Hoang Van


Extracting Space Situational Awareness Events from News Text
Zhengnan Xie | Alice Saebom Kwak | Enfa George | Laura W. Dozal | Hoang Van | Moriba Jah | Roberto Furfaro | Peter Jansen
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Space situational awareness typically makes use of physical measurements from radar, telescopes, and other assets to monitor satellites and other spacecraft for operational, navigational, and defense purposes. In this work we explore using textual input for the space situational awareness task. We construct a corpus of 48.5k news articles spanning all known active satellites between 2009 and 2020. Using a dependency-rule-based extraction system designed to target three high-impact events – spacecraft launches, failures, and decommissionings, we identify 1,787 space-event sentences that are then annotated by humans with 15.9k labels for event slots. We empirically demonstrate a state-of-the-art neural extraction system achieves an overall F1 between 53 and 91 per slot for event extraction in this low-resource, high-impact domain.


How May I Help You? Using Neural Text Simplification to Improve Downstream NLP Tasks
Hoang Van | Zheng Tang | Mihai Surdeanu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

The general goal of text simplification (TS) is to reduce text complexity for human consumption. In this paper, we investigate another potential use of neural TS: assisting machines performing natural language processing (NLP) tasks. We evaluate the use of neural TS in two ways: simplifying input texts at prediction time and augmenting data to provide machines with additional information during training. We demonstrate that the latter scenario provides positive effects on machine performance on two separate datasets. In particular, the latter use of TS improves the performances of LSTM (1.82–1.98%) and SpanBERT (0.7–1.3%) extractors on TACRED, a complex, large-scale, real-world relation extraction task. Further, the same setting yields improvements of up to 0.65% matched and 0.62% mismatched accuracies for a BERT text classifier on MNLI, a practical natural language inference dataset.


AutoMeTS: The Autocomplete for Medical Text Simplification
Hoang Van | David Kauchak | Gondy Leroy
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

The goal of text simplification (TS) is to transform difficult text into a version that is easier to understand and more broadly accessible to a wide variety of readers. In some domains, such as healthcare, fully automated approaches cannot be used since information must be accurately preserved. Instead, semi-automated approaches can be used that assist a human writer in simplifying text faster and at a higher quality. In this paper, we examine the application of autocomplete to text simplification in the medical domain. We introduce a new parallel medical data set consisting of aligned English Wikipedia with Simple English Wikipedia sentences and examine the application of pretrained neural language models (PNLMs) on this dataset. We compare four PNLMs (BERT, RoBERTa, XLNet, and GPT-2), and show how the additional context of the sentence to be simplified can be incorporated to achieve better results (6.17% absolute improvement over the best individual model). We also introduce an ensemble model that combines the four PNLMs and outperforms the best individual model by 2.1%, resulting in an overall word prediction accuracy of 64.52%.


What does the language of foods say about us?
Hoang Van | Ahmad Musa | Hang Chen | Stephen Kobourov | Mihai Surdeanu
Proceedings of the Tenth International Workshop on Health Text Mining and Information Analysis (LOUHI 2019)

In this work we investigate the signal contained in the language of food on social media. We experiment with a dataset of 24 million food-related tweets, and make several observations. First,thelanguageoffoodhaspredictive power. We are able to predict if states in the United States (US) are above the medianratesfortype2diabetesmellitus(T2DM), income, poverty, and education – outperforming previous work by 4–18%. Second, we investigate the effect of socioeconomic factors (income, poverty, and education) on predicting state-level T2DM rates. Socioeconomic factors do improve T2DM prediction, with the greatestimprovementcomingfrompovertyinformation(6%),but,importantly,thelanguage of food adds distinct information that is not captured by socioeconomics. Third, we analyze how the language of food has changed over a five-year period (2013 – 2017), which is indicative of the shift in eating habits in the US during that period. We find several food trends, and that the language of food is used differently by different groups such as differentgenders. Last,weprovideanonlinevisualization tool for real-time queries and semantic analysis.