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Dan Garrette

Dan Garrette

I am a Research Scientist based in New York. My research focuses on Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning, with an emphasis on weakly-supervised learning for low-resource languages. I completed my Ph.D. in Computer Science at The University of Texas at Austin in 2015 and was later a postdoc at the University of Washington. More information can be found at http://www.dhgarrette.com/.
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    Character-Aware Models Improve Visual Text Rendering
    Chitwan Saharia
    William Chan
    Sharan Narang
    Irina Blok
    RJ Mical
    Mohammad Norouzi
    Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (2023)
    Preview abstract Current image generation models struggle to reliably produce well-formed visual text. In this paper, we investigate a key contributing factor: popular text-to-image models lack character-level input features, making it much harder to predict a word's visual makeup as a series of glyphs. To quantify this effect, we conduct a series of experiments comparing character-aware vs. character-blind text encoders. In the text-only domain, we find that character-aware models provide large gains on a novel spelling task (WikiSpell). Applying our learnings to the visual domain, we train a suite of image generation models, and show that character-aware variants outperform their character-blind counterparts across a range of novel text rendering tasks (our DrawText benchmark). Our models set a much higher state-of-the-art on visual spelling, with 30+ point accuracy gains over competitors on rare words, despite training on far fewer examples. View details
    Preview abstract We present FRMT, a new dataset and evaluation benchmark for Few-shot Region-aware Machine Translation, a type of style-targeted translation. The dataset consists of professional translations from English into two regional variants each of Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese. Source documents are selected to enable detailed analysis of phenomena of interest, including lexically distinct terms and distractor terms. We explore automatic evaluation metrics for FRMT and validate their correlation with expert human evaluation across both region-matched and mismatched rating scenarios. Finally, we present a number of baseline models for this task, and offer guidelines for how researchers can train, evaluate, and compare their own models. Our dataset and evaluation code are publicly available: https://bit.ly/frmt-task View details
    Preview abstract Large multilingual language models typically share their parameters across all languages, which enables cross-lingual task transfer, but learning can also be hindered when training updates from different languages are in conflict. In this article, we propose novel methods for using language-specific subnetworks, which control cross-lingual parameter sharing, to reduce conflicts and increase positive transfer during fine-tuning. We introduce dynamic subnetworks, which are jointly updated with the model, and we combine our methods with meta-learning, an established, but complementary, technique for improving cross-lingual transfer. Finally, we provide extensive analyses of how each of our methods affects the models. View details
    Preview abstract Multilingual language models (MLMs) are jointly trained on data from many different languages such that representation of individual languages can benefit from other languages’ data. Impressive performance in zero-shot cross-lingual transfer shows that these models are able to exploit this property. Yet, it remains unclear to what extent, and under which conditions, languages rely on each other’s data. To answer this question, we use TracIn (Pruthi et al., 2020), a training data attribution (TDA) method, to retrieve training samples from multilingual data that are most influential for test predictions in a given language. This allows us to analyse cross-lingual sharing mechanisms of MLMs from a new perspective. While previous work studied cross-lingual sharing at the model parameter level, we present the first approach to study it at the data level. We find that MLMs rely on data from multiple languages during fine-tuning and this reliance increases as fine-tuning progresses. We further find that training samples from other languages can both reinforce and complement the knowledge acquired from data of the test language itself. View details
    XTREME-UP: A User-Centric Scarce-Data Benchmark for Under-Represented Languages
    Sebastian Ruder
    Shruti Rijhwani
    Jean-Michel Sarr
    Cindy Wang
    John Wieting
    Christo Kirov
    Dana L. Dickinson
    Bidisha Samanta
    Connie Tao
    David Adelani
    Reeve Ingle
    Dmitry Panteleev
    Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023, Association for Computational Linguistics, Singapore, pp. 1856-1884
    Preview abstract Data scarcity is a crucial issue for the development of highly multilingual NLP systems. Yet for many under-represented languages (ULs) — languages for which NLP research is particularly far behind in meeting user needs — it is feasible to annotate small amounts of data. Motivated by this, we propose XTREME-UP, a benchmark defined by: its focus on the scarce-data scenario rather than zero-shot; its focus on user-centric tasks — tasks with broad adoption by speakers of high-resource languages; and its focus on under-represented languages where this scarce-data scenario tends to be most realistic. XTREME-UP evaluates the capabilities of language models across 88 under-represented languages over 9 key user-centric technologies including ASR, OCR, MT, and information access tasks that are of general utility. We create new datasets for OCR, autocomplete, semantic parsing, and transliteration, and build on and refine existing datasets for other tasks. XTREME-UP provides methodology for evaluating many modeling scenarios including text only, multi-modal (vision, audio, and text), supervised parameter tuning, and in-context learning. We evaluate commonly used models on the benchmark. We release all code and scripts to train and evaluate models. View details
    Dialect-robust Evaluation of Generated Text
    Jiao Sun
    Elizabeth Clark
    Sebastian Gehrmann
    Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers), Association for Computational Linguistics, Toronto, Canada (2023), pp. 6010-6028
    Preview abstract Evaluation metrics that are not robust to dialect variation make it impossible to tell how well systems perform for many groups of users, and can even penalize systems for producing text in lower-resource dialects. However, currently, there exists no way to quantify how metrics respond to change in the dialect of a generated utterance. We thus formalize dialect robustness and dialect awareness as goals for NLG evaluation metrics. We introduce a suite of methods and corresponding statistical tests one can use to assess metrics in light of the two goals. Applying the suite to current state-of-the-art metrics, we demonstrate that they are not dialect-robust and that semantic perturbations frequently lead to smaller decreases in a metric than the introduction of dialect features. As a first step to overcome this limitation, we propose a training schema, NANO, which introduces regional and language information to the pretraining process of a metric. We demonstrate that NANO provides a size-efficient way for models to improve the dialect robustness while simultaneously improving their performance on the standard metric benchmark. View details
    CANINE: Pre-training an Efficient Tokenization-Free Encoder for Language Understanding
    Iulia Turc
    John Wieting
    Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics (2022)
    Preview abstract Pipelined NLP systems have largely been superseded by end-to-end neural modeling, yet nearly all commonly-used models still require an explicit tokenization step. While recent tokenization approaches based on data-derived subword lexicons are less brittle than manually engineered tokenizers, these techniques are not equally suited to all languages, and the use of any fixed vocabulary may limit a model's ability to adapt. In this paper, we present CANINE, a neural encoder that operates directly on character sequences, without explicit tokenization or vocabulary, and a pre-training strategy with soft inductive biases in place of hard token boundaries. To use its finer-grained input effectively and efficiently, CANINE combines downsampling, which reduces the input sequence length, with a deep transformer stack, which encodes context. CANINE outperforms a comparable mBERT model by >=1 F1 on TyDi QA, a challenging multilingual benchmark, despite having 28% fewer model parameters. View details
    Frequency Effects on Syntactic Rule Learning in Transformers
    Jason Wei
    Tal Linzen
    Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (2021)
    Preview abstract Pre-trained language models perform well on a variety of linguistic tasks that require symbolic reasoning, raising the question of whether such models implicitly represent abstract symbols and rules. We investigate this question using the case study of BERT's performance on English subject-verb agreement. Unlike prior work, we train multiple instances of BERT from scratch, allowing us to perform a series of controlled interventions at pre-training time. We show that BERT often generalizes well to subject-verb pairs that never occurred in training, suggesting a degree of rule-governed behavior. We also find, however, that performance is heavily influenced by word frequency, with experiments showing that both the absolute frequency of a verb form, as well as the frequency relative to the alternate inflection, are causally implicated in the predictions BERT makes at inference time. Closer analysis of these frequency effects reveals that BERT's behavior is consistent with a system that correctly applies the SVA rule in general but struggles to overcome strong training priors and to estimate agreement features (singular vs. plural) on infrequent lexical items. View details
    Preview abstract Confidently making progress on multilingual modeling requires challenging, trustworthy evaluations. We present TyDi QA, a question answering dataset covering 11 typologically diverse languages. Until recently, most multilingual research in natural language processing has been limited to machine translation or to technical tasks such as tagging and parsing. Question answering offers a scenario that is natural in that non-technical users intuitively understand the task, allowing high quality data collection in the absence of abundant annotators with expertise in both linguistics and the language of interest. This allows us select languages that are diverse with regard to their typology -- the set of linguistic features that each language expresses. We expect that models that can perform well on this set will generalize across a large number of the languages in the world. To encourage a more realistic distribution, the data is collected entirely in each native language without the use of translation (human or otherwise) and question creation is performed without seeing the answers. We present a quantitative analysis of the data quality, we provide example-level linguistic analyses and glosses of language phenomena that would not be found in English-only corpora, and we measure the performance of baseline systems. View details
    Preview abstract State-of-the-art multilingual models depend on vocabularies that cover all of the languages the model will expect to see at inference time, but the standard methods for generating those vocabularies are not ideal for massively multilingual applications. In this work, we introduce a novel procedure for multilingual vocabulary generation that combines the separately trained vocabularies of several automatically derived language clusters, thus balancing the trade-off between cross-lingual subword sharing and language-specific vocabularies. Our experiments show improvements across languages on key multilingual benchmark tasks TyDi QA (+2.9 F1), XNLI (+2.1%), and WikiAnn NER (+2.8 F1) and factor of 8 reduction in out-of-vocabulary rate, all without increasing the size of the model or data. View details
    How multilingual is Multilingual BERT?
    Telmo Pires
    Eva Schlinger
    Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Association for Computational Linguistics (2019)
    Preview abstract In this paper, we show that Multilingual BERT (M-BERT), released by Devlin et al. (2018) as a single language model pre-trained from monolingual corpora in 104 languages, is surprisingly good at zero-shot cross-lingual model transfer, in which task-specific annotations in one language are used to fine-tune the model for evaluation in another language. To understand why, we present a large number of probing experiments, showing that transfer is possible even to languages in different scripts, that transfer works best between typologically similar languages, that monolingual corpora can train models for code-switching, and that the model can find translation pairs. From these results, we can conclude that M-BERT does create multilingual representations, but that these representations exhibit systematic deficiencies affecting certain language pairs. View details
    Preview abstract Code-switching, the use of more than one language within a single utterance, is ubiquitous in much of the world, but remains a challenge for NLP largely due to the lack of representative data for training models. In this paper, we present a novel model architecture that is trained exclusively on monolingual resources, but can be applied to unseen code-switched text at inference time. The model accomplishes this by jointly maintaining separate word representations for each of the possible languages, or scripts in the case of transliteration, allowing each to contribute to inferences without forcing the model to commit to a language. Experiments on Hindi-English part-of-speech tagging demonstrate that our approach outperforms standard models when training on monolingual text without transliteration, and testing on code-switched text with alternate scripts. View details
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