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  1. In this work, we explore a useful but often neglected methodology for robustness analysis of text generation evaluation metrics: stress tests with synthetic data. Basically, we design and synthesize a wide range of potential errors and check whether they result in a commensurate drop in the metric scores. We examine a range of recently proposed evaluation metrics based on pretrained language models, for the tasks of open-ended generation, translation, and summarization. Our experiments reveal interesting insensitivities, biases, or even loopholes in existing metrics. For example, we find that BERTScore is confused by truncation errors in summarization, and MAUVE (built on top of GPT-2) is insensitive to errors at the beginning or middle of generations. Further, we investigate the reasons behind these blind spots and suggest practical workarounds for a more reliable evaluation of text generation. We have released our code and data at
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  2. Inferring gene regulatory networks (GRNs) from single-cell gene expression datasets is a challenging task. Existing methods are often designed heuristically for specific datasets and lack the flexibility to incorporate additional information or compare against other algorithms. Further, current GRN inference methods do not provide uncertainty estimates with respect to the interactions that they predict, making inferred networks challenging to interpret. To overcome these challenges, we introduce Probabilistic Matrix Factorization for Gene Regulatory Network inference (PMF-GRN). PMF-GRN uses single-cell gene expression data to learn latent factors representing transcription factor activity as well as regulatory relationships between transcription factors and their target genes. This approach incorporates available experimental evidence into prior distributions over latent factors and scales well to single-cell gene expression datasets. By utilizing variational inference, we facilitate hyperparameter search for principled model selection and direct comparison to other generative models. To assess the accuracy of our method, we evaluate PMF-GRN using the model organisms Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Bacillus subtilis, benchmarking against database-derived gold standard interactions. We discover that, on average, PMF-GRN infers GRNs more accurately than current state-of-the-art single-cell GRN inference methods. Moreover, our PMF-GRN approach offers well-calibrated uncertainty estimates, as it performs gene regulatory network (GRN) inference in amore »probabilistic setting. These estimates are valuable for validation purposes, particularly when validated interactions are limited or a gold standard is incomplete.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 24, 2024
  3. Noisy channel models have been especially effective in neural machine translation (NMT). However, recent approaches like "beam search and rerank" (BSR) incur significant computation overhead during inference, making real-world application infeasible. We aim to study if it is possible to build an amortized noisy channel NMT model such that when we do greedy decoding during inference, the translation accuracy matches that of BSR in terms of reward (based on the source-to-target log probability and the target-to-source log probability) and quality (based on BLEU and BLEURT). We attempt three approaches to train the new model: knowledge distillation, one-step-deviation imitation learning, and Q learning. The first approach obtains the noisy channel signal from a pseudo-corpus, and the latter two approaches aim to optimize toward a noisy-channel MT reward directly. For all three approaches, the generated translations fail to achieve rewards comparable to BSR, but the translation quality approximated by BLEU and BLEURT is similar to the quality of BSR-produced translations. Additionally, all three approaches speed up inference by 1-2 orders of magnitude.
  4. Abstract Motivation

    Machine learning models for predicting cell-type-specific transcription factor (TF) binding sites have become increasingly more accurate thanks to the increased availability of next-generation sequencing data and more standardized model evaluation criteria. However, knowledge transfer from data-rich to data-limited TFs and cell types remains crucial for improving TF binding prediction models because available binding labels are highly skewed towards a small collection of TFs and cell types. Transfer prediction of TF binding sites can potentially benefit from a multitask learning approach; however, existing methods typically use shallow single-task models to generate low-resolution predictions. Here, we propose NetTIME, a multitask learning framework for predicting cell-type-specific TF binding sites with base-pair resolution.


    We show that the multitask learning strategy for TF binding prediction is more efficient than the single-task approach due to the increased data availability. NetTIME trains high-dimensional embedding vectors to distinguish TF and cell-type identities. We show that this approach is critical for the success of the multitask learning strategy and allows our model to make accurate transfer predictions within and beyond the training panels of TFs and cell types. We additionally train a linear-chain conditional random field (CRF) to classify binding predictions and show that this CRF eliminates themore »need for setting a probability threshold and reduces classification noise. We compare our method’s predictive performance with two state-of-the-art methods, Catchitt and Leopard, and show that our method outperforms previous methods under both supervised and transfer learning settings.

    Availability and implementation

    NetTIME is freely available at and the code is also archived at

    Supplementary information

    Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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  5. We hypothesize that due to the greedy nature of learning in multi-modal deep neural networks, these models tend to rely on just one modality while under-fitting the other modalities. Such behavior is counter-intuitive and hurts the models’ generalization, as we observe empirically. To estimate the model’s dependence on each modality, we compute the gain on the accuracy when the model has access to it in addition to another modality. We refer to this gain as the conditional utilization rate. In the experiments, we consistently observe an imbalance in conditional utilization rates between modalities, across multiple tasks and architectures. Since conditional utilization rate cannot be computed efficiently during training, we introduce a proxy for it based on the pace at which the model learns from each modality, which we refer to as the conditional learning speed. We propose an algorithm to balance the conditional learning speeds between modalities during training and demonstrate that it indeed addresses the issue of greedy learning.1 The proposed algorithm improves the model’s generalization on three datasets: Colored MNIST, Model- Net40, and NVIDIA Dynamic Hand Gesture.
  6. Historical records in Korea before the 20th century were primarily written in Hanja, an extinct language based on Chinese characters and not understood by modern Korean or Chinese speakers. Historians with expertise in this time period have been analyzing the documents, but that process is very difficult and time-consuming, and language models would significantly speed up the process. Toward building and evaluating language models for Hanja, we release the Hanja Understanding Evaluation dataset consisting of chronological attribution, topic classification, named entity recognition, and summary retrieval tasks. We also present BERT-based models continued pretraining on the two major corpora from the 14th to the 19th centuries: the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty and Diaries of the Royal Secretariats. 1 We compare the models with several baselines on all tasks and show there are significant improvements gained by training on the two corpora. Additionally, we run zeroshot experiments on the Daily Records of the Royal Court and Important Officials (DRRI). The DRRI dataset has not been studied much by the historians, and not at all by the NLP community.
  7. Abstract

    Deep neural networks (DNNs) show promise in image-based medical diagnosis, but cannot be fully trusted since they can fail for reasons unrelated to underlying pathology. Humans are less likely to make such superficial mistakes, since they use features that are grounded on medical science. It is therefore important to know whether DNNs use different features than humans. Towards this end, we propose a framework for comparing human and machine perception in medical diagnosis. We frame the comparison in terms of perturbation robustness, and mitigate Simpson’s paradox by performing a subgroup analysis. The framework is demonstrated with a case study in breast cancer screening, where we separately analyze microcalcifications and soft tissue lesions. While it is inconclusive whether humans and DNNs use different features to detect microcalcifications, we find that for soft tissue lesions, DNNs rely on high frequency components ignored by radiologists. Moreover, these features are located outside of the region of the images found most suspicious by radiologists. This difference between humans and machines was only visible through subgroup analysis, which highlights the importance of incorporating medical domain knowledge into the comparison.

  8. Abstract

    De novo, in-silico design of molecules is a challenging problem with applications in drug discovery and material design. We introduce a masked graph model, which learns a distribution over graphs by capturing conditional distributions over unobserved nodes (atoms) and edges (bonds) given observed ones. We train and then sample from our model by iteratively masking and replacing different parts of initialized graphs. We evaluate our approach on the QM9 and ChEMBL datasets using the GuacaMol distribution-learning benchmark. We find that validity, KL-divergence and Fréchet ChemNet Distance scores are anti-correlated with novelty, and that we can trade off between these metrics more effectively than existing models. On distributional metrics, our model outperforms previously proposed graph-based approaches and is competitive with SMILES-based approaches. Finally, we show our model generates molecules with desired values of specified properties while maintaining physiochemical similarity to the training distribution.