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A Robust Regression Approach for Background/Foreground Segmentation

Sep 01, 2015
Shervin Minaee, Haoping Yu, Yao Wang

Background/foreground segmentation has a lot of applications in image and video processing. In this paper, a segmentation algorithm is proposed which is mainly designed for text and line extraction in screen content. The proposed method makes use of the fact that the background in each block is usually smoothly varying and can be modeled well by a linear combination of a few smoothly varying basis functions, while the foreground text and graphics create sharp discontinuity. The algorithm separates the background and foreground pixels by trying to fit pixel values in the block into a smooth function using a robust regression method. The inlier pixels that can fit well will be considered as background, while remaining outlier pixels will be considered foreground. This algorithm has been extensively tested on several images from HEVC standard test sequences for screen content coding, and is shown to have superior performance over other methods, such as the k-means clustering based segmentation algorithm in DjVu. This background/foreground segmentation can be used in different applications such as: text extraction, separate coding of background and foreground for compression of screen content and mixed content documents, principle line extraction from palmprint and crease detection in fingerprint images.

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The JDDC 2.0 Corpus: A Large-Scale Multimodal Multi-Turn Chinese Dialogue Dataset for E-commerce Customer Service

Sep 27, 2021
Nan Zhao, Haoran Li, Youzheng Wu, Xiaodong He, Bowen Zhou

With the development of the Internet, more and more people get accustomed to online shopping. When communicating with customer service, users may express their requirements by means of text, images, and videos, which precipitates the need for understanding these multimodal information for automatic customer service systems. Images usually act as discriminators for product models, or indicators of product failures, which play important roles in the E-commerce scenario. On the other hand, detailed information provided by the images is limited, and typically, customer service systems cannot understand the intents of users without the input text. Thus, bridging the gap of the image and text is crucial for the multimodal dialogue task. To handle this problem, we construct JDDC 2.0, a large-scale multimodal multi-turn dialogue dataset collected from a mainstream Chinese E-commerce platform (, containing about 246 thousand dialogue sessions, 3 million utterances, and 507 thousand images, along with product knowledge bases and image category annotations. We present the solutions of top-5 teams participating in the JDDC multimodal dialogue challenge based on this dataset, which provides valuable insights for further researches on the multimodal dialogue task.

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Slot Filling for Biomedical Information Extraction

Sep 17, 2021
Yannis Papanikolaou, Francine Bennett

Information Extraction (IE) from text refers to the task of extracting structured knowledge from unstructured text. The task typically consists of a series of sub-tasks such as Named Entity Recognition and Relation Extraction. Sourcing entity and relation type specific training data is a major bottleneck in the above sub-tasks.In this work we present a slot filling approach to the task of biomedical IE, effectively replacing the need for entity and relation-specific training data, allowing to deal with zero-shot settings. We follow the recently proposed paradigm of coupling a Tranformer-based bi-encoder, Dense Passage Retrieval, with a Transformer-based reader model to extract relations from biomedical text. We assemble a biomedical slot filling dataset for both retrieval and reading comprehension and conduct a series of experiments demonstrating that our approach outperforms a number of simpler baselines. We also evaluate our approach end-to-end for standard as well as zero-shot settings. Our work provides a fresh perspective on how to solve biomedical IE tasks, in the absence of relevant training data. Our code, models and pretrained data are available at

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Using GAN-based models to sentimental analysis on imbalanced datasets in education domain

Aug 26, 2021
Ru Yang, Maryam Edalati

While the whole world is still struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning and home office become more common. Many schools transfer their courses teaching to the online classroom. Therefore, it is significant to mine the students' feedback and opinions from their reviews towards studies so that both schools and teachers can know where they need to improve. This paper trains machine learning and deep learning models using both balanced and imbalanced datasets for sentiment classification. Two SOTA category-aware text generation GAN models: CatGAN and SentiGAN, are utilized to synthesize text used to balance the highly imbalanced dataset. Results on three datasets with different imbalance degree from distinct domains show that when using generated text to balance the dataset, the F1-score of machine learning and deep learning model on sentiment classification increases 2.79% ~ 9.28%. Also, the results indicate that the average growth degree for CR100k is higher than CR23k, the average growth degree for deep learning is more increased than machine learning algorithms, and the average growth degree for more complex deep learning models is more increased than simpler deep learning models in experiments.

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Evolution of emotion semantics

Aug 05, 2021
Aotao Xu, Jennifer E. Stellar, Yang Xu

Humans possess the unique ability to communicate emotions through language. Although concepts like anger or awe are abstract, there is a shared consensus about what these English emotion words mean. This consensus may give the impression that their meaning is static, but we propose this is not the case. We cannot travel back to earlier periods to study emotion concepts directly, but we can examine text corpora, which have partially preserved the meaning of emotion words. Using natural language processing of historical text, we found evidence for semantic change in emotion words over the past century and that varying rates of change were predicted in part by an emotion concept's prototypicality - how representative it is of the broader category of "emotion". Prototypicality negatively correlated with historical rates of emotion semantic change obtained from text-based word embeddings, beyond more established variables including usage frequency in English and a second comparison language, French. This effect for prototypicality did not consistently extend to the semantic category of birds, suggesting its relevance for predicting semantic change may be category-dependent. Our results suggest emotion semantics are evolving over time, with prototypical emotion words remaining semantically stable, while other emotion words evolve more freely.

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TransferNet: An Effective and Transparent Framework for Multi-hop Question Answering over Relation Graph

Apr 15, 2021
Jiaxin Shi, Shulin Cao, Lei Hou, Juanzi Li, Hanwang Zhang

Multi-hop Question Answering (QA) is a challenging task because it requires precise reasoning with entity relations at every step towards the answer. The relations can be represented in terms of labels in knowledge graph (e.g., \textit{spouse}) or text in text corpus (e.g., \textit{they have been married for 26 years}). Existing models usually infer the answer by predicting the sequential relation path or aggregating the hidden graph features. The former is hard to optimize, and the latter lacks interpretability. In this paper, we propose TransferNet, an effective and transparent model for multi-hop QA, which supports both label and text relations in a unified framework. TransferNet jumps across entities at multiple steps. At each step, it attends to different parts of the question, computes activated scores for relations, and then transfer the previous entity scores along activated relations in a differentiable way. We carry out extensive experiments on three datasets and demonstrate that TransferNet surpasses the state-of-the-art models by a large margin. In particular, on MetaQA, it achieves 100\% accuracy in 2-hop and 3-hop questions. By qualitative analysis, we show that TransferNet has transparent and interpretable intermediate results.

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PowerTransformer: Unsupervised Controllable Revision for Biased Language Correction

Oct 26, 2020
Xinyao Ma, Maarten Sap, Hannah Rashkin, Yejin Choi

Unconscious biases continue to be prevalent in modern text and media, calling for algorithms that can assist writers with bias correction. For example, a female character in a story is often portrayed as passive and powerless ("She daydreams about being a doctor") while a man is portrayed as more proactive and powerful ("He pursues his dream of being a doctor"). We formulate *Controllable Debiasing*, a new revision task that aims to rewrite a given text to correct the implicit and potentially undesirable bias in character portrayals. We then introduce PowerTransformer as an approach that debiases text through the lens of connotation frames (Sap et al., 2017), which encode pragmatic knowledge of implied power dynamics with respect to verb predicates. One key challenge of our task is the lack of parallel corpora. To address this challenge, we adopt an unsupervised approach using auxiliary supervision with related tasks such as paraphrasing and self-supervision based on a reconstruction loss, building on pretrained language models. Through comprehensive experiments based on automatic and human evaluations, we demonstrate that our approach outperforms ablations and existing methods from related tasks. Furthermore, we demonstrate the use of PowerTransformer as a step toward mitigating the well-documented gender bias in character portrayal in movie scripts.

* EMNLP 2020 

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A Recipe for Creating Multimodal Aligned Datasets for Sequential Tasks

May 19, 2020
Angela S. Lin, Sudha Rao, Asli Celikyilmaz, Elnaz Nouri, Chris Brockett, Debadeepta Dey, Bill Dolan

Many high-level procedural tasks can be decomposed into sequences of instructions that vary in their order and choice of tools. In the cooking domain, the web offers many partially-overlapping text and video recipes (i.e. procedures) that describe how to make the same dish (i.e. high-level task). Aligning instructions for the same dish across different sources can yield descriptive visual explanations that are far richer semantically than conventional textual instructions, providing commonsense insight into how real-world procedures are structured. Learning to align these different instruction sets is challenging because: a) different recipes vary in their order of instructions and use of ingredients; and b) video instructions can be noisy and tend to contain far more information than text instructions. To address these challenges, we first use an unsupervised alignment algorithm that learns pairwise alignments between instructions of different recipes for the same dish. We then use a graph algorithm to derive a joint alignment between multiple text and multiple video recipes for the same dish. We release the Microsoft Research Multimodal Aligned Recipe Corpus containing 150K pairwise alignments between recipes across 4,262 dishes with rich commonsense information.

* Association of Computational Linguistics 2020 
* This paper has been accepted to be published at ACL 2020 

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Parallel sequence tagging for concept recognition

Mar 16, 2020
Lenz Furrer, Joseph Cornelius, Fabio Rinaldi

Motivation: Named Entity Recognition (NER) and Normalisation (NEN) are core components of any text-mining system for biomedical texts. In a traditional concept-recognition pipeline, these tasks are combined in a serial way, which is inherently prone to error propagation from NER to NEN. We propose a parallel architecture, where both NER and NEN are modeled as a sequence-labeling task, operating directly on the source text. We examine different harmonisation strategies for merging the predictions of the two classifiers into a single output sequence. Results: We test our approach on the recent Version 4 of the CRAFT corpus. In all 20 annotation sets of the concept-annotation task, our system outperforms the pipeline system reported as a baseline in the CRAFT shared task 2019. Our analysis shows that the strengths of the two classifiers can be combined in a fruitful way. However, prediction harmonisation requires individual calibration on a development set for each annotation set. This allows achieving a good trade-off between established knowledge (training set) and novel information (unseen concepts). Availability and Implementation: Source code freely available for download at Supplementary data are available at arXiv online.

* 13 pages, 5 figures 

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Progress Notes Classification and Keyword Extraction using Attention-based Deep Learning Models with BERT

Oct 24, 2019
Matthew Tang, Priyanka Gandhi, Md Ahsanul Kabir, Christopher Zou, Jordyn Blakey, Xiao Luo

Various deep learning algorithms have been developed to analyze different types of clinical data including clinical text classification and extracting information from 'free text' and so on. However, automate the keyword extraction from the clinical notes is still challenging. The challenges include dealing with noisy clinical notes which contain various abbreviations, possible typos, and unstructured sentences. The objective of this research is to investigate the attention-based deep learning models to classify the de-identified clinical progress notes extracted from a real-world EHR system. The attention-based deep learning models can be used to interpret the models and understand the critical words that drive the correct or incorrect classification of the clinical progress notes. The attention-based models in this research are capable of presenting the human interpretable text classification models. The results show that the fine-tuned BERT with the attention layer can achieve a high classification accuracy of 97.6%, which is higher than the baseline fine-tuned BERT classification model. In this research, we also demonstrate that the attention-based models can identify relevant keywords that are strongly related to the clinical progress note categories.

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