45 research outputs found

    Models for Improved Tractability and Accuracy in Dependency Parsing

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    Automatic syntactic analysis of natural language is one of the fundamental problems in natural language processing. Dependency parses (directed trees in which edges represent the syntactic relationships between the words in a sentence) have been found to be particularly useful for machine translation, question answering, and other practical applications. For English dependency parsing, we show that models and features compatible with how conjunctions are represented in treebanks yield a parser with state-of-the-art overall accuracy and substantial improvements in the accuracy of conjunctions. For languages other than English, dependency parsing has often been formulated as either searching over trees without any crossing dependencies (projective trees) or searching over all directed spanning trees. The former sacrifices the ability to produce many natural language structures; the latter is NP-hard in the presence of features with scopes over siblings or grandparents in the tree. This thesis explores alternative ways to simultaneously produce crossing dependencies in the output and use models that parametrize over multiple edges. Gap inheritance is introduced in this thesis and quantifies the nesting of subtrees over intervals. The thesis provides O(n6) and O(n5) edge-factored parsing algorithms for two new classes of trees based on this property, and extends the latter to include grandparent factors. This thesis then defines 1-Endpoint-Crossing trees, in which for any edge that is crossed, all other edges that cross that edge share an endpoint. This property covers 95.8% or more of dependency parses across a variety of languages. A crossing-sensitive factorization introduced in this thesis generalizes a commonly used third-order factorization (capable of scoring triples of edges simultaneously). This thesis provides exact dynamic programming algorithms that find the optimal 1-Endpoint-Crossing tree under either an edge-factored model or this crossing-sensitive third-order model in O(n4) time, orders of magnitude faster than other mildly non-projective parsing algorithms and identical to the parsing time for projective trees under the third-order model. The implemented parser is significantly more accurate than the third-order projective parser under many experimental settings and significantly less accurate on none

    Structural Features for Predicting the Linguistic Quality of Text: Applications to Machine Translation, Automatic Summarization and Human-Authored Text

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    Sentence structure is considered to be an important component of the overall linguistic quality of text. Yet few empirical studies have sought to characterize how and to what extent structural features determine fluency and linguistic quality. We report the results of experiments on the predictive power of syntactic phrasing statistics and other structural features for these aspects of text. Manual assessments of sentence fluency for machine translation evaluation and text quality for summarization evaluation are used as gold-standard. We find that many structural features related to phrase length are weakly but significantly correlated with fluency and classifiers based on the entire suite of structural features can achieve high accuracy in pairwise comparison of sentence fluency and in distinguishing machine translations from human translations. We also test the hypothesis that the learned models capture general fluency properties applicable to human-authored text. The results from our experiments do not support the hypothesis. At the same time structural features and models based on them prove to be robust for automatic evaluation of the linguistic quality of multi-document summaries

    Natural Language Processing with Small Feed-Forward Networks

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    We show that small and shallow feed-forward neural networks can achieve near state-of-the-art results on a range of unstructured and structured language processing tasks while being considerably cheaper in memory and computational requirements than deep recurrent models. Motivated by resource-constrained environments like mobile phones, we showcase simple techniques for obtaining such small neural network models, and investigate different tradeoffs when deciding how to allocate a small memory budget.Comment: EMNLP 2017 short pape

    Syntactic Data Augmentation Increases Robustness to Inference Heuristics

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    Pretrained neural models such as BERT, when fine-tuned to perform natural language inference (NLI), often show high accuracy on standard datasets, but display a surprising lack of sensitivity to word order on controlled challenge sets. We hypothesize that this issue is not primarily caused by the pretrained model's limitations, but rather by the paucity of crowdsourced NLI examples that might convey the importance of syntactic structure at the fine-tuning stage. We explore several methods to augment standard training sets with syntactically informative examples, generated by applying syntactic transformations to sentences from the MNLI corpus. The best-performing augmentation method, subject/object inversion, improved BERT's accuracy on controlled examples that diagnose sensitivity to word order from 0.28 to 0.73, without affecting performance on the MNLI test set. This improvement generalized beyond the particular construction used for data augmentation, suggesting that augmentation causes BERT to recruit abstract syntactic representations.Comment: ACL 202

    Easily Identifiable Discourse Relations

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    We present a corpus study of local discourse relations based on the Penn Discourse Tree Bank, a large manually annotated corpus of explicitly or implicitly realized contingency, comparison, temporal and expansion relations. We show that while there is a large degree of ambiguity in temporal explicit discourse connectives, overall discourse connectives are mostly unambiguous and allow high accuracy classification of discourse relations. We achieve 93.09% accuracy in classifying the explicit relations and 74.74% accuracy overall. In addition, we show that some pairs of relations occur together in text more often than expected by chance. This finding suggest that global sequence classification of the relations in text can lead to better results, especially for implicit relations

    New Protocols and Negative Results for Textual Entailment Data Collection

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    Natural language inference (NLI) data has proven useful in benchmarking and, especially, as pretraining data for tasks requiring language understanding. However, the crowdsourcing protocol that was used to collect this data has known issues and was not explicitly optimized for either of these purposes, so it is likely far from ideal. We propose four alternative protocols, each aimed at improving either the ease with which annotators can produce sound training examples or the quality and diversity of those examples. Using these alternatives and a fifth baseline protocol, we collect and compare five new 8.5k-example training sets. In evaluations focused on transfer learning applications, our results are solidly negative, with models trained on our baseline dataset yielding good transfer performance to downstream tasks, but none of our four new methods (nor the recent ANLI) showing any improvements over that baseline. In a small silver lining, we observe that all four new protocols, especially those where annotators edit pre-filled text boxes, reduce previously observed issues with annotation artifacts.Comment: To appear at EMNLP 202