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Can Unsupervised Knowledge Transfer from Social Discussions Help Argument Mining?

Mar 24, 2022
Subhabrata Dutta, Jeevesh Juneja, Dipankar Das, Tanmoy Chakraborty

Identifying argument components from unstructured texts and predicting the relationships expressed among them are two primary steps of argument mining. The intrinsic complexity of these tasks demands powerful learning models. While pretrained Transformer-based Language Models (LM) have been shown to provide state-of-the-art results over different NLP tasks, the scarcity of manually annotated data and the highly domain-dependent nature of argumentation restrict the capabilities of such models. In this work, we propose a novel transfer learning strategy to overcome these challenges. We utilize argumentation-rich social discussions from the ChangeMyView subreddit as a source of unsupervised, argumentative discourse-aware knowledge by finetuning pretrained LMs on a selectively masked language modeling task. Furthermore, we introduce a novel prompt-based strategy for inter-component relation prediction that compliments our proposed finetuning method while leveraging on the discourse context. Exhaustive experiments show the generalization capability of our method on these two tasks over within-domain as well as out-of-domain datasets, outperforming several existing and employed strong baselines.

* Accepted in ACL 2022 

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Bridging the Data Gap between Training and Inference for Unsupervised Neural Machine Translation

Mar 23, 2022
Zhiwei He, Xing Wang, Rui Wang, Shuming Shi, Zhaopeng Tu

Back-translation is a critical component of Unsupervised Neural Machine Translation (UNMT), which generates pseudo parallel data from target monolingual data. A UNMT model is trained on the pseudo parallel data with translated source, and translates natural source sentences in inference. The source discrepancy between training and inference hinders the translation performance of UNMT models. By carefully designing experiments, we identify two representative characteristics of the data gap in source: (1) style gap (i.e., translated vs. natural text style) that leads to poor generalization capability; (2) content gap that induces the model to produce hallucination content biased towards the target language. To narrow the data gap, we propose an online self-training approach, which simultaneously uses the pseudo parallel data {natural source, translated target} to mimic the inference scenario. Experimental results on several widely-used language pairs show that our approach outperforms two strong baselines (XLM and MASS) by remedying the style and content gaps.

* 13 pages, ACL 2022 

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WCL-BBCD: A Contrastive Learning and Knowledge Graph Approach to Named Entity Recognition

Mar 14, 2022
Renjie Zhou, Qiang Hu, Jian Wan, Jilin Zhang, Qiang Liu, Tianxiang Hu, Jianjun Li

Named Entity Recognition task is one of the core tasks of information extraction.Word ambiguity and word abbreviation are important reasons for the low recognition rate of named entities. In this paper, we propose a novel named entity recognition model WCL-BBCD (Word Contrastive Learning with BERT-BiLSTM-CRF-DBpedia) incorporating the idea of contrastive learning. The model first trains the sentence pairs in the text, calculate similarity between words in sentence pairs by cosine similarity, and fine-tunes the BERT model used for the named entity recognition task through the similarity, so as to alleviate word ambiguity. Then, the fine-tuned BERT model is combined with the BiLSTM-CRF model to perform the named entity recognition task. Finally, the recognition results are corrected in combination with prior knowledge such as knowledge graphs, so as to alleviate the recognition caused by word abbreviations low-rate problem. Experimental results show that our model outperforms other similar model methods on the CoNLL-2003 English dataset and OntoNotes V5 English dataset.

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Retrieval Augmented Classification for Long-Tail Visual Recognition

Feb 22, 2022
Alexander Long, Wei Yin, Thalaiyasingam Ajanthan, Vu Nguyen, Pulak Purkait, Ravi Garg, Alan Blair, Chunhua Shen, Anton van den Hengel

We introduce Retrieval Augmented Classification (RAC), a generic approach to augmenting standard image classification pipelines with an explicit retrieval module. RAC consists of a standard base image encoder fused with a parallel retrieval branch that queries a non-parametric external memory of pre-encoded images and associated text snippets. We apply RAC to the problem of long-tail classification and demonstrate a significant improvement over previous state-of-the-art on Places365-LT and iNaturalist-2018 (14.5% and 6.7% respectively), despite using only the training datasets themselves as the external information source. We demonstrate that RAC's retrieval module, without prompting, learns a high level of accuracy on tail classes. This, in turn, frees the base encoder to focus on common classes, and improve its performance thereon. RAC represents an alternative approach to utilizing large, pretrained models without requiring fine-tuning, as well as a first step towards more effectively making use of external memory within common computer vision architectures.

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Spanish and English Phoneme Recognition by Training on Simulated Classroom Audio Recordings of Collaborative Learning Environments

Feb 21, 2022
Mario Esparza

Audio recordings of collaborative learning environments contain a constant presence of cross-talk and background noise. Dynamic speech recognition between Spanish and English is required in these environments. To eliminate the standard requirement of large-scale ground truth, the thesis develops a simulated dataset by transforming audio transcriptions into phonemes and using 3D speaker geometry and data augmentation to generate an acoustic simulation of Spanish and English speech. The thesis develops a low-complexity neural network for recognizing Spanish and English phonemes (available at When trained on 41 English phonemes, 0.099 PER is achieved on Speech Commands. When trained on 36 Spanish phonemes and tested on real recordings of collaborative learning environments, a 0.7208 LER is achieved. Slightly better than Google's Speech-to-text 0.7272 LER, which used anywhere from 15 to 1,635 times more parameters and trained on 300 to 27,500 hours of real data as opposed to 13 hours of simulated audios.

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Rate-matching the regret lower-bound in the linear quadratic regulator with unknown dynamics

Feb 11, 2022
Feicheng Wang, Lucas Janson

The theory of reinforcement learning currently suffers from a mismatch between its empirical performance and the theoretical characterization of its performance, with consequences for, e.g., the understanding of sample efficiency, safety, and robustness. The linear quadratic regulator with unknown dynamics is a fundamental reinforcement learning setting with significant structure in its dynamics and cost function, yet even in this setting there is a gap between the best known regret lower-bound of $\Omega_p(\sqrt{T})$ and the best known upper-bound of $O_p(\sqrt{T}\,\text{polylog}(T))$. The contribution of this paper is to close that gap by establishing a novel regret upper-bound of $O_p(\sqrt{T})$. Our proof is constructive in that it analyzes the regret of a concrete algorithm, and simultaneously establishes an estimation error bound on the dynamics of $O_p(T^{-1/4})$ which is also the first to match the rate of a known lower-bound. The two keys to our improved proof technique are (1) a more precise upper- and lower-bound on the system Gram matrix and (2) a self-bounding argument for the expected estimation error of the optimal controller.

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Youling: an AI-Assisted Lyrics Creation System

Jan 18, 2022
Rongsheng Zhang, Xiaoxi Mao, Le Li, Lin Jiang, Lin Chen, Zhiwei Hu, Yadong Xi, Changjie Fan, Minlie Huang

Recently, a variety of neural models have been proposed for lyrics generation. However, most previous work completes the generation process in a single pass with little human intervention. We believe that lyrics creation is a creative process with human intelligence centered. AI should play a role as an assistant in the lyrics creation process, where human interactions are crucial for high-quality creation. This paper demonstrates \textit{Youling}, an AI-assisted lyrics creation system, designed to collaborate with music creators. In the lyrics generation process, \textit{Youling} supports traditional one pass full-text generation mode as well as an interactive generation mode, which allows users to select the satisfactory sentences from generated candidates conditioned on preceding context. The system also provides a revision module which enables users to revise undesired sentences or words of lyrics repeatedly. Besides, \textit{Youling} allows users to use multifaceted attributes to control the content and format of generated lyrics. The demo video of the system is available at

* accept by emnlp2020 demo track 

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Korean-Specific Dataset for Table Question Answering

Jan 17, 2022
Changwook Jun, Jooyoung Choi, Myoseop Sim, Hyun Kim, Hansol Jang, Kyungkoo Min

Existing question answering systems mainly focus on dealing with text data. However, much of the data produced daily is stored in the form of tables that can be found in documents and relational databases, or on the web. To solve the task of question answering over tables, there exist many datasets for table question answering written in English, but few Korean datasets. In this paper, we demonstrate how we construct Korean-specific datasets for table question answering: Korean tabular dataset is a collection of 1.4M tables with corresponding descriptions for unsupervised pre-training language models. Korean table question answering corpus consists of 70k pairs of questions and answers created by crowd-sourced workers. Subsequently, we then build a pre-trained language model based on Transformer, and fine-tune the model for table question answering with these datasets. We then report the evaluation results of our model. We make our datasets publicly available via our GitHub repository, and hope that those datasets will help further studies for question answering over tables, and for transformation of table formats.

* 7 pages including references and 4 figures 

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High Quality Streaming Speech Synthesis with Low, Sentence-Length-Independent Latency

Nov 17, 2021
Nikolaos Ellinas, Georgios Vamvoukakis, Konstantinos Markopoulos, Aimilios Chalamandaris, Georgia Maniati, Panos Kakoulidis, Spyros Raptis, June Sig Sung, Hyoungmin Park, Pirros Tsiakoulis

This paper presents an end-to-end text-to-speech system with low latency on a CPU, suitable for real-time applications. The system is composed of an autoregressive attention-based sequence-to-sequence acoustic model and the LPCNet vocoder for waveform generation. An acoustic model architecture that adopts modules from both the Tacotron 1 and 2 models is proposed, while stability is ensured by using a recently proposed purely location-based attention mechanism, suitable for arbitrary sentence length generation. During inference, the decoder is unrolled and acoustic feature generation is performed in a streaming manner, allowing for a nearly constant latency which is independent from the sentence length. Experimental results show that the acoustic model can produce feature sequences with minimal latency about 31 times faster than real-time on a computer CPU and 6.5 times on a mobile CPU, enabling it to meet the conditions required for real-time applications on both devices. The full end-to-end system can generate almost natural quality speech, which is verified by listening tests.

* Proceedings of INTERSPEECH 2020 

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Causal Direction of Data Collection Matters: Implications of Causal and Anticausal Learning for NLP

Oct 19, 2021
Zhijing Jin, Julius von Kügelgen, Jingwei Ni, Tejas Vaidhya, Ayush Kaushal, Mrinmaya Sachan, Bernhard Schölkopf

The principle of independent causal mechanisms (ICM) states that generative processes of real world data consist of independent modules which do not influence or inform each other. While this idea has led to fruitful developments in the field of causal inference, it is not widely-known in the NLP community. In this work, we argue that the causal direction of the data collection process bears nontrivial implications that can explain a number of published NLP findings, such as differences in semi-supervised learning (SSL) and domain adaptation (DA) performance across different settings. We categorize common NLP tasks according to their causal direction and empirically assay the validity of the ICM principle for text data using minimum description length. We conduct an extensive meta-analysis of over 100 published SSL and 30 DA studies, and find that the results are consistent with our expectations based on causal insights. This work presents the first attempt to analyze the ICM principle in NLP, and provides constructive suggestions for future modeling choices. Code available at

* EMNLP 2021 (Oral) 

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