Modern sentence encoders are used to generate dense vector representations that capture the underlying linguistic characteristics for a sequence of words, including phrases, sentences, or paragraphs. These kinds of representations are ideal for training a classifier for an end task such as sentiment analysis, question answering and text classification. Different models have been proposed to efficiently generate general purpose sentence representations to be used in pretraining protocols. While averaging is the most commonly used efficient sentence encoder, Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) was recently proposed as an alternative that captures the underlying syntactic characteristics of a given text without compromising practical efficiency compared to averaging. However, as with most other sentence encoders, the DCT sentence encoder was only evaluated in English. To this end, we utilize DCT encoder to generate universal sentence representation for different languages such as German, French, Spanish and Russian. The experimental results clearly show the superior effectiveness of DCT encoding in which consistent performance improvements are achieved over strong baselines on multiple standardized datasets.
Aspect category detection (ACD) in sentiment analysis aims to identify the aspect categories mentioned in a sentence. In this paper, we formulate ACD in the few-shot learning scenario. However, existing few-shot learning approaches mainly focus on single-label predictions. These methods can not work well for the ACD task since a sentence may contain multiple aspect categories. Therefore, we propose a multi-label few-shot learning method based on the prototypical network. To alleviate the noise, we design two effective attention mechanisms. The support-set attention aims to extract better prototypes by removing irrelevant aspects. The query-set attention computes multiple prototype-specific representations for each query instance, which are then used to compute accurate distances with the corresponding prototypes. To achieve multi-label inference, we further learn a dynamic threshold per instance by a policy network. Extensive experimental results on three datasets demonstrate that the proposed method significantly outperforms strong baselines.
Automated predictions require explanations to be interpretable by humans. One type of explanation is a rationale, i.e., a selection of input features such as relevant text snippets from which the model computes the outcome. However, a single overall selection does not provide a complete explanation, e.g., weighing several aspects for decisions. To this end, we present a novel self-interpretable model called ConRAT. Inspired by how human explanations for high-level decisions are often based on key concepts, ConRAT extracts a set of text snippets as concepts and infers which ones are described in the document. Then, it explains the outcome with a linear aggregation of concepts. Two regularizers drive ConRAT to build interpretable concepts. In addition, we propose two techniques to boost the rationale and predictive performance further. Experiments on both single- and multi-aspect sentiment classification tasks show that ConRAT is the first to generate concepts that align with human rationalization while using only the overall label. Further, it outperforms state-of-the-art methods trained on each aspect label independently.
We present skweak, a versatile, Python-based software toolkit enabling NLP developers to apply weak supervision to a wide range of NLP tasks. Weak supervision is an emerging machine learning paradigm based on a simple idea: instead of labelling data points by hand, we use labelling functions derived from domain knowledge to automatically obtain annotations for a given dataset. The resulting labels are then aggregated with a generative model that estimates the accuracy (and possible confusions) of each labelling function. The skweak toolkit makes it easy to implement a large spectrum of labelling functions (such as heuristics, gazetteers, neural models or linguistic constraints) on text data, apply them on a corpus, and aggregate their results in a fully unsupervised fashion. skweak is especially designed to facilitate the use of weak supervision for NLP tasks such as text classification and sequence labelling. We illustrate the use of skweak for NER and sentiment analysis. skweak is released under an open-source license and is available at: https://github.com/NorskRegnesentral/skweak
As one of the most powerful topic models, Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) has been used in a vast range of tasks, including document understanding, information retrieval and peer-reviewer assignment. Despite its tremendous popularity, the security of LDA has rarely been studied. This poses severe risks to security-critical tasks such as sentiment analysis and peer-reviewer assignment that are based on LDA. In this paper, we are interested in knowing whether LDA models are vulnerable to adversarial perturbations of benign document examples during inference time. We formalize the evasion attack to LDA models as an optimization problem and prove it to be NP-hard. We then propose a novel and efficient algorithm, EvaLDA to solve it. We show the effectiveness of EvaLDA via extensive empirical evaluations. For instance, in the NIPS dataset, EvaLDA can averagely promote the rank of a target topic from 10 to around 7 by only replacing 1% of the words with similar words in a victim document. Our work provides significant insights into the power and limitations of evasion attacks to LDA models.
An Embodied Conversational Agent (ECA) is an intelligent agent that works as the front end of software applications to interact with users through verbal/nonverbal expressions and to provide online assistance without the limits of time, location, and language. To help to improve the experience of human-computer interaction, there is an increasing need to empower ECA with not only the realistic look of its human counterparts but also a higher level of intelligence. This thesis first highlights the main topics related to the construction of ECA, including different approaches of dialogue management, and then discusses existing techniques of trend analysis for its application in user classification. As a further refinement and enhancement to prior work on ECA, this thesis research proposes a cohesive framework to integrate emotion-based facial animation with improved intention discovery. In addition, a machine learning technique is introduced to support sentiment analysis for the adjustment of policy design in POMDP-based dialogue management. The proposed research work is going to improve the accuracy of intention discovery while reducing the length of dialogues.
Recently, NLP has seen a surge in the usage of large pre-trained models. Users download weights of models pre-trained on large datasets, then fine-tune the weights on a task of their choice. This raises the question of whether downloading untrusted pre-trained weights can pose a security threat. In this paper, we show that it is possible to construct ``weight poisoning'' attacks where pre-trained weights are injected with vulnerabilities that expose ``backdoors'' after fine-tuning, enabling the attacker to manipulate the model prediction simply by injecting an arbitrary keyword. We show that by applying a regularization method, which we call RIPPLe, and an initialization procedure, which we call Embedding Surgery, such attacks are possible even with limited knowledge of the dataset and fine-tuning procedure. Our experiments on sentiment classification, toxicity detection, and spam detection show that this attack is widely applicable and poses a serious threat. Finally, we outline practical defenses against such attacks. Code to reproduce our experiments is available at https://github.com/neulab/RIPPLe.
Text style transfer without parallel data has achieved some practical success. However, in the scenario where less data is available, these methods may yield poor performance. In this paper, we examine domain adaptation for text style transfer to leverage massively available data from other domains. These data may demonstrate domain shift, which impedes the benefits of utilizing such data for training. To address this challenge, we propose simple yet effective domain adaptive text style transfer models, enabling domain-adaptive information exchange. The proposed models presumably learn from the source domain to: (i) distinguish stylized information and generic content information; (ii) maximally preserve content information; and (iii) adaptively transfer the styles in a domain-aware manner. We evaluate the proposed models on two style transfer tasks (sentiment and formality) over multiple target domains where only limited non-parallel data is available. Extensive experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed model compared to the baselines.
While neural language models have recently demonstrated impressive performance in unconditional text generation, controllable generation and manipulation of text remain challenging. Latent variable generative models provide a natural approach for control, but their application to text has proven more difficult than to images. Models such as variational autoencoders may suffer from posterior collapse or learning an irregular latent geometry. We propose to instead employ adversarial autoencoders (AAEs) and add local perturbations by randomly replacing/removing words from input sentences during training. Within the prior enforced by the adversary, structured perturbations in the data space begin to carve and organize the latent space. Theoretically, we prove that perturbations encourage similar sentences to map to similar latent representations. Experimentally, we investigate the trade-off between text-generation and autoencoder-reconstruction capabilities. Our straightforward approach significantly improves over regular AAEs as well as other autoencoders, and enables altering the tense/sentiment of sentences through simple addition of a fixed vector offset to their latent representation.
Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have recently emerged as a popular building block for natural language processing (NLP). Despite their success, most existing CNN models employed in NLP share the same learned (and static) set of filters for all input sentences. In this paper, we consider an approach of using a small meta network to learn context-sensitive convolutional filters for text processing. The role of meta network is to abstract the contextual information of a sentence or document into a set of input-aware filters. We further generalize this framework to model sentence pairs, where a bidirectional filter generation mechanism is introduced to encapsulate co-dependent sentence representations. In our benchmarks on four different tasks, including ontology classification, sentiment analysis, answer sentence selection, and paraphrase identification, our proposed model, a modified CNN with context-sensitive filters, consistently outperforms the standard CNN and attention-based CNN baselines. By visualizing the learned context-sensitive filters, we further validate and rationalize the effectiveness of proposed framework.