Department of Computer Science

Machine Learning Research Group

University of Texas at Austin Artificial Intelligence Lab

Publications: 2014

  1. Natural Language Semantics using Probabilistic Logic
    [Details] [PDF] [Slides]
    Islam Beltagy
    October 2014. PhD proposal, Department of Computer Science, The University of Texas at Austin.
    With better natural language semantic representations, computers can do more applications more efficiently as a result of better understanding of natural text. However, no single semantic representation at this time fulfills all requirements needed for a satisfactory representation. Logic-based representations like first-order logic capture many of the linguistic phenomena using logical constructs, and they come with standardized inference mechanisms, but standard first-order logic fails to capture the ``graded'' aspect of meaning in languages. Distributional models use contextual similarity to predict the ``graded'' semantic similarity of words and phrases but they do not adequately capture logical structure. In addition, there are a few recent attempts to combine both representations either on the logic side (still, not a graded representation), or in the distribution side(not full logic).

    We propose using probabilistic logic to represent natural language semantics combining the expressivity and the automated inference of logic, and the gradedness of distributional representations. We evaluate this semantic representation on two tasks, Recognizing Textual Entailment (RTE) and Semantic Textual Similarity (STS). Doing RTE and STS better is an indication of a better semantic understanding.

    Our system has three main components, 1. Parsing and Task Representation, 2. Knowledge Base Construction, and 3. Inference The input natural sentences of the RTE/STS task are mapped to logical form using Boxer which is a rule based system built on top of a CCG parser, then they are used to formulate the RTE/STS problem in probabilistic logic. Then, a knowledge base is represented as weighted inference rules collected from different sources like WordNet and on-the-fly lexical rules from distributional semantics. An advantage of using probabilistic logic is that more rules can be added from more resources easily by mapping them to logical rules and weighting them appropriately. The last component is the inference, where we solve the probabilistic logic inference problem using an appropriate probabilistic logic tool like Markov Logic Network (MLN), or Probabilistic Soft Logic (PSL). We show how to solve the inference problems in MLNs efficiently for RTE using a modified closed-world assumption and a new inference algorithm, and how to adapt MLNs and PSL for STS by relaxing conjunctions. Experiments show that our semantic representation can handle RTE and STS reasonably well.

    For the future work, our short-term goals are 1. better RTE task representation and finite domain handling, 2. adding more inference rules, precompiled and on-the-fly, 3. generalizing the modified closed-world assumption, 4. enhancing our inference algorithm for MLNs, and 5. adding a weight learning step to better adapt the weights. On the longer-term, we would like to apply our semantic representation to the question answering task, support generalized quantifiers, contextualize WordNet rules we use, apply our semantic representation to languages other than English, and implement a probabilistic logic Inference Inspector that can visualize the proof structure.

    ML ID: 308
  2. Weakly-Supervised Bayesian Learning of a CCG Supertagger
    [Details] [PDF] [Slides] [Poster]
    Dan Garrette and Chris Dyer and Jason Baldridge and Noah A. Smith
    In Proceedings of the Eighteenth Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL-2014), 141--150, Baltimore, MD, June 2014.
    We present a Bayesian formulation for weakly-supervised learning of a Combinatory Categorial Grammar (CCG) supertagger with an HMM. We assume supervision in the form of a tag dictionary, and our prior encourages the use of cross-linguistically common category structures as well as transitions between tags that can combine locally according to CCG's combinators. Our prior is theoretically appealing since it is motivated by language-independent, universal properties of the CCG formalism. Empirically, we show that it yields substantial improvements over previous work that used similar biases to initialize an EM-based learner. Additional gains are obtained by further shaping the prior with corpus-specific information that is extracted automatically from raw text and a tag dictionary.
    ML ID: 307
  3. Inclusive yet Selective: Supervised Distributional Hypernymy Detection
    [Details] [PDF]
    Stephen Roller and Katrin Erk and Gemma Boleda
    In Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING 2014), 1025--1036, Dublin, Ireland, August 2014.
    We test the Distributional Inclusion Hypothesis, which states that hypernyms tend to occur in a superset of contexts in which their hyponyms are found. We find that this hypothesis only holds when it is applied to relevant dimensions. We propose a robust supervised approach that achieves accuracies of .84 and .85 on two existing datasets and that can be interpreted as selecting the dimensions that are relevant for distributional inclusion.
    ML ID: 306
  4. UTexas: Natural Language Semantics using Distributional Semantics and Probabilistic Logic
    [Details] [PDF]
    Islam Beltagy and Stephen Roller and Gemma Boleda and and Katrin Erk and Raymond J. Mooney
    In The 8th Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2014), 796--801, Dublin, Ireland, August 2014.
    We represent natural language semantics by combining logical and distributional information in probabilistic logic. We use Markov Logic Networks (MLN) for the RTE task, and Probabilistic Soft Logic (PSL) for the STS task. The system is evaluated on the SICK dataset. Our best system achieves 73% accuracy on the RTE task, and a Pearson's correlation of 0.71 on the STS task.
    ML ID: 305
  5. Integrating Language and Vision to Generate Natural Language Descriptions of Videos in the Wild
    [Details] [PDF] [Poster]
    Jesse Thomason and Subhashini Venugopalan and Sergio Guadarrama and Kate Saenko and Raymond Mooney
    In Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING 2014), 1218--1227, Dublin, Ireland, August 2014.
    This paper integrates techniques in natural language processing and computer vision to improve recognition and description of entities and activities in real-world videos. We propose a strategy for generating textual descriptions of videos by using a factor graph to combine visual detections with language statistics. We use state-of-the-art visual recognition systems to obtain confidences on entities, activities, and scenes present in the video. Our factor graph model combines these detection confidences with probabilistic knowledge mined from text corpora to estimate the most likely subject, verb, object, and place. Results on YouTube videos show that our approach improves both the joint detection of these latent, diverse sentence components and the detection of some individual components when compared to using the vision system alone, as well as over a previous n-gram language-modeling approach. The joint detection allows us to automatically generate more accurate, richer sentential descriptions of videos with a wide array of possible content.
    ML ID: 304
  6. Efficient Markov Logic Inference for Natural Language Semantics
    [Details] [PDF] [Poster]
    Islam Beltagy and Raymond J. Mooney
    In Proceedings of the Fourth International Workshop on Statistical Relational AI at AAAI (StarAI-2014), 9--14, Quebec City, Canada, July 2014.
    Using Markov logic to integrate logical and distributional information in natural-language semantics results in complex inference problems involving long, complicated formulae. Current inference methods for Markov logic are ineffective on such problems. To address this problem, we propose a new inference algorithm based on SampleSearch that computes probabilities of complete formulae rather than ground atoms. We also introduce a modified closed-world assumption that significantly reduces the size of the ground network, thereby making inference feasible. Our approach is evaluated on the recognizing textual entailment task, and experiments demonstrate its dramatic impact on the efficiency of inference.
    ML ID: 303
  7. Integrating Visual and Linguistic Information to Describe Properties of Objects
    [Details] [PDF]
    Calvin MacKenzie
    2014. Undergraduate Honors Thesis, Computer Science Department, University of Texas at Austin.
    Generating sentences from images has historically been performed with standalone Computer Vision systems. The idea of combining visual and linguistic information has been gaining traction in the Computer Vision and Natural Language Processing communities over the past several years. The motivation for a combined system is to generate richer linguistic descriptions of images. Standalone vision systems are typically unable to generate linguistically rich descriptions. This approach combines abundant available language data to clean up noisy results from standalone vision systems.

    This thesis investigates the performance of several models which integrate information from language and vision systems in order to describe certain attributes of objects. The attributes used were split into two categories: color attributes and other attributes. Our proposed model was found to be statistically significantly more accurate than the vision system alone for both sets of attributes.

    ML ID: 302
  8. Semantic Parsing using Distributional Semantics and Probabilistic Logic
    [Details] [PDF] [Poster]
    Islam Beltagy and Katrin Erk and Raymond Mooney
    In Proceedings of ACL 2014 Workshop on Semantic Parsing (SP-2014), 7--11, Baltimore, MD, June 2014.
    We propose a new approach to semantic parsing that is not constrained by a fixed formal ontology and purely logical inference. Instead, we use distributional semantics to generate only the relevant part of an on-the-fly ontology. Sentences and the on-the-fly ontology are represented in probabilistic logic. For inference, we use probabilistic logic frameworks like Markov Logic Networks (MLN) and Probabilistic Soft Logic (PSL). This semantic parsing approach is evaluated on two tasks, Textual Entitlement (RTE) and Textual Similarity (STS), both accomplished using inference in probabilistic logic. Experiments show the potential of the approach.
    ML ID: 301
  9. Probabilistic Soft Logic for Semantic Textual Similarity
    [Details] [PDF] [Poster]
    Islam Beltagy and Katrin Erk and Raymond J. Mooney
    In Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL-14), 1210--1219, Baltimore, MD, 2014.
    Probabilistic Soft Logic (PSL) is a recently developed framework for probabilistic logic. We use PSL to combine logical and distributional representations of natural-language meaning, where distributional information is represented in the form of weighted inference rules. We apply this framework to the task of Semantic Textual Similarity (STS) (i.e. judging the semantic similarity of natural-language sentences), and show that PSL gives improved results compared to a previous approach based on Markov Logic Networks (MLNs) and a purely distributional approach.
    ML ID: 300
  10. Plan Recognition Using Statistical Relational Models
    [Details] [PDF]
    Sindhu Raghavan and Parag Singla and Raymond J. Mooney
    In Sukthankar, G. and Geib, C. and Bui, H.H. and Pynadath, D. and Goldman, R.P., editors, Plan, Activity, and Intent Recognition: Theory and Practice, 57--85, Burlington, MA, 2014. Morgan Kaufmann.
    Plan recognition is the task of predicting an agent's top-level plans based on its observed actions. It is an abductive reasoning task that involves inferring plans that best explain observed actions. Most existing approaches to plan recognition and other abductive reasoning tasks either use first-order logic (or subsets of it) or probabilistic graphical models. While the former cannot handle uncertainty in the data, the latter cannot handle structured representations. To overcome these limitations, we explore the application of statistical relational models that combine the strengths of both first-order logic and probabilistic graphical models to plan recognition. Specifically, we introduce two new approaches to abductive plan recognition using Bayesian Logic Programs (BLPs) and Markov Logic Networks (MLNs). Neither of these formalisms is suited for abductive reasoning because of the deductive nature of the underlying logical inference. In this work, we propose approaches to adapt both these formalisms for abductive plan recognition. We present an extensive evaluation of our approaches on three benchmark datasets on plan recognition, comparing them with existing state-of-the-art methods.
    ML ID: 298
  11. Active Multitask Learning Using Both Latent and Supervised Shared Topics
    [Details] [PDF] [Slides]
    Ayan Acharya and Raymond J. Mooney and Joydeep Ghosh
    In Proceedings of the 2014 SIAM International Conference on Data Mining (SDM14), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 2014.
    Multitask learning (MTL) via a shared representation has been adopted to alleviate problems with sparsity of labeled data across different learning tasks. Active learning, on the other hand, reduces the cost of labeling examples by making informative queries over an unlabeled pool of data. Therefore, a unification of both of these approaches can potentially be useful in settings where labeled information is expensive to obtain but the learning tasks or domains have some common characteristics. This paper introduces two such models -- Active Doubly Supervised Latent Dirichlet Allocation (Act-DSLDA) and its non-parametric variation (Act-NPDSLDA) that integrate MTL and active learning in the same framework. These models make use of both latent and supervised shared topics to accomplish multitask learning. Experimental results on both document and image classification show that integrating MTL and active learning along with shared latent and supervised topics is superior to other methods which do not employ all of these components.
    ML ID: 297
  12. Statistical Script Learning with Multi-Argument Events
    [Details] [PDF] [Poster]
    Karl Pichotta and Raymond J. Mooney
    In Proceedings of the 14th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL 2014), 220--229, Gothenburg, Sweden, April 2014.
    Scripts represent knowledge of stereotypical event sequences that can aid text understanding. Initial statistical methods have been developed to learn probabilistic scripts from raw text corpora; however, they utilize a very impoverished representation of events, consisting of a verb and one dependent argument. We present a script learning approach that employs events with multiple arguments. Unlike previous work, we model the interactions between multiple entities in a script. Experiments on a large corpus using the task of inferring held-out events (the "narrative cloze evaluation") demonstrate that modeling multi-argument events improves predictive accuracy.
    ML ID: 296