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"Text": models, code, and papers

From Show to Tell: A Survey on Image Captioning

Jul 14, 2021
Matteo Stefanini, Marcella Cornia, Lorenzo Baraldi, Silvia Cascianelli, Giuseppe Fiameni, Rita Cucchiara

Connecting Vision and Language plays an essential role in Generative Intelligence. For this reason, in the last few years, a large research effort has been devoted to image captioning, i.e. the task of describing images with syntactically and semantically meaningful sentences. Starting from 2015 the task has generally been addressed with pipelines composed of a visual encoding step and a language model for text generation. During these years, both components have evolved considerably through the exploitation of object regions, attributes, and relationships and the introduction of multi-modal connections, fully-attentive approaches, and BERT-like early-fusion strategies. However, regardless of the impressive results obtained, research in image captioning has not reached a conclusive answer yet. This work aims at providing a comprehensive overview and categorization of image captioning approaches, from visual encoding and text generation to training strategies, used datasets, and evaluation metrics. In this respect, we quantitatively compare many relevant state-of-the-art approaches to identify the most impactful technical innovations in image captioning architectures and training strategies. Moreover, many variants of the problem and its open challenges are analyzed and discussed. The final goal of this work is to serve as a tool for understanding the existing state-of-the-art and highlighting the future directions for an area of research where Computer Vision and Natural Language Processing can find an optimal synergy.

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MultiCite: Modeling realistic citations requires moving beyond the single-sentence single-label setting

Jul 01, 2021
Anne Lauscher, Brandon Ko, Bailey Kuhl, Sophie Johnson, David Jurgens, Arman Cohan, Kyle Lo

Citation context analysis (CCA) is an important task in natural language processing that studies how and why scholars discuss each others' work. Despite being studied for decades, traditional frameworks for CCA have largely relied on overly-simplistic assumptions of how authors cite, which ignore several important phenomena. For instance, scholarly papers often contain rich discussions of cited work that span multiple sentences and express multiple intents concurrently. Yet, CCA is typically approached as a single-sentence, single-label classification task, and thus existing datasets fail to capture this interesting discourse. In our work, we address this research gap by proposing a novel framework for CCA as a document-level context extraction and labeling task. We release MultiCite, a new dataset of 12,653 citation contexts from over 1,200 computational linguistics papers. Not only is it the largest collection of expert-annotated citation contexts to-date, MultiCite contains multi-sentence, multi-label citation contexts within full paper texts. Finally, we demonstrate how our dataset, while still usable for training classic CCA models, also supports the development of new types of models for CCA beyond fixed-width text classification. We release our code and dataset at

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Hate speech detection using static BERT embeddings

Jun 29, 2021
Gaurav Rajput, Narinder Singh punn, Sanjay Kumar Sonbhadra, Sonali Agarwal

With increasing popularity of social media platforms hate speech is emerging as a major concern, where it expresses abusive speech that targets specific group characteristics, such as gender, religion or ethnicity to spread violence. Earlier people use to verbally deliver hate speeches but now with the expansion of technology, some people are deliberately using social media platforms to spread hate by posting, sharing, commenting, etc. Whether it is Christchurch mosque shootings or hate crimes against Asians in west, it has been observed that the convicts are very much influenced from hate text present online. Even though AI systems are in place to flag such text but one of the key challenges is to reduce the false positive rate (marking non hate as hate), so that these systems can detect hate speech without undermining the freedom of expression. In this paper, we use ETHOS hate speech detection dataset and analyze the performance of hate speech detection classifier by replacing or integrating the word embeddings (fastText (FT), GloVe (GV) or FT + GV) with static BERT embeddings (BE). With the extensive experimental trails it is observed that the neural network performed better with static BE compared to using FT, GV or FT + GV as word embeddings. In comparison to fine-tuned BERT, one metric that significantly improved is specificity.

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Syntax-augmented Multilingual BERT for Cross-lingual Transfer

Jun 03, 2021
Wasi Uddin Ahmad, Haoran Li, Kai-Wei Chang, Yashar Mehdad

In recent years, we have seen a colossal effort in pre-training multilingual text encoders using large-scale corpora in many languages to facilitate cross-lingual transfer learning. However, due to typological differences across languages, the cross-lingual transfer is challenging. Nevertheless, language syntax, e.g., syntactic dependencies, can bridge the typological gap. Previous works have shown that pre-trained multilingual encoders, such as mBERT \cite{devlin-etal-2019-bert}, capture language syntax, helping cross-lingual transfer. This work shows that explicitly providing language syntax and training mBERT using an auxiliary objective to encode the universal dependency tree structure helps cross-lingual transfer. We perform rigorous experiments on four NLP tasks, including text classification, question answering, named entity recognition, and task-oriented semantic parsing. The experiment results show that syntax-augmented mBERT improves cross-lingual transfer on popular benchmarks, such as PAWS-X and MLQA, by 1.4 and 1.6 points on average across all languages. In the \emph{generalized} transfer setting, the performance boosted significantly, with 3.9 and 3.1 points on average in PAWS-X and MLQA.

* ACL 2021 (camera ready) 

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Cisco at SemEval-2021 Task 5: What's Toxic?: Leveraging Transformers for Multiple Toxic Span Extraction from Online Comments

May 28, 2021
Sreyan Ghosh, Sonal Kumar

Social network platforms are generally used to share positive, constructive, and insightful content. However, in recent times, people often get exposed to objectionable content like threat, identity attacks, hate speech, insults, obscene texts, offensive remarks or bullying. Existing work on toxic speech detection focuses on binary classification or on differentiating toxic speech among a small set of categories. This paper describes the system proposed by team Cisco for SemEval-2021 Task 5: Toxic Spans Detection, the first shared task focusing on detecting the spans in the text that attribute to its toxicity, in English language. We approach this problem primarily in two ways: a sequence tagging approach and a dependency parsing approach. In our sequence tagging approach we tag each token in a sentence under a particular tagging scheme. Our best performing architecture in this approach also proved to be our best performing architecture overall with an F1 score of 0.6922, thereby placing us 7th on the final evaluation phase leaderboard. We also explore a dependency parsing approach where we extract spans from the input sentence under the supervision of target span boundaries and rank our spans using a biaffine model. Finally, we also provide a detailed analysis of our results and model performance in our paper.

* 9 pages, accepted at SemEval-2021 co-located with ACL-IJCNLP 2021 

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TextFlint: Unified Multilingual Robustness Evaluation Toolkit for Natural Language Processing

Apr 06, 2021
Tao Gui, Xiao Wang, Qi Zhang, Qin Liu, Yicheng Zou, Xin Zhou, Rui Zheng, Chong Zhang, Qinzhuo Wu, Jiacheng Ye, Zexiong Pang, Yongxin Zhang, Zhengyan Li, Ruotian Ma, Zichu Fei, Ruijian Cai, Jun Zhao, Xinwu Hu, Zhiheng Yan, Yiding Tan, Yuan Hu, Qiyuan Bian, Zhihua Liu, Bolin Zhu, Shan Qin, Xiaoyu Xing, Jinlan Fu, Yue Zhang, Minlong Peng, Xiaoqing Zheng, Yaqian Zhou, Zhongyu Wei, Xipeng Qiu, Xuanjing Huang

Various robustness evaluation methodologies from different perspectives have been proposed for different natural language processing (NLP) tasks. These methods have often focused on either universal or task-specific generalization capabilities. In this work, we propose a multilingual robustness evaluation platform for NLP tasks (TextFlint) that incorporates universal text transformation, task-specific transformation, adversarial attack, subpopulation, and their combinations to provide comprehensive robustness analysis. TextFlint enables practitioners to automatically evaluate their models from all aspects or to customize their evaluations as desired with just a few lines of code. To guarantee user acceptability, all the text transformations are linguistically based, and we provide a human evaluation for each one. TextFlint generates complete analytical reports as well as targeted augmented data to address the shortcomings of the model's robustness. To validate TextFlint's utility, we performed large-scale empirical evaluations (over 67,000 evaluations) on state-of-the-art deep learning models, classic supervised methods, and real-world systems. Almost all models showed significant performance degradation, including a decline of more than 50% of BERT's prediction accuracy on tasks such as aspect-level sentiment classification, named entity recognition, and natural language inference. Therefore, we call for the robustness to be included in the model evaluation, so as to promote the healthy development of NLP technology.

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Situated Language Learning via Interactive Narratives

Mar 18, 2021
Prithviraj Ammanabrolu, Mark O. Riedl

This paper provides a roadmap that explores the question of how to imbue learning agents with the ability to understand and generate contextually relevant natural language in service of achieving a goal. We hypothesize that two key components in creating such agents are interactivity and environment grounding, shown to be vital parts of language learning in humans, and posit that interactive narratives should be the environments of choice for such training these agents. These games are simulations in which an agent interacts with the world through natural language -- "perceiving", "acting upon", and "talking to" the world using textual descriptions, commands, and dialogue -- and as such exist at the intersection of natural language processing, storytelling, and sequential decision making. We discuss the unique challenges a text games' puzzle-like structure combined with natural language state-and-action spaces provides: knowledge representation, commonsense reasoning, and exploration. Beyond the challenges described so far, progress in the realm of interactive narratives can be applied in adjacent problem domains. These applications provide interesting challenges of their own as well as extensions to those discussed so far. We describe three of them in detail: (1) evaluating AI system's commonsense understanding by automatically creating interactive narratives; (2) adapting abstract text-based policies to include other modalities such as vision; and (3) enabling multi-agent and human-AI collaboration in shared, situated worlds.

* Preprint. Under journal review 

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Legibility Enhancement of Papyri Using Color Processing and Visual Illusions: A Case Study in Critical Vision

Mar 11, 2021
Vlad Atanasiu, Isabelle Marthot-Santaniello

Purpose: This article develops theoretical, algorithmic, perceptual, and interaction aspects of script legibility enhancement in the visible light spectrum for the purpose of scholarly editing of papyri texts. - Methods: Novel legibility enhancement algorithms based on color processing and visual illusions are proposed and compared to classic methods. A user experience experiment was carried out to evaluate the solutions and better understand the problem on an empirical basis. - Results: (1) The proposed methods outperformed the comparison methods. (2) The methods that most successfully enhanced script legibility were those that leverage human perception. (3) Users exhibited a broad behavioral spectrum of text-deciphering strategies, under the influence of factors such as personality and social conditioning, tasks and application domains, expertise level and image quality, and affordances of software, hardware, and interfaces. No single method satisfied all factor configurations. Therefore, using synergetically a range of enhancement methods and interaction modalities is suggested for optimal results and user satisfaction. (4) A paradigm of legibility enhancement for critical applications is outlined, comprising the following criteria: interpreting images skeptically; approaching enhancement as a system problem; considering all image structures as potential information; deriving interpretations from connections across distinct spatial locations; and making uncertainty and alternative interpretations explicit, both visually and numerically.

* Article accepted with minor revisions by the International Journal on Document Analysis and Recognition (IJDAR) on 2021.03.11. Open Source software accessible at 

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Context-Guided BERT for Targeted Aspect-Based Sentiment Analysis

Oct 15, 2020
Zhengxuan Wu, Desmond C. Ong

Aspect-based sentiment analysis (ABSA) and Targeted ASBA (TABSA) allow finer-grained inferences about sentiment to be drawn from the same text, depending on context. For example, a given text can have different targets (e.g., neighborhoods) and different aspects (e.g., price or safety), with different sentiment associated with each target-aspect pair. In this paper, we investigate whether adding context to self-attention models improves performance on (T)ABSA. We propose two variants of Context-Guided BERT (CG-BERT) that learn to distribute attention under different contexts. We first adapt a context-aware Transformer to produce a CG-BERT that uses context-guided softmax-attention. Next, we propose an improved Quasi-Attention CG-BERT model that learns a compositional attention that supports subtractive attention. We train both models with pretrained BERT on two (T)ABSA datasets: SentiHood and SemEval-2014 (Task 4). Both models achieve new state-of-the-art results with our QACG-BERT model having the best performance. Furthermore, we provide analyses of the impact of context in the our proposed models. Our work provides more evidence for the utility of adding context-dependencies to pretrained self-attention-based language models for context-based natural language tasks.

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