Many natural language inference (NLI) datasets contain biases that allow models to perform well by only using a biased subset of the input, without considering the remainder features. For instance, models are able to make a classification decision by only using the hypothesis, without learning the true relationship between it and the premise. These structural biases lead discriminative models to learn unintended superficial features and to generalize poorly out of the training distribution. In this work, we reformulate the NLI task as a generative task, where a model is conditioned on the biased subset of the input and the label and generates the remaining subset of the input. We show that by imposing a uniform prior, we obtain a provably unbiased model. Through synthetic experiments, we find that this approach is highly robust to large amounts of bias. We then demonstrate empirically on two types of natural bias that this approach leads to fully unbiased models in practice. However, we find that generative models are difficult to train and they generally perform worse than discriminative baselines. We highlight the difficulty of the generative modeling task in the context of NLI as a cause for this worse performance. Finally, by fine-tuning the generative model with a discriminative objective, we reduce the performance gap between the generative model and the discriminative baseline, while allowing for a small amount of bias.

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We propose a deep generative approach to sampling from a conditional distribution based on a unified formulation of conditional distribution and generalized nonparametric regression function using the noise-outsourcing lemma. The proposed approach aims at learning a conditional generator so that a random sample from the target conditional distribution can be obtained by the action of the conditional generator on a sample drawn from a reference distribution. The conditional generator is estimated nonparametrically with neural networks by matching appropriate joint distributions using the Kullback-Liebler divergence. An appealing aspect of our method is that it allows either of or both the predictor and the response to be high-dimensional and can handle both continuous and discrete type predictors and responses. We show that the proposed method is consistent in the sense that the conditional generator converges in distribution to the underlying conditional distribution under mild conditions. Our numerical experiments with simulated and benchmark image data validate the proposed method and demonstrate that it outperforms several existing conditional density estimation methods.

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Recent commonsense-reasoning tasks are typically discriminative in nature, where a model answers a multiple-choice question for a certain context. Discriminative tasks are limiting because they fail to adequately evaluate the model's ability to reason and explain predictions with underlying commonsense knowledge. They also allow such models to use reasoning shortcuts and not be "right for the right reasons". In this work, we present ExplaGraphs, a new generative and structured commonsense-reasoning task (and an associated dataset) of explanation graph generation for stance prediction. Specifically, given a belief and an argument, a model has to predict if the argument supports or counters the belief and also generate a commonsense-augmented graph that serves as non-trivial, complete, and unambiguous explanation for the predicted stance. We collect explanation graphs through a novel Create-Verify-And-Refine graph collection framework that improves the graph quality (up to 90%) via multiple rounds of verification and refinement. A significant 79% of our graphs contain external commonsense nodes with diverse structures and reasoning depths. Next, we propose a multi-level evaluation framework, consisting of automatic metrics and human evaluation, that check for the structural and semantic correctness of the generated graphs and their degree of match with ground-truth graphs. Finally, we present several structured, commonsense-augmented, and text generation models as strong starting points for this explanation graph generation task, and observe that there is a large gap with human performance, thereby encouraging future work for this new challenging task. ExplaGraphs will be publicly available at https://explagraphs.github.io.

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We develop an inference method for a (sub)vector of parameters identified by conditional moment restrictions, which are implied by economic models such as rational behavior and Euler equations. Building on Bierens (1990), we propose penalized maximum statistics and combine bootstrap inference with model selection. Our method is optimized to be powerful against a set of local alternatives of interest by solving a data-dependent max-min problem for tuning parameter selection. We demonstrate the efficacy of our method by a proof of concept using two empirical examples: rational unbiased reporting of ability status and the elasticity of intertemporal substitution.

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Data-to-text generation focuses on generating fluent natural language responses from structured semantic representations. Such representations are compositional, allowing for the combination of atomic meaning schemata in various ways to express the rich semantics in natural language. Recently, pretrained language models (LMs) have achieved impressive results on data-to-text tasks, though it remains unclear the extent to which these LMs generalize to new semantic representations. In this work, we systematically study the compositional generalization of current state-of-the-art generation models in data-to-text tasks. By simulating structural shifts in the compositional Weather dataset, we show that T5 models fail to generalize to unseen structures. Next, we show that template-based input representations greatly improve the model performance and model scale does not trivially solve the lack of generalization. To further improve the model's performance, we propose an approach based on self-training using finetuned BLEURT for pseudo-response selection. Extensive experiments on the few-shot Weather and multi-domain SGD datasets demonstrate strong gains of our method.

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Transformer-based models have achieved impressive performance on various Natural Language Inference (NLI) benchmarks, when trained on respective training datasets. However, in certain cases, training samples may not be available or collecting them could be time-consuming and resource-intensive. In this work, we address this challenge and present an explorative study on unsupervised NLI, a paradigm in which no human-annotated training samples are available. We investigate NLI under three challenging settings: PH, P, and NPH that differ in the extent of unlabeled data available for learning. As a solution, we propose a procedural data generation approach that leverages a set of sentence transformations to collect PHL (Premise, Hypothesis, Label) triplets for training NLI models, bypassing the need for human-annotated training datasets. Comprehensive experiments show that this approach results in accuracies of 66.75%, 65.9%, 65.39% in PH, P, NPH settings respectively, outperforming all existing baselines. Furthermore, fine-tuning our models with as little as ~0.1% of the training dataset (500 samples) leads to 12.2% higher accuracy than the model trained from scratch on the same 500 instances.

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The dominating NLP paradigm of training a strong neural predictor to perform one task on a specific dataset has led to state-of-the-art performance in a variety of applications (eg. sentiment classification, span-prediction based question answering or machine translation). However, it builds upon the assumption that the data distribution is stationary, ie. that the data is sampled from a fixed distribution both at training and test time. This way of training is inconsistent with how we as humans are able to learn from and operate within a constantly changing stream of information. Moreover, it is ill-adapted to real-world use cases where the data distribution is expected to shift over the course of a model's lifetime. The first goal of this thesis is to characterize the different forms this shift can take in the context of natural language processing, and propose benchmarks and evaluation metrics to measure its effect on current deep learning architectures. We then proceed to take steps to mitigate the effect of distributional shift on NLP models. To this end, we develop methods based on parametric reformulations of the distributionally robust optimization framework. Empirically, we demonstrate that these approaches yield more robust models as demonstrated on a selection of realistic problems. In the third and final part of this thesis, we explore ways of efficiently adapting existing models to new domains or tasks. Our contribution to this topic takes inspiration from information geometry to derive a new gradient update rule which alleviate catastrophic forgetting issues during adaptation.

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Both generative adversarial network models and variational autoencoders have been widely used to approximate probability distributions of datasets. Although they both use parametrized distributions to approximate the underlying data distribution, whose exact inference is intractable, their behaviors are very different. In this report, we summarize our experiment results that compare these two categories of models in terms of fidelity and mode collapse. We provide a hypothesis to explain their different behaviors and propose a new model based on this hypothesis. We further tested our proposed model on MNIST dataset and CelebA dataset.

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A fundamental computation for statistical inference and accurate decision-making is to compute the marginal probabilities or most probable states of task-relevant variables. Probabilistic graphical models can efficiently represent the structure of such complex data, but performing these inferences is generally difficult. Message-passing algorithms, such as belief propagation, are a natural way to disseminate evidence amongst correlated variables while exploiting the graph structure, but these algorithms can struggle when the conditional dependency graphs contain loops. Here we use Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) to learn a message-passing algorithm that solves these inference tasks. We first show that the architecture of GNNs is well-matched to inference tasks. We then demonstrate the efficacy of this inference approach by training GNNs on a collection of graphical models and showing that they substantially outperform belief propagation on loopy graphs. Our message-passing algorithms generalize out of the training set to larger graphs and graphs with different structure.

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We introduce an effective model to overcome the problem of mode collapse when training Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN). Firstly, we propose a new generator objective that finds it better to tackle mode collapse. And, we apply an independent Autoencoders (AE) to constrain the generator and consider its reconstructed samples as "real" samples to slow down the convergence of discriminator that enables to reduce the gradient vanishing problem and stabilize the model. Secondly, from mappings between latent and data spaces provided by AE, we further regularize AE by the relative distance between the latent and data samples to explicitly prevent the generator falling into mode collapse setting. This idea comes when we find a new way to visualize the mode collapse on MNIST dataset. To the best of our knowledge, our method is the first to propose and apply successfully the relative distance of latent and data samples for stabilizing GAN. Thirdly, our proposed model, namely Generative Adversarial Autoencoder Networks (GAAN), is stable and has suffered from neither gradient vanishing nor mode collapse issues, as empirically demonstrated on synthetic, MNIST, MNIST-1K, CelebA and CIFAR-10 datasets. Experimental results show that our method can approximate well multi-modal distribution and achieve better results than state-of-the-art methods on these benchmark datasets. Our model implementation is published here: https://github.com/tntrung/gaan

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Attention mechanism has been used as an ancillary means to help RNN or CNN. However, the Transformer (Vaswani et al., 2017) recently recorded the state-of-the-art performance in machine translation with a dramatic reduction in training time by solely using attention. Motivated by the Transformer, Directional Self Attention Network (Shen et al., 2017), a fully attention-based sentence encoder, was proposed. It showed good performance with various data by using forward and backward directional information in a sentence. But in their study, not considered at all was the distance between words, an important feature when learning the local dependency to help understand the context of input text. We propose Distance-based Self-Attention Network, which considers the word distance by using a simple distance mask in order to model the local dependency without losing the ability of modeling global dependency which attention has inherent. Our model shows good performance with NLI data, and it records the new state-of-the-art result with SNLI data. Additionally, we show that our model has a strength in long sentences or documents.

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