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Offline Handwritten Chinese Text Recognition with Convolutional Neural Networks

Jun 28, 2020
Brian Liu, Xianchao Xu, Yu Zhang

Deep learning based methods have been dominating the text recognition tasks in different and multilingual scenarios. The offline handwritten Chinese text recognition (HCTR) is one of the most challenging tasks because it involves thousands of characters, variant writing styles and complex data collection process. Recently, the recurrent-free architectures for text recognition appears to be competitive as its highly parallelism and comparable results. In this paper, we build the models using only the convolutional neural networks and use CTC as the loss function. To reduce the overfitting, we apply dropout after each max-pooling layer and with extreme high rate on the last one before the linear layer. The CASIA-HWDB database is selected to tune and evaluate the proposed models. With the existing text samples as templates, we randomly choose isolated character samples to synthesis more text samples for training. We finally achieve 6.81% character error rate (CER) on the ICDAR 2013 competition set, which is the best published result without language model correction.

* 6 pages, 5 figures, and 3 tables 

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Attacks against Ranking Algorithms with Text Embeddings: a Case Study on Recruitment Algorithms

Aug 12, 2021
Anahita Samadi, Debapriya Banerjee, Shirin Nilizadeh

Recently, some studies have shown that text classification tasks are vulnerable to poisoning and evasion attacks. However, little work has investigated attacks against decision making algorithms that use text embeddings, and their output is a ranking. In this paper, we focus on ranking algorithms for recruitment process, that employ text embeddings for ranking applicants resumes when compared to a job description. We demonstrate both white box and black box attacks that identify text items, that based on their location in embedding space, have significant contribution in increasing the similarity score between a resume and a job description. The adversary then uses these text items to improve the ranking of their resume among others. We tested recruitment algorithms that use the similarity scores obtained from Universal Sentence Encoder (USE) and Term Frequency Inverse Document Frequency (TF IDF) vectors. Our results show that in both adversarial settings, on average the attacker is successful. We also found that attacks against TF IDF is more successful compared to USE.

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A German Corpus for Text Similarity Detection Tasks

Mar 11, 2017
Juan-Manuel Torres-Moreno, Gerardo Sierra, Peter Peinl

Text similarity detection aims at measuring the degree of similarity between a pair of texts. Corpora available for text similarity detection are designed to evaluate the algorithms to assess the paraphrase level among documents. In this paper we present a textual German corpus for similarity detection. The purpose of this corpus is to automatically assess the similarity between a pair of texts and to evaluate different similarity measures, both for whole documents or for individual sentences. Therefore we have calculated several simple measures on our corpus based on a library of similarity functions.

* Preprint of International Journal of Computational Linguistics and Applications, vol. 5, no. 2, 2014, pp. 9-24 
* 1 figure; 13 pages 

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Scene Text Detection with Supervised Pyramid Context Network

Nov 21, 2018
Enze Xie, Yuhang Zang, Shuai Shao, Gang Yu, Cong Yao, Guangyao Li

Scene text detection methods based on deep learning have achieved remarkable results over the past years. However, due to the high diversity and complexity of natural scenes, previous state-of-the-art text detection methods may still produce a considerable amount of false positives, when applied to images captured in real-world environments. To tackle this issue, mainly inspired by Mask R-CNN, we propose in this paper an effective model for scene text detection, which is based on Feature Pyramid Network (FPN) and instance segmentation. We propose a supervised pyramid context network (SPCNET) to precisely locate text regions while suppressing false positives. Benefited from the guidance of semantic information and sharing FPN, SPCNET obtains significantly enhanced performance while introducing marginal extra computation. Experiments on standard datasets demonstrate that our SPCNET clearly outperforms start-of-the-art methods. Specifically, it achieves an F-measure of 92.1% on ICDAR2013, 87.2% on ICDAR2015, 74.1% on ICDAR2017 MLT and 82.9% on Total-Text.

* Accepted by AAAI 2019 

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Natural Language Statistical Features of LSTM-generated Texts

Apr 10, 2018
Marco Lippi, Marcelo A Montemurro, Mirko Degli Esposti, Giampaolo Cristadoro

Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) networks have recently shown remarkable performance in several tasks dealing with natural language generation, such as image captioning or poetry composition. Yet, only few works have analyzed text generated by LSTMs in order to quantitatively evaluate to which extent such artificial texts resemble those generated by humans. We compared the statistical structure of LSTM-generated language to that of written natural language, and to those produced by Markov models of various orders. In particular, we characterized the statistical structure of language by assessing word-frequency statistics, long-range correlations, and entropy measures. Our main finding is that while both LSTM and Markov-generated texts can exhibit features similar to real ones in their word-frequency statistics and entropy measures, LSTM-texts are shown to reproduce long-range correlations at scales comparable to those found in natural language. Moreover, for LSTM networks a temperature-like parameter controlling the generation process shows an optimal value---for which the produced texts are closest to real language---consistent across all the different statistical features investigated.

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USTED: Improving ASR with a Unified Speech and Text Encoder-Decoder

Feb 12, 2022
Bolaji Yusuf, Ankur Gandhe, Alex Sokolov

Improving end-to-end speech recognition by incorporating external text data has been a longstanding research topic. There has been a recent focus on training E2E ASR models that get the performance benefits of external text data without incurring the extra cost of evaluating an external language model at inference time. In this work, we propose training ASR model jointly with a set of text-to-text auxiliary tasks with which it shares a decoder and parts of the encoder. When we jointly train ASR and masked language model with the 960-hour Librispeech and Opensubtitles data respectively, we observe WER reductions of 16% and 20% on test-other and test-clean respectively over an ASR-only baseline without any extra cost at inference time, and reductions of 6% and 8% compared to a stronger MUTE-L baseline which trains the decoder with the same text data as our model. We achieve further improvements when we train masked language model on Librispeech data or when we use machine translation as the auxiliary task, without significantly sacrificing performance on the task itself.

* 2022 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP 2022) 

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Improving Probabilistic Models in Text Classification via Active Learning

Feb 05, 2022
Mitchell Bosley, Saki Kuzushima, Ted Enamorado, Yuki Shiraito

When using text data, social scientists often classify documents in order to use the resulting document labels as an outcome or predictor. Since it is prohibitively costly to label a large number of documents manually, automated text classification has become a standard tool. However, current approaches for text classification do not take advantage of all the data at one's disposal. We propose a fast new model for text classification that combines information from both labeled and unlabeled data with an active learning component, where a human iteratively labels documents that the algorithm is least certain about. Using text data from Wikipedia discussion pages, BBC News articles, historical US Supreme Court opinions, and human rights abuse allegations, we show that by introducing information about the structure of unlabeled data and iteratively labeling uncertain documents, our model improves performance relative to classifiers that (a) only use information from labeled data and (b) randomly decide which documents to label at the cost of manually labelling a small number of documents.

* 27 pages, 6 figures 

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An ASP-based Approach to Answering Natural Language Questions for Texts

Dec 21, 2021
Dhruva Pendharkar, Kinjal Basu, Farhad Shakerin, Gopal Gupta

An approach based on answer set programming (ASP) is proposed in this paper for representing knowledge generated from natural language texts. Knowledge in a text is modeled using a Neo Davidsonian-like formalism, which is then represented as an answer set program. Relevant commonsense knowledge is additionally imported from resources such as WordNet and represented in ASP. The resulting knowledge-base can then be used to perform reasoning with the help of an ASP system. This approach can facilitate many natural language tasks such as automated question answering, text summarization, and automated question generation. ASP-based representation of techniques such as default reasoning, hierarchical knowledge organization, preferences over defaults, etc., are used to model commonsense reasoning methods required to accomplish these tasks. In this paper, we describe the CASPR system that we have developed to automate the task of answering natural language questions given English text. CASPR can be regarded as a system that answers questions by "understanding" the text and has been tested on the SQuAD data set, with promising results.

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Labelled network subgraphs reveal stylistic subtleties in written texts

Nov 08, 2017
Vanessa Q. Marinho, Graeme Hirst, Diego R. Amancio

The vast amount of data and increase of computational capacity have allowed the analysis of texts from several perspectives, including the representation of texts as complex networks. Nodes of the network represent the words, and edges represent some relationship, usually word co-occurrence. Even though networked representations have been applied to study some tasks, such approaches are not usually combined with traditional models relying upon statistical paradigms. Because networked models are able to grasp textual patterns, we devised a hybrid classifier, called labelled subgraphs, that combines the frequency of common words with small structures found in the topology of the network, known as motifs. Our approach is illustrated in two contexts, authorship attribution and translationese identification. In the former, a set of novels written by different authors is analyzed. To identify translationese, texts from the Canadian Hansard and the European parliament were classified as to original and translated instances. Our results suggest that labelled subgraphs are able to represent texts and it should be further explored in other tasks, such as the analysis of text complexity, language proficiency, and machine translation.

* To appear in Journal of Complex Networks (JCN cnx047). The paper is available at 

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Uncertainty over Uncertainty: Investigating the Assumptions, Annotations, and Text Measurements of Economic Policy Uncertainty

Oct 09, 2020
Katherine A. Keith, Christoph Teichmann, Brendan O'Connor, Edgar Meij

Methods and applications are inextricably linked in science, and in particular in the domain of text-as-data. In this paper, we examine one such text-as-data application, an established economic index that measures economic policy uncertainty from keyword occurrences in news. This index, which is shown to correlate with firm investment, employment, and excess market returns, has had substantive impact in both the private sector and academia. Yet, as we revisit and extend the original authors' annotations and text measurements we find interesting text-as-data methodological research questions: (1) Are annotator disagreements a reflection of ambiguity in language? (2) Do alternative text measurements correlate with one another and with measures of external predictive validity? We find for this application (1) some annotator disagreements of economic policy uncertainty can be attributed to ambiguity in language, and (2) switching measurements from keyword-matching to supervised machine learning classifiers results in low correlation, a concerning implication for the validity of the index.

* 2020 Natural Language Processing + Computational Social Science Workshop (NLP+CSS) at EMNLP 
* Accepted to the 2020 Natural Language Processing + Computational Social Science Workshop (NLP+CSS) at EMNLP 

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