We introduce a fully differentiable approximation to higher-order inference for coreference resolution. Our approach uses the antecedent distribution from a span-ranking architecture as an attention mechanism to iteratively refine span representations. This enables the model to softly consider multiple hops in the predicted clusters. To alleviate the computational cost of this iterative process, we introduce a coarse-to-fine approach that incorporates a less accurate but more efficient bilinear factor, enabling more aggressive pruning without hurting accuracy. Compared to the existing state-of-the-art span-ranking approach, our model significantly improves accuracy on the English OntoNotes benchmark, while being far more computationally efficient.

* Accepted to NAACL 2018
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This technical note describes a new baseline for the Natural Questions. Our model is based on BERT and reduces the gap between the model F1 scores reported in the original dataset paper and the human upper bound by 30% and 50% relative for the long and short answer tasks respectively. This baseline has been submitted to the official NQ leaderboard at ai.google.com/research/NaturalQuestions and we plan to opensource the code for it in the near future.

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We introduce recurrent additive networks (RANs), a new gated RNN which is distinguished by the use of purely additive latent state updates. At every time step, the new state is computed as a gated component-wise sum of the input and the previous state, without any of the non-linearities commonly used in RNN transition dynamics. We formally show that RAN states are weighted sums of the input vectors, and that the gates only contribute to computing the weights of these sums. Despite this relatively simple functional form, experiments demonstrate that RANs perform on par with LSTMs on benchmark language modeling problems. This result shows that many of the non-linear computations in LSTMs and related networks are not essential, at least for the problems we consider, and suggests that the gates are doing more of the computational work than previously understood.

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We introduce the first global recursive neural parsing model with optimality guarantees during decoding. To support global features, we give up dynamic programs and instead search directly in the space of all possible subtrees. Although this space is exponentially large in the sentence length, we show it is possible to learn an efficient A* parser. We augment existing parsing models, which have informative bounds on the outside score, with a global model that has loose bounds but only needs to model non-local phenomena. The global model is trained with a new objective that encourages the parser to explore a tiny fraction of the search space. The approach is applied to CCG parsing, improving state-of-the-art accuracy by 0.4 F1. The parser finds the optimal parse for 99.9% of held-out sentences, exploring on average only 190 subtrees.

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Recent BIO-tagging-based neural semantic role labeling models are very high performing, but assume gold predicates as part of the input and cannot incorporate span-level features. We propose an end-to-end approach for jointly predicting all predicates, arguments spans, and the relations between them. The model makes independent decisions about what relationship, if any, holds between every possible word-span pair, and learns contextualized span representations that provide rich, shared input features for each decision. Experiments demonstrate that this approach sets a new state of the art on PropBank SRL without gold predicates.

* 5 pages, ACL 2018
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We introduce the first end-to-end coreference resolution model and show that it significantly outperforms all previous work without using a syntactic parser or hand-engineered mention detector. The key idea is to directly consider all spans in a document as potential mentions and learn distributions over possible antecedents for each. The model computes span embeddings that combine context-dependent boundary representations with a head-finding attention mechanism. It is trained to maximize the marginal likelihood of gold antecedent spans from coreference clusters and is factored to enable aggressive pruning of potential mentions. Experiments demonstrate state-of-the-art performance, with a gain of 1.5 F1 on the OntoNotes benchmark and by 3.1 F1 using a 5-model ensemble, despite the fact that this is the first approach to be successfully trained with no external resources.

* Accepted to EMNLP 2017
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LSTMs were introduced to combat vanishing gradients in simple RNNs by augmenting them with gated additive recurrent connections. We present an alternative view to explain the success of LSTMs: the gates themselves are versatile recurrent models that provide more representational power than previously appreciated. We do this by decoupling the LSTM's gates from the embedded simple RNN, producing a new class of RNNs where the recurrence computes an element-wise weighted sum of context-independent functions of the input. Ablations on a range of problems demonstrate that the gating mechanism alone performs as well as an LSTM in most settings, strongly suggesting that the gates are doing much more in practice than just alleviating vanishing gradients.

* ACL 2018
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Hierarchical neural architectures are often used to capture long-distance dependencies and have been applied to many document-level tasks such as summarization, document segmentation, and sentiment analysis. However, effective usage of such a large context can be difficult to learn, especially in the case where there is limited labeled data available. Building on the recent success of language model pretraining methods for learning flat representations of text, we propose algorithms for pre-training hierarchical document representations from unlabeled data. Unlike prior work, which has focused on pre-training contextual token representations or context-independent {sentence/paragraph} representations, our hierarchical document representations include fixed-length sentence/paragraph representations which integrate contextual information from the entire documents. Experiments on document segmentation, document-level question answering, and extractive document summarization demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed pre-training algorithms.

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We introduce a new language representation model called BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Unlike recent language representation models, BERT is designed to pre-train deep bidirectional representations by jointly conditioning on both left and right context in all layers. As a result, the pre-trained BERT representations can be fine-tuned with just one additional output layer to create state-of-the-art models for a wide range of tasks, such as question answering and language inference, without substantial task-specific architecture modifications. BERT is conceptually simple and empirically powerful. It obtains new state-of-the-art results on eleven natural language processing tasks, including pushing the GLUE benchmark to 80.4% (7.6% absolute improvement), MultiNLI accuracy to 86.7 (5.6% absolute improvement) and the SQuAD v1.1 question answering Test F1 to 93.2 (1.5% absolute improvement), outperforming human performance by 2.0%.

* 13 pages
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We introduce the syntactic scaffold, an approach to incorporating syntactic information into semantic tasks. Syntactic scaffolds avoid expensive syntactic processing at runtime, only making use of a treebank during training, through a multitask objective. We improve over strong baselines on PropBank semantics, frame semantics, and coreference resolution, achieving competitive performance on all three tasks.

* Accepted at EMNLP 2018
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The reading comprehension task, that asks questions about a given evidence document, is a central problem in natural language understanding. Recent formulations of this task have typically focused on answer selection from a set of candidates pre-defined manually or through the use of an external NLP pipeline. However, Rajpurkar et al. (2016) recently released the SQuAD dataset in which the answers can be arbitrary strings from the supplied text. In this paper, we focus on this answer extraction task, presenting a novel model architecture that efficiently builds fixed length representations of all spans in the evidence document with a recurrent network. We show that scoring explicit span representations significantly improves performance over other approaches that factor the prediction into separate predictions about words or start and end markers. Our approach improves upon the best published results of Wang & Jiang (2016) by 5% and decreases the error of Rajpurkar et al.'s baseline by > 50%.

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We study approaches to improve fine-grained short answer Question Answering models by integrating coarse-grained data annotated for paragraph-level relevance and show that coarsely annotated data can bring significant performance gains. Experiments demonstrate that the standard multi-task learning approach of sharing representations is not the most effective way to leverage coarse-grained annotations. Instead, we can explicitly model the latent fine-grained short answer variables and optimize the marginal log-likelihood directly or use a newly proposed \emph{posterior distillation} learning objective. Since these latent-variable methods have explicit access to the relationship between the fine and coarse tasks, they result in significantly larger improvements from coarse supervision.

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We introduce a new type of deep contextualized word representation that models both (1) complex characteristics of word use (e.g., syntax and semantics), and (2) how these uses vary across linguistic contexts (i.e., to model polysemy). Our word vectors are learned functions of the internal states of a deep bidirectional language model (biLM), which is pre-trained on a large text corpus. We show that these representations can be easily added to existing models and significantly improve the state of the art across six challenging NLP problems, including question answering, textual entailment and sentiment analysis. We also present an analysis showing that exposing the deep internals of the pre-trained network is crucial, allowing downstream models to mix different types of semi-supervision signals.

* NAACL 2018. Originally posted to openreview 27 Oct 2017. v2 updated for NAACL camera ready
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