LINGUIST List 32.2997

Wed Sep 22 2021

FYI: Monthly Online ILFC Seminar: Interactions between Formal and Computational Linguistics

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <everettlinguistlist.org>



Date: 20-Sep-2021
From: Timothée Bernard <timothee.bernardu-paris.fr>
Subject: Monthly Online ILFC Seminar: Interactions between Formal and Computational Linguistics
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Monthly online ILFC Seminar: interactions between formal and computational linguistics
https://gdr-lift.loria.fr/monthy-online-ilfc-seminar/

GdR LIFT is happy to announce the two forthcoming sessions of the ILFC seminar on the interactions between formal and computational linguistics:
2021/10/12 17:00-18:00 UTC+2: Christopher Potts (Stanford University; 8:00-9:00 UTC-7)

Title: Causal Abstractions of Neural Natural Language Inference Models
Abstract: Neural networks have a reputation for being "black boxes" — complex, opaque systems that can be studied using only purely behavioral evaluations. However, much recent work on structural analysis methods (e.g., probing and feature attribution) is allowing us to peer inside these models and deeply understand their internal dynamics. In this talk, I'll describe a new structural analysis method we've developed that is grounded in a formal theory of causal abstraction. In this method, neural representations are aligned with variables in interpretable causal models, and then *interchange interventions* are used to experimentally verify that the neural representations have the causal properties of their aligned variables. I'll use these methods to explore problems in Natural Language Inference, focusing in particular on compositional interactions between lexical entailment and negation. Recent Transformer-based models can solve hard generalization tasks involving these phenomena, and our causal analysis method helps explain why: the models have learned modular representations that closely approximate the high-level compositional theory. Finally, I will show how to bring interchange interventions into the training process, which allows us to push our models to acquire desired modular internal structures like this.

Joint work with Atticus Geiger, Hanson Lu, Noah Goodman, and Thomas Icard


2021/11/16 17:00-18:00 UTC+2: Alex Lascarides (University of Edinburgh; 16:00-17:00 UTC+1)
Title: Situated Communication

Abstract: This talk focuses on how to represent and reason about the content of conversation when it takes place in an embodied, dynamic environment. I will argue that speakers can, and do, appropriate non-linguistic events into their communicative intents, even when those events weren't produced with the intention of being a part of a discourse. Indeed, non-linguistic events can contribute an (instance of) a proposition to the content of the speaker's message, even when her verbal signal contains no demonstratives or anaphora of any kind.

I will argue that representing and reasoning about discourse coherence is essential to capturing these features of situated conversation. I will make two claims: first, non-linguistic events affect rhetorical structure in non-trivial ways; and secondly, rhetorical structure guides the conceptualisation of non-linguistic events. I will support the first claim via empirical observations from the STAC corpus (www.irit.fr/STAC/corpus.html)---a corpus of dialogues that take place between players during the board game Settlers of Catan. I will support the second claim via experiments in Interactive Task Learning: a software agent jointly learns how to conceptualise the domain, ground previously unknown words in the embodied environment, and solve its planning problem, by using the evidence of an expert's corrective (verbal) feedback on its physical actions.

The seminar is held on Zoom. To attend the seminar and get updates, please register to be on our mailing list: https://sympa.inria.fr/sympa/subscribe/seminaire_ilfc

Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics; Discourse Analysis; Semantics


Page Updated: 22-Sep-2021