Jacob Parnell


A Multi-Document Coverage Reward for RELAXed Multi-Document Summarization
Jacob Parnell | Inigo Jauregi Unanue | Massimo Piccardi
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Multi-document summarization (MDS) has made significant progress in recent years, in part facilitated by the availability of new, dedicated datasets and capacious language models. However, a standing limitation of these models is that they are trained against limited references and with plain maximum-likelihood objectives. As for many other generative tasks, reinforcement learning (RL) offers the potential to improve the training of MDS models; yet, it requires a carefully-designed reward that can ensure appropriate leverage of both the reference summaries and the input documents. For this reason, in this paper we propose fine-tuning an MDS baseline with a reward that balances a reference-based metric such as ROUGE with coverage of the input documents. To implement the approach, we utilize RELAX (Grathwohl et al., 2018), a contemporary gradient estimator which is both low-variance and unbiased, and we fine-tune the baseline in a few-shot style for both stability and computational efficiency. Experimental results over the Multi-News and WCEP MDS datasets show significant improvements of up to +0.95 pp average ROUGE score and +3.17 pp METEOR score over the baseline, and competitive results with the literature. In addition, they show that the coverage of the input documents is increased, and evenly across all documents.


BERTTune: Fine-Tuning Neural Machine Translation with BERTScore
Inigo Jauregi Unanue | Jacob Parnell | Massimo Piccardi
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Neural machine translation models are often biased toward the limited translation references seen during training. To amend this form of overfitting, in this paper we propose fine-tuning the models with a novel training objective based on the recently-proposed BERTScore evaluation metric. BERTScore is a scoring function based on contextual embeddings that overcomes the typical limitations of n-gram-based metrics (e.g. synonyms, paraphrases), allowing translations that are different from the references, yet close in the contextual embedding space, to be treated as substantially correct. To be able to use BERTScore as a training objective, we propose three approaches for generating soft predictions, allowing the network to remain completely differentiable end-to-end. Experiments carried out over four, diverse language pairs show improvements of up to 0.58 pp (3.28%) in BLEU score and up to 0.76 pp (0.98%) in BERTScore (F_BERT) when fine-tuning a strong baseline.

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RewardsOfSum: Exploring Reinforcement Learning Rewards for Summarisation
Jacob Parnell | Inigo Jauregi Unanue | Massimo Piccardi
Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Structured Prediction for NLP (SPNLP 2021)

To date, most abstractive summarisation models have relied on variants of the negative log-likelihood (NLL) as their training objective. In some cases, reinforcement learning has been added to train the models with an objective that is closer to their evaluation measures (e.g. ROUGE). However, the reward function to be used within the reinforcement learning approach can play a key role for performance and is still partially unexplored. For this reason, in this paper, we propose two reward functions for the task of abstractive summarisation: the first function, referred to as RwB-Hinge, dynamically selects the samples for the gradient update. The second function, nicknamed RISK, leverages a small pool of strong candidates to inform the reward. In the experiments, we probe the proposed approach by fine-tuning an NLL pre-trained model over nine summarisation datasets of diverse size and nature. The experimental results show a consistent improvement over the negative log-likelihood baselines.