology work by focusing on the important, yet less explored, alignment of pre-trained and fine-tuned PLMs with large-scale discourse structures. We propose a novel approach to infer discourse information for arbitrarily long documents. In our experiments, we find that the captured discourse information is local and general, even across a collection of fine-tuning tasks. We compare the inferred discourse trees with supervised, distantly supervised and simple baselines to explore the structural overlap, finding that constituency discourse trees align well with supervised models, however, contain complementary discourse information. Lastly, we individually explore self-attention matrices to analyze the information redundancy. We find that similar discourse information is consistently captured in the same heads.

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SAIS: Supervising and Augmenting Intermediate Steps for Document-Level Relation Extraction
Yuxin Xiao | Zecheng Zhang | Yuning Mao | Carl Yang | Jiawei Han

Stepping from sentence-level to document-level, the research on relation extraction (RE) confronts increasing text length and more complicated entity interactions. Consequently, it is more challenging to encode the key information sources—relevant contexts and entity types. However, existing methods only implicitly learn to model these critical information sources while being trained for RE. As a result, they suffer the problems of ineffective supervision and uninterpretable model predictions. In contrast, we propose to explicitly teach the model to capture relevant contexts and entity types by supervising and augmenting intermediate steps (SAIS) for RE. Based on a broad spectrum of carefully designed tasks, our proposed SAIS method not only extracts relations of better quality due to more effective supervision, but also retrieves the corresponding supporting evidence more accurately so as to enhance interpretability. By assessing model uncertainty, SAIS further boosts the performance via evidence-based data augmentation and ensemble inference while reducing the computational cost. Eventually, SAIS delivers state-of-the-art RE results on three benchmarks (DocRED, CDR, and GDA) and outperforms the runner-up by 5.04% relatively in F1 score in evidence retrieval on DocRED.

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LITE: Intent-based Task Representation Learning Using Weak Supervision
Naoki Otani | Michael Gamon | Sujay Kumar Jauhar | Mei Yang | Sri Raghu Malireddi | Oriana Riva

Users write to-dos as personal notes to themselves, about things they need to complete, remember or organize. To-do texts are usually short and under-specified, which poses a challenge for current text representation models. Yet, understanding and representing their meaning is the first step towards providing intelligent assistance for to-do management. We address this problem by proposing a neural multi-task learning framework, LITE, which extracts representations of English to-do tasks with a multi-head attention mechanism on top of a pre-trained text encoder. To adapt representation models to to-do texts, we collect weak-supervision labels from semantically rich external resources (e.g., dynamic commonsense knowledge bases), following the principle that to-do tasks with similar intents have similar labels. We then train the model on multiple generative/predictive training objectives jointly. We evaluate our representation model on four downstream tasks and show that our approach consistently improves performance over baseline models, achieving error reduction of up to 38.7%.

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Does Summary Evaluation Survive Translation to Other Languages?
Spencer Braun | Oleg Vasilyev | Neslihan Iskender | John Bohannon

The creation of a quality summarization dataset is an expensive, time-consuming effort, requiring the production and evaluation of summaries by both trained humans and machines. The returns to such an effort would increase significantly if the dataset could be used in additional languages without repeating human annotations. To investigate how much we can trust machine translation of summarization datasets, we translate the English SummEval dataset to seven languages and compare performances across automatic evaluation measures. We explore equivalence testing as the appropriate statistical paradigm for evaluating correlations between human and automated scoring of summaries. We also consider the effect of translation on the relative performance between measures. We find some potential for dataset reuse in languages similar to the source and along particular dimensions of summary quality. Our code and data can be found at

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A Shoulder to Cry on: Towards A Motivational Virtual Assistant for Assuaging Mental Agony
Tulika Saha | Saichethan Reddy | Anindya Das | Sriparna Saha | Pushpak Bhattacharyya

Mental Health Disorders continue plaguing humans worldwide. Aggravating this situation is the severe shortage of qualified and competent mental health professionals (MHPs), which underlines the need for developing Virtual Assistants (VAs) that can assist MHPs. The data+ML for automation can come from platforms that allow visiting and posting messages in peer-to-peer anonymous manner for sharing their experiences (frequently stigmatized) and seeking support. In this paper, we propose a VA that can act as the first point of contact and comfort for mental health patients. We curate a dataset, Motivational VA: MotiVAte comprising of 7k dyadic conversations collected from a peer-to-peer support platform. The system employs two mechanisms: (i) Mental Illness Classification: an attention based BERT classifier that outputs the mental disorder category out of the 4 categories, viz., Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), based on the input ongoing dialog between the support seeker and the VA; and (ii) Mental Illness Conditioned Motivational Dialogue Generation (MI-MDG): a sentiment driven Reinforcement Learning (RL) based motivational response generator. The empirical evaluation demonstrates the system capability by way of outperforming several baselines.

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SueNes: A Weakly Supervised Approach to Evaluating Single-Document Summarization via Negative Sampling
Forrest Bao | Ge Luo | Hebi Li | Minghui Qiu | Yinfei Yang | Youbiao He | Cen Chen

Canonical automatic summary evaluation metrics, such as ROUGE, focus on lexical similarity which cannot well capture semantics nor linguistic quality and require a reference summary which is costly to obtain. Recently, there have been a growing number of efforts to alleviate either or both of the two drawbacks. In this paper, we present a proof-of-concept study to a weakly supervised summary evaluation approach without the presence of reference summaries. Massive data in existing summarization datasets are transformed for training by pairing documents with corrupted reference summaries. In cross-domain tests, our strategy outperforms baselines with promising improvements, and show a great advantage in gauging linguistic qualities over all metrics.

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Combating the Curse of Multilinguality in Cross-Lingual WSD by Aligning Sparse Contextualized Word Representations
Gábor Berend

In this paper, we advocate for using large pre-trained monolingual language models in cross lingual zero-shot word sense disambiguation (WSD) coupled with a contextualized mapping mechanism. We also report rigorous experiments that illustrate the effectiveness of employing sparse contextualized word representations obtained via a dictionary learning procedure. Our experimental results demonstrate that the above modifications yield a significant improvement of nearly 6.5 points of increase in the average F-score (from 62.0 to 68.5) over a collection of 17 typologically diverse set of target languages. We release our source code for replicating our experiments at

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Cheat Codes to Quantify Missing Source Information in Neural Machine Translation
Proyag Pal | Kenneth Heafield

This paper describes a method to quantify the amount of information H(t|s) added by the target sentence t that is not present in the source s in a neural machine translation system. We do this by providing the model the target sentence in a highly compressed form (a “cheat code”), and exploring the effect of the size of the cheat code. We find that the model is able to capture extra information from just a single float representation of the target and nearly reproduces the target with two 32-bit floats per target token.

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WiC = TSV = WSD: On the Equivalence of Three Semantic Tasks
Bradley Hauer | Grzegorz Kondrak

The Word-in-Context (WiC) task has attracted considerable attention in the NLP community, as demonstrated by the popularity of the recent MCL-WiC SemEval shared task. Systems and lexical resources from word sense disambiguation (WSD) are often used for the WiC task and WiC dataset construction. In this paper, we establish the exact relationship between WiC and WSD, as well as the related task of target sense verification (TSV). Building upon a novel hypothesis on the equivalence of sense and meaning distinctions, we demonstrate through the application of tools from theoretical computer science that these three semantic classification problems can be pairwise reduced to each other, and therefore are equivalent. The results of experiments that involve systems and datasets for both WiC and WSD provide strong empirical evidence that our problem reductions work in practice.

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What do tokens know about their characters and how do they know it?
Ayush Kaushal | Kyle Mahowald

Pre-trained language models (PLMs) that use subword tokenization schemes can succeed at a variety of language tasks that require character-level information, despite lacking explicit access to the character composition of tokens. Here, studying a range of models (e.g., GPT- J, BERT, RoBERTa, GloVe), we probe what word pieces encode about character-level information by training classifiers to predict the presence or absence of a particular alphabetical character in a token, based on its embedding (e.g., probing whether the model embedding for “cat” encodes that it contains the character “a”). We find that these models robustly encode character-level information and, in general, larger models perform better at the task. We show that these results generalize to characters from non-Latin alphabets (Arabic, Devanagari, and Cyrillic). Then, through a series of experiments and analyses, we investigate the mechanisms through which PLMs acquire English-language character information during training and argue that this knowledge is acquired through multiple phenomena, including a systematic relationship between particular characters and particular parts of speech, as well as natural variability in the tokenization of related strings.

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AnswerSumm: A Manually-Curated Dataset and Pipeline for Answer Summarization
Alexander Fabbri | Xiaojian Wu | Srini Iyer | Haoran Li | Mona Diab

Community Question Answering (CQA) fora such as Stack Overflow and Yahoo! Answers contain a rich resource of answers to a wide range of community-based questions. Each question thread can receive a large number of answers with different perspectives. One goal of answer summarization is to produce a summary that reflects the range of answer perspectives. A major obstacle for this task is the absence of a dataset to provide supervision for producing such summaries. Recent works propose heuristics to create such data, but these are often noisy and do not cover all answer perspectives present. This work introduces a novel dataset of 4,631 CQA threads for answer summarization curated by professional linguists. Our pipeline gathers annotations for all subtasks of answer summarization, including relevant answer sentence selection, grouping these sentences based on perspectives, summarizing each perspective, and producing an overall summary. We analyze and benchmark state-of-the-art models on these subtasks and introduce a novel unsupervised approach for multi-perspective data augmentation that boosts summarization performance according to automatic evaluation. Finally, we propose reinforcement learning rewards to improve factual consistency and answer coverage and analyze areas for improvement.

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Paragraph-based Transformer Pre-training for Multi-Sentence Inference
Luca Di Liello | Siddhant Garg | Luca Soldaini | Alessandro Moschitti

Inference tasks such as answer sentence selection (AS2) or fact verification are typically solved by fine-tuning transformer-based models as individual sentence-pair classifiers. Recent studies show that these tasks benefit from modeling dependencies across multiple candidate sentences jointly. In this paper, we first show that popular pre-trained transformers perform poorly when used for fine-tuning on multi-candidate inference tasks. We then propose a new pre-training objective that models the paragraph-level semantics across multiple input sentences. Our evaluation on three AS2 and one fact verification datasets demonstrates the superiority of our pre-training technique over the traditional ones for transformers used as joint models for multi-candidate inference tasks, as well as when used as cross-encoders for sentence-pair formulations of these tasks.

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Text Style Transfer via Optimal Transport
Nasim Nouri

Text style transfer (TST) is a well-known task whose goal is to convert the style of the text (e.g., from formal to informal) while preserving its content. Recently, it has been shown that both syntactic and semantic similarities between the source and the converted text are important for TST. However, the interaction between these two concepts has not been modeled. In this work, we propose a novel method based on Optimal Transport for TST to simultaneously incorporate syntactic and semantic information into similarity computation between the source and the converted text. We evaluate the proposed method in both supervised and unsupervised settings. Our analysis reveal the superiority of the proposed model in both settings.

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Exploring the Role of Task Transferability in Large-Scale Multi-Task Learning
Vishakh Padmakumar | Leonard Lausen | Miguel Ballesteros | Sheng Zha | He He | George Karypis

Recent work has found that multi-task training with a large number of diverse tasks can uniformly improve downstream performance on unseen target tasks. In contrast, literature on task transferability has established that the choice of intermediate tasks can heavily affect downstream task performance. In this work, we aim to disentangle the effect of scale and relatedness of tasks in multi-task representation learning. We find that, on average, increasing the scale of multi-task learning, in terms of the number of tasks, indeed results in better learned representations than smaller multi-task setups. However, if the target tasks are known ahead of time, then training on a smaller set of related tasks is competitive to the large-scale multi-task training at a reduced computational cost.

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Interactive Query-Assisted Summarization via Deep Reinforcement Learning
Ori Shapira | Ramakanth Pasunuru | Mohit Bansal | Ido Dagan | Yael Amsterdamer

Interactive summarization is a task that facilitates user-guided exploration of information within a document set. While one would like to employ state of the art neural models to improve the quality of interactive summarization, many such technologies cannot ingest the full document set or cannot operate at sufficient speed for interactivity. To that end, we propose two novel deep reinforcement learning models for the task that address, respectively, the subtask of summarizing salient information that adheres to user queries, and the subtask of listing suggested queries to assist users throughout their exploration. In particular, our models allow encoding the interactive session state and history to refrain from redundancy. Together, these models compose a state of the art solution that addresses all of the task requirements. We compare our solution to a recent interactive summarization system, and show through an experimental study involving real users that our models are able to improve informativeness while preserving positive user experience.

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Data Augmentation with Dual Training for Offensive Span Detection
Nasim Nouri

Recognizing offensive text is an important requirement for every content management system, especially for social networks. While the majority of the prior work formulate this problem as text classification, i.e., if a text excerpt is offensive or not, in this work we propose a novel model for offensive span detection (OSD), whose goal is to identify the spans responsible for the offensive tone of the text. One of the challenges to train a model for this novel setting is the lack of enough training data. To address this limitation, in this work we propose a novel method in which the large-scale pre-trained language model GPT-2 is employed to generate synthetic training data for OSD. In particular, we propose to train the GPT-2 model in a dual-training setting using the REINFORCE algorithm to generate in-domain, natural and diverse training samples. Extensive experiments on the benchmark dataset for OSD reveal the effectiveness of the proposed method.

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Training Mixed-Domain Translation Models via Federated Learning
Peyman Passban | Tanya Roosta | Rahul Gupta | Ankit Chadha | Clement Chung

Training mixed-domain translation models is a complex task that demands tailored architec- tures and costly data preparation techniques. In this work, we leverage federated learning (FL) in order to tackle the problem. Our investiga- tion demonstrates that with slight modifications in the training process, neural machine trans- lation (NMT) engines can be easily adapted when an FL-based aggregation is applied to fuse different domains. Experimental results also show that engines built via FL are able to perform on par with state-of-the-art baselines that rely on centralized training techniques. We evaluate our hypothesis in the presence of five datasets with different sizes, from different domains, to translate from German into English and discuss how FL and NMT can mutually benefit from each other. In addition to provid- ing benchmarking results on the union of FL and NMT, we also propose a novel technique to dynamically control the communication band- width by selecting impactful parameters during FL updates. This is a significant achievement considering the large size of NMT engines that need to be exchanged between FL parties.

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QAFactEval: Improved QA-Based Factual Consistency Evaluation for Summarization
Alexander Fabbri | Chien-Sheng Wu | Wenhao Liu | Caiming Xiong

Factual consistency is an essential quality of text summarization models in practical settings. Existing work in evaluating this dimension can be broadly categorized into two lines of research, entailment-based and question answering (QA)-based metrics, and different experimental setups often lead to contrasting conclusions as to which paradigm performs the best. In this work, we conduct an extensive comparison of entailment and QA-based metrics, demonstrating that carefully choosing the components of a QA-based metric, especially question generation and answerability classification, is critical to performance. Building on those insights, we propose an optimized metric, which we call QAFactEval, that leads to a 14% average improvement over previous QA-based metrics on the SummaC factual consistency benchmark, and also outperforms the best-performing entailment-based metric. Moreover, we find that QA-based and entailment-based metrics can offer complementary signals and be combined into a single metric for a further performance boost.

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How Gender Debiasing Affects Internal Model Representations, and Why It Matters
Hadas Orgad | Seraphina Goldfarb-Tarrant | Yonatan Belinkov

Common studies of gender bias in NLP focus either on extrinsic bias measured by model performance on a downstream task or on intrinsic bias found in models’ internal representations. However, the relationship between extrinsic and intrinsic bias is relatively unknown. In this work, we illuminate this relationship by measuring both quantities together: we debias a model during downstream fine-tuning, which reduces extrinsic bias, and measure the effect on intrinsic bias, which is operationalized as bias extractability with information-theoretic probing. Through experiments on two tasks and multiple bias metrics, we show that our intrinsic bias metric is a better indicator of debiasing than (a contextual adaptation of) the standard WEAT metric, and can also expose cases of superficial debiasing. Our framework provides a comprehensive perspective on bias in NLP models, which can be applied to deploy NLP systems in a more informed manner. Our code and model checkpoints are publicly available.

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A Structured Span Selector
Tianyu Liu | Yuchen Jiang | Ryan Cotterell | Mrinmaya Sachan

Many natural language processing tasks, e.g., coreference resolution and semantic role labeling, require selecting text spans and making decisions about them. A typical approach to such tasks is to score all possible spans and greedily select spans for task-specific downstream processing. This approach, however, does not incorporate any inductive bias about what sort of spans ought to be selected, e.g., that selected spans tend to be syntactic constituents. In this paper, we propose a novel grammar-based structured span selection model which learns to make use of the partial span-level annotation provided for such problems. Compared to previous approaches, our approach gets rid of the heuristic greedy span selection scheme, allowing us to model the downstream task on an optimal set of spans. We evaluate our model on two popular span prediction tasks: coreference resolution and semantic role labeling; and show improvements on both.

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Unified Semantic Typing with Meaningful Label Inference
James Y. Huang | Bangzheng Li | Jiashu Xu | Muhao Chen

Semantic typing aims at classifying tokens or spans of interest in a textual context into semantic categories such as relations, entity types, and event types. The inferred labels of semantic categories meaningfully interpret how machines understand components of text. In this paper, we present UniST, a unified framework for semantic typing that captures label semantics by projecting both inputs and labels into a joint semantic embedding space. To formulate different lexical and relational semantic typing tasks as a unified task, we incorporate task descriptions to be jointly encoded with the input, allowing UniST to be adapted to different tasks without introducing task-specific model components. UniST optimizes a margin ranking loss such that the semantic relatedness of the input and labels is reflected from their embedding similarity. Our experiments demonstrate that UniST achieves strong performance across three semantic typing tasks: entity typing, relation classification and event typing. Meanwhile, UniST effectively transfers semantic knowledge of labels and substantially improves generalizability on inferring rarely seen and unseen types. In addition, multiple semantic typing tasks can be jointly trained within the unified framework, leading to a single compact multi-tasking model that performs comparably to dedicated single-task models, while offering even better transferability.

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Learning To Retrieve Prompts for In-Context Learning
Ohad Rubin | Jonathan Herzig | Jonathan Berant

In-context learning is a recent paradigm in natural language understanding, where a large pre-trained language model (LM) observes a test instance and a few training examples as its input, and directly decodes the output without any update to its parameters. However, performance has been shown to strongly depend on the selected training examples (termed prompts). In this work, we propose an efficient method for retrieving prompts for in-context learning using annotated data and an LM. Given an input-output pair, we estimate the probability of the output given the input and a candidate training example as the prompt, and label training examples as positive or negative based on this probability. We then train an efficient dense retriever from this data, which is used to retrieve training examples as prompts at test time. We evaluate our approach on three sequence-to-sequence tasks where language utterances are mapped to meaning representations, and find that it substantially outperforms prior work and multiple baselines across the board.

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Necessity and Sufficiency for Explaining Text Classifiers: A Case Study in Hate Speech Detection
Esma Balkir | Isar Nejadgholi | Kathleen Fraser | Svetlana Kiritchenko

We present a novel feature attribution method for explaining text classifiers, and analyze it in the context of hate speech detection. Although feature attribution models usually provide a single importance score for each token, we instead provide two complementary and theoretically-grounded scores – necessity and sufficiency – resulting in more informative explanations. We propose a transparent method that calculates these values by generating explicit perturbations of the input text, allowing the importance scores themselves to be explainable. We employ our method to explain the predictions of different hate speech detection models on the same set of curated examples from a test suite, and show that different values of necessity and sufficiency for identity terms correspond to different kinds of false positive errors, exposing sources of classifier bias against marginalized groups.

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Learning to Retrieve Passages without Supervision
Ori Ram | Gal Shachaf | Omer Levy | Jonathan Berant | Amir Globerson

Dense retrievers for open-domain question answering (ODQA) have been shown to achieve impressive performance by training on large datasets of question-passage pairs. In this work we ask whether this dependence on labeled data can be reduced via unsupervised pretraining that is geared towards ODQA. We show this is in fact possible, via a novel pretraining scheme designed for retrieval. Our “recurring span retrieval” approach uses recurring spans across passages in a document to create pseudo examples for contrastive learning. Our pretraining scheme directly controls for term overlap across pseudo queries and relevant passages, thus allowing to model both lexical and semantic relations between them. The resulting model, named Spider, performs surprisingly well without any labeled training examples on a wide range of ODQA datasets. Specifically, it significantly outperforms all other pretrained baselines in a zero-shot setting, and is competitive with BM25, a strong sparse baseline. Moreover, a hybrid retriever over Spider and BM25 improves over both, and is often competitive with DPR models, which are trained on tens of thousands of examples. Last, notable gains are observed when using Spider as an initialization for supervised training.

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Re2G: Retrieve, Rerank, Generate
Michael Glass | Gaetano Rossiello | Md Faisal Mahbub Chowdhury | Ankita Naik | Pengshan Cai | Alfio Gliozzo

As demonstrated by GPT-3 and T5, transformers grow in capability as parameter spaces become larger and larger. However, for tasks that require a large amount of knowledge, non-parametric memory allows models to grow dramatically with a sub-linear increase in computational cost and GPU memory requirements. Recent models such as RAG and REALM have introduced retrieval into conditional generation. These models incorporate neural initial retrieval from a corpus of passages. We build on this line of research, proposing Re2G, which combines both neural initial retrieval and reranking into a BART-based sequence-to-sequence generation. Our reranking approach also permits merging retrieval results from sources with incomparable scores, enabling an ensemble of BM25 and neural initial retrieval. To train our system end-to-end, we introduce a novel variation of knowledge distillation to train the initial retrieval, reranker and generation using only ground truth on the target sequence output. We find large gains in four diverse tasks: zero-shot slot filling, question answering, fact checking and dialog, with relative gains of 9% to 34% over the previous state-of-the-art on the KILT leaderboard. We make our code available as open source.

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Don’t sweat the small stuff, classify the rest: Sample Shielding to protect text classifiers against adversarial attacks
Jonathan Rusert | Padmini Srinivasan

Deep learning (DL) is being used extensively for text classification. However, researchers have demonstrated the vulnerability of such classifiers to adversarial attacks. Attackers modify the text in a way which misleads the classifier while keeping the original meaning close to intact. State-of-the-art (SOTA) attack algorithms follow the general principle of making minimal changes to the text so as to not jeopardize semantics. Taking advantage of this we propose a novel and intuitive defense strategy called Sample Shielding.It is attacker and classifier agnostic, does not require any reconfiguration of the classifier or external resources and is simple to implement. Essentially, we sample subsets of the input text, classify them and summarize these into a final decision. We shield three popular DL text classifiers with Sample Shielding, test their resilience against four SOTA attackers across three datasets in a realistic threat setting. Even when given the advantage of knowing about our shielding strategy the adversary’s attack success rate is <=10% with only one exception and often < 5%. Additionally, Sample Shielding maintains near original accuracy when applied to original texts. Crucially, we show that the ‘make minimal changes’ approach of SOTA attackers leads to critical vulnerabilities that can be defended against with an intuitive sampling strategy.

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Federated Learning with Noisy User Feedback
Rahul Sharma | Anil Ramakrishna | Ansel MacLaughlin | Anna Rumshisky | Jimit Majmudar | Clement Chung | Salman Avestimehr | Rahul Gupta

Machine Learning (ML) systems are getting increasingly popular, and drive more and more applications and services in our daily life. Thishas led to growing concerns over user privacy, since human interaction data typically needs to be transmitted to the cloud in order to trainand improve such systems. Federated learning (FL) has recently emerged as a method for training ML models on edge devices using sensitive user data and is seen as a way to mitigate concerns over data privacy. However, since ML models are most commonly trained with label supervision, we need a way to extract labels on edge to make FL viable. In this work, we propose a strategy for training FL models using positive and negative user feedback. We also design a novel framework to study different noise patterns in user feedback, and explore how well standard noise-robust objectives can help mitigate this noise when training models in a federated setting. We evaluate our proposed training setup through detailed experiments on two text classification datasets and analyze the effects of varying levels of user reliability and feedback noise on model performance. We show that our method improves substantially over a self-training baseline, achieving performance closer to models trained with full supervision.

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Gender Bias in Masked Language Models for Multiple Languages
Masahiro Kaneko | Aizhan Imankulova | Danushka Bollegala | Naoaki Okazaki

Masked Language Models (MLMs) pre-trained by predicting masked tokens on large corpora have been used successfully in natural language processing tasks for a variety of languages. Unfortunately, it was reported that MLMs also learn discriminative biases regarding attributes such as gender and race. Because most studies have focused on MLMs in English, the bias of MLMs in other languages has rarely been investigated. Manual annotation of evaluation data for languages other than English has been challenging due to the cost and difficulty in recruiting annotators. Moreover, the existing bias evaluation methods require the stereotypical sentence pairs consisting of the same context with attribute words (e.g. He/She is a nurse).We propose Multilingual Bias Evaluation (MBE) score, to evaluate bias in various languages using only English attribute word lists and parallel corpora between the target language and English without requiring manually annotated data. We evaluated MLMs in eight languages using the MBE and confirmed that gender-related biases are encoded in MLMs for all those languages. We manually created datasets for gender bias in Japanese and Russian to evaluate the validity of the MBE.The results show that the bias scores reported by the MBE significantly correlates with that computed from the above manually created datasets and the existing English datasets for gender bias.

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Multi-Domain Targeted Sentiment Analysis
Orith Toledo-Ronen | Matan Orbach | Yoav Katz | Noam Slonim

Targeted Sentiment Analysis (TSA) is a central task for generating insights from consumer reviews. Such content is extremely diverse, with sites like Amazon or Yelp containing reviews on products and businesses from many different domains. A real-world TSA system should gracefully handle that diversity. This can be achieved by a multi-domain model – one that is robust to the domain of the analyzed texts, and performs well on various domains. To address this scenario, we present a multi-domain TSA system based on augmenting a given training set with diverse weak labels from assorted domains. These are obtained through self-training on the Yelp reviews corpus. Extensive experiments with our approach on three evaluation datasets across different domains demonstrate the effectiveness of our solution. We further analyze how restrictions imposed on the available labeled data affect the performance, and compare the proposed method to the costly alternative of manually gathering diverse TSA labeled data. Our results and analysis show that our approach is a promising step towards a practical domain-robust TSA system.

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Falsesum: Generating Document-level NLI Examples for Recognizing Factual Inconsistency in Summarization
Prasetya Utama | Joshua Bambrick | Nafise Moosavi | Iryna Gurevych

Neural abstractive summarization models are prone to generate summaries that are factually inconsistent with their source documents. Previous work has introduced the task of recognizing such factual inconsistency as a downstream application of natural language inference (NLI). However, state-of-the-art NLI models perform poorly in this context due to their inability to generalize to the target task. In this work, we show that NLI models can be effective for this task when the training data is augmented with high-quality task-oriented examples. We introduce Falsesum, a data generation pipeline leveraging a controllable text generation model to perturb human-annotated summaries, introducing varying types of factual inconsistencies. Unlike previously introduced document-level NLI datasets, our generated dataset contains examples that are diverse and inconsistent yet plausible. We show that models trained on a Falsesum-augmented NLI dataset improve the state-of-the-art performance across four benchmarks for detecting factual inconsistency in summarization.

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Dynamic Gazetteer Integration in Multilingual Models for Cross-Lingual and Cross-Domain Named Entity Recognition
Besnik Fetahu | Anjie Fang | Oleg Rokhlenko | Shervin Malmasi

Named entity recognition (NER) in a real-world setting remains challenging and is impacted by factors like text genre, corpus quality, and data availability. NER models trained on CoNLL do not transfer well to other domains, even within the same language. This is especially the case for multi-lingual models when applied to low-resource languages, and is mainly due to missing entity information. We propose an approach that with limited effort and data, addresses the NER knowledge gap across languages and domains. Our novel approach uses a token-level gating layer to augment pre-trained multilingual transformers with gazetteers containing named entities (NE) from a target language or domain. This approach provides the flexibility to jointly integrate both textual and gazetteer information dynamically: entity knowledge from gazetteers is used only when a token’s textual representation is insufficient for the NER task. Evaluation on several languages and domains demonstrates: (i) a high mismatch of reported NER performance on CoNLL vs. domain specific datasets, (ii) gazetteers significantly improve NER performance across languages and domains, and (iii) gazetteers can be flexibly incorporated to guide knowledge transfer. On cross-lingual transfer we achieve an improvement over the baseline with F1=+17.6%, and with F1=+21.3% for cross-domain transfer.

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MetaICL: Learning to Learn In Context
Sewon Min | Mike Lewis | Luke Zettlemoyer | Hannaneh Hajishirzi

We introduce MetaICL (Meta-training for In-Context Learning), a new meta-training framework for few-shot learning where a pretrained language model is tuned to do in-context learning on a large set of training tasks. This meta-training enables the model to more effectively learn a new task in context at test time, by simply conditioning on a few training examples with no parameter updates or task-specific templates. We experiment on a large, diverse collection of tasks consisting of 142 NLP datasets including classification, question answering, natural language inference, paraphrase detection and more, across seven different meta-training/target splits. MetaICL outperforms a range of baselines including in-context learning without meta-training and multi-task learning followed by zero-shot transfer. We find that the gains are particularly significant for target tasks that have domain shifts from the meta-training tasks, and that using a diverse set of the meta-training tasks is key to improvements. We also show that MetaICL approaches (and sometimes beats) the performance of models fully finetuned on the target task training data, and outperforms much bigger models with nearly 8x parameters.

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Enhancing Knowledge Selection for Grounded Dialogues via Document Semantic Graphs
Sha Li | Mahdi Namazifar | Di Jin | Mohit Bansal | Heng Ji | Yang Liu | Dilek Hakkani-Tur

Providing conversation models with background knowledge has been shown to make open-domain dialogues more informative and engaging. Existing models treat knowledge selection as a sentence ranking or classification problem where each sentence is handled individually, ignoring the internal semantic connection between sentences. In this work, we propose to automatically convert the background knowledge documents into document semantic graphs and then perform knowledge selection over such graphs. Our document semantic graphs preserve sentence-level information through the use of sentence nodes and provide concept connections between sentences. We apply multi-task learning to perform sentence-level knowledge selection and concept-level knowledge selection, showing that it improves sentence-level selection. Our experiments show that our semantic graph-based knowledge selection improves over sentence selection baselines for both the knowledge selection task and the end-to-end response generation task on HollE and improves generalization on unseen topics in WoW.

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Using Natural Sentence Prompts for Understanding Biases in Language Models
Sarah Alnegheimish | Alicia Guo | Yi Sun

Evaluation of biases in language models is often limited to synthetically generated datasets. This dependence traces back to the need of prompt-style dataset to trigger specific behaviors of language models. In this paper, we address this gap by creating a prompt dataset with respect to occupations collected from real-world natural sentences present in Wikipedia.We aim to understand the differences between using template-based prompts and natural sentence prompts when studying gender-occupation biases in language models. We find bias evaluations are very sensitiveto the design choices of template prompts, and we propose using natural sentence prompts as a way of more systematically using real-world sentences to move away from design decisions that may bias the results.

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Robust Conversational Agents against Imperceptible Toxicity Triggers
Ninareh Mehrabi | Ahmad Beirami | Fred Morstatter | Aram Galstyan

Warning: this paper contains content that maybe offensive or upsetting. Recent research in Natural Language Processing (NLP) has advanced the development of various toxicity detection models with the intention of identifying and mitigating toxic language from existing systems. Despite the abundance of research in this area, less attention has been given to adversarial attacks that force the system to generate toxic language and the defense against them. Existing work to generate such attacks is either based on human-generated attacks which is costly and not scalable or, in case of automatic attacks, the attack vector does not conform to human-like language, which can be detected using a language model loss. In this work, we propose attacks against conversational agents that are imperceptible, i.e., they fit the conversation in terms of coherency, relevancy, and fluency, while they are effective and scalable, i.e., they can automatically trigger the system into generating toxic language. We then propose a defense mechanism against such attacks which not only mitigates the attack but also attempts to maintain the conversational flow. Through automatic and human evaluations, we show that our defense is effective at avoiding toxic language generation even against imperceptible toxicity triggers while the generated language fits the conversation in terms of coherency and relevancy. Lastly, we establish the generalizability of such a defense mechanism on language generation models beyond conversational agents.

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Selective Differential Privacy for Language Modeling
Weiyan Shi | Aiqi Cui | Evan Li | Ruoxi Jia | Zhou Yu

With the increasing applications of language models, it has become crucial to protect these models from leaking private information. Previous work has attempted to tackle this challenge by training RNN-based language models with differential privacy guarantees. However, applying classical differential privacy to language models leads to poor model performance as the underlying privacy notion is over-pessimistic and provides undifferentiated protection for all tokens in the data. Given that the private information in natural language is sparse (for example, the bulk of an email might not carry personally identifiable information), we propose a new privacy notion, selective differential privacy, to provide rigorous privacy guarantees on the sensitive portion of the data to improve model utility. To realize such a new notion, we develop a corresponding privacy mechanism, Selective-DPSGD, for RNN-based language models. Besides language modeling, we also apply the method to a more concrete application – dialog systems. Experiments on both language modeling and dialog system building show that the proposed privacy-preserving mechanism achieves better utilities while remaining safe under various privacy attacks compared to the baselines. The data and code are released at to facilitate future research.

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Do Trajectories Encode Verb Meaning?
Dylan Ebert | Chen Sun | Ellie Pavlick

Distributional models learn representations of words from text, but are criticized for their lack of grounding, or the linking of text to the non-linguistic world. Grounded language models have had success in learning to connect concrete categories like nouns and adjectives to the world via images and videos, but can struggle to isolate the meaning of the verbs themselves from the context in which they typically occur. In this paper, we investigate the extent to which trajectories (i.e. the position and rotation of objects over time) naturally encode verb semantics. We build a procedurally generated agent-object-interaction dataset, obtain human annotations for the verbs that occur in this data, and compare several methods for representation learning given the trajectories. We find that trajectories correlate as-is with some verbs (e.g., fall), and that additional abstraction via self-supervised pretraining can further capture nuanced differences in verb meaning (e.g., roll and slide).

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Long Context Question Answering via Supervised Contrastive Learning
Avi Caciularu | Ido Dagan | Jacob Goldberger | Arman Cohan

Long-context question answering (QA) tasks require reasoning over a long document or multiple documents. Addressing these tasks often benefits from identifying a set of evidence spans (e.g., sentences), which provide supporting evidence for answering the question. In this work, we propose a novel method for equipping long-context QA models with an additional sequence-level objective for better identification of the supporting evidence. We achieve this via an additional contrastive supervision signal in finetuning, where the model is encouraged to explicitly discriminate supporting evidence sentences from negative ones by maximizing question-evidence similarity. The proposed additional loss exhibits consistent improvements on three different strong long-context transformer models, across two challenging question answering benchmarks – HotpotQA and QAsper.

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The USMLE® Step 2 Clinical Skills Patient Note Corpus
Victoria Yaneva | Janet Mee | Le Ha | Polina Harik | Michael Jodoin | Alex Mechaber

This paper presents a corpus of 43,985 clinical patient notes (PNs) written by 35,156 examinees during the high-stakes USMLE® Step 2 Clinical Skills examination. In this exam, examinees interact with standardized patients - people trained to portray simulated scenarios called clinical cases. For each encounter, an examinee writes a PN, which is then scored by physician raters using a rubric of clinical concepts, expressions of which should be present in the PN. The corpus features PNs from 10 clinical cases, as well as the clinical concepts from the case rubrics. A subset of 2,840 PNs were annotated by 10 physician experts such that all 143 concepts from the case rubrics (e.g., shortness of breath) were mapped to 34,660 PN phrases (e.g., dyspnea, difficulty breathing). The corpus is available via a data sharing agreement with NBME and can be requested at

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Learning to Borrow– Relation Representation for Without-Mention Entity-Pairs for Knowledge Graph Completion
Huda Hakami | Mona Hakami | Angrosh Mandya | Danushka Bollegala

Prior work on integrating text corpora with knowledge graphs (KGs) to improve Knowledge Graph Embedding (KGE) have obtained good performance for entities that co-occur in sentences in text corpora. Such sentences (textual mentions of entity-pairs) are represented as Lexicalised Dependency Paths (LDPs) between two entities. However, it is not possible to represent relations between entities that do not co-occur in a single sentence using LDPs. In this paper, we propose and evaluate several methods to address this problem, where we borrow LDPs from the entity pairs that co-occur in sentences in the corpus (i.e. with mentions entity pairs) to represent entity pairs that do not co-occur in any sentence in the corpus (i.e. without mention entity pairs). We propose a supervised borrowing method, SuperBorrow, that learns to score the suitability of an LDP to represent a without-mentions entity pair using pre-trained entity embeddings and contextualised LDP representations. Experimental results show that SuperBorrow improves the link prediction performance of multiple widely-used prior KGE methods such as TransE, DistMult, ComplEx and RotatE.

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Improving Entity Disambiguation by Reasoning over a Knowledge Base
Tom Ayoola | Joseph Fisher | Andrea Pierleoni

Recent work in entity disambiguation (ED) has typically neglected structured knowledge base (KB) facts, and instead relied on a limited subset of KB information, such as entity descriptions or types. This limits the range of contexts in which entities can be disambiguated. To allow the use of all KB facts, as well as descriptions and types, we introduce an ED model which links entities by reasoning over a symbolic knowledge base in a fully differentiable fashion. Our model surpasses state-of-the-art baselines on six well-established ED datasets by 1.3 F1 on average. By allowing access to all KB information, our model is less reliant on popularity-based entity priors, and improves performance on the challenging ShadowLink dataset (which emphasises infrequent and ambiguous entities) by 12.7 F1.

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Modal Dependency Parsing via Language Model Priming
Jiarui Yao | Nianwen Xue | Bonan Min

The task of modal dependency parsing aims to parse a text into its modal dependency structure, which is a representation for the factuality of events in the text. We design a modal dependency parser that is based on priming pre-trained language models, and evaluate the parser on two data sets. Compared to baselines, we show an improvement of 2.6% in F-score for English and 4.6% for Chinese. To the best of our knowledge, this is also the first work on Chinese modal dependency parsing.

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Document-Level Relation Extraction with Sentences Importance Estimation and Focusing
Wang Xu | Kehai Chen | Lili Mou | Tiejun Zhao

Document-level relation extraction (DocRE) aims to determine the relation between two entities from a document of multiple sentences. Recent studies typically represent the entire document by sequence- or graph-based models to predict the relations of all entity pairs. However, we find that such a model is not robust and exhibits bizarre behaviors: it predicts correctly when an entire test document is fed as input, but errs when non-evidence sentences are removed. To this end, we propose a Sentence Importance Estimation and Focusing (SIEF) framework for DocRE, where we design a sentence importance score and a sentence focusing loss, encouraging DocRE models to focus on evidence sentences. Experimental results on two domains show that our SIEF not only improves overall performance, but also makes DocRE models more robust. Moreover, SIEF is a general framework, shown to be effective when combined with a variety of base DocRE models.

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Are All the Datasets in Benchmark Necessary? A Pilot Study of Dataset Evaluation for Text Classification
Yang Xiao | Jinlan Fu | See-Kiong Ng | Pengfei Liu

In this paper, we ask the research question of whether all the datasets in the benchmark are necessary. We approach this by first characterizing the distinguishability of datasets when comparing different systems. Experiments on 9 datasets and 36 systems show that several existing benchmark datasets contribute little to discriminating top-scoring systems, while those less used datasets exhibit impressive discriminative power. We further, taking the text classification task as a case study, investigate the possibility of predicting dataset discrimination based on its properties (e.g., average sentence length). Our preliminary experiments promisingly show that given a sufficient number of training experimental records, a meaningful predictor can be learned to estimate dataset discrimination over unseen datasets. We released all datasets with features explored in this work on DataLab.

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Triggerless Backdoor Attack for NLP Tasks with Clean Labels
Leilei Gan | Jiwei Li | Tianwei Zhang | Xiaoya Li | Yuxian Meng | Fei Wu | Yi Yang | Shangwei Guo | Chun Fan

Backdoor attacks pose a new threat to NLP models. A standard strategy to construct poisoned data in backdoor attacks is to insert triggers (e.g., rare words) into selected sentences and alter the original label to a target label. This strategy comes with a severe flaw of being easily detected from both the trigger and the label perspectives: the trigger injected, which is usually a rare word, leads to an abnormal natural language expression, and thus can be easily detected by a defense model; the changed target label leads the example to be mistakenly labeled, and thus can be easily detected by manual inspections. To deal with this issue, in this paper, we propose a new strategy to perform textual backdoor attack which does not require an external trigger and the poisoned samples are correctly labeled. The core idea of the proposed strategy is to construct clean-labeled examples, whose labels are correct but can lead to test label changes when fused with the training set. To generate poisoned clean-labeled examples, we propose a sentence generation model based on the genetic algorithm to cater to the non-differentiable characteristic of text data. Extensive experiments demonstrate that the proposed attacking strategy is not only effective, but more importantly, hard to defend due to its triggerless and clean-labeled nature. Our work marks the first step towards developing triggerless attacking strategies in NLP.

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PPL-MCTS: Constrained Textual Generation Through Discriminator-Guided MCTS Decoding
Antoine Chaffin | Vincent Claveau | Ewa Kijak

Large language models (LM) based on Transformers allow to generate plausible long texts. In this paper, we explore how this generation can be further controlled at decoding time to satisfy certain constraints (e.g. being non-toxic, conveying certain emotions, using a specific writing style, etc.) without fine-tuning the LM.Precisely, we formalize constrained generation as a tree exploration process guided by a discriminator that indicates how well the associated sequence respects the constraint. This approach, in addition to being easier and cheaper to train than fine-tuning the LM, allows to apply the constraint more finely and dynamically. We propose several original methods to search this generation tree, notably the Monte Carlo Tree Search (MCTS) which provides theoretical guarantees on the search efficiency, but also simpler methods based on re-ranking a pool of diverse sequences using the discriminator scores. These methods are evaluated, with automatic and human-based metrics, on two types of constraints and languages: review polarity and emotion control in French and English. We show that discriminator-guided MCTS decoding achieves state-of-the-art results without having to tune the language model, in both tasks and languages. We also demonstrate that other proposed decoding methods based on re-ranking can be really effective when diversity among the generated propositions is encouraged.

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Interpretable Proof Generation via Iterative Backward Reasoning
Hanhao Qu | Yu Cao | Jun Gao | Liang Ding | Ruifeng Xu

We present IBR, an Iterative Backward Reasoning model to solve the proof generation tasks on rule-based Question Answering (QA), where models are required to reason over a series of textual rules and facts to find out the related proof path and derive the final answer. We handle the limitations of existed works in two folds: 1) enhance the interpretability of reasoning procedures with detailed tracking, by predicting nodes and edges in the proof path iteratively backward from the question; 2) promote the efficiency and accuracy via reasoning on the elaborate representations of nodes and history paths, without any intermediate texts that may introduce external noise during proof generation. There are three main modules in IBR, QA and proof strategy prediction to obtain the answer and offer guidance for the following procedure; parent node prediction to determine a node in the existing proof that a new child node will link to; child node prediction to find out which new node will be added to the proof. Experiments on both synthetic and paraphrased datasets demonstrate that IBR has better in-domain performance as well as cross-domain transferability than several strong baselines. Our code and models are available at

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Domain Confused Contrastive Learning for Unsupervised Domain Adaptation
Quanyu Long | Tianze Luo | Wenya Wang | Sinno Pan

In this work, we study Unsupervised Domain Adaptation (UDA) in a challenging self-supervised approach. One of the difficulties is how to learn task discrimination in the absence of target labels. Unlike previous literature which directly aligns cross-domain distributions or leverages reverse gradient, we propose Domain Confused Contrastive Learning (DCCL), which can bridge the source and target domains via domain puzzles, and retain discriminative representations after adaptation. Technically, DCCL searches for a most domain-challenging direction and exquisitely crafts domain confused augmentations as positive pairs, then it contrastively encourages the model to pull representations towards the other domain, thus learning more stable and effective domain invariances. We also investigate whether contrastive learning necessarily helps with UDA when performing other data augmentations. Extensive experiments demonstrate that DCCL significantly outperforms baselines, further ablation study and analysis also show the effectiveness and availability of DCCL.

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Incorporating Centering Theory into Neural Coreference Resolution
Haixia Chai | Michael Strube

In recent years, transformer-based coreference resolution systems have achieved remarkable improvements on the CoNLL dataset. However, how coreference resolvers can benefit from discourse coherence is still an open question. In this paper, we propose to incorporate centering transitions derived from centering theory in the form of a graph into a neural coreference model. Our method improves the performance over the SOTA baselines, especially on pronoun resolution in long documents, formal well-structured text, and clusters with scattered mentions.

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Progressive Class Semantic Matching for Semi-supervised Text Classification
Haiming Xu | Lingqiao Liu | Ehsan Abbasnejad

Semi-supervised learning is a promising way to reduce the annotation cost for text-classification. Combining with pre-trained language models (PLMs), e.g., BERT, recent semi-supervised learning methods achieved impressive performance. In this work, we further investigate the marriage between semi-supervised learning and a pre-trained language model. Unlike existing approaches that utilize PLMs only for model parameter initialization, we explore the inherent topic matching capability inside PLMs for building a more powerful semi-supervised learning approach. Specifically, we propose a joint semi-supervised learning process that can progressively build a standard K-way classifier and a matching network for the input text and the Class Semantic Representation (CSR). The CSR will be initialized from the given labeled sentences and progressively updated through the training process. By means of extensive experiments, we show that our method can not only bring remarkable improvement to baselines, but also overall be more stable, and achieves state-of-the-art performance in semi-supervised text classification.

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Low Resource Style Transfer via Domain Adaptive Meta Learning
Xiangyang Li | Xiang Long | Yu Xia | Sujian Li

Text style transfer (TST) without parallel data has achieved some practical success. However, most of the existing unsupervised text style transfer methods suffer from (i) requiring massive amounts of non-parallel data to guide transferring different text styles. (ii) colossal performance degradation when fine-tuning the model in new domains. In this work, we propose DAML-ATM (Domain Adaptive Meta-Learning with Adversarial Transfer Model), which consists of two parts: DAML and ATM. DAML is a domain adaptive meta-learning approach to learn general knowledge in multiple heterogeneous source domains, capable of adapting to new unseen domains with a small amount of data. Moreover, we propose a new unsupervised TST approach Adversarial Transfer Model (ATM), composed of a sequence-to-sequence pre-trained language model and uses adversarial style training for better content preservation and style transfer. Results on multi-domain datasets demonstrate that our approach generalizes well on unseen low-resource domains, achieving state-of-the-art results against ten strong baselines.

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Features or Spurious Artifacts? Data-centric Baselines for Fair and Robust Hate Speech Detection
Alan Ramponi | Sara Tonelli

Avoiding to rely on dataset artifacts to predict hate speech is at the cornerstone of robust and fair hate speech detection. In this paper we critically analyze lexical biases in hate speech detection via a cross-platform study, disentangling various types of spurious and authentic artifacts and analyzing their impact on out-of-distribution fairness and robustness. We experiment with existing approaches and propose simple yet surprisingly effective data-centric baselines. Our results on English data across four platforms show that distinct spurious artifacts require different treatments to ultimately attain both robustness and fairness in hate speech detection. To encourage research in this direction, we release all baseline models and the code to compute artifacts, pointing it out as a complementary and necessary addition to the data statements practice.

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Document-Level Event Argument Extraction by Leveraging Redundant Information and Closed Boundary Loss
Hanzhang Zhou | Kezhi Mao

In document-level event argument extraction, an argument is likely to appear multiple times in different expressions in the document. The redundancy of arguments underlying multiple sentences is beneficial but is often overlooked. In addition, in event argument extraction, most entities are regarded as class “others”, i.e. Universum class, which is defined as a collection of samples that do not belong to any class of interest. Universum class is composed of heterogeneous entities without typical common features. Classifiers trained by cross entropy loss could easily misclassify the Universum class because of their open decision boundary. In this paper, to make use of redundant event information underlying a document, we build an entity coreference graph with the graph2token module to produce a comprehensive and coreference-aware representation for every entity and then build an entity summary graph to merge the multiple extraction results. To better classify Universum class, we propose a new loss function to build classifiers with closed boundaries. Experimental results show that our model outperforms the previous state-of-the-art models by 3.35% in F1-score.

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A Few Thousand Translations Go a Long Way! Leveraging Pre-trained Models for African News Translation
David Adelani | Jesujoba Alabi | Angela Fan | Julia Kreutzer | Xiaoyu Shen | Machel Reid | Dana Ruiter | Dietrich Klakow | Peter Nabende | Ernie Chang | Tajuddeen Gwadabe | Freshia Sackey | Bonaventure F. P. Dossou | Chris Emezue | Colin Leong | Michael Beukman | Shamsuddeen Muhammad | Guyo Jarso | Oreen Yousuf | Andre Niyongabo Rubungo | Gilles Hacheme | Eric Peter Wairagala | Muhammad Umair Nasir | Benjamin Ajibade | Tunde Ajayi | Yvonne Gitau | Jade Abbott | Mohamed Ahmed | Millicent Ochieng | Anuoluwapo Aremu | Perez Ogayo | Jonathan Mukiibi | Fatoumata Ouoba Kabore | Godson Kalipe | Derguene Mbaye | Allahsera Auguste Tapo | Victoire Memdjokam Koagne | Edwin Munkoh-Buabeng | Valencia Wagner | Idris Abdulmumin | Ayodele Awokoya | Happy Buzaaba | Blessing Sibanda | Andiswa Bukula | Sam Manthalu

Recent advances in the pre-training for language models leverage large-scale datasets to create multilingual models. However, low-resource languages are mostly left out in these datasets. This is primarily because many widely spoken languages that are not well represented on the web and therefore excluded from the large-scale crawls for datasets. Furthermore, downstream users of these models are restricted to the selection of languages originally chosen for pre-training. This work investigates how to optimally leverage existing pre-trained models to create low-resource translation systems for 16 African languages. We focus on two questions: 1) How can pre-trained models be used for languages not included in the initial pretraining? and 2) How can the resulting translation models effectively transfer to new domains? To answer these questions, we create a novel African news corpus covering 16 languages, of which eight languages are not part of any existing evaluation dataset. We demonstrate that the most effective strategy for transferring both additional languages and additional domains is to leverage small quantities of high-quality translation data to fine-tune large pre-trained models.

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Should We Rely on Entity Mentions for Relation Extraction? Debiasing Relation Extraction with Counterfactual Analysis
Yiwei Wang | Muhao Chen | Wenxuan Zhou | Yujun Cai | Yuxuan Liang | Dayiheng Liu | Baosong Yang | Juncheng Liu | Bryan Hooi

Recent literature focuses on utilizing the entity information in the sentence-level relation extraction (RE), but this risks leaking superficial and spurious clues of relations. As a result, RE still suffers from unintended entity bias, i.e., the spurious correlation between entity mentions (names) and relations. Entity bias can mislead the RE models to extract the relations that do not exist in the text. To combat this issue, some previous work masks the entity mentions to prevent the RE models from over-fitting entity mentions. However, this strategy degrades the RE performance because it loses the semantic information of entities. In this paper, we propose the CoRE (Counterfactual Analysis based Relation Extraction) debiasing method that guides the RE models to focus on the main effects of textual context without losing the entity information. We first construct a causal graph for RE, which models the dependencies between variables in RE models. Then, we propose to conduct counterfactual analysis on our causal graph to distill and mitigate the entity bias, that captures the causal effects of specific entity mentions in each instance. Note that our CoRE method is model-agnostic to debias existing RE systems during inference without changing their training processes. Extensive experimental results demonstrate that our CoRE yields significant gains on both effectiveness and generalization for RE. The source code is provided at:

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Analyzing Encoded Concepts in Transformer Language Models
Hassan Sajjad | Nadir Durrani | Fahim Dalvi | Firoj Alam | Abdul Khan | Jia Xu

We propose a novel framework ConceptX, to analyze how latent concepts are encoded in representations learned within pre-trained lan-guage models. It uses clustering to discover the encoded concepts and explains them by aligning with a large set of human-defined concepts. Our analysis on seven transformer language models reveal interesting insights: i) the latent space within the learned representations overlap with different linguistic concepts to a varying degree, ii) the lower layers in the model are dominated by lexical concepts (e.g., affixation) and linguistic ontologies (e.g. Word-Net), whereas the core-linguistic concepts (e.g., morphology, syntactic relations) are better represented in the middle and higher layers, iii) some encoded concepts are multi-faceted and cannot be adequately explained using the existing human-defined concepts.

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Boosted Dense Retriever
Patrick Lewis | Barlas Oguz | Wenhan Xiong | Fabio Petroni | Scott Yih | Sebastian Riedel

We propose DrBoost, a dense retrieval ensemble inspired by boosting. DrBoost is trained in stages: each component model is learned sequentially and specialized by focusing only on retrieval mistakes made by the current ensemble. The final representation is the concatenation of the output vectors of all the component models, making it a drop-in replacement for standard dense retrievers at test time. DrBoost enjoys several advantages compared to standard dense retrieval models. It produces representations which are 4x more compact, while delivering comparable retrieval results. It also performs surprisingly well under approximate search with coarse quantization, reducing latency and bandwidth needs by another 4x. In practice, this can make the difference between serving indices from disk versus from memory, paving the way for much cheaper deployments.

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MuCGEC: a Multi-Reference Multi-Source Evaluation Dataset for Chinese Grammatical Error Correction
Yue Zhang | Zhenghua Li | Zuyi Bao | Jiacheng Li | Bo Zhang | Chen Li | Fei Huang | Min Zhang

This paper presents MuCGEC, a multi-reference multi-source evaluation dataset for Chinese Grammatical Error Correction (CGEC), consisting of 7,063 sentences collected from three Chinese-as-a-Second-Language (CSL) learner sources. Each sentence is corrected by three annotators, and their corrections are carefully reviewed by a senior annotator, resulting in 2.3 references per sentence. We conduct experiments with two mainstream CGEC models, i.e., the sequence-to-sequence model and the sequence-to-edit model, both enhanced with large pretrained language models, achieving competitive benchmark performance on previous and our datasets. We also discuss CGEC evaluation methodologies, including the effect of multiple references and using a char-based metric. Our annotation guidelines, data, and code are available at

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NeuS: Neutral Multi-News Summarization for Mitigating Framing Bias
Nayeon Lee | Yejin Bang | Tiezheng Yu | Andrea Madotto | Pascale Fung

Media news framing bias can increase political polarization and undermine civil society. The need for automatic mitigation methods is therefore growing. We propose a new task, a neutral summary generation from multiple news articles of the varying political leaningsto facilitate balanced and unbiased news reading. In this paper, we first collect a new dataset, illustrate insights about framing bias through a case study, and propose a new effective metric and model (NeuS-Title) for the task. Based on our discovery that title provides a good signal for framing bias, we present NeuS-Title that learns to neutralize news content in hierarchical order from title to article. Our hierarchical multi-task learning is achieved by formatting our hierarchical data pair (title, article) sequentially with identifier-tokens (“TITLE=>”, “ARTICLE=>”) and fine-tuning the auto-regressive decoder with the standard negative log-likelihood objective. We then analyze and point out the remaining challenges and future directions. One of the most interesting observations is that neural NLG models can hallucinate not only factually inaccurate or unverifiable content but also politically biased content.

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Enhance Incomplete Utterance Restoration by Joint Learning Token Extraction and Text Generation
Shumpei Inoue | Tsungwei Liu | Son Nguyen | Minh-Tien Nguyen

This paper introduces a model for incomplete utterance restoration (IUR) called JET (Joint learning token Extraction and Text generation). Different from prior studies that only work on extraction or abstraction datasets, we design a simple but effective model, working for both scenarios of IUR. Our design simulates the nature of IUR, where omitted tokens from the context contribute to restoration. From this, we construct a Picker that identifies the omitted tokens. To support the picker, we design two label creation methods (soft and hard labels), which can work in cases of no annotation data for the omitted tokens. The restoration is done by using a Generator with the help of the Picker on joint learning. Promising results on four benchmark datasets in extraction and abstraction scenarios show that our model is better than the pretrained T5 and non-generative language model methods in both rich and limited training data settings.

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Efficient Constituency Tree based Encoding for Natural Language to Bash Translation
Shikhar Bharadwaj | Shirish Shevade

Bash is a Unix command language used for interacting with the Operating System. Recent works on natural language to Bash translation have made significant advances, but none of the previous methods utilize the problem’s inherent structure. We identify this structure andpropose a Segmented Invocation Transformer (SIT) that utilizes the information from the constituency parse tree of the natural language text. Our method is motivated by the alignment between segments in the natural language text and Bash command components. Incorporating the structure in the modelling improves the performance of the model. Since such systems must be universally accessible, we benchmark the inference times on a CPU rather than a GPU. We observe a 1.8x improvement in the inference time and a 5x reduction in model parameters. Attribution analysis using Integrated Gradients reveals that the proposed method can capture the problem structure.

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Privacy-Preserving Text Classification on BERT Embeddings with Homomorphic Encryption
Garam Lee | Minsoo Kim | Jai Hyun Park | Seung-won Hwang | Jung Hee Cheon

Embeddings, which compress information in raw text into semantics-preserving low-dimensional vectors, have been widely adopted for their efficacy. However, recent research has shown that embeddings can potentially leak private information about sensitive attributes of the text, and in some cases, can be inverted to recover the original input text. To address these growing privacy challenges, we propose a privatization mechanism for embeddings based on homomorphic encryption, to prevent potential leakage of any piece of information in the process of text classification. In particular, our method performs text classification on the encryption of embeddings from state-of-the-art models like BERT, supported by an efficient GPU implementation of CKKS encryption scheme. We show that our method offers encrypted protection of BERT embeddings, while largely preserving their utility on downstream text classification tasks.

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ITA: Image-Text Alignments for Multi-Modal Named Entity Recognition
Xinyu Wang | Min Gui | Yong Jiang | Zixia Jia | Nguyen Bach | Tao Wang | Zhongqiang Huang | Kewei Tu

Recently, Multi-modal Named Entity Recognition (MNER) has attracted a lot of attention. Most of the work utilizes image information through region-level visual representations obtained from a pretrained object detector and relies on an attention mechanism to model the interactions between image and text representations. However, it is difficult to model such interactions as image and text representations are trained separately on the data of their respective modality and are not aligned in the same space. As text representations take the most important role in MNER, in this paper, we propose Image-text Alignments (ITA) to align image features into the textual space, so that the attention mechanism in transformer-based pretrained textual embeddings can be better utilized. ITA first aligns the image into regional object tags, image-level captions and optical characters as visual contexts, concatenates them with the input texts as a new cross-modal input, and then feeds it into a pretrained textual embedding model. This makes it easier for the attention module of a pretrained textual embedding model to model the interaction between the two modalities since they are both represented in the textual space. ITA further aligns the output distributions predicted from the cross-modal input and textual input views so that the MNER model can be more practical in dealing with text-only inputs and robust to noises from images. In our experiments, we show that ITA models can achieve state-of-the-art accuracy on multi-modal Named Entity Recognition datasets, even without image information.

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A Dataset for N-ary Relation Extraction of Drug Combinations
Aryeh Tiktinsky | Vijay Viswanathan | Danna Niezni | Dana Meron Azagury | Yosi Shamay | Hillel Taub-Tabib | Tom Hope | Yoav Goldberg

Combination therapies have become the standard of care for diseases such as cancer, tuberculosis, malaria and HIV. However, the combinatorial set of available multi-drug treatments creates a challenge in identifying effective combination therapies available in a situation. To assist medical professionals in identifying beneficial drug-combinations, we construct an expert-annotated dataset for extracting information about the efficacy of drug combinations from the scientific literature. Beyond its practical utility, the dataset also presents a unique NLP challenge, as the first relation extraction dataset consisting of variable-length relations. Furthermore, the relations in this dataset predominantly require language understanding beyond the sentence level, adding to the challenge of this task. We provide a promising baseline model and identify clear areas for further improvement. We release our dataset (, code ( and baseline models ( publicly to encourage the NLP community to participate in this task.

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Curriculum: A Broad-Coverage Benchmark for Linguistic Phenomena in Natural Language Understanding
Zeming Chen | Qiyue Gao

In the age of large transformer language models, linguistic evaluation play an important role in diagnosing models’ abilities and limitations on natural language understanding. However, current evaluation methods show some significant shortcomings. In particular, they do not provide insight into how well a language model captures distinct linguistic skills essential for language understanding and reasoning. Thus they fail to effectively map out the aspects of language understanding that remain challenging to existing models, which makes it hard to discover potential limitations in models and datasets. In this paper, we introduce Curriculum as a new format of NLI benchmark for evaluation of broad-coverage linguistic phenomena. Curriculum contains a collection of datasets that covers 36 types of major linguistic phenomena and an evaluation procedure for diagnosing how well a language model captures reasoning skills for distinct types of linguistic phenomena. We show that this linguistic-phenomena-driven benchmark can serve as an effective tool for diagnosing model behavior and verifying model learning quality. In addition, our experiments provide insight into the limitation of existing benchmark datasets and state-of-the-art models that may encourage future research on re-designing datasets, model architectures, and learning objectives.

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Neural Language Taskonomy: Which NLP Tasks are the most Predictive of fMRI Brain Activity?
Subba Reddy Oota | Jashn Arora | Veeral Agarwal | Mounika Marreddy | Manish Gupta | Bapi Surampudi

Several popular Transformer based language models have been found to be successful for text-driven brain encoding. However, existing literature leverages only pretrained text Transformer models and has not explored the efficacy of task-specific learned Transformer representations. In this work, we explore transfer learning from representations learned for ten popular natural language processing tasks (two syntactic and eight semantic) for predicting brain responses from two diverse datasets: Pereira (subjects reading sentences from paragraphs) and Narratives (subjects listening to the spoken stories). Encoding models based on task features are used to predict activity in different regions across the whole brain. Features from coreference resolution, NER, and shallow syntax parsing explain greater variance for the reading activity. On the other hand, for the listening activity, tasks such as paraphrase generation, summarization, and natural language inference show better encoding performance. Experiments across all 10 task representations provide the following cognitive insights: (i) language left hemisphere has higher predictive brain activity versus language right hemisphere, (ii) posterior medial cortex, temporo-parieto-occipital junction, dorsal frontal lobe have higher correlation versus early auditory and auditory association cortex, (iii) syntactic and semantic tasks display a good predictive performance across brain regions for reading and listening stimuli resp.

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FactGraph: Evaluating Factuality in Summarization with Semantic Graph Representations
Leonardo F. R. Ribeiro | Mengwen Liu | Iryna Gurevych | Markus Dreyer | Mohit Bansal

Despite recent improvements in abstractive summarization, most current approaches generate summaries that are not factually consistent with the source document, severely restricting their trust and usage in real-world applications. Recent works have shown promising improvements in factuality error identification using text or dependency arc entailments; however, they do not consider the entire semantic graph simultaneously. To this end, we propose FactGraph, a method that decomposes the document and the summary into structured meaning representations (MR), which are more suitable for factuality evaluation. MRs describe core semantic concepts and their relations, aggregating the main content in both document and summary in a canonical form, and reducing data sparsity. FactGraph encodes such graphs using a graph encoder augmented with structure-aware adapters to capture interactions among the concepts based on the graph connectivity, along with text representations using an adapter-based text encoder. Experiments on different benchmarks for evaluating factuality show that FactGraph outperforms previous approaches by up to 15%. Furthermore, FactGraph improves performance on identifying content verifiability errors and better captures subsentence-level factual inconsistencies.

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Unsupervised Paraphrasability Prediction for Compound Nominalizations
John Sie Yuen Lee | Ho Hung Lim | Carol Webster

Commonly found in academic and formal texts, a nominalization uses a deverbal noun to describe an event associated with its corresponding verb. Nominalizations can be difficult to interpret because of ambiguous semantic relations between the deverbal noun and its arguments. Automatic generation of clausal paraphrases for nominalizations can help disambiguate their meaning. However, previous work has not identified cases where it is awkward or impossible to paraphrase a compound nominalization. This paper investigates unsupervised prediction of paraphrasability, which determines whether the prenominal modifier of a nominalization can be re-written as a noun or adverb in a clausal paraphrase. We adopt the approach of overgenerating candidate paraphrases followed by candidate ranking with a neural language model. In experiments on an English dataset, we show that features from an Abstract Meaning Representation graph lead to statistically significant improvement in both paraphrasability prediction and paraphrase generation.

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Global Entity Disambiguation with BERT
Ikuya Yamada | Koki Washio | Hiroyuki Shindo | Yuji Matsumoto

We propose a global entity disambiguation (ED) model based on BERT. To capture global contextual information for ED, our model treats not only words but also entities as input tokens, and solves the task by sequentially resolving mentions to their referent entities and using resolved entities as inputs at each step. We train the model using a large entity-annotated corpus obtained from Wikipedia. We achieve new state-of-the-art results on five standard ED datasets: AIDA-CoNLL, MSNBC, AQUAINT, ACE2004, and WNED-WIKI. The source code and model checkpoint are available at

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Clues Before Answers: Generation-Enhanced Multiple-Choice QA
Zixian Huang | Ao Wu | Jiaying Zhou | Yu Gu | Yue Zhao | Gong Cheng

A trending paradigm for multiple-choice question answering (MCQA) is using a text-to-text framework. By unifying data in different tasks into a single text-to-text format, it trains a generative encoder-decoder model which is both powerful and universal. However, a side effect of twisting a generation target to fit the classification nature of MCQA is the under-utilization of the decoder and the knowledge that can be decoded. To exploit the generation capability and underlying knowledge of a pre-trained encoder-decoder model, in this paper, we propose a generation-enhanced MCQA model named GenMC. It generates a clue from the question and then leverages the clue to enhance a reader for MCQA. It outperforms text-to-text models on multiple MCQA datasets.

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Towards Efficient NLP: A Standard Evaluation and A Strong Baseline
Xiangyang Liu | Tianxiang Sun | Junliang He | Jiawen Wu | Lingling Wu | Xinyu Zhang | Hao Jiang | Zhao Cao | Xuanjing Huang | Xipeng Qiu

Supersized pre-trained language models have pushed the accuracy of various natural language processing (NLP) tasks to a new state-of-the-art (SOTA). Rather than pursuing the reachless SOTA accuracy, more and more researchers start paying attention to model efficiency and usability. Different from accuracy, the metric for efficiency varies across different studies, making them hard to be fairly compared. To that end, this work presents ELUE (Efficient Language Understanding Evaluation), a standard evaluation, and a public leaderboard for efficient NLP models. ELUE is dedicated to depicting the Pareto Frontier for various language understanding tasks, such that it can tell whether and how much a method achieves Pareto improvement. Along with the benchmark, we also release a strong baseline, ElasticBERT, which allows BERT to exit at any layer in both static and dynamic ways. We demonstrate the ElasticBERT, despite its simplicity, outperforms or performs on par with SOTA compressed and early exiting models. With ElasticBERT, the proposed ELUE has a strong Pareto Frontier and makes a better evaluation for efficient NLP models.

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Stylized Knowledge-Grounded Dialogue Generation via Disentangled Template Rewriting
Qingfeng Sun | Can Xu | Huang Hu | Yujing Wang | Jian Miao | Xiubo Geng | Yining Chen | Fei Xu | Daxin Jiang

Current Knowledge-Grounded Dialogue Generation (KDG) models specialize in producing rational and factual responses. However, to establish long-term relationships with users, the KDG model needs the capability to generate responses in a desired style or attribute. Thus, we study a new problem: Stylized Knowledge-Grounded Dialogue Generation (SKDG). It presents two challenges: (1) How to train a SKDG model where no <context, knowledge, stylized response> triples are available. (2) How to cohere with context and preserve the knowledge when generating a stylized response. In this paper, we propose a novel disentangled template rewriting (DTR) method which generates responses via combing disentangled style templates (from monolingual stylized corpus) and content templates (from KDG corpus). The entire framework is end-to-end differentiable and learned without supervision. Extensive experiments on two benchmarks indicate that DTR achieves a significant improvement on all evaluation metrics compared with previous state-of-the-art stylized dialogue generation methods. Besides, DTR achieves comparable performance with the state-of-the-art KDG methods in standard KDG evaluation setting.

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LUNA: Learning Slot-Turn Alignment for Dialogue State Tracking
Yifan Wang | Jing Zhao | Junwei Bao | Chaoqun Duan | Youzheng Wu | Xiaodong He

Dialogue state tracking (DST) aims to predict the current dialogue state given the dialogue history. Existing methods generally exploit the utterances of all dialogue turns to assign value for each slot. This could lead to suboptimal results due to the information introduced from irrelevant utterances in the dialogue history, which may be useless and can even cause confusion. To address this problem, we propose LUNA, a SLot-TUrN Alignment enhanced approach. It first explicitly aligns each slot with its most relevant utterance, then further predicts the corresponding value based on this aligned utterance instead of all dialogue utterances. Furthermore, we design a slot ranking auxiliary task to learn the temporal correlation among slots which could facilitate the alignment. Comprehensive experiments are conducted on three multi-domain task-oriented dialogue datasets, MultiWOZ 2.0, MultiWOZ 2.1, and MultiWOZ 2.2. The results show that LUNA achieves new state-of-the-art results on these datasets.

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Crossroads, Buildings and Neighborhoods: A Dataset for Fine-grained Location Recognition
Pei Chen | Haotian Xu | Cheng Zhang | Ruihong Huang

General domain Named Entity Recognition (NER) datasets like CoNLL-2003 mostly annotate coarse-grained location entities such as a country or a city. But many applications require identifying fine-grained locations from texts and mapping them precisely to geographic sites, e.g., a crossroad, an apartment building, or a grocery store. In this paper, we introduce a new dataset HarveyNER with fine-grained locations annotated in tweets. This dataset presents unique challenges and characterizes many complex and long location mentions in informal descriptions. We built strong baseline models using Curriculum Learning and experimented with different heuristic curricula to better recognize difficult location mentions. Experimental results show that the simple curricula can improve the system’s performance on hard cases and its overall performance, and outperform several other baseline systems. The dataset and the baseline models can be found at

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Tricks for Training Sparse Translation Models
Dheeru Dua | Shruti Bhosale | Vedanuj Goswami | James Cross | Mike Lewis | Angela Fan

Multi-task learning with an unbalanced data distribution skews model learning towards high resource tasks, especially when model capacity is fixed and fully shared across all tasks. Sparse scaling architectures, such as BASELayers, provide flexible mechanisms for different tasks to have a variable number of parameters, which can be useful to counterbalance skewed data distributions. We find that that sparse architectures for multilingual machine translation can perform poorly out of the box and propose two straightforward techniques to mitigate this — a temperature heating mechanism and dense pre-training. Overall, these methods improve performance on two multilingual translation benchmarks compared to standard BASELayers and Dense scaling baselines, and in combination, more than 2x model convergence speed.

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Persona-Guided Planning for Controlling the Protagonist’s Persona in Story Generation
Zhexin Zhang | Jiaxin Wen | Jian Guan | Minlie Huang

Endowing the protagonist with a specific personality is essential for writing an engaging story. In this paper, we aim to control the protagonist’s persona in story generation, i.e., generating a story from a leading context and a persona description, where the protagonist should exhibit the specified personality through a coherent event sequence. Considering that personas are usually embodied implicitly and sparsely in stories, we propose a planning-based generation model named ConPer to explicitly model the relationship between personas and events. ConPer first plans events of the protagonist’s behavior which are motivated by the specified persona through predicting one target sentence, then plans the plot as a sequence of keywords with the guidance of the predicted persona-related events and commonsense knowledge, and finally generates the whole story. Both automatic and manual evaluation results demonstrate that ConPer outperforms state-of-the-art baselines for generating more coherent and persona-controllable stories. Our code is available at

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CHEF: A Pilot Chinese Dataset for Evidence-Based Fact-Checking
Xuming Hu | Zhijiang Guo | GuanYu Wu | Aiwei Liu | Lijie Wen | Philip Yu

The explosion of misinformation spreading in the media ecosystem urges for automated fact-checking. While misinformation spans both geographic and linguistic boundaries, most work in the field has focused on English. Datasets and tools available in other languages, such as Chinese, are limited. In order to bridge this gap, we construct CHEF, the first CHinese Evidence-based Fact-checking dataset of 10K real-world claims. The dataset covers multiple domains, ranging from politics to public health, and provides annotated evidence retrieved from the Internet. Further, we develop established baselines and a novel approach that is able to model the evidence retrieval as a latent variable, allowing jointly training with the veracity prediction model in an end-to-end fashion. Extensive experiments show that CHEF will provide a challenging testbed for the development of fact-checking systems designed to retrieve and reason over non-English claims.

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VGNMN: Video-grounded Neural Module Networks for Video-Grounded Dialogue Systems
Hung Le | Nancy Chen | Steven Hoi

Neural module networks (NMN) have achieved success in image-grounded tasks such as Visual Question Answering (VQA) on synthetic images. However, very limited work on NMN has been studied in the video-grounded dialogue tasks. These tasks extend the complexity of traditional visual tasks with the additional visual temporal variance and language cross-turn dependencies. Motivated by recent NMN approaches on image-grounded tasks, we introduce Video-grounded Neural Module Network (VGNMN) to model the information retrieval process in video-grounded language tasks as a pipeline of neural modules. VGNMN first decomposes all language components in dialogues to explicitly resolve any entity references and detect corresponding action-based inputs from the question. The detected entities and actions are used as parameters to instantiate neural module networks and extract visual cues from the video. Our experiments show that VGNMN can achieve promising performance on a challenging video-grounded dialogue benchmark as well as a video QA benchmark.

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Multimodal Dialogue State Tracking
Hung Le | Nancy Chen | Steven Hoi

Designed for tracking user goals in dialogues, a dialogue state tracker is an essential component in a dialogue system. However, the research of dialogue state tracking has largely been limited to unimodality, in which slots and slot values are limited by knowledge domains (e.g. restaurant domain with slots of restaurant name and price range) and are defined by specific database schema. In this paper, we propose to extend the definition of dialogue state tracking to multimodality. Specifically, we introduce a novel dialogue state tracking task to track the information of visual objects that are mentioned in video-grounded dialogues. Each new dialogue utterance may introduce a new video segment, new visual objects, or new object attributes and a state tracker is required to update these information slots accordingly. We created a new synthetic benchmark and designed a novel baseline, Video-Dialogue Transformer Network (VDTN), for this task. VDTN combines both object-level features and segment-level features and learns contextual dependencies between videos and dialogues to generate multimodal dialogue states. We optimized VDTN for a state generation task as well as a self-supervised video understanding task which recovers video segment or object representations. Finally, we trained VDTN to use the decoded states in a response prediction task. Together with comprehensive ablation and qualitative analysis, we discovered interesting insights towards building more capable multimodal dialogue systems.

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On the Use of Bert for Automated Essay Scoring: Joint Learning of Multi-Scale Essay Representation
Yongjie Wang | Chuang Wang | Ruobing Li | Hui Lin

In recent years, pre-trained models have become dominant in most natural language processing (NLP) tasks. However, in the area of Automated Essay Scoring (AES), pre-trained models such as BERT have not been properly used to outperform other deep learning models such as LSTM. In this paper, we introduce a novel multi-scale essay representation for BERT that can be jointly learned. We also employ multiple losses and transfer learning from out-of-domain essays to further improve the performance. Experiment results show that our approach derives much benefit from joint learning of multi-scale essay representation and obtains almost the state-of-the-art result among all deep learning models in the ASAP task. Our multi-scale essay representation also generalizes well to CommonLit Readability Prize data set, which suggests that the novel text representation proposed in this paper may be a new and effective choice for long-text tasks.

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Recognition of They/Them as Singular Personal Pronouns in Coreference Resolution
Connor Baumler | Rachel Rudinger

As using they/them as personal pronouns becomes increasingly common in English, it is important that coreference resolution systems work as well for individuals who use personal “they” as they do for those who use gendered personal pronouns. We introduce a new benchmark for coreference resolution systems which evaluates singular personal “they” recognition. Using these WinoNB schemas, we evaluate a number of publicly available coreference resolution systems and confirm their bias toward resolving “they” pronouns as plural.

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TWEETSPIN: Fine-grained Propaganda Detection in Social Media Using Multi-View Representations
Prashanth Vijayaraghavan | Soroush Vosoughi

Recently, several studies on propaganda detection have involved document and fragment-level analyses of news articles. However, there are significant data and modeling challenges dealing with fine-grained detection of propaganda on social media. In this work, we present TWEETSPIN, a dataset containing tweets that are weakly annotated with different fine-grained propaganda techniques, and propose a neural approach to detect and categorize propaganda tweets across those fine-grained categories. These categories include specific rhetorical and psychological techniques, ranging from leveraging emotions to using logical fallacies. Our model relies on multi-view representations of the input tweet data to (a) extract different aspects of the input text including the context, entities, their relationships, and external knowledge; (b) model their mutual interplay; and (c) effectively speed up the learning process by requiring fewer training examples. Our method allows for representation enrichment leading to better detection and categorization of propaganda on social media. We verify the effectiveness of our proposed method on TWEETSPIN and further probe how the implicit relations between the views impact the performance. Our experiments show that our model is able to outperform several benchmark methods and transfer the knowledge to relatively low-resource news domains.

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UserIdentifier: Implicit User Representations for Simple and Effective Personalized Sentiment Analysis
Fatemehsadat Mireshghallah | Vaishnavi Shrivastava | Milad Shokouhi | Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick | Robert Sim | Dimitrios Dimitriadis

Global models are typically trained to be as generalizable as possible. Invariance to the specific user is considered desirable since models are shared across multitudes of users. However, these models are often unable to produce personalized responses for individual users, based on their data. Contrary to widely-used personalization techniques based on few-shot and meta-learning, we propose UserIdentifier, a novel scheme for training a single shared model for all users. Our approach produces personalized responses by prepending a fixed, user-specific non-trainable string (called “user identifier”) to each user’s input text. Unlike prior work, this method doesn’t need any additional model parameters, any extra rounds of personal few-shot learning or any change made to the vocabulary. We empirically study different types of user identifiers (numeric, alphanumeric, and also randomly generated) and demonstrate that, surprisingly, randomly generated user identifiers outperform the prefix-tuning based state-of-the-art approach by up to 13, on a suite of sentiment analysis datasets.

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Improving Neural Models for Radiology Report Retrieval with Lexicon-based Automated Annotation
Luyao Shi | Tanveer Syeda-mahmood | Tyler Baldwin

Many clinical informatics tasks that are based on electronic health records (EHR) need relevant patient cohorts to be selected based on findings, symptoms and diseases. Frequently, these conditions are described in radiology reports which can be retrieved using information retrieval (IR) methods. The latest of these techniques utilize neural IR models such as BERT trained on clinical text. However, these methods still lack semantic understanding of the underlying clinical conditions as well as ruled out findings, resulting in poor precision during retrieval. In this paper we combine clinical finding detection with supervised query match learning. Specifically, we use lexicon-driven concept detection to detect relevant findings in sentences. These findings are used as queries to train a Sentence-BERT (SBERT) model using triplet loss on matched and unmatched query-sentence pairs. We show that the proposed supervised training task remarkably improves the retrieval performance of SBERT. The trained model generalizes well to unseen queries and reports from different collections.

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Transparent Human Evaluation for Image Captioning
Jungo Kasai | Keisuke Sakaguchi | Lavinia Dunagan | Jacob Morrison | Ronan Le Bras | Yejin Choi | Noah A. Smith

We establish THumB, a rubric-based human evaluation protocol for image captioning models. Our scoring rubrics and their definitions are carefully developed based on machine- and human-generated captions on the MSCOCO dataset. Each caption is evaluated along two main dimensions in a tradeoff (precision and recall) as well as other aspects that measure the text quality (fluency, conciseness, and inclusive language). Our evaluations demonstrate several critical problems of the current evaluation practice. Human-generated captions show substantially higher quality than machine-generated ones, especially in coverage of salient information (i.e., recall), while most automatic metrics say the opposite. Our rubric-based results reveal that CLIPScore, a recent metric that uses image features, better correlates with human judgments than conventional text-only metrics because it is more sensitive to recall. We hope that this work will promote a more transparent evaluation protocol for image captioning and its automatic metrics.

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Lifting the Curse of Multilinguality by Pre-training Modular Transformers
Jonas Pfeiffer | Naman Goyal | Xi Lin | Xian Li | James Cross | Sebastian Riedel | Mikel Artetxe

Multilingual pre-trained models are known to suffer from the curse of multilinguality, which causes per-language performance to drop as they cover more languages. We address this issue by introducing language-specific modules, which allows us to grow the total capacity of the model, while keeping the total number of trainable parameters per language constant. In contrast with prior work that learns language-specific components post-hoc, we pre-train the modules of our Cross-lingual Modular (X-Mod) models from the start. Our experiments on natural language inference, named entity recognition and question answering show that our approach not only mitigates the negative interference between languages, but also enables positive transfer, resulting in improved monolingual and cross-lingual performance. Furthermore, our approach enables adding languages post-hoc with no measurable drop in performance, no longer limiting the model usage to the set of pre-trained languages.

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DocAMR: Multi-Sentence AMR Representation and Evaluation
Tahira Naseem | Austin Blodgett | Sadhana Kumaravel | Tim O’Gorman | Young-Suk Lee | Jeffrey Flanigan | Ramón Astudillo | Radu Florian | Salim Roukos | Nathan Schneider

Despite extensive research on parsing of English sentences into Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) graphs, which are compared to gold graphs via the Smatch metric, full-document parsing into a unified graph representation lacks well-defined representation and evaluation. Taking advantage of a super-sentential level of coreference annotation from previous work, we introduce a simple algorithm for deriving a unified graph representation, avoiding the pitfalls of information loss from over-merging and lack of coherence from under merging. Next, we describe improvements to the Smatch metric to make it tractable for comparing document-level graphs and use it to re-evaluate the best published document-level AMR parser. We also present a pipeline approach combining the top-performing AMR parser and coreference resolution systems, providing a strong baseline for future research.

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Learning to Transfer Prompts for Text Generation
Junyi Li | Tianyi Tang | Jian-Yun Nie | Ji-Rong Wen | Xin Zhao

Pretrained language models (PLMs) have made remarkable progress in text generation tasks via fine-tuning. While, it is challenging to fine-tune PLMs in a data-scarce situation. Therefore, it is non-trivial to develop a general and lightweight model that can adapt to various text generation tasks based on PLMs. To fulfill this purpose, the recent prompt-based learning offers a potential solution. In this paper, we improve this technique and propose a novel prompt-based method (PTG) for text generation in a transferable setting. First, PTG learns a set of source prompts for various source generation tasks and then transfers these prompts as target prompts to perform target generation tasks. To consider both task- and instance-level information, we design an adaptive attention mechanism to derive the target prompts. For each data instance, PTG learns a specific target prompt by attending to highly relevant source prompts. In extensive experiments, PTG yields competitive or better results than fine-tuning methods. We release our source prompts as an open resource, where users can add or reuse them to improve new text generation tasks for future research. Code and data can be available at

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ElitePLM: An Empirical Study on General Language Ability Evaluation of Pretrained Language Models
Junyi Li | Tianyi Tang | Zheng Gong | Lixin Yang | Zhuohao Yu | Zhipeng Chen | Jingyuan Wang | Xin Zhao | Ji-Rong Wen

Nowadays, pretrained language models (PLMs) have dominated the majority of NLP tasks. While, little research has been conducted on systematically evaluating the language abilities of PLMs. In this paper, we present a large-scale empirical study on general language ability evaluation of PLMs (ElitePLM). In our study, we design four evaluation dimensions, memory, comprehension, reasoning, and composition, to measure ten widely-used PLMs within five categories. Our empirical results demonstrate that: (1) PLMs with varying training objectives and strategies are good at different ability tests; (2) fine-tuning PLMs in downstream tasks is usually sensitive to the data size and distribution; (3) PLMs have excellent transferability between similar tasks. Moreover, the prediction results of PLMs in our experiments are released as an open resource for more deep and detailed analysis on the language abilities of PLMs. This paper can guide the future work to select, apply, and design PLMs for specific tasks. We have made all the details of experiments publicly available at

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Bidimensional Leaderboards: Generate and Evaluate Language Hand in Hand
Jungo Kasai | Keisuke Sakaguchi | Ronan Le Bras | Lavinia Dunagan | Jacob Morrison | Alexander Fabbri | Yejin Choi | Noah A. Smith

Natural language processing researchers have identified limitations of evaluation methodology for generation tasks, with new questions raised about the validity of automatic metrics and of crowdworker judgments. Meanwhile, efforts to improve generation models tend to depend on simple n-gram overlap metrics (e.g., BLEU, ROUGE). We argue that new advances on models and metrics should each more directly benefit and inform the other. We therefore propose a generalization of leaderboards, bidimensional leaderboards (Billboards), that simultaneously tracks progress in language generation models and metrics for their evaluation. Unlike conventional unidimensional leaderboards that sort submitted systems by predetermined metrics, a Billboard accepts both generators and evaluation metrics as competing entries. A Billboard automatically creates an ensemble metric that selects and linearly combines a few metrics based on a global analysis across generators. Further, metrics are ranked based on their correlation with human judgments. We release four Billboards for machine translation, summarization, and image captioning. We demonstrate that a linear ensemble of a few diverse metrics sometimes substantially outperforms existing metrics in isolation. Our mixed-effects model analysis shows that most automatic metrics, especially the reference-based ones, overrate machine over human generation, demonstrating the importance of updating metrics as generation models become stronger (and perhaps more similar to humans) in the future.

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Improving In-Context Few-Shot Learning via Self-Supervised Training
Mingda Chen | Jingfei Du | Ramakanth Pasunuru | Todor Mihaylov | Srini Iyer | Veselin Stoyanov | Zornitsa Kozareva

Self-supervised pretraining has made few-shot learning possible for many NLP tasks. But the pretraining objectives are not typically adapted specifically for in-context few-shot learning. In this paper, we propose to use self-supervision in an intermediate training stage between pretraining and downstream few-shot usage with the goal to teach the model to perform in-context few shot learning. We propose and evaluate four self-supervised objectives on two benchmarks. We find that the intermediate self-supervision stage produces models that outperform strong baselines. Ablation study shows that several factors affect the downstream performance, such as the amount of training data and the diversity of the self-supervised objectives. Human-annotated cross-task supervision and self-supervision are complementary. Qualitative analysis suggests that the self-supervised-trained models are better at following task requirements.

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Exposing the Limits of Video-Text Models through Contrast Sets
Jae Sung Park | Sheng Shen | Ali Farhadi | Trevor Darrell | Yejin Choi | Anna Rohrbach

Recent video-text models can retrieve relevant videos based on text with a high accuracy, but to what extent do they comprehend the semantics of the text? Can they discriminate between similar entities and actions? To answer this, we propose an evaluation framework that probes video-text models with hard negatives. We automatically build contrast sets, where true textual descriptions are manipulated in ways that change their semantics while maintaining plausibility. Specifically, we leverage a pre-trained language model and a set of heuristics to create verb and person entity focused contrast sets. We apply these in the multiple choice video to-text classification setting. We test the robustness of recent methods on the proposed automatic contrast sets, and compare them to additionally collected human-generated counterparts, to assess their effectiveness. We see that model performance suffers across all methods, erasing the gap between recent CLIP-based methods vs. the earlier methods.

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Zero-shot Sonnet Generation with Discourse-level Planning and Aesthetics Features
Yufei Tian | Nanyun Peng

Poetry generation, and creative language generation in general, usually suffers from the lack of large training data. In this paper, we present a novel framework to generate sonnets that does not require training on poems. We design a hierarchical framework which plans the poem sketch before decoding. Specifically, a content planning module is trained on non-poetic texts to obtain discourse-level coherence; then a rhyme module generates rhyme words and a polishing module introduces imagery and similes for aesthetics purposes. Finally, we design a constrained decoding algorithm to impose the meter-and-rhyme constraint of the generated sonnets. Automatic and human evaluation show that our multi-stage approach without training on poem corpora generates more coherent, poetic, and creative sonnets than several strong baselines.

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Benchmarking Intersectional Biases in NLP
John Lalor | Yi Yang | Kendall Smith | Nicole Forsgren | Ahmed Abbasi

There has been a recent wave of work assessing the fairness of machine learning models in general, and more specifically, on natural language processing (NLP) models built using machine learning techniques. While much work has highlighted biases embedded in state-of-the-art language models, and more recent efforts have focused on how to debias, research assessing the fairness and performance of biased/debiased models on downstream prediction tasks has been limited. Moreover, most prior work has emphasized bias along a single dimension such as gender or race. In this work, we benchmark multiple NLP models with regards to their fairness and predictive performance across a variety of NLP tasks. In particular, we assess intersectional bias - fairness across multiple demographic dimensions. The results show that while current debiasing strategies fare well in terms of the fairness-accuracy trade-off (generally preserving predictive power in debiased models), they are unable to effectively alleviate bias in downstream tasks. Furthermore, this bias is often amplified across dimensions (i.e., intersections). We conclude by highlighting possible causes and making recommendations for future NLP debiasing research.

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When is BERT Multilingual? Isolating Crucial Ingredients for Cross-lingual Transfer
Ameet Deshpande | Partha Talukdar | Karthik Narasimhan

While recent work on multilingual language models has demonstrated their capacity for cross-lingual zero-shot transfer on downstream tasks, there is a lack of consensus in the community as to what shared properties between languages enable such transfer. Analyses involving pairs of natural languages are often inconclusive and contradictory since languages simultaneously differ in many linguistic aspects. In this paper, we perform a large-scale empirical study to isolate the effects of various linguistic properties by measuring zero-shot transfer between four diverse natural languages and their counterparts constructed by modifying aspects such as the script, word order, and syntax. Among other things, our experiments show that the absence of sub-word overlap significantly affects zero-shot transfer when languages differ in their word order, and there is a strong correlation between transfer performance and word embedding alignment between languages (e.g., 𝜌s=0.94 on the task of NLI). Our results call for focus in multilingual models on explicitly improving word embedding alignment between languages rather than relying on its implicit emergence.

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How Conservative are Language Models? Adapting to the Introduction of Gender-Neutral Pronouns
Stephanie Brandl | Ruixiang Cui | Anders Søgaard

Gender-neutral pronouns have recently been introduced in many languages to a) include non-binary people and b) as a generic singular. Recent results from psycholinguistics suggest that gender-neutral pronouns (in Swedish) are not associated with human processing difficulties. This, we show, is in sharp contrast with automated processing. We show that gender-neutral pronouns in Danish, English, and Swedish are associated with higher perplexity, more dispersed attention patterns, and worse downstream performance. We argue that such conservativity in language models may limit widespread adoption of gender-neutral pronouns and must therefore be resolved.

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Prompt Waywardness: The Curious Case of Discretized Interpretation of Continuous Prompts
Daniel Khashabi | Xinxi Lyu | Sewon Min | Lianhui Qin | Kyle Richardson | Sean Welleck | Hannaneh Hajishirzi | Tushar Khot | Ashish Sabharwal | Sameer Singh | Yejin Choi

Fine-tuning continuous prompts for target tasks has recently emerged as a compact alternative to full model fine-tuning. Motivated by these promising results, we investigate the feasibility of extracting a discrete (textual) interpretation of continuous prompts that is faithful to the problem they solve. In practice, we observe a “wayward” behavior between the task solved by continuous prompts and their nearest neighbor discrete projections: We can find continuous prompts that solve a task while being projected to an arbitrary text (e.g., definition of a different or even a contradictory task), while being within a very small (2%) margin of the best continuous prompt of the same size for the task. We provide intuitions behind this odd and surprising behavior, as well as extensive empirical analyses quantifying the effect of various parameters. For instance, for larger model sizes we observe higher waywardness, i.e, we can find prompts that more closely map to any arbitrary text with a smaller drop in accuracy. These findings have important implications relating to the difficulty of faithfully interpreting continuous prompts and their generalization across models and tasks, providing guidance for future progress in prompting language models.

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Contrastive Representation Learning for Cross-Document Coreference Resolution of Events and Entities
Benjamin Hsu | Graham Horwood

Identifying related entities and events within and across documents is fundamental to natural language understanding. We present an approach to entity and event coreference resolution utilizing contrastive representation learning. Earlier state-of-the-art methods have formulated this problem as a binary classification problem and leveraged large transformers in a cross-encoder architecture to achieve their results. For large collections of documents and corresponding set of n mentions, the necessity of performing n2 transformer computations in these earlier approaches can be computationally intensive. We show that it is possible to reduce this burden by applying contrastive learning techniques that only require n transformer computations at inference time. Our method achieves state-of-the-art results on a number of key metrics on the ECB+ corpus and is competitive on others.

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Learning the Ordering of Coordinate Compounds and Elaborate Expressions in Hmong, Lahu, and Chinese
Chenxuan Cui | Katherine J. Zhang | David Mortensen

Coordinate compounds (CCs) and elaborate expressions (EEs) are coordinate constructions common in languages of East and Southeast Asia. Mortensen (2006) claims that (1) the linear ordering of EEs and CCs in Hmong, Lahu, and Chinese can be predicted via phonological hierarchies and (2) that these phonological hierarchies lack a clear phonetic rationale. These claims are significant because morphosyntax has often been seen as in a feed-forward relationship with phonology, and phonological generalizations have often been assumed to be phonetically “natural”. We investigate whether the ordering of CCs and EEs can be learned empirically and whether computational models (classifiers and sequence-labeling models) learn unnatural hierarchies similar to those posited by Mortensen (2006). We find that decision trees and SVMs learn to predict the order of CCs/EEs on the basis of phonology, beating strong baselines for all three languages, with DTs learning hierarchies strikingly similar to those proposed by Mortensen. However, we also find that a neural sequence labeling model is able to learn the ordering of elaborate expressions in Hmong very effectively without using any phonological information. We argue that EE ordering can be learned through two independent routes: phonology and lexical distribution, presenting a more nuanced picture than previous work.

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FRUIT: Faithfully Reflecting Updated Information in Text
Robert Iv | Alexandre Passos | Sameer Singh | Ming-Wei Chang

Textual knowledge bases such as Wikipedia require considerable effort to keep up to date and consistent. While automated writing assistants could potentially ease this burden, the problem of suggesting edits grounded in external knowledge has been under-explored. In this paper, we introduce the novel generation task of *faithfully reflecting updated information in text* (FRUIT) where the goal is to update an existing article given new evidence. We release the FRUIT-WIKI dataset, a collection of over 170K distantly supervised data produced from pairs of Wikipedia snapshots, along with our data generation pipeline and a gold evaluation set of 914 instances whose edits are guaranteed to be supported by the evidence. We provide benchmark results for popular generation systems as well as EDIT5 – a T5-based approach tailored to editing we introduce that establishes the state of the art. Our analysis shows that developing models that can update articles faithfully requires new capabilities for neural generation models, and opens doors to many new applications.

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Multi2WOZ: A Robust Multilingual Dataset and Conversational Pretraining for Task-Oriented Dialog
Chia-Chien Hung | Anne Lauscher | Ivan Vulić | Simone Ponzetto | Goran Glavaš

Research on (multi-domain) task-oriented dialog (TOD) has predominantly focused on the English language, primarily due to the shortage of robust TOD datasets in other languages, preventing the systematic investigation of cross-lingual transfer for this crucial NLP application area. In this work, we introduce Multi2WOZ, a new multilingual multi-domain TOD dataset, derived from the well-established English dataset MultiWOZ, that spans four typologically diverse languages: Chinese, German, Arabic, and Russian. In contrast to concurrent efforts, Multi2WOZ contains gold-standard dialogs in target languages that are directly comparable with development and test portions of the English dataset, enabling reliable and comparative estimates of cross-lingual transfer performance for TOD. We then introduce a new framework for multilingual conversational specialization of pretrained language models (PrLMs) that aims to facilitate cross-lingual transfer for arbitrary downstream TOD tasks. Using such conversational PrLMs specialized for concrete target languages, we systematically benchmark a number of zero-shot and few-shot cross-lingual transfer approaches on two standard TOD tasks: Dialog State Tracking and Response Retrieval. Our experiments show that, in most setups, the best performance entails the combination of (i) conversational specialization in the target language and (ii) few-shot transfer for the concrete TOD task. Most importantly, we show that our conversational specialization in the target language allows for an exceptionally sample-efficient few-shot transfer for downstream TOD tasks.

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ChapterBreak: A Challenge Dataset for Long-Range Language Models
Simeng Sun | Katherine Thai | Mohit Iyyer

While numerous architectures for long-range language models (LRLMs) have recently been proposed, a meaningful evaluation of their discourse-level language understanding capabilities has not yet followed. To this end, we introduce ChapterBreak, a challenge dataset that provides an LRLM with a long segment from a narrative that ends at a chapter boundary and asks it to distinguish the beginning of the ground-truth next chapter from a set of negative segments sampled from the same narrative. A fine-grained human annotation reveals that our dataset contains many complex types of chapter transitions (e.g., parallel narratives, cliffhanger endings) that require processing global context to comprehend. Experiments on ChapterBreak show that existing LRLMs fail to effectively leverage long-range context, substantially underperforming a segment-level model trained directly for this task. We publicly release our ChapterBreak dataset to spur more principled future research into LRLMs.

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ColBERTv2: Effective and Efficient Retrieval via Lightweight Late Interaction
Keshav Santhanam | Omar Khattab | Jon Saad-Falcon | Christopher Potts | Matei Zaharia

Neural information retrieval (IR) has greatly advanced search and other knowledge-intensive language tasks. While many neural IR methods encode queries and documents into single-vector representations, late interaction models produce multi-vector representations at the granularity of each token and decompose relevance modeling into scalable token-level computations. This decomposition has been shown to make late interaction more effective, but it inflates the space footprint of these models by an order of magnitude. In this work, we introduce ColBERTv2, a retriever that couples an aggressive residual compression mechanism with a denoised supervision strategy to simultaneously improve the quality and space footprint of late interaction. We evaluate ColBERTv2 across a wide range of benchmarks, establishing state-of-the-art quality within and outside the training domain while reducing the space footprint of late interaction models by 6–10x.

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Quantifying Language Variation Acoustically with Few Resources
Martijn Bartelds | Martijn Wieling

Deep acoustic models represent linguistic information based on massive amounts of data. Unfortunately, for regional languages and dialects such resources are mostly not available. However, deep acoustic models might have learned linguistic information that transfers to low-resource languages. In this study, we evaluate whether this is the case through the task of distinguishing low-resource (Dutch) regional varieties. By extracting embeddings from the hidden layers of various wav2vec 2.0 models (including new models which are pre-trained and/or fine-tuned on Dutch) and using dynamic time warping, we compute pairwise pronunciation differences averaged over 10 words for over 100 individual dialects from four (regional) languages. We then cluster the resulting difference matrix in four groups and compare these to a gold standard, and a partitioning on the basis of comparing phonetic transcriptions. Our results show that acoustic models outperform the (traditional) transcription-based approach without requiring phonetic transcriptions, with the best performance achieved by the multilingual XLSR-53 model fine-tuned on Dutch. On the basis of only six seconds of speech, the resulting clustering closely matches the gold standard.

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Adaptable Adapters
Nafise Moosavi | Quentin Delfosse | Kristian Kersting | Iryna Gurevych

State-of-the-art pretrained NLP models contain a hundred million to trillion parameters. Adapters provide a parameter-efficient alternative for the full finetuning in which we can only finetune lightweight neural network layers on top of pretrained weights. Adapter layers are initialized randomly. However, existing work uses the same adapter architecture—i.e., the same adapter layer on top of each layer of the pretrained model—for every dataset, regardless of the properties of the dataset or the amount of available training data. In this work, we introduce adaptable adapters that contain (1) learning different activation functions for different layers and different input data, and (2) a learnable switch to select and only use the beneficial adapter layers. We show that adaptable adapters achieve on-par performances with the standard adapter architecture while using a considerably smaller number of adapter layers. In addition, we show that the selected adapter architecture by adaptable adapters transfers well across different data settings and similar tasks. We propose to use adaptable adapters for designing efficient and effective adapter architectures. The resulting adapters (a) contain about 50% of the learning parameters of the standard adapter and are therefore more efficient at training and inference, and require less storage space, and (b) achieve considerably higher performances in low-data settings.

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Models in the Loop: Aiding Crowdworkers with Generative Annotation Assistants
Max Bartolo | Tristan Thrush | Sebastian Riedel | Pontus Stenetorp | Robin Jia | Douwe Kiela

In Dynamic Adversarial Data Collection (DADC), human annotators are tasked with finding examples that models struggle to predict correctly. Models trained on DADC-collected training data have been shown to be more robust in adversarial and out-of-domain settings, and are considerably harder for humans to fool. However, DADC is more time-consuming than traditional data collection and thus more costly per annotated example. In this work, we examine whether we can maintain the advantages of DADC, without incurring the additional cost. To that end, we introduce Generative Annotation Assistants (GAAs), generator-in-the-loop models that provide real-time suggestions that annotators can either approve, modify, or reject entirely. We collect training datasets in twenty experimental settings and perform a detailed analysis of this approach for the task of extractive question answering (QA) for both standard and adversarial data collection. We demonstrate that GAAs provide significant efficiency benefits with over a 30% annotation speed-up, while leading to over a 5x improvement in model fooling rates. In addition, we find that using GAA-assisted training data leads to higher downstream model performance on a variety of question answering tasks over adversarial data collection.

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GMN: Generative Multi-modal Network for Practical Document Information Extraction
Haoyu Cao | Jiefeng Ma | Antai Guo | Yiqing Hu | Hao Liu | Deqiang Jiang | Yinsong Liu | Bo Ren

Document Information Extraction (DIE) has attracted increasing attention due to its various advanced applications in the real world. Although recent literature has already achieved competitive results, these approaches usually fail when dealing with complex documents with noisy OCR results or mutative layouts. This paper proposes Generative Multi-modal Network (GMN) for real-world scenarios to address these problems, which is a robust multi-modal generation method without predefined label categories. With the carefully designed spatial encoder and modal-aware mask module, GMN can deal with complex documents that are hard to serialized into sequential order. Moreover, GMN tolerates errors in OCR results and requires no character-level annotation, which is vital because fine-grained annotation of numerous documents is laborious and even requires annotators with specialized domain knowledge. Extensive experiments show that GMN achieves new state-of-the-art performance on several public DIE datasets and surpasses other methods by a large margin, especially in realistic scenes.

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One Reference Is Not Enough: Diverse Distillation with Reference Selection for Non-Autoregressive Translation
Chenze Shao | Xuanfu Wu | Yang Feng

Non-autoregressive neural machine translation (NAT) suffers from the multi-modality problem: the source sentence may have multiple correct translations, but the loss function is calculated only according to the reference sentence. Sequence-level knowledge distillation makes the target more deterministic by replacing the target with the output from an autoregressive model. However, the multi-modality problem in the distilled dataset is still nonnegligible. Furthermore, learning from a specific teacher limits the upper bound of the model capability, restricting the potential of NAT models. In this paper, we argue that one reference is not enough and propose diverse distillation with reference selection (DDRS) for NAT. Specifically, we first propose a method called SeedDiv for diverse machine translation, which enables us to generate a dataset containing multiple high-quality reference translations for each source sentence. During the training, we compare the NAT output with all references and select the one that best fits the NAT output to train the model. Experiments on widely-used machine translation benchmarks demonstrate the effectiveness of DDRS, which achieves 29.82 BLEU with only one decoding pass on WMT14 En-De, improving the state-of-the-art performance for NAT by over 1 BLEU.

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Can Rationalization Improve Robustness?
Howard Chen | Jacqueline He | Karthik Narasimhan | Danqi Chen

A growing line of work has investigated the development of neural NLP models that can produce rationales–subsets of input that can explain their model predictions. In this paper, we ask whether such rationale models can provide robustness to adversarial attacks in addition to their interpretable nature. Since these models need to first generate rationales (“rationalizer”) before making predictions (“predictor”), they have the potential to ignore noise or adversarially added text by simply masking it out of the generated rationale. To this end, we systematically generate various types of ‘AddText’ attacks for both token and sentence-level rationalization tasks and perform an extensive empirical evaluation of state-of-the-art rationale models across five different tasks. Our experiments reveal that the rationale models promise to improve robustness over AddText attacks while they struggle in certain scenarios–when the rationalizer is sensitive to position bias or lexical choices of attack text. Further, leveraging human rationale as supervision does not always translate to better performance. Our study is a first step towards exploring the interplay between interpretability and robustness in the rationalize-then-predict framework.

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On the Effectiveness of Sentence Encoding for Intent Detection Meta-Learning
Tingting Ma | Qianhui Wu | Zhiwei Yu | Tiejun Zhao | Chin-Yew Lin

Recent studies on few-shot intent detection have attempted to formulate the task as a meta-learning problem, where a meta-learning model is trained with a certain capability to quickly adapt to newly specified few-shot tasks with potentially unseen intent categories. Prototypical networks have been commonly used in this setting, with the hope that good prototypical representations could be learned to capture the semantic similarity between the query and a few labeled instances. This intuition naturally leaves a question of whether or not a good sentence representation scheme could suffice for the task without further domain-specific adaptation. In this paper, we conduct empirical studies on a number of general-purpose sentence embedding schemes, showing that good sentence embeddings without any fine-tuning on intent detection data could produce a non-trivially strong performance. Inspired by the results from our qualitative analysis, we propose a frustratingly easy modification, which leads to consistent improvements over all sentence encoding schemes, including those from the state-of-the-art prototypical network variants with task-specific fine-tuning.

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A Computational Acquisition Model for Multimodal Word Categorization
Uri Berger | Gabriel Stanovsky | Omri Abend | Lea Frermann

Recent advances in self-supervised modeling of text and images open new opportunities for computational models of child language acquisition, which is believed to rely heavily on cross-modal signals. However, prior studies has been limited by their reliance on vision models trained on large image datasets annotated with a pre-defined set of depicted object categories. This is (a) not faithful to the information children receive and (b) prohibits the evaluation of such models with respect to category learning tasks, due to the pre-imposed category structure. We address this gap, and present a cognitively-inspired, multimodal acquisition model, trained from image-caption pairs on naturalistic data using cross-modal self-supervision. We show that the model learns word categories and object recognition abilities, and presents trends reminiscent of ones reported in the developmental literature.

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Residue-Based Natural Language Adversarial Attack Detection
Vyas Raina | Mark Gales

Deep learning based systems are susceptible to adversarial attacks, where a small, imperceptible change at the input alters the model prediction. However, to date the majority of the approaches to detect these attacks have been designed for image processing systems. Many popular image adversarial detection approaches are able to identify adversarial examples from embedding feature spaces, whilst in the NLP domain existing state of the art detection approaches solely focus on input text features, without consideration of model embedding spaces. This work examines what differences result when porting these image designed strategies to Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks - these detectors are found to not port over well. This is expected as NLP systems have a very different form of input: discrete and sequential in nature, rather than the continuous and fixed size inputs for images. As an equivalent model-focused NLP detection approach, this work proposes a simple sentence-embedding “residue” based detector to identify adversarial examples. On many tasks, it out-performs ported image domain detectors and recent state of the art NLP specific detectors.

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Does it Really Generalize Well on Unseen Data? Systematic Evaluation of Relational Triple Extraction Methods
Juhyuk Lee | Min-Joong Lee | June Yong Yang | Eunho Yang

The ability to extract entities and their relations from unstructured text is essential for the automated maintenance of large-scale knowledge graphs. To keep a knowledge graph up-to-date, an extractor needs not only the ability to recall the triples it encountered during training, but also the ability to extract the new triples from the context that it has never seen before. In this paper, we show that although existing extraction models are able to easily memorize and recall already seen triples, they cannot generalize effectively for unseen triples. This alarming observation was previously unknown due to the composition of the test sets of the go-to benchmark datasets, which turns out to contain only 2% unseen data, rendering them incapable to measure the generalization performance. To separately measure the generalization performance from the memorization performance, we emphasize unseen data by rearranging datasets, sifting out training instances, or augmenting test sets. In addition to that, we present a simple yet effective augmentation technique to promote generalization of existing extraction models, and experimentally confirm that the proposed method can significantly increase the generalization performance of existing models.

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From spoken dialogue to formal summary: An utterance rewriting for dialogue summarization
Yue Fang | Hainan Zhang | Hongshen Chen | Zhuoye Ding | Bo Long | Yanyan Lan | Yanquan Zhou

Due to the dialogue characteristics of unstructured contexts and multi-parties with first-person perspective, many successful text summarization works have failed when dealing with dialogue summarization. In dialogue summarization task, the input dialogue is usually spoken style with ellipsis and co-references but the output summaries are more formal and complete. Therefore, the dialogue summarization model should be able to complete the ellipsis content and co-reference information and then produce a suitable summary accordingly. However, the current state-of-the-art models pay more attention on the topic or structure of summary, rather than the consistency of dialogue summary with its input dialogue context, which may suffer from the personal and logical inconsistency problem. In this paper, we propose a new model, named ReWriteSum, to tackle this problem. Firstly, an utterance rewriter is conducted to complete the ellipsis content of dialogue content and then obtain the rewriting utterances. Then, the co-reference data augmentation mechanism is utilized to replace the referential person name with its specific name to enhance the personal information. Finally, the rewriting utterances and the co-reference replacement data are used in the standard BART model. Experimental results on both SAMSum and DialSum datasets show that our ReWriteSum significantly outperforms baseline models, in terms of both metric-based and human evaluations. Further analysis on multi-speakers also shows that ReWriteSum can obtain relatively higher improvement with more speakers, validating the correctness and property of ReWriteSum.

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EASE: Entity-Aware Contrastive Learning of Sentence Embedding
Sosuke Nishikawa | Ryokan Ri | Ikuya Yamada | Yoshimasa Tsuruoka | Isao Echizen

We present EASE, a novel method for learning sentence embeddings via contrastive learning between sentences and their related entities. The advantage of using entity supervision is twofold: (1) entities have been shown to be a strong indicator of text semantics and thus should provide rich training signals for sentence embeddings; (2) entities are defined independently of languages and thus offer useful cross-lingual alignment supervision. We evaluate EASE against other unsupervised models both in monolingual and multilingual settings. We show that EASE exhibits competitive or better performance in English semantic textual similarity (STS) and short text clustering (STC) tasks and it significantly outperforms baseline methods in multilingual settings on a variety of tasks. Our source code, pre-trained models, and newly constructed multi-lingual STC dataset are available at

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Is Neural Topic Modelling Better than Clustering? An Empirical Study on Clustering with Contextual Embeddings for Topics
Zihan Zhang | Meng Fang | Ling Chen | Mohammad Reza Namazi Rad

Recent work incorporates pre-trained word embeddings such as BERT embeddings into Neural Topic Models (NTMs), generating highly coherent topics. However, with high-quality contextualized document representations, do we really need sophisticated neural models to obtain coherent and interpretable topics? In this paper, we conduct thorough experiments showing that directly clustering high-quality sentence embeddings with an appropriate word selecting method can generate more coherent and diverse topics than NTMs, achieving also higher efficiency and simplicity.

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Dynamic Multistep Reasoning based on Video Scene Graph for Video Question Answering
Jianguo Mao | Wenbin Jiang | Xiangdong Wang | Zhifan Feng | Yajuan Lyu | Hong Liu | Yong Zhu

Existing video question answering (video QA) models lack the capacity for deep video understanding and flexible multistep reasoning. We propose for video QA a novel model which performs dynamic multistep reasoning between questions and videos. It creates video semantic representation based on the video scene graph composed of semantic elements of the video and semantic relations among these elements. Then, it performs multistep reasoning for better answer decision between the representations of the question and the video, and dynamically integrate the reasoning results. Experiments show the significant advantage of the proposed model against previous methods in accuracy and interpretability. Against the existing state-of-the-art model, the proposed model dramatically improves more than 4%/3.1%/2% on the three widely used video QA datasets, MSRVTT-QA, MSRVTT multi-choice, and TGIF-QA, and displays better interpretability by backtracing along with the attention mechanisms to the video scene graphs.

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TRUE: Re-evaluating Factual Consistency Evaluation
Or Honovich | Roee Aharoni | Jonathan Herzig | Hagai Taitelbaum | Doron Kukliansy | Vered Cohen | Thomas Scialom | Idan Szpektor | Avinatan Hassidim | Yossi Matias

Grounded text generation systems often generate text that contains factual inconsistencies, hindering their real-world applicability. Automatic factual consistency evaluation may help alleviate this limitation by accelerating evaluation cycles, filtering inconsistent outputs and augmenting training data. While attracting increasing attention, such evaluation metrics are usually developed and evaluated in silo for a single task or dataset, slowing their adoption. Moreover, previous meta-evaluation protocols focused on system-level correlations with human annotations, which leave the example-level accuracy of such metrics unclear. In this work, we introduce TRUE: a comprehensive survey and assessment of factual consistency metrics on a standardized collection of existing texts from diverse tasks, manually annotated for factual consistency. Our standardization enables an example-level meta-evaluation protocol that is more actionable and interpretable than previously reported correlations, yielding clearer quality measures. Across diverse state-of-the-art metrics and 11 datasets we find that large-scale NLI and question generation-and-answering-based approaches achieve strong and complementary results. We recommend those methods as a starting point for model and metric developers, and hope TRUE will foster progress towards even better evaluation methods.

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Knowledge Inheritance for Pre-trained Language Models
Yujia Qin | Yankai Lin | Jing Yi | Jiajie Zhang | Xu Han | Zhengyan Zhang | Yusheng Su | Zhiyuan Liu | Peng Li | Maosong Sun | Jie Zhou

Recent explorations of large-scale pre-trained language models (PLMs) have revealed the power of PLMs with huge amounts of parameters, setting off a wave of training ever-larger PLMs. However, it requires tremendous computational resources to train a large-scale PLM, which may be practically unaffordable. In addition, existing large-scale PLMs are mainly trained from scratch individually, ignoring that many well-trained PLMs are available. To this end, we explore the question how could existing PLMs benefit training large-scale PLMs in future. Specifically, we introduce a pre-training framework named “knowledge inheritance” (KI) and explore how could knowledge distillation serve as auxiliary supervision during pre-training to efficiently learn larger PLMs. Experimental results demonstrate the superiority of KI in training efficiency. We also conduct empirical analyses to explore the effects of teacher PLMs’ pre-training settings, including model architecture, pre-training data, etc. Finally, we show that KI could be applied to domain adaptation and knowledge transfer.

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Bi-SimCut: A Simple Strategy for Boosting Neural Machine Translation
Pengzhi Gao | Zhongjun He | Hua Wu | Haifeng Wang

We introduce Bi-SimCut: a simple but effective training strategy to boost neural machine translation (NMT) performance. It consists of two procedures: bidirectional pretraining and unidirectional finetuning. Both procedures utilize SimCut, a simple regularization method that forces the consistency between the output distributions of the original and the cutoff sentence pairs. Without leveraging extra dataset via back-translation or integrating large-scale pretrained model, Bi-SimCut achieves strong translation performance across five translation benchmarks (data sizes range from 160K to 20.2M): BLEU scores of 31.16 for ende and 38.37 for deen on the IWSLT14 dataset, 30.78 for ende and 35.15 for deen on the WMT14 dataset, and 27.17 for zhen on the WMT17 dataset. SimCut is not a new method, but a version of Cutoff (Shen et al., 2020) simplified and adapted for NMT, and it could be considered as a perturbation-based method. Given the universality and simplicity of Bi-SimCut and SimCut, we believe they can serve as strong baselines for future NMT research.

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On Transferability of Prompt Tuning for Natural Language Processing
Yusheng Su | Xiaozhi Wang | Yujia Qin | Chi-Min Chan | Yankai Lin | Huadong Wang | Kaiyue Wen | Zhiyuan Liu | Peng Li | Juanzi Li | Lei Hou | Maosong Sun | Jie Zhou

Prompt tuning (PT) is a promising parameter-efficient method to utilize extremely large pre-trained language models (PLMs), which can achieve comparable performance to full-parameter fine-tuning by only tuning a few soft prompts. However, PT requires much more training time than fine-tuning. Intuitively, knowledge transfer can help to improve the efficiency. To explore whether we can improve PT via prompt transfer, we empirically investigate the transferability of soft prompts across different downstream tasks and PLMs in this work. We find that (1) in zero-shot setting, trained soft prompts can effectively transfer to similar tasks on the same PLM and also to other PLMs with a cross-model projector trained on similar tasks; (2) when used as initialization, trained soft prompts of similar tasks and projected prompts of other PLMs can significantly accelerate training and also improve the performance of PT. Moreover, to explore what decides prompt transferability, we investigate various transferability indicators and find that the overlapping rate of activated neurons strongly reflects the transferability, which suggests how the prompts stimulate PLMs is essential. Our findings show that prompt transfer is promising for improving PT, and further research shall focus more on prompts’ stimulation to PLMs. The source code can be obtained from

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DocEE: A Large-Scale and Fine-grained Benchmark for Document-level Event Extraction
MeiHan Tong | Bin Xu | Shuai Wang | Meihuan Han | Yixin Cao | Jiangqi Zhu | Siyu Chen | Lei Hou | Juanzi Li

Event extraction aims to identify an event and then extract the arguments participating in the event. Despite the great success in sentence-level event extraction, events are more naturally presented in the form of documents, with event arguments scattered in multiple sentences. However, a major barrier to promote document-level event extraction has been the lack of large-scale and practical training and evaluation datasets. In this paper, we present DocEE, a new document-level event extraction dataset including 27,000+ events, 180,000+ arguments. We highlight three features: large-scale manual annotations, fine-grained argument types and application-oriented settings. Experiments show that there is still a big gap between state-of-the-art models and human beings (41% Vs 85% in F1 score), indicating that DocEE is an open issue. DocEE is now available at

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Towards Debiasing Translation Artifacts
Koel Dutta Chowdhury | Rricha Jalota | Cristina España-Bonet | Josef Genabith

Cross-lingual natural language processing relies on translation, either by humans or machines, at different levels, from translating training data to translating test sets. However, compared to original texts in the same language, translations possess distinct qualities referred to as translationese. Previous research has shown that these translation artifacts influence the performance of a variety of cross-lingual tasks. In this work, we propose a novel approach to reducing translationese by extending an established bias-removal technique. We use the Iterative Null-space Projection (INLP) algorithm, and show by measuring classification accuracy before and after debiasing, that translationese is reduced at both sentence and word level. We evaluate the utility of debiasing translationese on a natural language inference (NLI) task, and show that by reducing this bias, NLI accuracy improves. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to debias translationese as represented in latent embedding space.

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WECHSEL: Effective initialization of subword embeddings for cross-lingual transfer of monolingual language models
Benjamin Minixhofer | Fabian Paischer | Navid Rekabsaz

Large pretrained language models (LMs) have become the central building block of many NLP applications. Training these models requires ever more computational resources and most of the existing models are trained on English text only. It is exceedingly expensive to train these models in other languages. To alleviate this problem, we introduce a novel method – called WECHSEL – to efficiently and effectively transfer pretrained LMs to new languages. WECHSEL can be applied to any model which uses subword-based tokenization and learns an embedding for each subword. The tokenizer of the source model (in English) is replaced with a tokenizer in the target language and token embeddings are initialized such that they are semantically similar to the English tokens by utilizing multilingual static word embeddings covering English and the target language. We use WECHSEL to transfer the English RoBERTa and GPT-2 models to four languages (French, German, Chinese and Swahili). We also study the benefits of our method on very low-resource languages. WECHSEL improves over proposed methods for cross-lingual parameter transfer and outperforms models of comparable size trained from scratch with up to 64x less training effort. Our method makes training large language models for new languages more accessible and less damaging to the environment. We make our code and models publicly available.

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A New Concept of Knowledge based Question Answering (KBQA) System for Multi-hop Reasoning
Yu Wang | | Hongxia Jin

Knowledge based question answering (KBQA) is a complex task for natural language understanding. Many KBQA approaches have been proposed in recent years, and most of them are trained based on labeled reasoning path. This hinders the system’s performance as many correct reasoning paths are not labeled as ground truth, and thus they cannot be learned. In this paper, we introduce a new concept of KBQA system which can leverage multiple reasoning paths’ information and only requires labeled answer as supervision. We name it as Mutliple Reasoning Paths KBQA System (MRP-QA). We conduct experiments on several benchmark datasets containing both single-hop simple questions as well as muti-hop complex questions, including WebQuestionSP (WQSP), ComplexWebQuestion-1.1 (CWQ), and PathQuestion-Large (PQL), and demonstrate strong performance.

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Bilingual Tabular Inference: A Case Study on Indic Languages
Chaitanya Agarwal | Vivek Gupta | Anoop Kunchukuttan | Manish Shrivastava

Existing research on Tabular Natural Language Inference (TNLI) exclusively examines the task in a monolingual setting where the tabular premise and hypothesis are in the same language. However, due to the uneven distribution of text resources on the web across languages, it is common to have the tabular premise in a high resource language and the hypothesis in a low resource language. As a result, we present the challenging task of bilingual Tabular Natural Language Inference (bTNLI), in which the tabular premise and a hypothesis over it are in two separate languages. We construct EI-InfoTabS: an English-Indic bTNLI dataset by translating the textual hypotheses of the English TNLI dataset InfoTabS into eleven major Indian languages. We thoroughly investigate how pre-trained multilingual models learn and perform on EI-InfoTabS. Our study shows that the performance on bTNLI can be close to its monolingual counterpart, with translate-train, translate-test and unified-train being strongly competitive baselines.

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Generative Biomedical Entity Linking via Knowledge Base-Guided Pre-training and Synonyms-Aware Fine-tuning
Hongyi Yuan | Zheng Yuan | Sheng Yu

Entities lie in the heart of biomedical natural language understanding, and the biomedical entity linking (EL) task remains challenging due to the fine-grained and diversiform concept names. Generative methods achieve remarkable performances in general domain EL with less memory usage while requiring expensive pre-training. Previous biomedical EL methods leverage synonyms from knowledge bases (KB) which is not trivial to inject into a generative method. In this work, we use a generative approach to model biomedical EL and propose to inject synonyms knowledge in it. We propose KB-guided pre-training by constructing synthetic samples with synonyms and definitions from KB and require the model to recover concept names. We also propose synonyms-aware fine-tuning to select concept names for training, and propose decoder prompt and multi-synonyms constrained prefix tree for inference. Our method achieves state-of-the-art results on several biomedical EL tasks without candidate selection which displays the effectiveness of proposed pre-training and fine-tuning strategies. The source code is available at

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Robust Self-Augmentation for Named Entity Recognition with Meta Reweighting
Linzhi Wu | Pengjun Xie | Jie Zhou | Meishan Zhang | Ma Chunping | Guangwei Xu | Min Zhang

Self-augmentation has received increasing research interest recently to improve named entity recognition (NER) performance in low-resource scenarios. Token substitution and mixup are two feasible heterogeneous self-augmentation techniques for NER that can achieve effective performance with certain specialized efforts. Noticeably, self-augmentation may introduce potentially noisy augmented data. Prior research has mainly resorted to heuristic rule-based constraints to reduce the noise for specific self-augmentation methods individually. In this paper, we revisit these two typical self-augmentation methods for NER, and propose a unified meta-reweighting strategy for them to achieve a natural integration. Our method is easily extensible, imposing little effort on a specific self-augmentation method. Experiments on different Chinese and English NER benchmarks show that our token substitution and mixup method, as well as their integration, can achieve effective performance improvement. Based on the meta-reweighting mechanism, we can enhance the advantages of the self-augmentation techniques without much extra effort.

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Unsupervised Stem-based Cross-lingual Part-of-Speech Tagging for Morphologically Rich Low-Resource Languages
Ramy Eskander | Cass Lowry | Sujay Khandagale | Judith Klavans | Maria Polinsky | Smaranda Muresan

Unsupervised cross-lingual projection for part-of-speech (POS) tagging relies on the use of parallel data to project POS tags from a source language for which a POS tagger is available onto a target language across word-level alignments. The projected tags then form the basis for learning a POS model for the target language. However, languages with rich morphology often yield sparse word alignments because words corresponding to the same citation form do not align well. We hypothesize that for morphologically complex languages, it is more efficient to use the stem rather than the word as the core unit of abstraction. Our contributions are: 1) we propose an unsupervised stem-based cross-lingual approach for POS tagging for low-resource languages of rich morphology; 2) we further investigate morpheme-level alignment and projection; and 3) we examine whether the use of linguistic priors for morphological segmentation improves POS tagging. We conduct experiments using six source languages and eight morphologically complex target languages of diverse typologies. Our results show that the stem-based approach improves the POS models for all the target languages, with an average relative error reduction of 10.3% in accuracy per target language, and outperforms the word-based approach that operates on three-times more data for about two thirds of the language pairs we consider. Moreover, we show that morpheme-level alignment and projection and the use of linguistic priors for morphological segmentation further improve POS tagging.

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Optimising Equal Opportunity Fairness in Model Training
Aili Shen | Xudong Han | Trevor Cohn | Timothy Baldwin | Lea Frermann

Real-world datasets often encode stereotypes and societal biases. Such biases can be implicitly captured by trained models, leading to biased predictions and exacerbating existing societal preconceptions. Existing debiasing methods, such as adversarial training and removing protected information from representations, have been shown to reduce bias. However, a disconnect between fairness criteria and training objectives makes it difficult to reason theoretically about the effectiveness of different techniques. In this work, we propose two novel training objectives which directly optimise for the widely-used criterion of equal opportunity, and show that they are effective in reducing bias while maintaining high performance over two classification tasks.

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Leaner and Faster: Two-Stage Model Compression for Lightweight Text-Image Retrieval
Siyu Ren | Kenny Zhu

Current text-image approaches (e.g., CLIP) typically adopt dual-encoder architecture using pre-trained vision-language representation. However, these models still pose non-trivial memory requirements and substantial incremental indexing time, which makes them less practical on mobile devices. In this paper, we present an effective two-stage framework to compress large pre-trained dual-encoder for lightweight text-image retrieval. The resulting model is smaller (39% of the original), faster (1.6x/2.9x for processing image/text respectively), yet performs on par with or better than the original full model on Flickr30K and MSCOCO benchmarks. We also open-source an accompanying realistic mobile image search application.

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Joint Learning-based Heterogeneous Graph Attention Network for Timeline Summarization
Jingyi You | Dongyuan Li | Hidetaka Kamigaito | Kotaro Funakoshi | Manabu Okumura

Previous studies on the timeline summarization (TLS) task ignored the information interaction between sentences and dates, and adopted pre-defined unlearnable representations for them. They also considered date selection and event detection as two independent tasks, which makes it impossible to integrate their advantages and obtain a globally optimal summary. In this paper, we present a joint learning-based heterogeneous graph attention network for TLS (HeterTls), in which date selection and event detection are combined into a unified framework to improve the extraction accuracy and remove redundant sentences simultaneously. Our heterogeneous graph involves multiple types of nodes, the representations of which are iteratively learned across the heterogeneous graph attention layer. We evaluated our model on four datasets, and found that it significantly outperformed the current state-of-the-art baselines with regard to ROUGE scores and date selection metrics.

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Early Rumor Detection Using Neural Hawkes Process with a New Benchmark Dataset
Fengzhu Zeng | Wei Gao

Little attention has been paid on EArly Rumor Detection (EARD), and EARD performance was evaluated inappropriately on a few datasets where the actual early-stage information is largely missing. To reverse such situation, we construct BEARD, a new Benchmark dataset for EARD, based on claims from fact-checking websites by trying to gather as many early relevant posts as possible. We also propose HEARD, a novel model based on neural Hawkes process for EARD, which can guide a generic rumor detection model to make timely, accurate and stable predictions. Experiments show that HEARD achieves effective EARD performance on two commonly used general rumor detection datasets and our BEARD dataset.

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Emp-RFT: Empathetic Response Generation via Recognizing Feature Transitions between Utterances
Wongyu Kim | Youbin Ahn | Donghyun Kim | Kyong-Ho Lee

Each utterance in multi-turn empathetic dialogues has features such as emotion, keywords, and utterance-level meaning. Feature transitions between utterances occur naturally. However, existing approaches fail to perceive the transitions because they extract features for the context at the coarse-grained level. To solve the above issue, we propose a novel approach of recognizing feature transitions between utterances, which helps understand the dialogue flow and better grasp the features of utterance that needs attention. Also, we introduce a response generation strategy to help focus on emotion and keywords related to appropriate features when generating responses. Experimental results show that our approach outperforms baselines and especially, achieves significant improvements on multi-turn dialogues.

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KCD: Knowledge Walks and Textual Cues Enhanced Political Perspective Detection in News Media
Wenqian Zhang | Shangbin Feng | Zilong Chen | Zhenyu Lei | Jundong Li | Minnan Luo

Political perspective detection has become an increasingly important task that can help combat echo chambers and political polarization. Previous approaches generally focus on leveraging textual content to identify stances, while they fail to reason with background knowledge or leverage the rich semantic and syntactic textual labels in news articles. In light of these limitations, we propose KCD, a political perspective detection approach to enable multi-hop knowledge reasoning and incorporate textual cues as paragraph-level labels. Specifically, we firstly generate random walks on external knowledge graphs and infuse them with news text representations. We then construct a heterogeneous information network to jointly model news content as well as semantic, syntactic and entity cues in news articles. Finally, we adopt relational graph neural networks for graph-level representation learning and conduct political perspective detection. Extensive experiments demonstrate that our approach outperforms state-of-the-art methods on two benchmark datasets. We further examine the effect of knowledge walks and textual cues and how they contribute to our approach’s data efficiency.

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Collective Relevance Labeling for Passage Retrieval
Jihyuk Kim | Minsoo Kim | Seung-won Hwang

Deep learning for Information Retrieval (IR) requires a large amount of high-quality query-document relevance labels, but such labels are inherently sparse. Label smoothing redistributes some observed probability mass over unobserved instances, often uniformly, uninformed of the true distribution. In contrast, we propose knowledge distillation for informed labeling, without incurring high computation overheads at evaluation time. Our contribution is designing a simple but efficient teacher model which utilizes collective knowledge, to outperform state-of-the-arts distilled from a more complex teacher model. Specifically, we train up to ×8 faster than the state-of-the-art teacher, while distilling the rankings better. Our code is publicly available at

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COGMEN: COntextualized GNN based Multimodal Emotion recognitioN
Abhinav Joshi | Ashwani Bhat | Ayush Jain | Atin Singh | Ashutosh Modi

Emotions are an inherent part of human interactions, and consequently, it is imperative to develop AI systems that understand and recognize human emotions. During a conversation involving various people, a person’s emotions are influenced by the other speaker’s utterances and their own emotional state over the utterances. In this paper, we propose COntextualized Graph Neural Network based Multi- modal Emotion recognitioN (COGMEN) system that leverages local information (i.e., inter/intra dependency between speakers) and global information (context). The proposed model uses Graph Neural Network (GNN) based architecture to model the complex dependencies (local and global information) in a conversation. Our model gives state-of-the- art (SOTA) results on IEMOCAP and MOSEI datasets, and detailed ablation experiments show the importance of modeling information at both levels.

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Revisit Overconfidence for OOD Detection: Reassigned Contrastive Learning with Adaptive Class-dependent Threshold
Yanan Wu | Keqing He | Yuanmeng Yan | QiXiang Gao | Zhiyuan Zeng | Fujia Zheng | Lulu Zhao | Huixing Jiang | Wei Wu | Weiran Xu

Detecting Out-of-Domain (OOD) or unknown intents from user queries is essential in a task-oriented dialog system. A key challenge of OOD detection is the overconfidence of neural models. In this paper, we comprehensively analyze overconfidence and classify it into two perspectives: over-confident OOD and in-domain (IND). Then according to intrinsic reasons, we respectively propose a novel reassigned contrastive learning (RCL) to discriminate IND intents for over-confident OOD and an adaptive class-dependent local threshold mechanism to separate similar IND and OOD intents for over-confident IND. Experiments and analyses show the effectiveness of our proposed method for both aspects of overconfidence issues.

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AISFG: Abundant Information Slot Filling Generator
Yang Yan | Junda Ye | Zhongbao Zhang | Liwen Wang

As an essential component of task-oriented dialogue systems, slot filling requires enormous labeled training data in a certain domain. However, in most cases, there is little or no target domain training data is available in the training stage. Thus, cross-domain slot filling has to cope with the data scarcity problem by zero/few-shot learning. Previous researches on zero/few-shot cross-domain slot filling focus on slot descriptions and examples while ignoring the slot type ambiguity and example ambiguity issues. To address these problems, we propose Abundant Information Slot Filling Generator (AISFG), a generative model with a novel query template that incorporates domain descriptions, slot descriptions, and examples with context. Experimental results show that our model outperforms state-of-the-art approaches in zero/few-shot slot filling task.

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Improving negation detection with negation-focused pre-training
Thinh Truong | Timothy Baldwin | Trevor Cohn | Karin Verspoor

Negation is a common linguistic feature that is crucial in many language understanding tasks, yet it remains a hard problem due to diversity in its expression in different types of text. Recent works show that state-of-the-art NLP models underperform on samples containing negation in various tasks, and that negation detection models do not transfer well across domains. We propose a new negation-focused pre-training strategy, involving targeted data augmentation and negation masking, to better incorporate negation information into language models. Extensive experiments on common benchmarks show that our proposed approach improves negation detection performance and generalizability over the strong baseline NegBERT (Khandelwal and Sawant, 2020).

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Practice Makes a Solver Perfect: Data Augmentation for Math Word Problem Solvers
Vivek Kumar | Rishabh Maheshwary | Vikram Pudi

Existing Math Word Problem (MWP) solvers have achieved high accuracy on benchmark datasets. However, prior works have shown that such solvers do not generalize well and rely on superficial cues to achieve high performance. In this paper, we first conduct experiments to showcase that this behaviour is mainly associated with the limited size and diversity present in existing MWP datasets. Next, we propose several data augmentation techniques broadly categorized into Substitution and Paraphrasing based methods. By deploying these methods we increase the size of existing datasets by five folds. Extensive experiments on two benchmark datasets across three state-of-the-art MWP solvers shows that proposed methods increase the generalization and robustness of existing solvers. On average, proposed methods significantly increase the state-of-the-art results by over five percentage points on benchmark datasets. Further, the solvers trained on the augmented dataset performs comparatively better on the challenge test set. We also show the effectiveness of proposed techniques through ablation studies and verify the quality of augmented samples through human evaluation.

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DiffCSE: Difference-based Contrastive Learning for Sentence Embeddings
Yung-Sung Chuang | Rumen Dangovski | Hongyin Luo | Yang Zhang | Shiyu Chang | Marin Soljacic | Shang-Wen Li | Scott Yih | Yoon Kim | James Glass

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.

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Generative Cross-Domain Data Augmentation for Aspect and Opinion Co-Extraction
Junjie Li | Jianfei Yu | Rui Xia

As a fundamental task in opinion mining, aspect and opinion co-extraction aims to identify the aspect terms and opinion terms in reviews. However, due to the lack of fine-grained annotated resources, it is hard to train a robust model for many domains. To alleviate this issue, unsupervised domain adaptation is proposed to transfer knowledge from a labeled source domain to an unlabeled target domain. In this paper, we propose a new Generative Cross-Domain Data Augmentation framework for unsupervised domain adaptation. The proposed framework is aimed to generate target-domain data with fine-grained annotation by exploiting the labeled data in the source domain. Specifically, we remove the domain-specific segments in a source-domain labeled sentence, and then use this as input to a pre-trained sequence-to-sequence model BART to simultaneously generate a target-domain sentence and predict the corresponding label for each word. Experimental results on three datasets demonstrate that our approach is more effective than previous domain adaptation methods.

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ProQA: Structural Prompt-based Pre-training for Unified Question Answering
Wanjun Zhong | Yifan Gao | Ning Ding | Yujia Qin | Zhiyuan Liu | Ming Zhou | Jiahai Wang | Jian Yin | Nan Duan

Question Answering (QA) is a longstanding challenge in natural language processing. Existing QA works mostly focus on specific question types, knowledge domains, or reasoning skills. The specialty in QA research hinders systems from modeling commonalities between tasks and generalization for wider applications. To address this issue, we present ProQA, a unified QA paradigm that solves various tasks through a single model. ProQA takes a unified structural prompt as the bridge and improves the QA-centric ability by structural prompt-based pre-training. Through a structurally designed prompt-based input schema, ProQA concurrently models the knowledge generalization for all QA tasks while keeping the knowledge customization for every specific QA task. Furthermore, ProQA is pre-trained with structural prompt-formatted large-scale synthesized corpus, which empowers the model with the commonly-required QA ability. Experimental results on 11 QA benchmarks demonstrate that ProQA consistently boosts performance on both full data fine-tuning, few-shot learning, and zero-shot testing scenarios. Furthermore, ProQA exhibits strong ability in both continual learning and transfer learning by taking the advantages of the structural prompt.

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A Data Cartography based MixUp for Pre-trained Language Models
Seo Yeon Park | Cornelia Caragea

MixUp is a data augmentation strategy where additional samples are generated during training by combining random pairs of training samples and their labels. However, selecting random pairs is not potentially an optimal choice. In this work, we propose TDMixUp, a novel MixUp strategy that leverages Training Dynamics and allows more informative samples to be combined for generating new data samples. Our proposed TDMixUp first measures confidence, variability, (Swayamdipta et al., 2020), and Area Under the Margin (AUM) (Pleiss et al., 2020) to identify the characteristics of training samples (e.g., as easy-to-learn or ambiguous samples), and then interpolates these characterized samples. We empirically validate that our method not only achieves competitive performance using a smaller subset of the training data compared with strong baselines, but also yields lower expected calibration error on the pre-trained language model, BERT, on both in-domain and out-of-domain settings in a wide range of NLP tasks. We publicly release our code.

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Grapheme-to-Phoneme Conversion for Thai using Neural Regression Models
Tomohiro Yamasaki

We propose a novel Thai grapheme-to-phoneme conversion method based on a neural regression model that is trained using neural networks to predict the similarity between a candidate and the correct pronunciation. After generating a set of candidates for an input word or phrase using the orthography rules, this model selects the best-similarity pronunciation from the candidates. This method can be applied to languages other than Thai simply by preparing enough orthography rules, and can reduce the mistakes that neural network models often make. We show that the accuracy of the proposed method is .931, which is comparable to that of encoder-decoder sequence models. We also demonstrate that the proposed method is superior in terms of the difference between correct and predicted pronunciations because incorrect, strange output sometimes occurs when using encoder-decoder sequence models but the error is within the expected range when using the proposed method.

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Generating Authentic Adversarial Examples beyond Meaning-preserving with Doubly Round-trip Translation
Siyu Lai | Zhen Yang | Fandong Meng | Xue Zhang | Yufeng Chen | Jinan Xu | Jie Zhou

Generating adversarial examples for Neural Machine Translation (NMT) with single Round-Trip Translation (RTT) has achieved promising results by releasing the meaning-preserving restriction. However, a potential pitfall for this approach is that we cannot decide whether the generated examples are adversarial to the target NMT model or the auxiliary backward one, as the reconstruction error through the RTT can be related to either. To remedy this problem, we propose a new definition for NMT adversarial examples based on the Doubly Round-Trip Translation (DRTT). Specifically, apart from the source-target-source RTT, we also consider the target-source-target one, which is utilized to pick out the authentic adversarial examples for the target NMT model. Additionally, to enhance the robustness of the NMT model, we introduce the masked language models to construct bilingual adversarial pairs based on DRTT, which are used to train the NMT model directly. Extensive experiments on both the clean and noisy test sets (including the artificial and natural noise) show that our approach substantially improves the robustness of NMT models.

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TVShowGuess: Character Comprehension in Stories as Speaker Guessing
Yisi Sang | Xiangyang Mou | Mo Yu | Shunyu Yao | Jing Li | Jeffrey Stanton

We propose a new task for assessing machines’ skills of understanding fictional characters in narrative stories. The task, TVShowGuess, builds on the scripts of TV series and takes the form of guessing the anonymous main characters based on the backgrounds of the scenes and the dialogues. Our human study supports that this form of task covers comprehension of multiple types of character persona, including understanding characters’ personalities, facts and memories of personal experience, which are well aligned with the psychological and literary theories about the theory of mind (ToM) of human beings on understanding fictional characters during reading. We further propose new model architectures to support the contextualized encoding of long scene texts. Experiments show that our proposed approaches significantly outperform baselines, yet still largely lag behind the (nearly perfect) human performance. Our work serves as a first step toward the goal of narrative character comprehension.

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Causal Distillation for Language Models
Zhengxuan Wu | Atticus Geiger | Joshua Rozner | Elisa Kreiss | Hanson Lu | Thomas Icard | Christopher Potts | Noah Goodman

Distillation efforts have led to language models that are more compact and efficient without serious drops in performance. The standard approach to distillation trains a student model against two objectives: a task-specific objective (e.g., language modeling) and an imitation objective that encourages the hidden states of the student model to be similar to those of the larger teacher model. In this paper, we show that it is beneficial to augment distillation with a third objective that encourages the student to imitate the causal dynamics of the teacher through a distillation interchange intervention training objective (DIITO). DIITO pushes the student model to become a causal abstraction of the teacher model – a faithful model with simpler causal structure. DIITO is fully differentiable, easily implemented, and combines flexibly with other objectives. Compared against standard distillation with the same setting, DIITO results in lower perplexity on the WikiText-103M corpus (masked language modeling) and marked improvements on the GLUE benchmark (natural language understanding), SQuAD (question answering), and CoNLL-2003 (named entity recognition).

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FNet: Mixing Tokens with Fourier Transforms
James Lee-Thorp | Joshua Ainslie | Ilya Eckstein | Santiago Ontanon

We show that Transformer encoder architectures can be sped up, with limited accuracy costs, by replacing the self-attention sublayers with simple linear transformations that “mix” input tokens. Most surprisingly, we find that replacing the self-attention sublayer in a Transformer encoder with a standard, unparameterized Fourier Transform achieves 92-97% of the accuracy of BERT counterparts on the GLUE benchmark, but trains 80% faster on GPUs and 70% faster on TPUs at standard 512 input lengths. At longer input lengths, our FNet model is significantly faster: when compared to the “efficient Transformers” on the Long Range Arena benchmark, FNet matches the accuracy of the most accurate models, while outpacing the fastest models across all sequence lengths on GPUs (and across relatively shorter lengths on TPUs). Finally, FNet has a light memory footprint and is particularly efficient at smaller model sizes; for a fixed speed and accuracy budget, small FNet models outperform Transformer counterparts.

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Answer Consolidation: Formulation and Benchmarking
Wenxuan Zhou | Qiang Ning | Heba Elfardy | Kevin Small | Muhao Chen

Current question answering (QA) systems primarily consider the single-answer scenario, where each question is assumed to be paired with one correct answer. However, in many real-world QA applications, multiple answer scenarios arise where consolidating answers into a comprehensive and non-redundant set of answers is a more efficient user interface. In this paper, we formulate the problem of answer consolidation, where answers are partitioned into multiple groups, each representing different aspects of the answer set. Then, given this partitioning, a comprehensive and non-redundant set of answers can be constructed by picking one answer from each group. To initiate research on answer consolidation, we construct a dataset consisting of 4,699 questions and 24,006 sentences and evaluate multiple models. Despite a promising performance achieved by the best-performing supervised models, we still believe this task has room for further improvements.

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Informativeness and Invariance: Two Perspectives on Spurious Correlations in Natural Language
Jacob Eisenstein

Spurious correlations are a threat to the trustworthiness of natural language processing systems, motivating research into methods for identifying and eliminating them. However, addressing the problem of spurious correlations requires more clarity on what they are and how they arise in language data. Gardner et al (2021) argue that the compositional nature of language implies that all correlations between labels and individual “input features” are spurious. This paper analyzes this proposal in the context of a toy example, demonstrating three distinct conditions that can give rise to feature-label correlations in a simple PCFG. Linking the toy example to a structured causal model shows that (1) feature-label correlations can arise even when the label is invariant to interventions on the feature, and (2) feature-label correlations may be absent even when the label is sensitive to interventions on the feature. Because input features will be individually correlated with labels in all but very rare circumstances, domain knowledge must be applied to identify spurious correlations that pose genuine robustness threats.

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FOAM: A Follower-aware Speaker Model For Vision-and-Language Navigation
Zi-Yi Dou | Nanyun Peng

The speaker-follower models have proven to be effective in vision-and-language navigation, where a speaker model is used to synthesize new instructions to augment the training data for a follower navigation model. However, in previous work, the speaker model is follower-agnostic and fails to take the state of the follower into consideration. In this paper, we present FOAM, a FOllower-Aware speaker Model that is constantly updated given the follower feedback, so that the generated instructions can be more suitable to the current learning state of the follower. Specifically, we optimize the speaker using a bi-level optimization framework and obtain its training signals by evaluating the follower on labeled data. Experimental results on the Room-to-Room and Room-across-Room datasets demonstrate that our methods can outperform strong baseline models across settings. Analyses also reveal that our generated instructions are of higher quality than the baselines.

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Improving Compositional Generalization with Latent Structure and Data Augmentation
Linlu Qiu | Peter Shaw | Panupong Pasupat | Pawel Nowak | Tal Linzen | Fei Sha | Kristina Toutanova

Generic unstructured neural networks have been shown to struggle on out-of-distribution compositional generalization. Compositional data augmentation via example recombination has transferred some prior knowledge about compositionality to such black-box neural models for several semantic parsing tasks, but this often required task-specific engineering or provided limited gains. We present a more powerful data recombination method using a model called Compositional Structure Learner (CSL). CSL is a generative model with a quasi-synchronous context-free grammar backbone, which we induce from the training data. We sample recombined examples from CSL and add them to the fine-tuning data of a pre-trained sequence-to-sequence model (T5). This procedure effectively transfers most of CSL’s compositional bias to T5 for diagnostic tasks, and results in a model even stronger than a T5-CSL ensemble on two real world compositional generalization tasks. This results in new state-of-the-art performance for these challenging semantic parsing tasks requiring generalization to both natural language variation and novel compositions of elements.

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Joint Extraction of Entities, Relations, and Events via Modeling Inter-Instance and Inter-Label Dependencies
Minh Van Nguyen | Bonan Min | Franck Dernoncourt | Thien Nguyen

Event trigger detection, entity mention recognition, event argument extraction, and relation extraction are the four important tasks in information extraction that have been performed jointly (Joint Information Extraction - JointIE) to avoid error propagation and leverage dependencies between the task instances (i.e., event triggers, entity mentions, relations, and event arguments). However, previous JointIE models often assume heuristic manually-designed dependency between the task instances and mean-field factorization for the joint distribution of instance labels, thus unable to capture optimal dependencies among instances and labels to improve representation learning and IE performance. To overcome these limitations, we propose to induce a dependency graph among task instances from data to boost representation learning. To better capture dependencies between instance labels, we propose to directly estimate their joint distribution via Conditional Random Fields. Noise Contrastive Estimation is introduced to address the maximization of the intractable joint likelihood for model training. Finally, to improve the decoding with greedy or beam search in prior work, we present Simulated Annealing to better find the globally optimal assignment for instance labels at decoding time. Experimental results show that our proposed model outperforms previous models on multiple IE tasks across 5 datasets and 2 languages.

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Linguistic Frameworks Go Toe-to-Toe at Neuro-Symbolic Language Modeling
Jakob Prange | Nathan Schneider | Lingpeng Kong

We examine the extent to which, in principle, different syntactic and semantic graph representations can complement and improve neural language modeling. Specifically, by conditioning on a subgraph encapsulating the locally relevant sentence history, can a model make better next-word predictions than a pretrained sequential language model alone? With an ensemble setup consisting of GPT-2 and ground-truth graphs from one of 7 different formalisms, we find that the graph information indeed improves perplexity and other metrics. Moreover, this architecture provides a new way to compare different frameworks of linguistic representation. In our oracle graph setup, training and evaluating on English WSJ, semantic constituency structures prove most useful to language modeling performance—outpacing syntactic constituency structures as well as syntactic and semantic dependency structures.

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Imagination-Augmented Natural Language Understanding
Yujie Lu | Wanrong Zhu | Xin Wang | Miguel Eckstein | William Yang Wang

Human brains integrate linguistic and perceptual information simultaneously to understand natural language, and hold the critical ability to render imaginations. Such abilities enable us to construct new abstract concepts or concrete objects, and are essential in involving practical knowledge to solve problems in low-resource scenarios. However, most existing methods for Natural Language Understanding (NLU) are mainly focused on textual signals. They do not simulate human visual imagination ability, which hinders models from inferring and learning efficiently from limited data samples. Therefore, we introduce an Imagination-Augmented Cross-modal Encoder (iACE) to solve natural language understanding tasks from a novel learning perspective—imagination-augmented cross-modal understanding. iACE enables visual imagination with external knowledge transferred from the powerful generative and pre-trained vision-and-language models. Extensive experiments on GLUE and SWAG show that iACE achieves consistent improvement over visually-supervised pre-trained models. More importantly, results in extreme and normal few-shot settings validate the effectiveness of iACE in low-resource natural language understanding circumstances.

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What company do words keep? Revisiting the distributional semantics of J.R. Firth & Zellig Harris
Mikael Brunila | Jack LaViolette

The power of word embeddings is attributed to the linguistic theory that similar words will appear in similar contexts. This idea is specifically invoked by noting that “you shall know a word by the company it keeps,” a quote from British linguist J.R. Firth who, along with his American colleague Zellig Harris, is often credited with the invention of “distributional semantics.” While both Firth and Harris are cited in all major NLP textbooks and many foundational papers, the content and differences between their theories is seldom discussed. Engaging in a close reading of their work, we discover two distinct and in many ways divergent theories of meaning. One focuses exclusively on the internal workings of linguistic forms, while the other invites us to consider words in new company—not just with other linguistic elements, but also in a broader cultural and situational context. Contrasting these theories from the perspective of current debates in NLP, we discover in Firth a figure who could guide the field towards a more culturally grounded notion of semantics. We consider how an expanded notion of “context” might be modeled in practice through two different strategies: comparative stratification and syntagmatic extension.

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Compositional Task-Oriented Parsing as Abstractive Question Answering
Wenting Zhao | Konstantine Arkoudas | Weiqi Sun | Claire Cardie

Task-oriented parsing (TOP) aims to convert natural language into machine-readable representations of specific tasks, such as setting an alarm. A popular approach to TOP is to apply seq2seq models to generate linearized parse trees. A more recent line of work argues that pretrained seq2seq2 models are better at generating outputs that are themselves natural language, so they replace linearized parse trees with canonical natural-language paraphrases that can then be easily translated into parse trees, resulting in so-called naturalized parsers. In this work we continue to explore naturalized semantic parsing by presenting a general reduction of TOP to abstractive question answering that overcomes some limitations of canonical paraphrasing. Experimental results show that our QA-based technique outperforms state-of-the-art methods in full-data settings while achieving dramatic improvements in few-shot settings.

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Learning Cross-Lingual IR from an English Retriever
Yulong Li | Martin Franz | Md Arafat Sultan | Bhavani Iyer | Young-Suk Lee | Avirup Sil

We present DR.DECR (Dense Retrieval with Distillation-Enhanced Cross-Lingual Representation), a new cross-lingual information retrieval (CLIR) system trained using multi-stage knowledge distillation (KD). The teacher of DR.DECR relies on a highly effective but computationally expensive two-stage inference process consisting of query translation and monolingual IR, while the student, DR.DECR, executes a single CLIR step. We teach DR.DECR powerful multilingual representations as well as CLIR by optimizing two corresponding KD objectives. Learning useful representations of non-English text from an English-only retriever is accomplished through a cross-lingual token alignment algorithm that relies on the representation capabilities of the underlying multilingual encoders. In both in-domain and zero-shot out-of-domain evaluation, DR.DECR demonstrates far superior accuracy over direct fine-tuning with labeled CLIR data. It is also the best single-model retriever on the XOR-TyDi benchmark at the time of this writing.

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Testing the Ability of Language Models to Interpret Figurative Language
Emmy Liu | Chenxuan Cui | Kenneth Zheng | Graham Neubig

Figurative and metaphorical language are commonplace in discourse, and figurative expressions play an important role in communication and cognition. However, figurative language has been a relatively under-studied area in NLP, and it remains an open question to what extent modern language models can interpret nonliteral phrases. To address this question, we introduce Fig-QA, a Winograd-style nonliteral language understanding task consisting of correctly interpreting paired figurative phrases with divergent meanings. We evaluate the performance of several state-of-the-art language models on this task, and find that although language models achieve performance significantly over chance, they still fall short of human performance, particularly in zero- or few-shot settings. This suggests that further work is needed to improve the nonliteral reasoning capabilities of language models.

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Multi-Vector Models with Textual Guidance for Fine-Grained Scientific Document Similarity
Sheshera Mysore | Arman Cohan | Tom Hope

We present a new scientific document similarity model based on matching fine-grained aspects of texts. To train our model, we exploit a naturally-occurring source of supervision: sentences in the full-text of papers that cite multiple papers together (co-citations). Such co-citations not only reflect close paper relatedness, but also provide textual descriptions of how the co-cited papers are related. This novel form of textual supervision is used for learning to match aspects across papers. We develop multi-vector representations where vectors correspond to sentence-level aspects of documents, and present two methods for aspect matching: (1) A fast method that only matches single aspects, and (2) a method that makes sparse multiple matches with an Optimal Transport mechanism that computes an Earth Mover’s Distance between aspects. Our approach improves performance on document similarity tasks in four datasets. Further, our fast single-match method achieves competitive results, paving the way for applying fine-grained similarity to large scientific corpora.

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CHAI: A CHatbot AI for Task-Oriented Dialogue with Offline Reinforcement Learning
Siddharth Verma | Justin Fu | Sherry Yang | Sergey Levine

Conventionally, generation of natural language for dialogue agents may be viewed as a statistical learning problem: determine the patterns in human-provided data and generate appropriate responses with similar statistical properties. However, dialogue can also be regarded as a goal directed process, where speakers attempt to accomplish a specific task. Reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms are designed specifically for solving such goal-directed problems, but the most direct way to apply RL, through trial-and-error learning in human conversations, is costly. In this paper, we study how offline reinforcement learning can instead be used to train dialogue agents entirely using static datasets collected from human speakers. Our experiments show that recently developed offline RL methods can be combined with language models to yield realistic dialogue agents that better accomplish task goals.

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Connecting the Dots between Audio and Text without Parallel Data through Visual Knowledge Transfer
Yanpeng Zhao | Jack Hessel | Youngjae Yu | Ximing Lu | Rowan Zellers | Yejin Choi

Machines that can represent and describe environmental soundscapes have practical potential, e.g., for audio tagging and captioning. Prevailing learning paradigms of audio-text connections have been relying on parallel audio-text data, which is, however, scarcely available on the web. We propose VIP-ANT that induces Audio-Text alignment without using any parallel audio-text data. Our key idea is to share the image modality between bi-modal image-text representations and bi-modal image-audio representations; the image modality functions as a pivot and connects audio and text in a tri-modal embedding space implicitly. In a difficult zero-shot setting with no paired audio-text data, our model demonstrates state-of-the-art zero-shot performance on the ESC50 and US8K audio classification tasks, and even surpasses the supervised state of the art for Clotho caption retrieval (with audio queries) by 2.2% R@1. We further investigate cases of minimal audio-text supervision, finding that, e.g., just a few hundred supervised audio-text pairs increase the zero-shot audio classification accuracy by 8% on US8K. However, to match human parity on some zero-shot tasks, our empirical scaling experiments suggest that we would need about 221 ≈ 2M supervised audio-caption pairs. Our work opens up new avenues for learning audio-text connections with little to no parallel audio-text data.

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SURF: Semantic-level Unsupervised Reward Function for Machine Translation
Atijit Anuchitanukul | Julia Ive

The performance of Reinforcement Learning (RL) for natural language tasks including Machine Translation (MT) is crucially dependent on the reward formulation. This is due to the intrinsic difficulty of the task in the high-dimensional discrete action space as well as the sparseness of the standard reward functions defined for limited set of ground-truth sequences biased towards singular lexical choices. To address this issue, we formulate SURF, a maximally dense semantic-level unsupervised reward function which mimics human evaluation by considering both sentence fluency and semantic similarity. We demonstrate the strong potential of SURF to leverage a family of Actor-Critic Transformer-based Architectures with synchronous and asynchronous multi-agent variants. To tackle the problem of large action-state spaces, each agent is equipped with unique exploration strategies, promoting diversity during its exploration of the hypothesis space. When BLEU scores are compared, our dense unsupervised reward outperforms the standard sparse reward by 2% on average for in- and out-of-domain settings.

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Disentangling Categorization in Multi-agent Emergent Communication
Washington Garcia | Hamilton Clouse | Kevin Butler

The emergence of language between artificial agents is a recent focus of computational linguistics, as it offers a synthetic substrate for reasoning about human language evolution. From the perspective of cognitive science, sophisticated categorization in humans is thought to enable reasoning about novel observations, and thus compose old information to describe new phenomena. Unfortunately, the literature to date has not managed to isolate the effect of categorization power in artificial agents on their inter-communication ability, particularly on novel, unseen objects. In this work, we propose the use of disentangled representations from representation learning to quantify the categorization power of agents, enabling a differential analysis between combinations of heterogeneous systems, e.g., pairs of agents which learn to communicate despite mismatched concept realization. Through this approach, we observe that agent heterogeneity can cut signaling accuracy by up to 40%, despite encouraging compositionality in the artificial language. We conclude that the reasoning process of agents plays a key role in their communication, with unexpected benefits arising from their mixing, such as better language compositionality.

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Show, Don’t Tell: Demonstrations Outperform Descriptions for Schema-Guided Task-Oriented Dialogue
Raghav Gupta | Harrison Lee | Jeffrey Zhao | Yuan Cao | Abhinav Rastogi | Yonghui Wu

Building universal dialogue systems that operate across multiple domains/APIs and generalize to new ones with minimal overhead is a critical challenge. Recent works have leveraged natural language descriptions of schema elements to enable such systems; however, descriptions only indirectly convey schema semantics. In this work, we propose Show, Don’t Tell, which prompts seq2seq models with a labeled example dialogue to show the semantics of schema elements rather than tell the model through descriptions. While requiring similar effort from service developers as generating descriptions, we show that using short examples as schema representations with large language models results in state-of-the-art performance on two popular dialogue state tracking benchmarks designed to measure zero-shot generalization - the Schema-Guided Dialogue dataset and the MultiWOZ leave-one-out benchmark.

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Does Pre-training Induce Systematic Inference? How Masked Language Models Acquire Commonsense Knowledge
Ian Porada | Alessandro Sordoni | Jackie Cheung

Transformer models pre-trained with a masked-language-modeling objective (e.g., BERT) encode commonsense knowledge as evidenced by behavioral probes; however, the extent to which this knowledge is acquired by systematic inference over the semantics of the pre-training corpora is an open question. To answer this question, we selectively inject verbalized knowledge into the pre-training minibatches of BERT and evaluate how well the model generalizes to supported inferences after pre-training on the injected knowledge. We find generalization does not improve over the course of pre-training BERT from scratch, suggesting that commonsense knowledge is acquired from surface-level, co-occurrence patterns rather than induced, systematic reasoning.

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Using Paraphrases to Study Properties of Contextual Embeddings
Laura Burdick | Jonathan K. Kummerfeld | Rada Mihalcea

We use paraphrases as a unique source of data to analyze contextualized embeddings, with a particular focus on BERT. Because paraphrases naturally encode consistent word and phrase semantics, they provide a unique lens for investigating properties of embeddings. Using the Paraphrase Database’s alignments, we study words within paraphrases as well as phrase representations. We find that contextual embeddings effectively handle polysemous words, but give synonyms surprisingly different representations in many cases. We confirm previous findings that BERT is sensitive to word order, but find slightly different patterns than prior work in terms of the level of contextualization across BERT’s layers.

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Measure and Improve Robustness in NLP Models: A Survey
Xuezhi Wang | Haohan Wang | Diyi Yang

As NLP models achieved state-of-the-art performances over benchmarks and gained wide applications, it has been increasingly important to ensure the safe deployment of these models in the real world, e.g., making sure the models are robust against unseen or challenging scenarios. Despite robustness being an increasingly studied topic, it has been separately explored in applications like vision and NLP, with various definitions, evaluation and mitigation strategies in multiple lines of research. In this paper, we aim to provide a unifying survey of how to define, measure and improve robustness in NLP. We first connect multiple definitions of robustness, then unify various lines of work on identifying robustness failures and evaluating models’ robustness. Correspondingly, we present mitigation strategies that are data-driven, model-driven, and inductive-prior-based, with a more systematic view of how to effectively improve robustness in NLP models. Finally, we conclude by outlining open challenges and future directions to motivate further research in this area.

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Learning to Generate Examples for Semantic Processing Tasks
Danilo Croce | Simone Filice | Giuseppe Castellucci | Roberto Basili

Even if recent Transformer-based architectures, such as BERT, achieved impressive results in semantic processing tasks, their fine-tuning stage still requires large scale training resources. Usually, Data Augmentation (DA) techniques can help to deal with low resource settings. In Text Classification tasks, the objective of DA is the generation of well-formed sentences that i) represent the desired task category and ii) are novel with respect to existing sentences. In this paper, we propose a neural approach to automatically learn to generate new examples using a pre-trained sequence-to-sequence model. We first learn a task-oriented similarity function that we use to pair similar examples. Then, we use these example pairs to train a model to generate examples. Experiments in low resource settings show that augmenting the training material with the proposed strategy systematically improves the results on text classification and natural language inference tasks by up to 10% accuracy, outperforming existing DA approaches.

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Symbolic Knowledge Distillation: from General Language Models to Commonsense Models
Peter West | Chandra Bhagavatula | Jack Hessel | Jena Hwang | Liwei Jiang | Ronan Le Bras | Ximing Lu | Sean Welleck | Yejin Choi

The common practice for training commonsense models has gone from–human–to–corpus–to–machine: humans author commonsense knowledge graphs in order to train commonsense models. In this work, we investigate an alternative, from–machine–to–corpus–to–machine: general language models author these commonsense knowledge graphs to train commonsense models. Our study leads to a new framework, Symbolic Knowledge Distillation. As with prior art in Knowledge Distillation (Hinton et al. 2015), our approach uses larger models to teach smaller models. A key difference is that we distill knowledge symbolically–as text–in addition to the neural model. We distill only one aspect–the commonsense of a general language model teacher, allowing the student to be a different type, a commonsense model. Altogether, we show that careful prompt engineering and a separately trained critic model allow us to selectively distill high-quality causal commonsense from GPT-3, a general language model. Empirical results demonstrate that, for the first time, a human-authored commonsense knowledge graph is surpassed by our automatically distilled variant in all three criteria: quantity, quality, and diversity. In addition, it results in a neural commonsense model that surpasses the teacher model’s commonsense capabilities despite its 100x smaller size. We apply this to the ATOMIC resource, and will share our new symbolic knowledge graph and commonsense models.

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GenIE: Generative Information Extraction
Martin Josifoski | Nicola De Cao | Maxime Peyrard | Fabio Petroni | Robert West

Structured and grounded representation of text is typically formalized by closed information extraction, the problem of extracting an exhaustive set of (subject, relation, object) triplets that are consistent with a predefined set of entities and relations from a knowledge base schema. Most existing works are pipelines prone to error accumulation, and all approaches are only applicable to unrealistically small numbers of entities and relations. We introduce GenIE (generative information extraction), the first end-to-end autoregressive formulation of closed information extraction. GenIE naturally exploits the language knowledge from the pre-trained transformer by autoregressively generating relations and entities in textual form. Thanks to a new bi-level constrained generation strategy, only triplets consistent with the predefined knowledge base schema are produced. Our experiments show that GenIE is state-of-the-art on closed information extraction, generalizes from fewer training data points than baselines, and scales to a previously unmanageable number of entities and relations. With this work, closed information extraction becomes practical in realistic scenarios, providing new opportunities for downstream tasks. Finally, this work paves the way towards a unified end-to-end approach to the core tasks of information extraction.

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Entity Linking via Explicit Mention-Mention Coreference Modeling
Dhruv Agarwal | Rico Angell | Nicholas Monath | Andrew McCallum

Learning representations of entity mentions is a core component of modern entity linking systems for both candidate generation and making linking predictions. In this paper, we present and empirically analyze a novel training approach for learning mention and entity representations that is based on building minimum spanning arborescences (i.e., directed spanning trees) over mentions and entities across documents to explicitly model mention coreference relationships. We demonstrate the efficacy of our approach by showing significant improvements in both candidate generation recall and linking accuracy on the Zero-Shot Entity Linking dataset and MedMentions, the largest publicly available biomedical dataset. In addition, we show that our improvements in candidate generation yield higher quality re-ranking models downstream, setting a new SOTA result in linking accuracy on MedMentions. Finally, we demonstrate that our improved mention representations are also effective for the discovery of new entities via cross-document coreference.

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Massive-scale Decoding for Text Generation using Lattices
Jiacheng Xu | Siddhartha Jonnalagadda | Greg Durrett

Conditional neural text generation models generate high-quality outputs, but often concentrate around a mode when what we really want is a diverse set of options. We present a search algorithm to construct lattices encoding a massive number of generation options. First, we restructure decoding as a best-first search, which explores the space differently than beam search and improves efficiency by avoiding pruning paths. Second, we revisit the idea of hypothesis recombination: we can identify pairs of similar generation candidates during search and merge them as an approximation. On both summarization and machine translation, we show that our algorithm encodes thousands of diverse options that remain grammatical and high-quality into one lattice. This algorithm provides a foundation for building downstream generation applications on top of massive-scale diverse outputs.

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Disentangling Indirect Answers to Yes-No Questions in Real Conversations
Krishna Sanagavarapu | Jathin Singaraju | Anusha Kakileti | Anirudh Kaza | Aaron Mathews | Helen Li | Nathan Brito | Eduardo Blanco

In this paper, we explore the task of determining indirect answers to yes-no questions in real conversations. We work with transcripts of phone conversations in the Switchboard Dialog Act (SwDA) corpus and create SwDA-IndirectAnswers (SwDA-IA), a subset of SwDA consisting of all conversations containing a yes-no question with an indirect answer. We annotate the underlying direct answers to the yes-no questions (yes, probably yes, middle, probably no, or no). We show that doing so requires taking into account conversation context: the indirect answer alone is insufficient to determine the ground truth. Experimental results also show that taking into account context is beneficial. More importantly, our results demonstrate that existing corpora with synthetic indirect answers to yes-no questions are not beneficial when working with real conversations. Our best models outperform the majority baseline by a substantial margin, but the task remains a challenge (F1: 0.46).

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Quantifying Adaptability in Pre-trained Language Models with 500 Tasks
Belinda Li | Jane Yu | Madian Khabsa | Luke Zettlemoyer | Alon Halevy | Jacob Andreas

When a neural language model (LM) is adapted to perform a new task, what aspects of the task predict the eventual performance of the model? In NLP, systematic features of LM generalization to individual examples are well characterized, but systematic aspects of LM adaptability to new tasks are not nearly as well understood. We present a large-scale empirical study of the features and limits of LM adaptability using a new benchmark, TaskBench500, built from 500 procedurally generated sequence modeling tasks. These tasks combine core aspects of language processing, including lexical semantics, sequence processing, memorization, logical reasoning, and world knowledge. Using TaskBench500, we evaluate three facets of adaptability, finding that: (1) adaptation procedures differ dramatically in their ability to memorize small datasets; (2) within a subset of task types, adaptation procedures exhibit compositional adaptability to complex tasks; and (3) failure to match training label distributions is explained by mismatches in the intrinsic difficulty of predicting individual labels. Our experiments show that adaptability to new tasks, like generalization to new examples, can be systematically described and understood, and we conclude with a discussion of additional aspects of adaptability that could be studied using the new benchmark.

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Counterfactually Augmented Data and Unintended Bias: The Case of Sexism and Hate Speech Detection
Indira Sen | Mattia Samory | Claudia Wagner | Isabelle Augenstein

Counterfactually Augmented Data (CAD) aims to improve out-of-domain generalizability, an indicator of model robustness. The improvement is credited to promoting core features of the construct over spurious artifacts that happen to correlate with it. Yet, over-relying on core features may lead to unintended model bias. Especially, construct-driven CAD—perturbations of core features—may induce models to ignore the context in which core features are used. Here, we test models for sexism and hate speech detection on challenging data: non-hate and non-sexist usage of identity and gendered terms. On these hard cases, models trained on CAD, especially construct-driven CAD, show higher false positive rates than models trained on the original, unperturbed data. Using a diverse set of CAD—construct-driven and construct-agnostic—reduces such unintended bias.

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A Study of the Attention Abnormality in Trojaned BERTs
Weimin Lyu | Songzhu Zheng | Tengfei Ma | Chao Chen

Trojan attacks raise serious security concerns. In this paper, we investigate the underlying mechanism of Trojaned BERT models. We observe the attention focus drifting behavior of Trojaned models, i.e., when encountering an poisoned input, the trigger token hijacks the attention focus regardless of the context. We provide a thorough qualitative and quantitative analysis of this phenomenon, revealing insights into the Trojan mechanism. Based on the observation, we propose an attention-based Trojan detector to distinguish Trojaned models from clean ones. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to analyze the Trojan mechanism and develop a Trojan detector based on the transformer’s attention.

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EPiDA: An Easy Plug-in Data Augmentation Framework for High Performance Text Classification
Minyi Zhao | Lu Zhang | Yi Xu | Jiandong Ding | Jihong Guan | Shuigeng Zhou

Recent works have empirically shown the effectiveness of data augmentation (DA) in NLP tasks, especially for those suffering from data scarcity. Intuitively, given the size of generated data, their diversity and quality are crucial to the performance of targeted tasks. However, to the best of our knowledge, most existing methods consider only either the diversity or the quality of augmented data, thus cannot fully mine the potential of DA for NLP. In this paper, we present an easy and plug-in data augmentation framework EPiDA to support effective text classification. EPiDA employs two mechanisms: relative entropy maximization (REM) and conditional entropy minimization (CEM) to control data generation, where REM is designed to enhance the diversity of augmented data while CEM is exploited to ensure their semantic consistency. EPiDA can support efficient and continuous data generation for effective classifier training. Extensive experiments show that EPiDA outperforms existing SOTA methods in most cases, though not using any agent networks or pre-trained generation networks, and it works well with various DA algorithms and classification models.

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Partial-input baselines show that NLI models can ignore context, but they don’t.
Neha Srikanth | Rachel Rudinger

When strong partial-input baselines reveal artifacts in crowdsourced NLI datasets, the performance of full-input models trained on such datasets is often dismissed as reliance on spurious correlations. We investigate whether state-of-the-art NLI models are capable of overriding default inferences made by a partial-input baseline. We introduce an evaluation set of 600 examples consisting of perturbed premises to examine a RoBERTa model’s sensitivity to edited contexts. Our results indicate that NLI models are still capable of learning to condition on context—a necessary component of inferential reasoning—despite being trained on artifact-ridden datasets.

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Lifelong Pretraining: Continually Adapting Language Models to Emerging Corpora
Xisen Jin | Dejiao Zhang | Henghui Zhu | Wei Xiao | Shang-Wen Li | Xiaokai Wei | Andrew Arnold | Xiang Ren

Pretrained language models (PTLMs) are typically learned over a large, static corpus and further fine-tuned for various downstream tasks. However, when deployed in the real world, a PTLM-based model must deal with data distributions that deviates from what the PTLM was initially trained on. In this paper, we study a lifelong language model pretraining challenge where a PTLM is continually updated so as to adapt to emerging data. Over a domain-incremental research paper stream and a chronologically-ordered tweet stream, we incrementally pretrain a PTLM with different continual learning algorithms, and keep track of the downstream task performance (after fine-tuning). We evaluate PTLM’s ability to adapt to new corpora while retaining learned knowledge in earlier corpora. Our experiments show distillation-based approaches to be most effective in retaining downstream performance in earlier domains. The algorithms also improve knowledge transfer, allowing models to achieve better downstream performance over latest data, and improve temporal generalization when distribution gaps exist between training and evaluation because of time. We believe our problem formulation, methods, and analysis will inspire future studies towards continual pretraining of language models.

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Learning as Conversation: Dialogue Systems Reinforced for Information Acquisition
Pengshan Cai | Hui Wan | Fei Liu | Mo Yu | Hong Yu | Sachindra Joshi

We propose novel AI-empowered chat bots for learning as conversation where a user does not read a passage but gains information and knowledge through conversation with a teacher bot. Our information acquisition-oriented dialogue system employs a novel adaptation of reinforced self-play so that the system can be transferred to various domains without in-domain dialogue data, and can carry out conversations both informative and attentive to users.

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Dynamic Programming in Rank Space: Scaling Structured Inference with Low-Rank HMMs and PCFGs
Songlin Yang | Wei Liu | Kewei Tu

Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) and Probabilistic Context-Free Grammars (PCFGs) are widely used structured models, both of which can be represented as factor graph grammars (FGGs), a powerful formalism capable of describing a wide range of models. Recent research found it beneficial to use large state spaces for HMMs and PCFGs. However, inference with large state spaces is computationally demanding, especially for PCFGs. To tackle this challenge, we leverage tensor rank decomposition (aka. CPD) to decrease inference computational complexities for a subset of FGGs subsuming HMMs and PCFGs. We apply CPD on the factors of an FGG and then construct a new FGG defined in the rank space. Inference with the new FGG produces the same result but has a lower time complexity when the rank size is smaller than the state size. We conduct experiments on HMM language modeling and unsupervised PCFG parsing, showing better performance than previous work. Our code is publicly available at

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What Factors Should Paper-Reviewer Assignments Rely On? Community Perspectives on Issues and Ideals in Conference Peer-Review
Terne Thorn Jakobsen | Anna Rogers

Both scientific progress and individual researcher careers depend on the quality of peer review, which in turn depends on paper-reviewer matching. Surprisingly, this problem has been mostly approached as an automated recommendation problem rather than as a matter where different stakeholders (area chairs, reviewers, authors) have accumulated experience worth taking into account. We present the results of the first survey of the NLP community, identifying common issues and perspectives on what factors should be considered by paper-reviewer matching systems. This study contributes actionable recommendations for improving future NLP conferences, and desiderata for interpretable peer review assignments.

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Reducing Disambiguation Biases in NMT by Leveraging Explicit Word Sense Information
Niccolò Campolungo | Tommaso Pasini | Denis Emelin | Roberto Navigli

Recent studies have shed some light on a common pitfall of Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models, stemming from their struggle to disambiguate polysemous words without lapsing into their most frequently occurring senses in the training corpus. In this paper, we first provide a novel approach for automatically creating high-precision sense-annotated parallel corpora, and then put forward a specifically tailored fine-tuning strategy for exploiting these sense annotations during training without introducing any additional requirement at inference time. The use of explicit senses proved to be beneficial to reduce the disambiguation bias of a baseline NMT model, while, at the same time, leading our system to attain higher BLEU scores than its vanilla counterpart in 3 language pairs.

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Mining Clues from Incomplete Utterance: A Query-enhanced Network for Incomplete Utterance Rewriting
Shuzheng Si | Shuang Zeng | Baobao Chang

Incomplete utterance rewriting has recently raised wide attention. However, previous works do not consider the semantic structural information between incomplete utterance and rewritten utterance or model the semantic structure implicitly and insufficiently. To address this problem, we propose a QUEry-Enhanced Network(QUEEN) to solve this problem. Firstly, our proposed query template explicitly brings guided semantic structural knowledge between the incomplete utterance and the rewritten utterance making model perceive where to refer back to or recover omitted tokens. Then, we adopt a fast and effective edit operation scoring network to model the relation between two tokens. Benefiting from extra information and the well-designed network, QUEEN achieves state-of-the-art performance on several public datasets.

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Domain-Oriented Prefix-Tuning: Towards Efficient and Generalizable Fine-tuning for Zero-Shot Dialogue Summarization
Lulu Zhao | Fujia Zheng | Weihao Zeng | Keqing He | Weiran Xu | Huixing Jiang | Wei Wu | Yanan Wu

The most advanced abstractive dialogue summarizers lack generalization ability on new domains and the existing researches for domain adaptation in summarization generally rely on large-scale pre-trainings. To explore the lightweight fine-tuning methods for domain adaptation of dialogue summarization, in this paper, we propose an efficient and generalizable Domain-Oriented Prefix-tuning model, which utilizes a domain word initialized prefix module to alleviate domain entanglement and adopts discrete prompts to guide the model to focus on key contents of dialogues and enhance model generalization. We conduct zero-shot experiments and build domain adaptation benchmarks on two multi-domain dialogue summarization datasets, TODSum and QMSum. Adequate experiments and qualitative analysis prove the effectiveness of our methods.

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Interactive Symbol Grounding with Complex Referential Expressions
Rimvydas Rubavicius | Alex Lascarides

We present a procedure for learning to ground symbols from a sequence of stimuli consisting of an arbitrarily complex noun phrase (e.g. “all but one green square above both red circles.”) and its designation in the visual scene. Our distinctive approach combines: a) lazy few-shot learning to relate open-class words like green and above to their visual percepts; and b) symbolic reasoning with closed-class word categories like quantifiers and negation. We use this combination to estimate new training examples for grounding symbols that occur within a noun phrase but aren’t designated by that noun phase (e.g, red in the above example), thereby potentially gaining data efficiency. We evaluate the approach in a visual reference resolution task, in which the learner starts out unaware of concepts that are part of the domain model and how they relate to visual percepts.

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Generalized Quantifiers as a Source of Error in Multilingual NLU Benchmarks
Ruixiang Cui | Daniel Hershcovich | Anders Søgaard

Logical approaches to representing language have developed and evaluated computational models of quantifier words since the 19th century, but today’s NLU models still struggle to capture their semantics. We rely on Generalized Quantifier Theory for language-independent representations of the semantics of quantifier words, to quantify their contribution to the errors of NLU models. We find that quantifiers are pervasive in NLU benchmarks, and their occurrence at test time is associated with performance drops. Multilingual models also exhibit unsatisfying quantifier reasoning abilities, but not necessarily worse for non-English languages. To facilitate directly-targeted probing, we present an adversarial generalized quantifier NLI task (GQNLI) and show that pre-trained language models have a clear lack of robustness in generalized quantifier reasoning.

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Exact Paired-Permutation Testing for Structured Test Statistics
Ran Zmigrod | Tim Vieira | Ryan Cotterell

Significance testing—especially the paired-permutation test—has played a vital role in developing NLP systems to provide confidence that the difference in performance between two systems (i.e., the test statistic) is not due to luck. However, practitioners rely on Monte Carlo approximation to perform this test due to a lack of a suitable exact algorithm. In this paper, we provide an efficient exact algorithm for the paired-permutation test for a family of structured test statistics. Our algorithm runs in 𝒪(G N (log GN )(log N)) time where N is the dataset size and G is the range of the test statistic. We found that our exact algorithm was 10x faster than the Monte Carlo approximation with 20000 samples on a common dataset

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A Balanced Data Approach for Evaluating Cross-Lingual Transfer: Mapping the Linguistic Blood Bank
Dan Malkin | Tomasz Limisiewicz | Gabriel Stanovsky

We show that the choice of pretraining languages affects downstream cross-lingual transfer for BERT-based models. We inspect zero-shot performance in balanced data conditions to mitigate data size confounds, classifying pretraining languages that improve downstream performance as donors, and languages that are improved in zero-shot performance as recipients. We develop a method of quadratic time complexity in the number of languages to estimate these relations, instead of an exponential exhaustive computation of all possible combinations. We find that our method is effective on a diverse set of languages spanning different linguistic features and two downstream tasks. Our findings can inform developers of large-scale multilingual language models in choosing better pretraining configurations.

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SSEGCN: Syntactic and Semantic Enhanced Graph Convolutional Network for Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis
Zheng Zhang | Zili Zhou | Yanna Wang

Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis (ABSA) aims to predict the sentiment polarity towards a particular aspect in a sentence. Recently, graph neural networks based on dependency tree convey rich structural information which is proven to be utility for ABSA. However, how to effectively harness the semantic and syntactic structure information from the dependency tree remains a challenging research question. In this paper, we propose a novel Syntactic and Semantic Enhanced Graph Convolutional Network (SSEGCN) model for ABSA task. Specifically, we propose an aspect-aware attention mechanism combined with self-attention to obtain attention score matrices of a sentence, which can not only learn the aspect-related semantic correlations, but also learn the global semantics of the sentence. In order to obtain comprehensive syntactic structure information, we construct syntactic mask matrices of the sentence according to the different syntactic distances between words. Furthermore, to combine syntactic structure and semantic information, we equip the attention score matrices by syntactic mask matrices. Finally, we enhance the node representations with graph convolutional network over attention score matrices for ABSA. Experimental results on benchmark datasets illustrate t