Research papers and code for "Alessandro Moschitti":
In this paper, we propose an approach for transferring the knowledge of a neural model for sequence labeling, learned from the source domain, to a new model trained on a target domain, where new label categories appear. Our transfer learning (TL) techniques enable to adapt the source model using the target data and new categories, without accessing to the source data. Our solution consists in adding new neurons in the output layer of the target model and transferring parameters from the source model, which are then fine-tuned with the target data. Additionally, we propose a neural adapter to learn the difference between the source and the target label distribution, which provides additional important information to the target model. Our experiments on Named Entity Recognition show that (i) the learned knowledge in the source model can be effectively transferred when the target data contains new categories and (ii) our neural adapter further improves such transfer.

* 9 pages, 4 figures, 3 tables, accepted paper in the Thirty-Third AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-19)
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In this paper, we propose convolutional neural networks for learning an optimal representation of question and answer sentences. Their main aspect is the use of relational information given by the matches between words from the two members of the pair. The matches are encoded as embeddings with additional parameters (dimensions), which are tuned by the network. These allows for better capturing interactions between questions and answers, resulting in a significant boost in accuracy. We test our models on two widely used answer sentence selection benchmarks. The results clearly show the effectiveness of our relational information, which allows our relatively simple network to approach the state of the art.

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Effectively using full syntactic parsing information in Neural Networks (NNs) to solve relational tasks, e.g., question similarity, is still an open problem. In this paper, we propose to inject structural representations in NNs by (i) learning an SVM model using Tree Kernels (TKs) on relatively few pairs of questions (few thousands) as gold standard (GS) training data is typically scarce, (ii) predicting labels on a very large corpus of question pairs, and (iii) pre-training NNs on such large corpus. The results on Quora and SemEval question similarity datasets show that NNs trained with our approach can learn more accurate models, especially after fine tuning on GS.

* ACL2018
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In this paper, we developed a deep neural network (DNN) that learns to solve simultaneously the three tasks of the cQA challenge proposed by the SemEval-2016 Task 3, i.e., question-comment similarity, question-question similarity and new question-comment similarity. The latter is the main task, which can exploit the previous two for achieving better results. Our DNN is trained jointly on all the three cQA tasks and learns to encode questions and comments into a single vector representation shared across the multiple tasks. The results on the official challenge test set show that our approach produces higher accuracy and faster convergence rates than the individual neural networks. Additionally, our method, which does not use any manual feature engineering, approaches the state of the art established with methods that make heavy use of it.

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We address the problem of detecting duplicate questions in forums, which is an important step towards automating the process of answering new questions. As finding and annotating such potential duplicates manually is very tedious and costly, automatic methods based on machine learning are a viable alternative. However, many forums do not have annotated data, i.e., questions labeled by experts as duplicates, and thus a promising solution is to use domain adaptation from another forum that has such annotations. Here we focus on adversarial domain adaptation, deriving important findings about when it performs well and what properties of the domains are important in this regard. Our experiments with StackExchange data show an average improvement of 5.6% over the best baseline across multiple pairs of domains.

* EMNLP 2018 short paper - camera ready. 8 pages
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A reasonable approach for fact checking a claim involves retrieving potentially relevant documents from different sources (e.g., news websites, social media, etc.), determining the stance of each document with respect to the claim, and finally making a prediction about the claim's factuality by aggregating the strength of the stances, while taking the reliability of the source into account. Moreover, a fact checking system should be able to explain its decision by providing relevant extracts (rationales) from the documents. Yet, this setup is not directly supported by existing datasets, which treat fact checking, document retrieval, source credibility, stance detection and rationale extraction as independent tasks. In this paper, we support the interdependencies between these tasks as annotations in the same corpus. We implement this setup on an Arabic fact checking corpus, the first of its kind.

* Stance Detection, Fact-Checking, Veracity, Arabic, NAACL-2018
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We present a novel end-to-end memory network for stance detection, which jointly (i) predicts whether a document agrees, disagrees, discusses or is unrelated with respect to a given target claim, and also (ii) extracts snippets of evidence for that prediction. The network operates at the paragraph level and integrates convolutional and recurrent neural networks, as well as a similarity matrix as part of the overall architecture. The experimental evaluation on the Fake News Challenge dataset shows state-of-the-art performance.

* NAACL-2018; Stance detection; Fact-Checking; Veracity; Memory networks; Neural Networks; Distributed Representations
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We propose to use question answering (QA) data from Web forums to train chatbots from scratch, i.e., without dialog training data. First, we extract pairs of question and answer sentences from the typically much longer texts of questions and answers in a forum. We then use these shorter texts to train seq2seq models in a more efficient way. We further improve the parameter optimization using a new model selection strategy based on QA measures. Finally, we propose to use extrinsic evaluation with respect to a QA task as an automatic evaluation method for chatbots. The evaluation shows that the model achieves a MAP of 63.5% on the extrinsic task. Moreover, it can answer correctly 49.5% of the questions when they are similar to questions asked in the forum, and 47.3% of the questions when they are more conversational in style.

* RANLP-2017
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Question answering forums are rapidly growing in size with no effective automated ability to refer to and reuse answers already available for previous posted questions. In this paper, we develop a methodology for finding semantically related questions. The task is difficult since 1) key pieces of information are often buried in extraneous details in the question body and 2) available annotations on similar questions are scarce and fragmented. We design a recurrent and convolutional model (gated convolution) to effectively map questions to their semantic representations. The models are pre-trained within an encoder-decoder framework (from body to title) on the basis of the entire raw corpus, and fine-tuned discriminatively from limited annotations. Our evaluation demonstrates that our model yields substantial gains over a standard IR baseline and various neural network architectures (including CNNs, LSTMs and GRUs).

* NAACL 2016
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We study how to find relevant questions in community forums when the language of the new questions is different from that of the existing questions in the forum. In particular, we explore the Arabic-English language pair. We compare a kernel-based system with a feed-forward neural network in a scenario where a large parallel corpus is available for training a machine translation system, bilingual dictionaries, and cross-language word embeddings. We observe that both approaches degrade the performance of the system when working on the translated text, especially the kernel-based system, which depends heavily on a syntactic kernel. We address this issue using a cross-language tree kernel, which compares the original Arabic tree to the English trees of the related questions. We show that this kernel almost closes the performance gap with respect to the monolingual system. On the neural network side, we use the parallel corpus to train cross-language embeddings, which we then use to represent the Arabic input and the English related questions in the same space. The results also improve to close to those of the monolingual neural network. Overall, the kernel system shows a better performance compared to the neural network in all cases.

* SIGIR 2017: 1145-1148
* SIGIR-2017; Community Question Answering; Cross-language Approaches; Question Retrieval; Kernel-based Methods; Neural Networks; Distributed Representations
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This paper studies the impact of different types of features applied to learning to re-rank questions in community Question Answering. We tested our models on two datasets released in SemEval-2016 Task 3 on "Community Question Answering". Task 3 targeted real-life Web fora both in English and Arabic. Our models include bag-of-words features (BoW), syntactic tree kernels (TKs), rank features, embeddings, and machine translation evaluation features. To the best of our knowledge, structural kernels have barely been applied to the question reranking task, where they have to model paraphrase relations. In the case of the English question re-ranking task, we compare our learning to rank (L2R) algorithms against a strong baseline given by the Google-generated ranking (GR). The results show that i) the shallow structures used in our TKs are robust enough to noisy data and ii) improving GR is possible, but effective BoW features and TKs along with an accurate model of GR features in the used L2R algorithm are required. In the case of the Arabic question re-ranking task, for the first time we applied tree kernels on syntactic trees of Arabic sentences. Our approaches to both tasks obtained the second best results on SemEval-2016 subtasks B on English and D on Arabic.

* presented at Second WebQA workshop, SIGIR2016 (http://plg2.cs.uwaterloo.ca/~avtyurin/WebQA2016/)
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