The recent years have seen a revival of interest in textual entailment, sparked by i) the emergence of powerful deep neural network learners for natural language processing and ii) the timely development of large-scale evaluation datasets such as SNLI. Recast as natural language inference, the problem now amounts to detecting the relation between pairs of statements: they either contradict or entail one another, or they are mutually neutral. Current research in natural language inference is effectively exclusive to English. In this paper, we propose to advance the research in SNLI-style natural language inference toward multilingual evaluation. To that end, we provide test data for four major languages: Arabic, French, Spanish, and Russian. We experiment with a set of baselines. Our systems are based on cross-lingual word embeddings and machine translation. While our best system scores an average accuracy of just over 75%, we focus largely on enabling further research in multilingual inference.

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分散式表示即将语言表示为稠密、低维、连续的向量。 研究者最早发现学习得到词嵌入之间存在类比关系。比如apple−apples ≈ car−cars, man−woman ≈ king – queen 等。这些方法都可以直接在大规模无标注语料上进行训练。词嵌入的质量也非常依赖于上下文窗口大小的选择。通常大的上下文窗口学到的词嵌入更反映主题信息,而小的上下文窗口学到的词嵌入更反映词的功能和上下文语义信息。

Much recent progress in applications of machine learning models to NLP has been driven by benchmarks that evaluate models across a wide variety of tasks. However, these broad-coverage benchmarks have been mostly limited to English, and despite an increasing interest in multilingual models, a benchmark that enables the comprehensive evaluation of such methods on a diverse range of languages and tasks is still missing. To this end, we introduce the Cross-lingual TRansfer Evaluation of Multilingual Encoders XTREME benchmark, a multi-task benchmark for evaluating the cross-lingual generalization capabilities of multilingual representations across 40 languages and 9 tasks. We demonstrate that while models tested on English reach human performance on many tasks, there is still a sizable gap in the performance of cross-lingually transferred models, particularly on syntactic and sentence retrieval tasks. There is also a wide spread of results across languages. We release the benchmark to encourage research on cross-lingual learning methods that transfer linguistic knowledge across a diverse and representative set of languages and tasks.

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Cross-lingual entity linking (XEL) is the task of finding referents in a target-language knowledge base (KB) for mentions extracted from source-language texts. The first step of (X)EL is candidate generation, which retrieves a list of plausible candidate entities from the target-language KB for each mention. Approaches based on resources from Wikipedia have proven successful in the realm of relatively high-resource languages (HRL), but these do not extend well to low-resource languages (LRL) with few, if any, Wikipedia pages. Recently, transfer learning methods have been shown to reduce the demand for resources in the LRL by utilizing resources in closely-related languages, but the performance still lags far behind their high-resource counterparts. In this paper, we first assess the problems faced by current entity candidate generation methods for low-resource XEL, then propose three improvements that (1) reduce the disconnect between entity mentions and KB entries, and (2) improve the robustness of the model to low-resource scenarios. The methods are simple, but effective: we experiment with our approach on seven XEL datasets and find that they yield an average gain of 16.9% in Top-30 gold candidate recall, compared to state-of-the-art baselines. Our improved model also yields an average gain of 7.9% in in-KB accuracy of end-to-end XEL.

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To solve the information explosion problem and enhance user experience in various online applications, recommender systems have been developed to model users preferences. Although numerous efforts have been made toward more personalized recommendations, recommender systems still suffer from several challenges, such as data sparsity and cold start. In recent years, generating recommendations with the knowledge graph as side information has attracted considerable interest. Such an approach can not only alleviate the abovementioned issues for a more accurate recommendation, but also provide explanations for recommended items. In this paper, we conduct a systematical survey of knowledge graph-based recommender systems. We collect recently published papers in this field and summarize them from two perspectives. On the one hand, we investigate the proposed algorithms by focusing on how the papers utilize the knowledge graph for accurate and explainable recommendation. On the other hand, we introduce datasets used in these works. Finally, we propose several potential research directions in this field.

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Causal inference is a critical research topic across many domains, such as statistics, computer science, education, public policy and economics, for decades. Nowadays, estimating causal effect from observational data has become an appealing research direction owing to the large amount of available data and low budget requirement, compared with randomized controlled trials. Embraced with the rapidly developed machine learning area, various causal effect estimation methods for observational data have sprung up. In this survey, we provide a comprehensive review of causal inference methods under the potential outcome framework, one of the well known causal inference framework. The methods are divided into two categories depending on whether they require all three assumptions of the potential outcome framework or not. For each category, both the traditional statistical methods and the recent machine learning enhanced methods are discussed and compared. The plausible applications of these methods are also presented, including the applications in advertising, recommendation, medicine and so on. Moreover, the commonly used benchmark datasets as well as the open-source codes are also summarized, which facilitate researchers and practitioners to explore, evaluate and apply the causal inference methods.

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Sentiment analysis is a widely studied NLP task where the goal is to determine opinions, emotions, and evaluations of users towards a product, an entity or a service that they are reviewing. One of the biggest challenges for sentiment analysis is that it is highly language dependent. Word embeddings, sentiment lexicons, and even annotated data are language specific. Further, optimizing models for each language is very time consuming and labor intensive especially for recurrent neural network models. From a resource perspective, it is very challenging to collect data for different languages. In this paper, we look for an answer to the following research question: can a sentiment analysis model trained on a language be reused for sentiment analysis in other languages, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, and Dutch, where the data is more limited? Our goal is to build a single model in the language with the largest dataset available for the task, and reuse it for languages that have limited resources. For this purpose, we train a sentiment analysis model using recurrent neural networks with reviews in English. We then translate reviews in other languages and reuse this model to evaluate the sentiments. Experimental results show that our robust approach of single model trained on English reviews statistically significantly outperforms the baselines in several different languages.

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Model-based methods for recommender systems have been studied extensively in recent years. In systems with large corpus, however, the calculation cost for the learnt model to predict all user-item preferences is tremendous, which makes full corpus retrieval extremely difficult. To overcome the calculation barriers, models such as matrix factorization resort to inner product form (i.e., model user-item preference as the inner product of user, item latent factors) and indexes to facilitate efficient approximate k-nearest neighbor searches. However, it still remains challenging to incorporate more expressive interaction forms between user and item features, e.g., interactions through deep neural networks, because of the calculation cost. In this paper, we focus on the problem of introducing arbitrary advanced models to recommender systems with large corpus. We propose a novel tree-based method which can provide logarithmic complexity w.r.t. corpus size even with more expressive models such as deep neural networks. Our main idea is to predict user interests from coarse to fine by traversing tree nodes in a top-down fashion and making decisions for each user-node pair. We also show that the tree structure can be jointly learnt towards better compatibility with users' interest distribution and hence facilitate both training and prediction. Experimental evaluations with two large-scale real-world datasets show that the proposed method significantly outperforms traditional methods. Online A/B test results in Taobao display advertising platform also demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method in production environments.

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Monolingual data have been demonstrated to be helpful in improving translation quality of both statistical machine translation (SMT) systems and neural machine translation (NMT) systems, especially in resource-poor or domain adaptation tasks where parallel data are not rich enough. In this paper, we propose a novel approach to better leveraging monolingual data for neural machine translation by jointly learning source-to-target and target-to-source NMT models for a language pair with a joint EM optimization method. The training process starts with two initial NMT models pre-trained on parallel data for each direction, and these two models are iteratively updated by incrementally decreasing translation losses on training data. In each iteration step, both NMT models are first used to translate monolingual data from one language to the other, forming pseudo-training data of the other NMT model. Then two new NMT models are learnt from parallel data together with the pseudo training data. Both NMT models are expected to be improved and better pseudo-training data can be generated in next step. Experiment results on Chinese-English and English-German translation tasks show that our approach can simultaneously improve translation quality of source-to-target and target-to-source models, significantly outperforming strong baseline systems which are enhanced with monolingual data for model training including back-translation.

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Multilingual models for Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) are attractive as they have been shown to benefit from more training data, and better lend themselves to adaptation to under-resourced languages. However, initialisation from monolingual context-dependent models leads to an explosion of context-dependent states. Connectionist Temporal Classification (CTC) is a potential solution to this as it performs well with monophone labels. We investigate multilingual CTC in the context of adaptation and regularisation techniques that have been shown to be beneficial in more conventional contexts. The multilingual model is trained to model a universal International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)-based phone set using the CTC loss function. Learning Hidden Unit Contribution (LHUC) is investigated to perform language adaptive training. In addition, dropout during cross-lingual adaptation is also studied and tested in order to mitigate the overfitting problem. Experiments show that the performance of the universal phoneme-based CTC system can be improved by applying LHUC and it is extensible to new phonemes during cross-lingual adaptation. Updating all the parameters shows consistent improvement on limited data. Applying dropout during adaptation can further improve the system and achieve competitive performance with Deep Neural Network / Hidden Markov Model (DNN/HMM) systems on limited data.

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Recognizing semantically similar sentences or paragraphs across languages is beneficial for many tasks, ranging from cross-lingual information retrieval and plagiarism detection to machine translation. Recently proposed methods for predicting cross-lingual semantic similarity of short texts, however, make use of tools and resources (e.g., machine translation systems, syntactic parsers or named entity recognition) that for many languages (or language pairs) do not exist. In contrast, we propose an unsupervised and a very resource-light approach for measuring semantic similarity between texts in different languages. To operate in the bilingual (or multilingual) space, we project continuous word vectors (i.e., word embeddings) from one language to the vector space of the other language via the linear translation model. We then align words according to the similarity of their vectors in the bilingual embedding space and investigate different unsupervised measures of semantic similarity exploiting bilingual embeddings and word alignments. Requiring only a limited-size set of word translation pairs between the languages, the proposed approach is applicable to virtually any pair of languages for which there exists a sufficiently large corpus, required to learn monolingual word embeddings. Experimental results on three different datasets for measuring semantic textual similarity show that our simple resource-light approach reaches performance close to that of supervised and resource intensive methods, displaying stability across different language pairs. Furthermore, we evaluate the proposed method on two extrinsic tasks, namely extraction of parallel sentences from comparable corpora and cross lingual plagiarism detection, and show that it yields performance comparable to those of complex resource-intensive state-of-the-art models for the respective tasks.

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Image captioning has so far been explored mostly in English, as most available datasets are in this language. However, the application of image captioning should not be restricted by language. Only few studies have been conducted for image captioning in a cross-lingual setting. Different from these works that manually build a dataset for a target language, we aim to learn a cross-lingual captioning model fully from machine-translated sentences. To conquer the lack of fluency in the translated sentences, we propose in this paper a fluency-guided learning framework. The framework comprises a module to automatically estimate the fluency of the sentences and another module to utilize the estimated fluency scores to effectively train an image captioning model for the target language. As experiments on two bilingual (English-Chinese) datasets show, our approach improves both fluency and relevance of the generated captions in Chinese, but without using any manually written sentences from the target language.

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