Collaborating Authors

Grammars & Parsing

TaBERT: A new model for understanding queries over tabular data


TaBERT is the first model that has been pretrained to learn representations for both natural language sentences and tabular data. These sorts of representations are useful for natural language understanding tasks that involve joint reasoning over natural language sentences and tables. A representative example is semantic parsing over databases, where a natural language question (e.g., "Which country has the highest GDP?") is mapped to a program executable over database (DB) tables. This is the first pretraining approach across structured and unstructured domains, and it opens new possibilities regarding semantic parsing, where one of the key challenges has been understanding the structure of a DB table and how it aligns with a query. TaBERT has been trained using a corpus of 26 million tables and their associated English sentences.

Roadmap to Natural Language Processing (NLP)


Natural Language Processing (NLP) is the area of research in Artificial Intelligence focused on processing and using Text and Speech data to create smart machines and create insights. One of nowadays most interesting NLP application is creating machines able to discuss with humans about complex topics. IBM Project Debater represents so far one of the most successful approaches in this area. All of these preprocessing techniques can be easily applied to different types of texts using standard Python NLP libraries such as NLTK and Spacy. Additionally, in order to extrapolate the language syntax and structure of our text, we can make use of techniques such as Parts of Speech (POS) Tagging and Shallow Parsing (Figure 1).

Tracking Progress in Natural Language Processing


This document aims to track the progress in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and give an overview of the state-of-the-art (SOTA) across the most common NLP tasks and their corresponding datasets. It aims to cover both traditional and core NLP tasks such as dependency parsing and part-of-speech tagging as well as more recent ones such as reading comprehension and natural language inference. The main objective is to provide the reader with a quick overview of benchmark datasets and the state-of-the-art for their task of interest, which serves as a stepping stone for further research. To this end, if there is a place where results for a task are already published and regularly maintained, such as a public leaderboard, the reader will be pointed there. If you want to find this document again in the future, just go to

Knowledge Graphs @ ICLR 2020


It's great to see more research and more datasets on complex QA and reasoning tasks. Whereas last year we saw a surge of multi-hop reading comprehension datasets (e.g., HotpotQA), this year at ICLR there is a strong line-up of papers dedicated to studying compositionality and logical complexity: and here KGs are of big help! Keysers et al study how to measure compositional generalization of QA models, i.e., when train and test splits operate on the same set of entities (broadly, logical atoms), but the composition of such atoms is different. The authors design a new large KGQA dataset CFQ (Compositional Freebase Questions) comprised of about 240K questions of 35K SPARQL query patterns. Several fascinating points 1) the questions are annotated with EL Description Logic (yes, those were the times around 2005 when DL meant mostly Description Logic, not Deep Learning); 2) as the dataset is positioned towards semantic parsing, all questions already have linked Freebase IDs (URIs), so you don't need to plug in your favourite Entity Linking system (like ElasticSearch).

Synthetic vs. Real Reference Strings for Citation Parsing, and the Importance of Re-training and Out-Of-Sample Data for Meaningful Evaluations: Experiments with GROBID, GIANT and Cora Machine Learning

Citation parsing, particularly with deep neural networks, suffers from a lack of training data as available datasets typically contain only a few thousand training instances. Manually labelling citation strings is very time-consuming, hence synthetically created training data could be a solution. However, as of now, it is unknown if synthetically created reference-strings are suitable to train machine learning algorithms for citation parsing. To find out, we train Grobid, which uses Conditional Random Fields, with a) human-labelled reference strings from 'real' bibliographies and b) synthetically created reference strings from the GIANT dataset. We find that both synthetic and organic reference strings are equally suited for training Grobid (F1 = 0.74). We additionally find that retraining Grobid has a notable impact on its performance, for both synthetic and real data (+30% in F1). Having as many types of labelled fields as possible during training also improves effectiveness, even if these fields are not available in the evaluation data (+13.5% F1). We conclude that synthetic data is suitable for training (deep) citation parsing models. We further suggest that in future evaluations of reference parsers both evaluation data similar and dissimilar to the training data should be used for more meaningful evaluations.



Narratives are an important human tool for communication, representation and understanding. Natural Language Processing already offers many instruments that enable the automatic extraction of narrative elements from texts, including Named Entity Recognition, Semantic Role Labeling, Sentiment Analysis, Anaphora Resolution, Temporal Reasoning, etc. The storyfication of data is being used to generate textual reports on finance and sports, among others. Timelines and infographics can be employed to represent in a more compact way automatically identified narrative chains in a large set of news articles, assisting human readers in grasping complex stories with different moments and a network of characters. While the Automatic Generation of Text shows impressive results towards computational creativity, it still needs to develop means for controlling the narrative intent of the output.

LEAN-LIFE: A Label-Efficient Annotation Framework Towards Learning from Explanation Artificial Intelligence

Successfully training a deep neural network demands a huge corpus of labeled data. However, each label only provides limited information to learn from and collecting the requisite number of labels involves massive human effort. In this work, we introduce LEAN-LIFE, a web-based, Label-Efficient AnnotatioN framework for sequence labeling and classification tasks, with an easy-to-use UI that not only allows an annotator to provide the needed labels for a task, but also enables LearnIng From Explanations for each labeling decision. Such explanations enable us to generate useful additional labeled data from unlabeled instances, bolstering the pool of available training data. On three popular NLP tasks (named entity recognition, relation extraction, sentiment analysis), we find that using this enhanced supervision allows our models to surpass competitive baseline F1 scores by more than 5-10 percentage points, while using 2X times fewer labeled instances. Our framework is the first to utilize this enhanced supervision technique and does so for three important tasks -- thus providing improved annotation recommendations to users and an ability to build datasets of (data, label, explanation) triples instead of the regular (data, label) pair.

A Methodology for Creating Question Answering Corpora Using Inverse Data Annotation Artificial Intelligence

In this paper, we introduce a novel methodology to efficiently construct a corpus for question answering over structured data. For this, we introduce an intermediate representation that is based on the logical query plan in a database called Operation Trees (OT). This representation allows us to invert the annotation process without losing flexibility in the types of queries that we generate. Furthermore, it allows for fine-grained alignment of query tokens to OT operations. In our method, we randomly generate OTs from a context-free grammar. Afterwards, annotators have to write the appropriate natural language question that is represented by the OT. Finally, the annotators assign the tokens to the OT operations. We apply the method to create a new corpus OTTA (Operation Trees and Token Assignment), a large semantic parsing corpus for evaluating natural language interfaces to databases. We compare OTTA to Spider and LC-QuaD 2.0 and show that our methodology more than triples the annotation speed while maintaining the complexity of the queries. Finally, we train a state-of-the-art semantic parsing model on our data and show that our corpus is a challenging dataset and that the token alignment can be leveraged to increase the performance significantly.

Architecture for a multilingual Wikipedia Artificial Intelligence

Wikipedia's vision is a world in which everyone can share in the sum of all knowledge. In its first two decades, this vision has been very unevenly achieved. One of the largest hindrances is the sheer number of languages Wikipedia needs to cover in order to achieve that goal. We argue that we need a new approach to tackle this problem more effectively, a multilingual Wikipedia where content can be shared between language editions. This paper proposes an architecture for a system that fulfills this goal. It separates the goal in two parts: creating and maintaining content in an abstract notation within a project called Abstract Wikipedia, and creating an infrastructure called Wikilambda that can translate this notation to natural language. Both parts are fully owned and maintained by the community, as is the integration of the results in the existing Wikipedia editions. This architecture will make more encyclopedic content available to more people in their own language, and at the same time allow more people to contribute knowledge and reach more people with their contributions, no matter what their respective language backgrounds. Additionally, Wikilambda will unlock a new type of knowledge asset people can share in through the Wikimedia projects, functions, which will vastly expand what people can do with knowledge from Wikimedia, and provide a new venue to collaborate and to engage the creativity of contributors from all around the world. These two projects will considerably expand the capabilities of the Wikimedia platform to enable every single human being to freely share in the sum of all knowledge.