In the era of pre-trained language models, Transformers are the de facto choice of model architectures. While recent research has shown promise in entirely convolutional, or CNN, architectures, they have not been explored using the pre-train-fine-tune paradigm. In the context of language models, are convolutional models competitive to Transformers when pre-trained? This paper investigates this research question and presents several interesting findings. Across an extensive set of experiments on 8 datasets/tasks, we find that CNN-based pre-trained models are competitive and outperform their Transformer counterpart in certain scenarios, albeit with caveats. Overall, the findings outlined in this paper suggest that conflating pre-training and architectural advances is misguided and that both advances should be considered independently. We believe our research paves the way for a healthy amount of optimism in alternative architectures.
The past decade has witnessed a groundbreaking rise of machine learning for human language analysis, with current methods capable of automatically accurately recovering various aspects of syntax and semantics – including sentence structure and grounded word meaning – from large data collections. Recent research showed the promise of such tools for analyzing acoustic communication in nonhuman species. We posit that machine learning will be the cornerstone of future collection, processing, and analysis of multimodal streams of data in animal communication studies, including bioacoustic, behavioral, biological, and environmental data. Cetaceans are unique non-human model species as they possess sophisticated acoustic communications, but utilize a very different encoding system that evolved in an aquatic rather than terrestrial medium. Sperm whales, in particular, with their highly-developed neuroanatomical features, cognitive abilities, social structures, and discrete click-based encoding make for an excellent starting point for advanced machine learning tools that can be applied to other animals in the future. This paper details a roadmap toward this goal based on currently existing technology and multidisciplinary scientific community effort. We outline the key elements required for the collection and processing of massive bioacoustic data of sperm whales, detecting their basic communication units and language-like higher-level structures, and validating these models through interactive playback experiments. The technological capabilities developed by such an undertaking are likely to yield cross-applications and advancements in broader communities investigating non-human communication and animal behavioral research.
Intimacy is a fundamental aspect of how we relate to others in social settings. Language encodes the social information of intimacy through both topics and other more subtle cues (such as linguistic hedging and swearing). Here, we introduce a new computational framework for studying expressions of the intimacy in language with an accompanying dataset and deep learning model for accurately predicting the intimacy level of questions (Pearson’s r=0.87). Through analyzing a dataset of 80.5M questions across social media, books, and films, we show that individuals employ interpersonal pragmatic moves in their language to align their intimacy with social settings. Then, in three studies, we further demonstrate how individuals modulate their intimacy to match social norms around gender, social distance, and audience, each validating key findings from studies in social psychology. Our work demonstrates that intimacy is a pervasive and impactful social dimension of language.
The dominant sequence transduction models are based on complex recurrent or convolutional neural networks that include an encoder and a decoder. The best performing models also connect the encoder and decoder through an attention mechanism. We propose a new simple network architecture, the Transformer, based solely on attention mechanisms, dispensing with recurrence and convolutions entirely. Experiments on two machine translation tasks show these models to be superior in quality while being more parallelizable and requiring significantly less time to train. Our model achieves 28.4 BLEU on the WMT 2014 English-to-German translation task, improving over the existing best results, including ensembles, by over 2 BLEU. On the WMT 2014 English-to-French translation task, our model establishes a new single-model state-of-the-art BLEU score of 41.0 after training for 3.5 days on eight GPUs, a small fraction of the training costs of the best models from the literature.
This Story understanding involves many perceptual and cognitive subprocesses, from perceiving individual words, to parsing sentences, to understanding the relationships among the story characters. We present an integrated computational model of reading that incorporates these and additional subprocesses, simultaneously discovering their fMRI signatures. Our model predicts the fMRI activity associated with reading arbitrary text passages, well enough to distinguish which of two story segments is being read with 74% accuracy. This approach is the first to simultaneously track diverse reading subprocesses during complex story processing and predict the detailed neural representation of diverse story features, ranging from visual word properties to the mention of different story characters and different actions they perform. We construct brain representation maps that replicate many results from a wide range of classical studies that focus each on one aspect of language processing and offer new insights on which type of information is processed by different areas involved in language processing. Additionally, this approach is promising for studying individual differences: it can be used to create single subject maps that may potentially be used to measure reading comprehension and diagnose reading disorders. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (nsf.gov, 0835797, TM); the National Institute of Child Health and human Development (nichd.nih.gov, 5R01HD075328, TM); and the Rothberg Brain Imaging Award (http://www. cmu.edu/news/archive/2011/July/july7- rothbergawards.shtml, LW AF). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Adversarial attacks alter NLP model predictions by perturbing test-time inputs. However, it is much less understood whether, and how, predictions can be manipulated with small, concealed changes to the training data. In this work, we develop a new data poisoning attack that allows an adversary to control model predictions whenever a desired trigger phrase is present in the input. For instance, we insert 50 poison examples into a sentiment model’s training set that causes the model to frequently predict Positive whenever the input contains “James Bond”. Crucially, we craft these poison examples using a gradient-based procedure so that they do not mention the trigger phrase. We also apply our poison attack to language modeling (“Apple iPhone” triggers negative generations) and machine translation (“iced coffee” mistranslated as “hot coffee”). We conclude by proposing three defenses that can mitigate our attack at some cost in prediction accuracy or extra human annotation.
We present ViLBERT (short for Vision-and-Language BERT), a model for learning task-agnostic joint representations of image content and natural language. We extend the popular BERT architecture to a multi-modal two-stream model, processing both visual and textual inputs in separate streams that interact through co-attentional transformer layers. We pretrain our model through two proxy tasks on the large, automatically collected Conceptual Captions dataset and then transfer it to multiple established vision-and-language tasks, visual question answering, visual commonsense reasoning, referring expressions, and caption-based image retrieval by making only minor additions to the base architecture. We observe significant improvements across tasks compared to existing task-specific models achieving state-of-the-art on all four tasks. Our work represents a shift away from learning groundings between vision and language only as part of task training and towards treating visual grounding as a pretrainable and transferable capability.
Most undeciphered lost languages exhibit two characteristics that pose significant decipherment challenges: (1) the scripts are not fully segmented into words; (2) the closest known language is not determined. We propose a decipherment model that handles both of these challenges by building on rich linguistic constraints reflecting consistent patterns in historical sound change. We capture the natural phonological geometry by learning character embeddings based on the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The resulting generative framework jointly models word segmentation and cognate alignment, informed by phonological constraints. We evaluate the model on both deciphered languages (Gothic, Ugaritic) and an undeciphered one (Iberian). The experiments show that incorporating phonetic geometry leads to clear and consistent gains. Additionally, we propose a measure for language closeness which correctly identifies related languages for Gothic and Ugaritic. For Iberian, the method does not show strong evidence supporting Basque as a related language, concurring with the favored position by the current scholarship.
Recently, the emergence of pre-trained models (PTMs) has brought natural language processing (NLP) to a new era. In this survey, we provide a comprehensive review of PTMs for NLP. We first briefly introduce language representation learning and its research progress. Then we systematically categorize existing PTMs based on a taxonomy from four different perspectives. Next, we describe how to adapt the knowledge of PTMs to downstream tasks. Finally, we outline some potential directions of PTMs for future research. This survey is purposed to be a hands-on guide for understanding, using, and developing PTMs for various NLP tasks.
BERT has achieved impressive performance in several NLP tasks. However, there has been limited investigation on its adaptation guidelines in specialised domains. Here we focus on the legal domain, where we explore several approaches for applying BERT models to downstream legal tasks, evaluating on multiple datasets. Our findings indicate that the previous guidelines for pre-training and fine-tuning, often blindly followed, do not always generalize well in the legal domain. Thus we propose a systematic investigation of the available strategies when applying BERT in specialised domains. These are: (a) use the original BERT out of the box, (b) adapt BERT by additional pre-training on domain-specific corpora, and (c) pre-train BERT from scratch on domain-specific corpora. We also propose a broader hyper-parameter search space when fine-tuning for downstream tasks and we release LEGAL-BERT, a family of BERT models intended to assist legal NLP research, computational law, and legal technology applications.