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  1. With their Discovery of Inference Rules from Text (DIRT) algorithm, Lin and Pantel (2001) made a seminal contribution to the field of rule acquisition from text, by adapting the distributional hypothesis of Harris (1954) to patterns that model binary relations such as X treat Y, where patterns are implemented as syntactic dependency paths. DIRT’s relevance is renewed in today’s neural era given the recent focus on interpretability in the field of natural language processing. We propose a novel take on the DIRT algorithm, where we implement the distributional hypothesis using the contextualized embeddings provided by BERT, a transformer-network-based language model (Vaswani et al., 2017; Devlin et al., 2018). In particular, we change the similarity measure between pairs of slots (i.e., the set of words matched by a pattern) from the original formula that relies on lexical items to a formula computed using contextualized embeddings. We empirically demonstrate that this new similarity method yields a better implementation of the distributional hypothesis, and this, in turn, yields patterns that outperform the original algorithm in the question answering-based evaluation proposed by Lin and Pantel (2001).
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  2. We propose an explainable approach for relation extraction that mitigates the tension between generalization and explainability by jointly training for the two goals. Our approach uses a multi-task learning architecture, which jointly trains a classifier for relation extraction, and a sequence model that labels words in the context of the relation that explain the decisions of the relation classifier. We also convert the model outputs to rules to bring global explanations to this approach. This sequence model is trained using a hybrid strategy: supervised, when supervision from pre-existing patterns is available, and semi-supervised otherwise. In the latter situation, we treat the sequence model’s labels as latent variables, and learn the best assignment that maximizes the performance of the relation classifier. We evaluate the proposed approach on the two datasets and show that the sequence model provides labels that serve as accurate explanations for the relation classifier’s decisions, and, importantly, that the joint training generally improves the performance of the relation classifier. We also evaluate the performance of the generated rules and show that the new rules are great add-on to the manual rules and bring the rule-based system much closer to the neural models.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  3. While deep learning approaches to information extraction have had many successes, they can be difficult to augment or maintain as needs shift. Rule-based methods, on the other hand, can be more easily modified. However, crafting rules requires expertise in linguistics and the domain of interest, making it infeasible for most users. Here we attempt to combine the advantages of these two directions while mitigating their drawbacks. We adapt recent advances from the adjacent field of program synthesis to information extraction, synthesizing rules from provided examples. We use a transformer-based architecture to guide an enumerative search, and show that this reduces the number of steps that need to be explored before a rule is found. Further, we show that our synthesized rules achieve state-of-the-art performance on the 1-shot scenario of a task that focuses on few-shot learning for relation classification, and competitive performance in the 5-shot scenario.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  4. We propose a system that assists a user in constructing transparent information extraction models, consisting of patterns (or rules) written in a declarative language, through program synthesis. Users of our system can specify their requirements through the use of examples, which are collected with a search interface. The rule-synthesis system proposes rule candidates and the results of applying them on a textual corpus; the user has the option to accept the candidate, request another option, or adjust the examples provided to the system. Through an interactive evaluation, we show that our approach generates high-precision rules even in a 1-shot setting. On a second evaluation on a widely-used relation extraction dataset (TACRED), our method generates rules that outperform considerably manually written patterns. Our code, demo, and documentation is available at
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  5. An important task in the machine reading of biochemical events expressed in biomedical texts is correctly reading the polarity, i.e., attributing whether the biochemical event is a promotion or an inhibition. Here we present a novel dataset for studying polarity attribution accuracy. We use this dataset to train and evaluate several deep learning models for polarity identification, and compare these to a linguistically-informed model. The best performing deep learning architecture achieves 0.968 average F1 performance in a five-fold cross-validation study, a considerable improvement over the linguistically informed model average F1 of 0.862.
  6. We describe a system designed to process, analyze and visualize academic data, from research papers and research proposals to list of courses taught, consulting, internal and external service. This can be helpful in identifying experts in a given field for future collaborations, as well as in putting together strong multi-disciplinary teams to apply for future research funding. Our REMatch system aims to support such tasks by leveraging natural language processing, machine learning, and interactive visualization. Specifically, REMatch provides a functional system that implements in-the-browser, map-based interactive navigation of a large underlying network, supporting semantic zooming, panning, searching, and map overlays. A prototype of the system is evaluated with a small-scale case study.