Joel Grus


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Reasoning about Actions and State Changes by Injecting Commonsense Knowledge
Niket Tandon | Bhavana Dalvi | Joel Grus | Wen-tau Yih | Antoine Bosselut | Peter Clark
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Comprehending procedural text, e.g., a paragraph describing photosynthesis, requires modeling actions and the state changes they produce, so that questions about entities at different timepoints can be answered. Although several recent systems have shown impressive progress in this task, their predictions can be globally inconsistent or highly improbable. In this paper, we show how the predicted effects of actions in the context of a paragraph can be improved in two ways: (1) by incorporating global, commonsense constraints (e.g., a non-existent entity cannot be destroyed), and (2) by biasing reading with preferences from large-scale corpora (e.g., trees rarely move). Unlike earlier methods, we treat the problem as a neural structured prediction task, allowing hard and soft constraints to steer the model away from unlikely predictions. We show that the new model significantly outperforms earlier systems on a benchmark dataset for procedural text comprehension (+8% relative gain), and that it also avoids some of the nonsensical predictions that earlier systems make.

Writing Code for NLP Research
Matt Gardner | Mark Neumann | Joel Grus | Nicholas Lourie
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: Tutorial Abstracts

Doing modern NLP research requires writing code. Good code enables fast prototyping, easy debugging, controlled experiments, and accessible visualizations that help researchers understand what a model is doing. Bad code leads to research that is at best hard to reproduce and extend, and at worst simply incorrect. Indeed, there is a growing recognition of the importance of having good tools to assist good research in our field, as the upcoming workshop on open source software for NLP demonstrates. This tutorial aims to share best practices for writing code for NLP research, drawing on the instructors' experience designing the recently-released AllenNLP toolkit, a PyTorch-based library for deep learning NLP research. We will explain how a library with the right abstractions and components enables better code and better science, using models implemented in AllenNLP as examples. Participants will learn how to write research code in a way that facilitates good science and easy experimentation, regardless of what framework they use.

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AllenNLP: A Deep Semantic Natural Language Processing Platform
Matt Gardner | Joel Grus | Mark Neumann | Oyvind Tafjord | Pradeep Dasigi | Nelson F. Liu | Matthew Peters | Michael Schmitz | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of Workshop for NLP Open Source Software (NLP-OSS)

Modern natural language processing (NLP) research requires writing code. Ideally this code would provide a precise definition of the approach, easy repeatability of results, and a basis for extending the research. However, many research codebases bury high-level parameters under implementation details, are challenging to run and debug, and are difficult enough to extend that they are more likely to be rewritten. This paper describes AllenNLP, a library for applying deep learning methods to NLP research that addresses these issues with easy-to-use command-line tools, declarative configuration-driven experiments, and modular NLP abstractions. AllenNLP has already increased the rate of research experimentation and the sharing of NLP components at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and we are working to have the same impact across the field.