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  1. Vlachos, Andreas ; Augenstein, Isabelle (Ed.)
    In this paper, we seek to improve the faithfulness of TempRel extraction models from two perspectives. The first perspective is to extract genuinely based on contextual description. To achieve this, we propose to conduct counterfactual analysis to attenuate the effects of two significant types of training biases: the event trigger bias and the frequent label bias. We also add tense information into event representations to explicitly place an emphasis on the contextual description. The second perspective is to provide proper uncertainty estimation and abstain from extraction when no relation is described in the text. By parameterization of Dirichlet Prior over the model-predicted categorical distribution, we improve the model estimates of the correctness likelihood and make TempRel predictions more selective. We also employ temperature scaling to recalibrate the model confidence measure after bias mitigation. Through experimental analysis on MATRES, MATRES-DS, and TDDiscourse, we demonstrate that our model extracts TempRel and timelines more faithfully compared to SOTA methods, especially under distribution shifts. 
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  2. Vlachos, Andreas ; Augenstein, Isabelle (Ed.)
    Parameter-efficient tuning aims at updating only a small subset of parameters when adapting a pretrained model to downstream tasks. In this work, we introduce PASTA, in which we only modify the special token representations (e.g., [SEP] and [CLS] in BERT) before the self-attention module at each layer in Transformer-based models. PASTA achieves comparable performance to fine-tuning in natural language understanding tasks including text classification and NER with up to only 0.029% of total parameters trained. Our work not only provides a simple yet effective way of parameter-efficient tuning, which has a wide range of practical applications when deploying finetuned models for multiple tasks, but also demonstrates the pivotal role of special tokens in pretrained language models. 
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  3. Traditional sentence embedding models encode sentences into vector representations to capture useful properties such as the semantic similarity between sentences. However, in addition to similarity, sentence semantics can also be interpreted via compositional operations such as sentence fusion or difference. It is unclear whether the compositional semantics of sentences can be directly reflected as compositional operations in the embedding space. To more effectively bridge the continuous embedding and discrete text spaces, we explore the plausibility of incorporating various compositional properties into the sentence embedding space that allows us to interpret embedding transformations as compositional sentence operations. We propose InterSent, an end-to-end framework for learning interpretable sentence embeddings that supports compositional sentence operations in the embedding space. Our method optimizes operator networks and a bottleneck encoder-decoder model to produce meaningful and interpretable sentence embeddings. Experimental results demonstrate that our method significantly improves the interpretability of sentence embeddings on four textual generation tasks over existing approaches while maintaining strong performance on traditional semantic similarity tasks. 
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  4. Instruction-tuned large language models (LLMs), such as ChatGPT, have led to promising zero-shot performance in discriminative natural language understanding (NLU) tasks. This involves querying the LLM using a prompt containing the question, and the candidate labels to choose from. The question-answering capabilities of ChatGPT arise from its pre-training on large amounts of human-written text, as well as its subsequent fine-tuning on human preferences, which motivates us to ask: Does ChatGPT also inherit humans’ cognitive biases? In this paper, we study the primacy effect of ChatGPT: the tendency of selecting the labels at earlier positions as the answer. We have two main findings: i) ChatGPT’s decision is sensitive to the order of labels in the prompt; ii) ChatGPT has a clearly higher chance to select the labels at earlier positions as the answer. We hope that our experiments and analyses provide additional insights into building more reliable ChatGPT-based solutions. We release the source code at https://github.com/wangywUST/PrimacyEffectGPT. 
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  5. Natural language often describes events in different granularities, such that more coarse-grained (goal) events can often be decomposed into fine-grained sequences of (step) events. A critical but overlooked challenge in understanding an event process lies in the fact that the step events are not equally important to the central goal. In this paper, we seek to fill this gap by studying how well current models can understand the essentiality of different step events towards a goal event. As discussed by cognitive studies, such an ability enables the machine to mimic human’s commonsense reasoning about preconditions and necessary efforts of daily-life tasks. Our work contributes with a high-quality corpus of (goal, step) pairs from a community guideline website WikiHow, where the steps are manually annotated with their essentiality w.r.t. the goal. The high IAA indicates that humans have a consistent understanding of the events. Despite evaluating various statistical and massive pre-trained NLU models, we observe that existing SOTA models all perform drastically behind humans, indicating the need for future investigation of this crucial yet challenging task. 
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  6. Humans subconsciously engage in geospatial reasoning when reading articles. We recognize place names and their spatial relations in text and mentally associate them with their physical locations on Earth. Although pretrained language models can mimic this cognitive process using linguistic context, they do not utilize valuable geospatial information in large, widely available geographical databases, e.g., OpenStreetMap. This paper introduces GeoLM, a geospatially grounded language model that enhances the understanding of geo-entities in natural language. GeoLM leverages geo-entity mentions as anchors to connect linguistic information in text corpora with geospatial information extracted from geographical databases. GeoLM connects the two types of context through contrastive learning and masked language modeling. It also incorporates a spatial coordinate embedding mechanism to encode distance and direction relations to capture geospatial context. In the experiment, we demonstrate that GeoLM exhibits promising capabilities in supporting toponym recognition, toponym linking, relation extraction, and geo-entity typing, which bridge the gap between natural language processing and geospatial sciences. The code is publicly available at https://github.com/knowledge-computing/geolm. 
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  7. Storytelling’s captivating potential makes it a fascinating research area, with implications for entertainment, education, therapy, and cognitive studies. In this paper, we propose Affective Story Generator (AffGen) for generating interesting narratives. AffGen introduces ‘intriguing twists’ in narratives by employing two novel techniques—Dynamic Beam Sizing and Affective Reranking. Dynamic Beam Sizing encourages less predictable, more captivating word choices using a contextual multi-arm bandit model. Affective Reranking prioritizes sentence candidates based on affect intensity. Our empirical evaluations, both automatic and human, demonstrate AffGen’s superior performance over existing baselines in generating affectively charged and interesting narratives. Our ablation study and analysis provide insights into the strengths and weaknesses of AffGen. 
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  8. Large language models (LLMs) encode parametric knowledge about world facts and have shown remarkable performance in knowledge-driven NLP tasks. However, their reliance on parametric knowledge may cause them to overlook contextual cues, leading to incorrect predictions in context-sensitive NLP tasks (e.g., knowledge acquisition tasks). In this paper, we seek to assess and enhance LLMs’ contextual faithfulness in two aspects: knowledge conflict and prediction with abstention. We demonstrate that LLMs’ faithfulness can be significantly improved using carefully designed prompting strategies. In particular, we identify opinion-based prompts and counterfactual demonstrations as the most effective methods. Opinion-based prompts reframe the context as a narrator’s statement and inquire about the narrator’s opinions, while counterfactual demonstrations use instances containing false facts to improve faithfulness in knowledge conflict situations. Neither technique requires additional training. We conduct experiments on three datasets of two standard NLP tasks, machine reading comprehension and relation extraction, and the results demonstrate significant improvement in faithfulness to contexts. Code and data are released at https://github.com/wzhouad/context-faithful-llm. 
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  9. Many discriminative natural language understanding (NLU) tasks have large label spaces. Learning such a process of large-space decision making is particularly challenging due to the lack of training instances per label and the difficulty of selection among many fine-grained labels. Inspired by dense retrieval methods for passage finding in open-domain QA, we propose a reformulation of large-space discriminative NLU tasks as a learning-to-retrieve task, leading to a novel solution named Dense Decision Retrieval (DDR). Instead of predicting fine-grained decisions as logits, DDR adopts a dual-encoder architecture that learns to predict by retrieving from a decision thesaurus. This approach not only leverages rich indirect supervision signals from easy-to-consume learning resources for dense retrieval, it also leads to enhanced prediction generalizability with a semantically meaningful representation of the large decision space. When evaluated on tasks with decision spaces ranging from hundreds to hundred-thousand scales, DDR outperforms strong baselines greatly by 27.54% in P @1 on two extreme multi-label classification tasks, 1.17% in F1 score ultra-fine entity typing, and 1.26% in accuracy on three few-shot intent classification tasks on average. 
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  10. This tutorial targets researchers and practitioners who are interested in ML technologies for NLP from indirect supervision. In particular, we will present a diverse thread of indirect supervision studies that try to answer the following questions: (i) when and how can we provide supervision for a target task T, if all we have is data that corresponds to a “related” task T′? (ii) humans do not use exhaustive supervision; they rely on occasional feedback, and learn from incidental signals from various sources; how can we effectively incorporate such supervision in machine learning? (iii) how can we leverage multi-modal supervision to help NLP? To the end, we will discuss several lines of research that address those challenges, including (i) indirect supervision from T ′ that handles T with outputs spanning from a moderate size to an open space, (ii) the use of sparsely occurring and incidental signals, such as partial labels, noisy labels, knowledge-based constraints, and cross-domain or cross-task annotations—all having statistical associations with the task, (iii) principled ways to measure and understand why these incidental signals can contribute to our target tasks, and (iv) indirect supervision from vision-language signals. We will conclude the tutorial by outlining directions for further investigation. 
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