Melissa Roemmele


AnswerQuest: A System for Generating Question-Answer Items from Multi-Paragraph Documents
Melissa Roemmele | Deep Sidhpura | Steve DeNeefe | Ling Tsou
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

One strategy for facilitating reading comprehension is to present information in a question-and-answer format. We demo a system that integrates the tasks of question answering (QA) and question generation (QG) in order to produce Q&A items that convey the content of multi-paragraph documents. We report some experiments for QA and QG that yield improvements on both tasks, and assess how they interact to produce a list of Q&A items for a text. The demo is accessible at


Identifying Sensible Lexical Relations in Generated Stories
Melissa Roemmele
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Narrative Understanding

As with many text generation tasks, the focus of recent progress on story generation has been in producing texts that are perceived to “make sense” as a whole. There are few automated metrics that address this dimension of story quality even on a shallow lexical level. To initiate investigation into such metrics, we apply a simple approach to identifying word relations that contribute to the ‘narrative sense’ of a story. We use this approach to comparatively analyze the output of a few notable story generation systems in terms of these relations. We characterize differences in the distributions of relations according to their strength within each story.


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Linguistic Features of Helpfulness in Automated Support for Creative Writing
Melissa Roemmele | Andrew Gordon
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Storytelling

We examine an emerging NLP application that supports creative writing by automatically suggesting continuing sentences in a story. The application tracks users’ modifications to generated sentences, which can be used to quantify their “helpfulness” in advancing the story. We explore the task of predicting helpfulness based on automatically detected linguistic features of the suggestions. We illustrate this analysis on a set of user interactions with the application using an initial selection of features relevant to story generation.

An Encoder-decoder Approach to Predicting Causal Relations in Stories
Melissa Roemmele | Andrew Gordon
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Storytelling

We address the task of predicting causally related events in stories according to a standard evaluation framework, the Choice of Plausible Alternatives (COPA). We present a neural encoder-decoder model that learns to predict relations between adjacent sequences in stories as a means of modeling causality. We explore this approach using different methods for extracting and representing sequence pairs as well as different model architectures. We also compare the impact of different training datasets on our model. In particular, we demonstrate the usefulness of a corpus not previously applied to COPA, the ROCStories corpus. While not state-of-the-art, our results establish a new reference point for systems evaluated on COPA, and one that is particularly informative for future neural-based approaches.


An RNN-based Binary Classifier for the Story Cloze Test
Melissa Roemmele | Sosuke Kobayashi | Naoya Inoue | Andrew Gordon
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Linking Models of Lexical, Sentential and Discourse-level Semantics

The Story Cloze Test consists of choosing a sentence that best completes a story given two choices. In this paper we present a system that performs this task using a supervised binary classifier on top of a recurrent neural network to predict the probability that a given story ending is correct. The classifier is trained to distinguish correct story endings given in the training data from incorrect ones that we artificially generate. Our experiments evaluate different methods for generating these negative examples, as well as different embedding-based representations of the stories. Our best result obtains 67.2% accuracy on the test set, outperforming the existing top baseline of 58.5%.

Natural-language Interactive Narratives in Imaginal Exposure Therapy for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Melissa Roemmele | Paola Mardo | Andrew Gordon
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology — From Linguistic Signal to Clinical Reality

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety-based disorder that affects around 2.5% of the population. A common treatment for OCD is exposure therapy, where the patient repeatedly confronts a feared experience, which has the long-term effect of decreasing their anxiety. Some exposures consist of reading and writing stories about an imagined anxiety-provoking scenario. In this paper, we present a technology that enables patients to interactively contribute to exposure stories by supplying natural language input (typed or spoken) that advances a scenario. This interactivity could potentially increase the patient’s sense of immersion in an exposure and contribute to its success. We introduce the NLP task behind processing inputs to predict new events in the scenario, and describe our initial approach. We then illustrate the future possibility of this work with an example of an exposure scenario authored with our application.


SemEval-2012 Task 7: Choice of Plausible Alternatives: An Evaluation of Commonsense Causal Reasoning
Andrew Gordon | Zornitsa Kozareva | Melissa Roemmele
*SEM 2012: The First Joint Conference on Lexical and Computational Semantics – Volume 1: Proceedings of the main conference and the shared task, and Volume 2: Proceedings of the Sixth International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval 2012)