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What Level of Quality can Neural Machine Translation Attain on Literary Text?

Jan 15, 2018
Antonio Toral, Andy Way

Given the rise of a new approach to MT, Neural MT (NMT), and its promising performance on different text types, we assess the translation quality it can attain on what is perceived to be the greatest challenge for MT: literary text. Specifically, we target novels, arguably the most popular type of literary text. We build a literary-adapted NMT system for the English-to-Catalan translation direction and evaluate it against a system pertaining to the previous dominant paradigm in MT: statistical phrase-based MT (PBSMT). To this end, for the first time we train MT systems, both NMT and PBSMT, on large amounts of literary text (over 100 million words) and evaluate them on a set of twelve widely known novels spanning from the the 1920s to the present day. According to the BLEU automatic evaluation metric, NMT is significantly better than PBSMT (p < 0.01) on all the novels considered. Overall, NMT results in a 11% relative improvement (3 points absolute) over PBSMT. A complementary human evaluation on three of the books shows that between 17% and 34% of the translations, depending on the book, produced by NMT (versus 8% and 20% with PBSMT) are perceived by native speakers of the target language to be of equivalent quality to translations produced by a professional human translator.

* Chapter for the forthcoming book "Translation Quality Assessment: From Principles to Practice" (Springer) 

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A Gamma-Poisson Mixture Topic Model for Short Text

Apr 23, 2020
Jocelyn Mazarura, Alta de Waal, Pieter de Villiers

Most topic models are constructed under the assumption that documents follow a multinomial distribution. The Poisson distribution is an alternative distribution to describe the probability of count data. For topic modelling, the Poisson distribution describes the number of occurrences of a word in documents of fixed length. The Poisson distribution has been successfully applied in text classification, but its application to topic modelling is not well documented, specifically in the context of a generative probabilistic model. Furthermore, the few Poisson topic models in literature are admixture models, making the assumption that a document is generated from a mixture of topics. In this study, we focus on short text. Many studies have shown that the simpler assumption of a mixture model fits short text better. With mixture models, as opposed to admixture models, the generative assumption is that a document is generated from a single topic. One topic model, which makes this one-topic-per-document assumption, is the Dirichlet-multinomial mixture model. The main contributions of this work are a new Gamma-Poisson mixture model, as well as a collapsed Gibbs sampler for the model. The benefit of the collapsed Gibbs sampler derivation is that the model is able to automatically select the number of topics contained in the corpus. The results show that the Gamma-Poisson mixture model performs better than the Dirichlet-multinomial mixture model at selecting the number of topics in labelled corpora. Furthermore, the Gamma-Poisson mixture produces better topic coherence scores than the Dirichlet-multinomial mixture model, thus making it a viable option for the challenging task of topic modelling of short text.

* 26 pages, 14 Figures, to be published in Mathematical Problems in Engineering 

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Variational Hetero-Encoder Randomized Generative Adversarial Networks for Joint Image-Text Modeling

May 18, 2019
Hao Zhang, Bo Chen, Long Tian, Zhengjue Wang, Mingyuan Zhou

For bidirectional joint image-text modeling, we develop variational hetero-encoder (VHE) randomized generative adversarial network (GAN) that integrates a probabilistic text decoder, probabilistic image encoder, and GAN into a coherent end-to-end multi-modality learning framework. VHE randomized GAN (VHE-GAN) encodes an image to decode its associated text, and feeds the variational posterior as the source of randomness into the GAN image generator. We plug three off-the-shelf modules, including a deep topic model, a ladder-structured image encoder, and StackGAN++, into VHE-GAN, which already achieves competitive performance. This further motivates the development of VHE-raster-scan-GAN that generates photo-realistic images in not only a multi-scale low-to-high-resolution manner, but also a hierarchical-semantic coarse-to-fine fashion. By capturing and relating hierarchical semantic and visual concepts with end-to-end training, VHE-raster-scan-GAN achieves state-of-the-art performance in a wide variety of image-text multi-modality learning and generation tasks. PyTorch code is provided.


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Early Forecasting of Text Classification Accuracy and F-Measure with Active Learning

Jan 20, 2020
Thomas Orth, Michael Bloodgood

When creating text classification systems, one of the major bottlenecks is the annotation of training data. Active learning has been proposed to address this bottleneck using stopping methods to minimize the cost of data annotation. An important capability for improving the utility of stopping methods is to effectively forecast the performance of the text classification models. Forecasting can be done through the use of logarithmic models regressed on some portion of the data as learning is progressing. A critical unexplored question is what portion of the data is needed for accurate forecasting. There is a tension, where it is desirable to use less data so that the forecast can be made earlier, which is more useful, versus it being desirable to use more data, so that the forecast can be more accurate. We find that when using active learning it is even more important to generate forecasts earlier so as to make them more useful and not waste annotation effort. We investigate the difference in forecasting difficulty when using accuracy and F-measure as the text classification system performance metrics and we find that F-measure is more difficult to forecast. We conduct experiments on seven text classification datasets in different semantic domains with different characteristics and with three different base machine learning algorithms. We find that forecasting is easiest for decision tree learning, moderate for Support Vector Machines, and most difficult for neural networks.

* 8 pages, 9 figures, 2 tables; to appear in Proceedings of the IEEE 14th International Conference on Semantic Computing (ICSC 2020), San Diego, California, 2020 

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NeuroLogic Decoding: (Un)supervised Neural Text Generation with Predicate Logic Constraints

Oct 24, 2020
Ximing Lu, Peter West, Rowan Zellers, Ronan Le Bras, Chandra Bhagavatula, Yejin Choi

Conditional text generation often requires lexical constraints, i.e., which words should or shouldn't be included in the output text. While the dominant recipe for conditional text generation has been large-scale pretrained language models that are finetuned on the task-specific training data, such models do not learn to follow the underlying constraints reliably, even when supervised with large amounts of task-specific examples. We propose NeuroLogic Decoding, a simple yet effective algorithm that enables neural language models -- supervised or not -- to generate fluent text while satisfying complex lexical constraints. Our approach is powerful yet efficient. It handles any set of lexical constraints that is expressible under predicate logic, while its asymptotic runtime is equivalent to conventional beam search. Empirical results on four benchmarks show that NeuroLogic Decoding outperforms previous approaches, including algorithms that handle a subset of our constraints. Moreover, we find that unsupervised models with NeuroLogic Decoding often outperform supervised models with conventional decoding, even when the latter is based on considerably larger networks. Our results suggest the limit of large-scale neural networks for fine-grained controllable generation and the promise of inference-time algorithms.


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Deep learning models are not robust against noise in clinical text

Aug 27, 2021
Milad Moradi, Kathrin Blagec, Matthias Samwald

Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems are attracting increasing interest in the medical domain due to their ability to learn complicated tasks that require human intelligence and expert knowledge. AI systems that utilize high-performance Natural Language Processing (NLP) models have achieved state-of-the-art results on a wide variety of clinical text processing benchmarks. They have even outperformed human accuracy on some tasks. However, performance evaluation of such AI systems have been limited to accuracy measures on curated and clean benchmark datasets that may not properly reflect how robustly these systems can operate in real-world situations. In order to address this challenge, we introduce and implement a wide variety of perturbation methods that simulate different types of noise and variability in clinical text data. While noisy samples produced by these perturbation methods can often be understood by humans, they may cause AI systems to make erroneous decisions. Conducting extensive experiments on several clinical text processing tasks, we evaluated the robustness of high-performance NLP models against various types of character-level and word-level noise. The results revealed that the NLP models performance degrades when the input contains small amounts of noise. This study is a significant step towards exposing vulnerabilities of AI models utilized in clinical text processing systems. The proposed perturbation methods can be used in performance evaluation tests to assess how robustly clinical NLP models can operate on noisy data, in real-world settings.


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ClassiNet -- Predicting Missing Features for Short-Text Classification

Apr 14, 2018
Danushka Bollegala, Vincent Atanasov, Takanori Maehara, Ken-ichi Kawarabayashi

The fundamental problem in short-text classification is \emph{feature sparseness} -- the lack of feature overlap between a trained model and a test instance to be classified. We propose \emph{ClassiNet} -- a network of classifiers trained for predicting missing features in a given instance, to overcome the feature sparseness problem. Using a set of unlabeled training instances, we first learn binary classifiers as feature predictors for predicting whether a particular feature occurs in a given instance. Next, each feature predictor is represented as a vertex $v_i$ in the ClassiNet where a one-to-one correspondence exists between feature predictors and vertices. The weight of the directed edge $e_{ij}$ connecting a vertex $v_i$ to a vertex $v_j$ represents the conditional probability that given $v_i$ exists in an instance, $v_j$ also exists in the same instance. We show that ClassiNets generalize word co-occurrence graphs by considering implicit co-occurrences between features. We extract numerous features from the trained ClassiNet to overcome feature sparseness. In particular, for a given instance $\vec{x}$, we find similar features from ClassiNet that did not appear in $\vec{x}$, and append those features in the representation of $\vec{x}$. Moreover, we propose a method based on graph propagation to find features that are indirectly related to a given short-text. We evaluate ClassiNets on several benchmark datasets for short-text classification. Our experimental results show that by using ClassiNet, we can statistically significantly improve the accuracy in short-text classification tasks, without having to use any external resources such as thesauri for finding related features.

* Accepted to ACM TKDD 

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Gender classification by means of online uppercase handwriting: A text-dependent allographic approach

Mar 18, 2022
Enric Sesa-Nogueras, Marcos Faundez-Zanuy, Josep Roure-Alcobé

This paper presents a gender classification schema based on online handwriting. Using samples acquired with a digital tablet that captures the dynamics of the writing, it classifies the writer as a male or a female. The method proposed is allographic, regarding strokes as the structural units of handwriting. Strokes performed while the writing device is not exerting any pressure on the writing surface, pen-up (in-air) strokes, are also taken into account. The method is also text-dependent meaning that training and testing is done with exactly the same text. Text-dependency allows classification be performed with very small amounts of text. Experimentation, performed with samples from the BiosecurID database, yields results that fall in the range of the classification averages expected from human judges. With only four repetitions of a single uppercase word, the average rate of well classified writers is 68%; with sixteen words, the rate rises to an average 72.6%. Statistical analysis reveals that the aforementioned rates are highly significant. In order to explore the classification potential of the pen-up strokes, these are also considered. Although in this case results are not conclusive, an outstanding average of 74% of well classified writers is obtained when information from pen-up strokes is combined with information from pen-down ones.

* Cognitive computation vol. 8 pages 15-19, 2016 
* 25 pages, published in Cogn Comput 8, pages 15 to 29, year 2016 

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Enhancing Energy Minimization Framework for Scene Text Recognition with Top-Down Cues

Jan 13, 2016
Anand Mishra, Karteek Alahari, C. V. Jawahar

Recognizing scene text is a challenging problem, even more so than the recognition of scanned documents. This problem has gained significant attention from the computer vision community in recent years, and several methods based on energy minimization frameworks and deep learning approaches have been proposed. In this work, we focus on the energy minimization framework and propose a model that exploits both bottom-up and top-down cues for recognizing cropped words extracted from street images. The bottom-up cues are derived from individual character detections from an image. We build a conditional random field model on these detections to jointly model the strength of the detections and the interactions between them. These interactions are top-down cues obtained from a lexicon-based prior, i.e., language statistics. The optimal word represented by the text image is obtained by minimizing the energy function corresponding to the random field model. We evaluate our proposed algorithm extensively on a number of cropped scene text benchmark datasets, namely Street View Text, ICDAR 2003, 2011 and 2013 datasets, and IIIT 5K-word, and show better performance than comparable methods. We perform a rigorous analysis of all the steps in our approach and analyze the results. We also show that state-of-the-art convolutional neural network features can be integrated in our framework to further improve the recognition performance.


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TRACE: A Differentiable Approach to Line-level Stroke Recovery for Offline Handwritten Text

May 24, 2021
Taylor Archibald, Mason Poggemann, Aaron Chan, Tony Martinez

Stroke order and velocity are helpful features in the fields of signature verification, handwriting recognition, and handwriting synthesis. Recovering these features from offline handwritten text is a challenging and well-studied problem. We propose a new model called TRACE (Trajectory Recovery by an Adaptively-trained Convolutional Encoder). TRACE is a differentiable approach that uses a convolutional recurrent neural network (CRNN) to infer temporal stroke information from long lines of offline handwritten text with many characters and dynamic time warping (DTW) to align predictions and ground truth points. TRACE is perhaps the first system to be trained end-to-end on entire lines of text of arbitrary width and does not require the use of dynamic exemplars. Moreover, the system does not require images to undergo any pre-processing, nor do the predictions require any post-processing. Consequently, the recovered trajectory is differentiable and can be used as a loss function for other tasks, including synthesizing offline handwritten text. We demonstrate that temporal stroke information recovered by TRACE from offline data can be used for handwriting synthesis and establish the first benchmarks for a stroke trajectory recovery system trained on the IAM online handwriting dataset.

* Accepted as a conference paper at the 16th International Conference on Document Analysis and Recognition (ICDAR), Lausanne, Switzerland, 2021 

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