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"Text": models, code, and papers

Review Helpfulness Prediction with Embedding-Gated CNN

Aug 29, 2018
Cen Chen, Minghui Qiu, Yinfei Yang, Jun Zhou, Jun Huang, Xiaolong Li, Forrest Bao

Product reviews, in the form of texts dominantly, significantly help consumers finalize their purchasing decisions. Thus, it is important for e-commerce companies to predict review helpfulness to present and recommend reviews in a more informative manner. In this work, we introduce a convolutional neural network model that is able to extract abstract features from multi-granularity representations. Inspired by the fact that different words contribute to the meaning of a sentence differently, we consider to learn word-level embedding-gates for all the representations. Furthermore, as it is common that some product domains/categories have rich user reviews, other domains not. To help domains with less sufficient data, we integrate our model into a cross-domain relationship learning framework for effectively transferring knowledge from other domains. Extensive experiments show that our model yields better performance than the existing methods.

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Identifying Well-formed Natural Language Questions

Aug 28, 2018
Manaal Faruqui, Dipanjan Das

Understanding search queries is a hard problem as it involves dealing with "word salad" text ubiquitously issued by users. However, if a query resembles a well-formed question, a natural language processing pipeline is able to perform more accurate interpretation, thus reducing downstream compounding errors. Hence, identifying whether or not a query is well formed can enhance query understanding. Here, we introduce a new task of identifying a well-formed natural language question. We construct and release a dataset of 25,100 publicly available questions classified into well-formed and non-wellformed categories and report an accuracy of 70.7% on the test set. We also show that our classifier can be used to improve the performance of neural sequence-to-sequence models for generating questions for reading comprehension.

* Proc. of EMNLP 2018 

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An Auto-Encoder Matching Model for Learning Utterance-Level Semantic Dependency in Dialogue Generation

Aug 27, 2018
Liangchen Luo, Jingjing Xu, Junyang Lin, Qi Zeng, Xu Sun

Generating semantically coherent responses is still a major challenge in dialogue generation. Different from conventional text generation tasks, the mapping between inputs and responses in conversations is more complicated, which highly demands the understanding of utterance-level semantic dependency, a relation between the whole meanings of inputs and outputs. To address this problem, we propose an Auto-Encoder Matching (AEM) model to learn such dependency. The model contains two auto-encoders and one mapping module. The auto-encoders learn the semantic representations of inputs and responses, and the mapping module learns to connect the utterance-level representations. Experimental results from automatic and human evaluations demonstrate that our model is capable of generating responses of high coherence and fluency compared to baseline models. The code is available at

* Accepted by EMNLP 2018 

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Automated essay scoring with string kernels and word embeddings

Jul 06, 2018
Mădălina Cozma, Andrei M. Butnaru, Radu Tudor Ionescu

In this work, we present an approach based on combining string kernels and word embeddings for automatic essay scoring. String kernels capture the similarity among strings based on counting common character n-grams, which are a low-level yet powerful type of feature, demonstrating state-of-the-art results in various text classification tasks such as Arabic dialect identification or native language identification. To our best knowledge, we are the first to apply string kernels to automatically score essays. We are also the first to combine them with a high-level semantic feature representation, namely the bag-of-super-word-embeddings. We report the best performance on the Automated Student Assessment Prize data set, in both in-domain and cross-domain settings, surpassing recent state-of-the-art deep learning approaches.

* Accepted at ACL 2018 

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Style Obfuscation by Invariance

May 18, 2018
Chris Emmery, Enrique Manjavacas, Grzegorz Chrupała

The task of obfuscating writing style using sequence models has previously been investigated under the framework of obfuscation-by-transfer, where the input text is explicitly rewritten in another style. These approaches also often lead to major alterations to the semantic content of the input. In this work, we propose obfuscation-by-invariance, and investigate to what extent models trained to be explicitly style-invariant preserve semantics. We evaluate our architectures on parallel and non-parallel corpora, and compare automatic and human evaluations on the obfuscated sentences. Our experiments show that style classifier performance can be reduced to chance level, whilst the automatic evaluation of the output is seemingly equal to models applying style-transfer. However, based on human evaluation we demonstrate a trade-off between the level of obfuscation and the observed quality of the output in terms of meaning preservation and grammaticality.

* Accepted for presentation at COLING18 

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Event2Mind: Commonsense Inference on Events, Intents, and Reactions

May 17, 2018
Hannah Rashkin, Maarten Sap, Emily Allaway, Noah A. Smith, Yejin Choi

We investigate a new commonsense inference task: given an event described in a short free-form text ("X drinks coffee in the morning"), a system reasons about the likely intents ("X wants to stay awake") and reactions ("X feels alert") of the event's participants. To support this study, we construct a new crowdsourced corpus of 25,000 event phrases covering a diverse range of everyday events and situations. We report baseline performance on this task, demonstrating that neural encoder-decoder models can successfully compose embedding representations of previously unseen events and reason about the likely intents and reactions of the event participants. In addition, we demonstrate how commonsense inference on people's intents and reactions can help unveil the implicit gender inequality prevalent in modern movie scripts.

* Accepted to ACL 2018 (long paper). First two authors contributed equally 

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Named Entities troubling your Neural Methods? Build NE-Table: A neural approach for handling Named Entities

Apr 22, 2018
Janarthanan Rajendran, Jatin Ganhotra, Xiaoxiao Guo, Mo Yu, Satinder Singh

Many natural language processing tasks require dealing with Named Entities (NEs) in the texts themselves and sometimes also in external knowledge sources. While this is often easy for humans, recent neural methods that rely on learned word embeddings for NLP tasks have difficulty with it, especially with out of vocabulary or rare NEs. In this paper, we propose a new neural method for this problem, and present empirical evaluations on a structured Question-Answering task, three related Goal-Oriented dialog tasks and a reading-comprehension-based task. They show that our proposed method can be effective in dealing with both in-vocabulary and out of vocabulary (OOV) NEs. We create extended versions of dialog bAbI tasks 1,2 and 4 and Out-of-vocabulary (OOV) versions of the CBT test set which will be made publicly available online.

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Improving Variational Encoder-Decoders in Dialogue Generation

Feb 06, 2018
Xiaoyu Shen, Hui Su, Shuzi Niu, Vera Demberg

Variational encoder-decoders (VEDs) have shown promising results in dialogue generation. However, the latent variable distributions are usually approximated by a much simpler model than the powerful RNN structure used for encoding and decoding, yielding the KL-vanishing problem and inconsistent training objective. In this paper, we separate the training step into two phases: The first phase learns to autoencode discrete texts into continuous embeddings, from which the second phase learns to generalize latent representations by reconstructing the encoded embedding. In this case, latent variables are sampled by transforming Gaussian noise through multi-layer perceptrons and are trained with a separate VED model, which has the potential of realizing a much more flexible distribution. We compare our model with current popular models and the experiment demonstrates substantial improvement in both metric-based and human evaluations.

* Accepted by AAAI2018 

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HappyDB: A Corpus of 100,000 Crowdsourced Happy Moments

Jan 25, 2018
Akari Asai, Sara Evensen, Behzad Golshan, Alon Halevy, Vivian Li, Andrei Lopatenko, Daniela Stepanov, Yoshihiko Suhara, Wang-Chiew Tan, Yinzhan Xu

The science of happiness is an area of positive psychology concerned with understanding what behaviors make people happy in a sustainable fashion. Recently, there has been interest in developing technologies that help incorporate the findings of the science of happiness into users' daily lives by steering them towards behaviors that increase happiness. With the goal of building technology that can understand how people express their happy moments in text, we crowd-sourced HappyDB, a corpus of 100,000 happy moments that we make publicly available. This paper describes HappyDB and its properties, and outlines several important NLP problems that can be studied with the help of the corpus. We also apply several state-of-the-art analysis techniques to analyze HappyDB. Our results demonstrate the need for deeper NLP techniques to be developed which makes HappyDB an exciting resource for follow-on research.

* Typos fixed 

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Plan, Attend, Generate: Planning for Sequence-to-Sequence Models

Nov 28, 2017
Francis Dutil, Caglar Gulcehre, Adam Trischler, Yoshua Bengio

We investigate the integration of a planning mechanism into sequence-to-sequence models using attention. We develop a model which can plan ahead in the future when it computes its alignments between input and output sequences, constructing a matrix of proposed future alignments and a commitment vector that governs whether to follow or recompute the plan. This mechanism is inspired by the recently proposed strategic attentive reader and writer (STRAW) model for Reinforcement Learning. Our proposed model is end-to-end trainable using primarily differentiable operations. We show that it outperforms a strong baseline on character-level translation tasks from WMT'15, the algorithmic task of finding Eulerian circuits of graphs, and question generation from the text. Our analysis demonstrates that the model computes qualitatively intuitive alignments, converges faster than the baselines, and achieves superior performance with fewer parameters.

* NIPS 2017 

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