Mitchell Stern


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Semantic Scaffolds for Pseudocode-to-Code Generation
Ruiqi Zhong | Mitchell Stern | Dan Klein
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We propose a method for program generation based on semantic scaffolds, lightweight structures representing the high-level semantic and syntactic composition of a program. By first searching over plausible scaffolds then using these as constraints for a beam search over programs, we achieve better coverage of the search space when compared with existing techniques. We apply our hierarchical search method to the SPoC dataset for pseudocode-to-code generation, in which we are given line-level natural language pseudocode annotations and aim to produce a program satisfying execution-based test cases. By using semantic scaffolds during inference, we achieve a 10% absolute improvement in top-100 accuracy over the previous state-of-the-art. Additionally, we require only 11 candidates to reach the top-3000 performance of the previous best approach when tested against unseen problems, demonstrating a substantial improvement in efficiency.

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Imitation Attacks and Defenses for Black-box Machine Translation Systems
Eric Wallace | Mitchell Stern | Dawn Song
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Adversaries may look to steal or attack black-box NLP systems, either for financial gain or to exploit model errors. One setting of particular interest is machine translation (MT), where models have high commercial value and errors can be costly. We investigate possible exploitations of black-box MT systems and explore a preliminary defense against such threats. We first show that MT systems can be stolen by querying them with monolingual sentences and training models to imitate their outputs. Using simulated experiments, we demonstrate that MT model stealing is possible even when imitation models have different input data or architectures than their target models. Applying these ideas, we train imitation models that reach within 0.6 BLEU of three production MT systems on both high-resource and low-resource language pairs. We then leverage the similarity of our imitation models to transfer adversarial examples to the production systems. We use gradient-based attacks that expose inputs which lead to semantically-incorrect translations, dropped content, and vulgar model outputs. To mitigate these vulnerabilities, we propose a defense that modifies translation outputs in order to misdirect the optimization of imitation models. This defense degrades the adversary’s BLEU score and attack success rate at some cost in the defender’s BLEU and inference speed.

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An Empirical Study of Generation Order for Machine Translation
William Chan | Mitchell Stern | Jamie Kiros | Jakob Uszkoreit
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

In this work, we present an empirical study of generation order for machine translation. Building on recent advances in insertion-based modeling, we first introduce a soft order-reward framework that enables us to train models to follow arbitrary oracle generation policies. We then make use of this framework to explore a large variety of generation orders, including uninformed orders, location-based orders, frequency-based orders, content-based orders, and model-based orders. Curiously, we find that for the WMT’14 English German and WMT’18 English Chinese translation tasks, order does not have a substantial impact on output quality. Moreover, for English German, we even discover that unintuitive orderings such as alphabetical and shortest-first can match the performance of a standard Transformer, suggesting that traditional left-to-right generation may not be necessary to achieve high performance.

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Towards End-to-End In-Image Neural Machine Translation
Elman Mansimov | Mitchell Stern | Mia Chen | Orhan Firat | Jakob Uszkoreit | Puneet Jain
Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Natural Language Processing Beyond Text

In this paper, we offer a preliminary investigation into the task of in-image machine translation: transforming an image containing text in one language into an image containing the same text in another language. We propose an end-to-end neural model for this task inspired by recent approaches to neural machine translation, and demonstrate promising initial results based purely on pixel-level supervision. We then offer a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of our system outputs and discuss some common failure modes. Finally, we conclude with directions for future work.


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What’s Going On in Neural Constituency Parsers? An Analysis
David Gaddy | Mitchell Stern | Dan Klein
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long Papers)

A number of differences have emerged between modern and classic approaches to constituency parsing in recent years, with structural components like grammars and feature-rich lexicons becoming less central while recurrent neural network representations rise in popularity. The goal of this work is to analyze the extent to which information provided directly by the model structure in classical systems is still being captured by neural methods. To this end, we propose a high-performance neural model (92.08 F1 on PTB) that is representative of recent work and perform a series of investigative experiments. We find that our model implicitly learns to encode much of the same information that was explicitly provided by grammars and lexicons in the past, indicating that this scaffolding can largely be subsumed by powerful general-purpose neural machinery.


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A Minimal Span-Based Neural Constituency Parser
Mitchell Stern | Jacob Andreas | Dan Klein
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In this work, we present a minimal neural model for constituency parsing based on independent scoring of labels and spans. We show that this model is not only compatible with classical dynamic programming techniques, but also admits a novel greedy top-down inference algorithm based on recursive partitioning of the input. We demonstrate empirically that both prediction schemes are competitive with recent work, and when combined with basic extensions to the scoring model are capable of achieving state-of-the-art single-model performance on the Penn Treebank (91.79 F1) and strong performance on the French Treebank (82.23 F1).

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Abstract Syntax Networks for Code Generation and Semantic Parsing
Maxim Rabinovich | Mitchell Stern | Dan Klein
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Tasks like code generation and semantic parsing require mapping unstructured (or partially structured) inputs to well-formed, executable outputs. We introduce abstract syntax networks, a modeling framework for these problems. The outputs are represented as abstract syntax trees (ASTs) and constructed by a decoder with a dynamically-determined modular structure paralleling the structure of the output tree. On the benchmark Hearthstone dataset for code generation, our model obtains 79.2 BLEU and 22.7% exact match accuracy, compared to previous state-of-the-art values of 67.1 and 6.1%. Furthermore, we perform competitively on the Atis, Jobs, and Geo semantic parsing datasets with no task-specific engineering.

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Improving Neural Parsing by Disentangling Model Combination and Reranking Effects
Daniel Fried | Mitchell Stern | Dan Klein
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Recent work has proposed several generative neural models for constituency parsing that achieve state-of-the-art results. Since direct search in these generative models is difficult, they have primarily been used to rescore candidate outputs from base parsers in which decoding is more straightforward. We first present an algorithm for direct search in these generative models. We then demonstrate that the rescoring results are at least partly due to implicit model combination rather than reranking effects. Finally, we show that explicit model combination can improve performance even further, resulting in new state-of-the-art numbers on the PTB of 94.25 F1 when training only on gold data and 94.66 F1 when using external data.

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Effective Inference for Generative Neural Parsing
Mitchell Stern | Daniel Fried | Dan Klein
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Generative neural models have recently achieved state-of-the-art results for constituency parsing. However, without a feasible search procedure, their use has so far been limited to reranking the output of external parsers in which decoding is more tractable. We describe an alternative to the conventional action-level beam search used for discriminative neural models that enables us to decode directly in these generative models. We then show that by improving our basic candidate selection strategy and using a coarse pruning function, we can improve accuracy while exploring significantly less of the search space. Applied to the model of Choe and Charniak (2016), our inference procedure obtains 92.56 F1 on section 23 of the Penn Treebank, surpassing prior state-of-the-art results for single-model systems.