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Pranav Anand

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Bio-inspired Structure Identification in Language Embeddings

Sep 15, 2020
Hongwei, Zhou, Oskar Elek, Pranav Anand, Angus G. Forbes

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Word embeddings are a popular way to improve downstream performances in contemporary language modeling. However, the underlying geometric structure of the embedding space is not well understood. We present a series of explorations using bio-inspired methodology to traverse and visualize word embeddings, demonstrating evidence of discernible structure. Moreover, our model also produces word similarity rankings that are plausible yet very different from common similarity metrics, mainly cosine similarity and Euclidean distance. We show that our bio-inspired model can be used to investigate how different word embedding techniques result in different semantic outputs, which can emphasize or obscure particular interpretations in textual data.

* 7 pages, 8 figures, 2 tables, Visualisation for the Digital Humanities 2020. Comments: Fixed white spaces in abstract 
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CruzAffect at AffCon 2019 Shared Task: A feature-rich approach to characterize happiness

Feb 16, 2019
Jiaqi Wu, Ryan Compton, Geetanjali Rakshit, Marilyn Walker, Pranav Anand, Steve Whittaker

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We present our system, CruzAffect, for the CL-Aff Shared Task 2019. CruzAffect consists of several types of robust and efficient models for affective classification tasks. We utilize both traditional classifiers, such as XGBoosted Forest, as well as a deep learning Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) classifier. We explore rich feature sets such as syntactic features, emotional features, and profile features, and utilize several sentiment lexicons, to discover essential indicators of social involvement and control that a subject might exercise in their happy moments, as described in textual snippets from the HappyDB database. The data comes with a labeled set (10K), and a larger unlabeled set (70K). We therefore use supervised methods on the 10K dataset, and a bootstrapped semi-supervised approach for the 70K. We evaluate these models for binary classification of agency and social labels (Task 1), as well as multi-class prediction for concepts labels (Task 2). We obtain promising results on the held-out data, suggesting that the proposed feature sets effectively represent the data for affective classification tasks. We also build concepts models that discover general themes recurring in happy moments. Our results indicate that generic characteristics are shared between the classes of agency, social and concepts, suggesting it should be possible to build general models for affective classification tasks.

* Workshop on Affective Content Analysis (AffCon) 2019, Workshop of Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) 2019, Hawaii, USA January 2019 
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Summarizing Dialogic Arguments from Social Media

Oct 31, 2017
Amita Misra, Shereen Oraby, Shubhangi Tandon, Sharath TS, Pranav Anand, Marilyn Walker

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Online argumentative dialog is a rich source of information on popular beliefs and opinions that could be useful to companies as well as governmental or public policy agencies. Compact, easy to read, summaries of these dialogues would thus be highly valuable. A priori, it is not even clear what form such a summary should take. Previous work on summarization has primarily focused on summarizing written texts, where the notion of an abstract of the text is well defined. We collect gold standard training data consisting of five human summaries for each of 161 dialogues on the topics of Gay Marriage, Gun Control and Abortion. We present several different computational models aimed at identifying segments of the dialogues whose content should be used for the summary, using linguistic features and Word2vec features with both SVMs and Bidirectional LSTMs. We show that we can identify the most important arguments by using the dialog context with a best F-measure of 0.74 for gun control, 0.71 for gay marriage, and 0.67 for abortion.

* Proceedings of the 21th Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue (SemDial 2017) 
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Argument Strength is in the Eye of the Beholder: Audience Effects in Persuasion

Aug 30, 2017
Stephanie M. Lukin, Pranav Anand, Marilyn Walker, Steve Whittaker

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Americans spend about a third of their time online, with many participating in online conversations on social and political issues. We hypothesize that social media arguments on such issues may be more engaging and persuasive than traditional media summaries, and that particular types of people may be more or less convinced by particular styles of argument, e.g. emotional arguments may resonate with some personalities while factual arguments resonate with others. We report a set of experiments testing at large scale how audience variables interact with argument style to affect the persuasiveness of an argument, an under-researched topic within natural language processing. We show that belief change is affected by personality factors, with conscientious, open and agreeable people being more convinced by emotional arguments.

* European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL 2017) 
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Modelling Protagonist Goals and Desires in First-Person Narrative

Aug 29, 2017
Elahe Rahimtoroghi, Jiaqi Wu, Ruimin Wang, Pranav Anand, Marilyn A Walker

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Many genres of natural language text are narratively structured, a testament to our predilection for organizing our experiences as narratives. There is broad consensus that understanding a narrative requires identifying and tracking the goals and desires of the characters and their narrative outcomes. However, to date, there has been limited work on computational models for this problem. We introduce a new dataset, DesireDB, which includes gold-standard labels for identifying statements of desire, textual evidence for desire fulfillment, and annotations for whether the stated desire is fulfilled given the evidence in the narrative context. We report experiments on tracking desire fulfillment using different methods, and show that LSTM Skip-Thought model achieves F-measure of 0.7 on our corpus.

* 10 pages, 18th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue (SIGDIAL 2017) 
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