Barun Patra


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ScopeIt: Scoping Task Relevant Sentences in Documents
Barun Patra | Vishwas Suryanarayanan | Chala Fufa | Pamela Bhattacharya | Charles Lee
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Industry Track

A prominent problem faced by conversational agents working with large documents (Eg: email-based assistants) is the frequent presence of information in the document that is irrelevant to the assistant. This in turn makes it harder for the agent to accurately detect intents, extract entities relevant to those intents and perform the desired action. To address this issue we present a neural model for scoping relevant information for the agent from a large document. We show that when used as the first step in a popularly used email-based assistant for helping users schedule meetings, our proposed model helps improve the performance of the intent detection and entity extraction tasks required by the agent for correctly scheduling meetings: across a suite of 6 downstream tasks, by using our proposed method, we observe an average gain of 35% in precision without any drop in recall. Additionally, we demonstrate that the same approach can be used for component level analysis in large documents, such as signature block identification.

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To Schedule or not to Schedule: Extracting Task Specific Temporal Entities and Associated Negation Constraints
Barun Patra | Chala Fufa | Pamela Bhattacharya | Charles Lee
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

State of the art research for date-time entity extraction from text is task agnostic. Consequently, while the methods proposed in literature perform well for generic date-time extraction from texts, they don’t fare as well on task specific date-time entity extraction where only a subset of the date-time entities present in the text are pertinent to solving the task. Furthermore, some tasks require identifying negation constraints associated with the date-time entities to correctly reason over time. We showcase a novel model for extracting task-specific date-time entities along with their negation constraints. We show the efficacy of our method on the task of date-time understanding in the context of scheduling meetings for an email-based digital AI scheduling assistant. Our method achieves an absolute gain of 19% f-score points compared to baseline methods in detecting the date-time entities relevant to scheduling meetings and a 4% improvement over baseline methods for detecting negation constraints over date-time entities.


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Weakly Supervised Attention Networks for Entity Recognition
Barun Patra | Joel Ruben Antony Moniz
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

The task of entity recognition has traditionally been modelled as a sequence labelling task. However, this usually requires a large amount of fine-grained data annotated at the token level, which in turn can be expensive and cumbersome to obtain. In this work, we aim to circumvent this requirement of word-level annotated data. To achieve this, we propose a novel architecture for entity recognition from a corpus containing weak binary presence/absence labels, which are relatively easier to obtain. We show that our proposed weakly supervised model, trained solely on a multi-label classification task, performs reasonably well on the task of entity recognition, despite not having access to any token-level ground truth data.

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Bilingual Lexicon Induction with Semi-supervision in Non-Isometric Embedding Spaces
Barun Patra | Joel Ruben Antony Moniz | Sarthak Garg | Matthew R. Gormley | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Recent work on bilingual lexicon induction (BLI) has frequently depended either on aligned bilingual lexicons or on distribution matching, often with an assumption about the isometry of the two spaces. We propose a technique to quantitatively estimate this assumption of the isometry between two embedding spaces and empirically show that this assumption weakens as the languages in question become increasingly etymologically distant. We then propose Bilingual Lexicon Induction with Semi-Supervision (BLISS) — a semi-supervised approach that relaxes the isometric assumption while leveraging both limited aligned bilingual lexicons and a larger set of unaligned word embeddings, as well as a novel hubness filtering technique. Our proposed method obtains state of the art results on 15 of 18 language pairs on the MUSE dataset, and does particularly well when the embedding spaces don’t appear to be isometric. In addition, we also show that adding supervision stabilizes the learning procedure, and is effective even with minimal supervision.