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Data Augmentation in Natural Language Processing: A Novel Text Generation Approach for Long and Short Text Classifiers

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In many cases of machine learning, research suggests that the development of training data might have a higher relevance than the choice and modelling of classifiers themselves. Thus, data augmentation methods have been developed to improve classifiers by artificially created training data. In NLP, there is the challenge of establishing universal rules for text transformations which provide new linguistic patterns. In this paper, we present and evaluate a text generation method suitable to increase the performance of classifiers for long and short texts. We achieved promising improvements when evaluating short as well as long text tasks with the enhancement by our text generation method. In a simulated low data regime additive accuracy gains of up to 15.53% are achieved. As the current track of these constructed regimes is not universally applicable, we also show major improvements in several real world low data tasks (up to +4.84 F1 score). Since we are evaluating the method from many perspectives, we also observe situations where the method might not be suitable. We discuss implications and patterns for the successful application of our approach on different types of datasets.



Conditional BERT Contextual Augmentation

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

We propose a novel data augmentation method for labeled sentences called conditional BERT contextual augmentation. Data augmentation methods are often applied to prevent overfitting and improve generalization of deep neural network models. Recently proposed contextual augmentation augments labeled sentences by randomly replacing words with more varied substitutions predicted by language model. BERT demonstrates that a deep bidirectional language model is more powerful than either an unidirectional language model or the shallow concatenation of a forward and backward model. We retrofit BERT to conditional BERT by introducing a new conditional masked language model\footnote{The term "conditional masked language model" appeared once in original BERT paper, which indicates context-conditional, is equivalent to term "masked language model". In our paper, "conditional masked language model" indicates we apply extra label-conditional constraint to the "masked language model".} task. The well trained conditional BERT can be applied to enhance contextual augmentation. Experiments on six various different text classification tasks show that our method can be easily applied to both convolutional or recurrent neural networks classifier to obtain obvious improvement.


CrossAug: A Contrastive Data Augmentation Method for Debiasing Fact Verification Models

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Fact verification datasets are typically constructed using crowdsourcing techniques due to the lack of text sources with veracity labels. However, the crowdsourcing process often produces undesired biases in data that cause models to learn spurious patterns. In this paper, we propose CrossAug, a contrastive data augmentation method for debiasing fact verification models. Specifically, we employ a two-stage augmentation pipeline to generate new claims and evidences from existing samples. The generated samples are then paired cross-wise with the original pair, forming contrastive samples that facilitate the model to rely less on spurious patterns and learn more robust representations. Experimental results show that our method outperforms the previous state-of-the-art debiasing technique by 3.6% on the debiased extension of the FEVER dataset, with a total performance boost of 10.13% from the baseline. Furthermore, we evaluate our approach in data-scarce settings, where models can be more susceptible to biases due to the lack of training data. Experimental results demonstrate that our approach is also effective at debiasing in these low-resource conditions, exceeding the baseline performance on the Symmetric dataset with just 1% of the original data.


Unsupervised Data Augmentation

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Despite its success, deep learning still needs large labeled datasets to succeed. Data augmentation has shown much promise in alleviating the need for more labeled data, but it so far has mostly been applied in supervised settings and achieved limited gains. In this work, we propose to apply data augmentation to unlabeled data in a semi-supervised learning setting. Our method, named Unsupervised Data Augmentation or UDA, encourages the model predictions to be consistent between an unlabeled example and an augmented unlabeled example. Unlike previous methods that use random noise such as Gaussian noise or dropout noise, UDA has a small twist in that it makes use of harder and more realistic noise generated by state-of-the-art data augmentation methods. This small twist leads to substantial improvements on six language tasks and three vision tasks even when the labeled set is extremely small. For example, on the IMDb text classification dataset, with only 20 labeled examples, UDA outperforms the state-of-the-art model trained on 25,000 labeled examples. On standard semi-supervised learning benchmarks, CIFAR-10 with 4,000 examples and SVHN with 1,000 examples, UDA outperforms all previous approaches and reduces more than $30\%$ of the error rates of state-of-the-art methods: going from 7.66% to 5.27% and from 3.53% to 2.46% respectively. UDA also works well on datasets that have a lot of labeled data. For example, on ImageNet, with 1.3M extra unlabeled data, UDA improves the top-1/top-5 accuracy from 78.28/94.36% to 79.04/94.45% when compared to AutoAugment.