Letitia Parcalabescu


VALSE: A Task-Independent Benchmark for Vision and Language Models Centered on Linguistic Phenomena
Letitia Parcalabescu | Michele Cafagna | Lilitta Muradjan | Anette Frank | Iacer Calixto | Albert Gatt
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We propose VALSE (Vision And Language Structured Evaluation), a novel benchmark designed for testing general-purpose pretrained vision and language (V&L) models for their visio-linguistic grounding capabilities on specific linguistic phenomena. VALSE offers a suite of six tests covering various linguistic constructs. Solving these requires models to ground linguistic phenomena in the visual modality, allowing more fine-grained evaluations than hitherto possible. We build VALSE using methods that support the construction of valid foils, and report results from evaluating five widely-used V&L models. Our experiments suggest that current models have considerable difficulty addressing most phenomena. Hence, we expect VALSE to serve as an important benchmark to measure future progress of pretrained V&L models from a linguistic perspective, complementing the canonical task-centred V&L evaluations.

MAGMA – Multimodal Augmentation of Generative Models through Adapter-based Finetuning
Constantin Eichenberg | Sidney Black | Samuel Weinbach | Letitia Parcalabescu | Anette Frank
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Large-scale pretraining is fast becoming the norm in Vision-Language (VL) modeling. However, prevailing VL approaches are limited by the requirement for labeled data and the use of complex multi-step pretraining objectives. We present MAGMA - a simple method for augmenting generative language models with additional modalities using adapter-based finetuning. Building on Frozen, we train a series of VL models that autoregressively generate text from arbitrary combinations of visual and textual input. The pretraining is entirely end-to-end using a single language modeling objective, simplifying optimization compared to previous approaches. Importantly, the language model weights remain unchanged during training, allowing for transfer of encyclopedic knowledge and in-context learning abilities from language pretraining. MAGMA outperforms Frozen on open-ended generative tasks, achieving state of the art results on the OKVQA benchmark and competitive results on a range of other popular VL benchmarks, while pretraining on 0.2 % of the number of samples used to train SimVLM.


Grounding Plural Phrases: Countering Evaluation Biases by Individuation
Julia Suter | Letitia Parcalabescu | Anette Frank
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Advances in Language and Vision Research

Phrase grounding (PG) is a multimodal task that grounds language in images. PG systems are evaluated on well-known benchmarks, using Intersection over Union (IoU) as evaluation metric. This work highlights a disconcerting bias in the evaluation of grounded plural phrases, which arises from representing sets of objects as a union box covering all component bounding boxes, in conjunction with the IoU metric. We detect, analyze and quantify an evaluation bias in the grounding of plural phrases and define a novel metric, c-IoU, based on a union box’s component boxes. We experimentally show that our new metric greatly alleviates this bias and recommend using it for fairer evaluation of plural phrases in PG tasks.

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What is Multimodality?
Letitia Parcalabescu | Nils Trost | Anette Frank
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Multimodal Semantic Representations (MMSR)

The last years have shown rapid developments in the field of multimodal machine learning, combining e.g., vision, text or speech. In this position paper we explain how the field uses outdated definitions of multimodality that prove unfit for the machine learning era. We propose a new task-relative definition of (multi)modality in the context of multimodal machine learning that focuses on representations and information that are relevant for a given machine learning task. With our new definition of multimodality we aim to provide a missing foundation for multimodal research, an important component of language grounding and a crucial milestone towards NLU.

Seeing past words: Testing the cross-modal capabilities of pretrained V&L models on counting tasks
Letitia Parcalabescu | Albert Gatt | Anette Frank | Iacer Calixto
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Multimodal Semantic Representations (MMSR)

We investigate the reasoning ability of pretrained vision and language (V&L) models in two tasks that require multimodal integration: (1) discriminating a correct image-sentence pair from an incorrect one, and (2) counting entities in an image. We evaluate three pretrained V&L models on these tasks: ViLBERT, ViLBERT 12-in-1 and LXMERT, in zero-shot and finetuned settings. Our results show that models solve task (1) very well, as expected, since all models are pretrained on task (1). However, none of the pretrained V&L models is able to adequately solve task (2), our counting probe, and they cannot generalise to out-of-distribution quantities. We propose a number of explanations for these findings: LXMERT (and to some extent ViLBERT 12-in-1) show some evidence of catastrophic forgetting on task (1). Concerning our results on the counting probe, we find evidence that all models are impacted by dataset bias, and also fail to individuate entities in the visual input. While a selling point of pretrained V&L models is their ability to solve complex tasks, our findings suggest that understanding their reasoning and grounding capabilities requires more targeted investigations on specific phenomena.


AMR Similarity Metrics from Principles
Juri Opitz | Letitia Parcalabescu | Anette Frank
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 8

Different metrics have been proposed to compare Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) graphs. The canonical Smatch metric (Cai and Knight, 2013) aligns the variables of two graphs and assesses triple matches. The recent SemBleu metric (Song and Gildea, 2019) is based on the machine-translation metric Bleu (Papineni et al., 2002) and increases computational efficiency by ablating the variable-alignment. In this paper, i) we establish criteria that enable researchers to perform a principled assessment of metrics comparing meaning representations like AMR; ii) we undertake a thorough analysis of Smatch and SemBleu where we show that the latter exhibits some undesirable properties. For example, it does not conform to the identity of indiscernibles rule and introduces biases that are hard to control; and iii) we propose a novel metric S2 match that is more benevolent to only very slight meaning deviations and targets the fulfilment of all established criteria. We assess its suitability and show its advantages over Smatch and SemBleu.