[Corpora-List] Last CfP: JNLE Special Issue on Representation of Sentence Meaning

Raffaella Bernardi raffaella.bernardi at unitn.it
Thu Oct 11 20:59:38 CEST 2018

(apologies for multiple copies)

Last Call for Papers:

JNLE Special Issue on Representation of Sentence Meaning

Representation of Sentence Meaning: Where Are We?

Details: http://ufal.mff.cuni.cz/jnle-on-sentence-representation/


EXTENDED SUBMISSION DEADLINE: October 21, 2018 *********************************************************************

This is a call for papers for a special issue of Natural Language Engineering (JNLE) on Representation of sentence meaning.

Linguistically, the basic unit of meaning is a sentence. Sentence meaning has been studied for centuries, offering up representations that reflect properties (or theories) of the syntax-semantic boundary (e.g., FGD, MTT, AMR), to representations with the properties of complex, but expressive logics (e.g. intensional logic). Recent success of neural networks in natural language processing (especially at the lexical level) has raised the possibility of representation learning of sentence meaning, i.e. observing the continuous vector space in a hidden layer of a deep learning system trained to perform one of more specific tasks.

Multiple workshops have explored this possibility in the past few years, e.g. Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP (2016, 2017; https://sites.google.com/site/repl4nlp2017/), Workshop on Evaluating Vector Space Representations for NLP (2016, 2017; https://repeval2017.github.io/), Representation Learning (https://simons.berkeley.edu/workshops/machinelearning2017-2) or the Dagstuhl seminar (http://www.dagstuhl.de/17042).

Interesting behaviour and properties of continuous representations have been already observed. For lexical representations (embeddings), their linear combination in word vector space has been taken to correspond to different semantic relations between them (Mikolov et al., 2013). Learned representations can be evaluated intrinsically in terms of various similarities, although this type of evaluation suffers some well known problems (Faruqui et al., 2016), or extrinsically in terms of performance in downstream tasks or relation to cognitive processes (e.g. Auguste et al., 2017).

Continuous representations of sentences are comparably harder to produce and assess. The first question is whether the representation should be of a fixed size as with word embeddings, or whether it should reflect the length of the sentence, e.g. a matrix of encoder states along the sentence. The variable-length representation can be flat or capture the hierarchical structure of the sentence and simple operations such as matrix multiplication can serve as the basis of meaning compositionality (Socher et al., 2012). Empirical results to date are mixed: bidirectional gated RNNs (BiLSTM, BiGRU) with attention, corresponding to variable-length representations, seem the best empirical solution when trained directly for a particular NLP task (POS tagging, named entity recognition, syntactic parsing, reading comprehension, question answering, text summarization, machine translation). If the task is not to be constrained a priori, researchers have advocated universal sentence representations, which can be trained on one task (e.g. predicting surrounding sentences in Skip-Thoughts) and tested on a range of others. Training universal sentence representations on sentence pairs manually annotated for entailment (natural language inference, NLI) leads to a better performance despite the much smaller training data (Conneau et al., 2017). In both cases, there is a lack of analysis of the learned vector space from the perspective of linguistic adequacy: which phenomena are directly reflected in the space, if any? Semantic similarity (paraphrasing)? Various oppositions? Gradations (in number, tense)? Entailment? Compositionality (e.g. relations between main and adjunct and/or subordinate clauses)?

TreeLSTMs have the capacity to learn a latent grammar when trained e.g. to classify sentence pairs in terms of entailment. They seem to perform well, and yet the representation that is learned does not conform to traditional syntax or semantics (Williams at el., 2017).

The reason for proposing this special issue is that presentation and discussion of sentence-level meaning representation is fragmented across many fora (conferences, workshops, but also pre-prints only). We believe that some unified vision is needed in order to support coherent future research. The goal of the proposed special issue of Natural Language Engineering is thus to broadly map the state of the art in continuous sentence meaning representation and summarize the longer-term goals in representing sentence meaning in general.

Can deep learning for particular tasks get us to representations similar to the results of formal semantics? Or is a single formal definition of sentence meaning and elusive goal, are universal sentence embeddings impossible, e.g. because there is no such entity observable in human cognition?

The special issue will seek long research papers, surveys and position papers addressing primarily the following topics:

* Which properties of meaning representations are most desirable,

universally. * Comparisons of types of meaning representations (e.g. fixed-size vs.

variable-length) and methods for learning them. * Techniques of explorations of learned meaning representations. * Evaluation methodologies for meaning representations, including

surveys thereof. * Extrinsic evaluation by relations to cognitive processes. * Relation between traditional symbolic meaning representations and the

learned continuous ones. * Broad summaries of psycholinguistic evidence describing properties of

meaning representation in the human brain.

More details are available at: * http://ufal.mff.cuni.cz/jnle-on-sentence-representation/

Schedule: * 31st July 2018: Abstract submission deadline (to allow preempting overlaps

of survey-like articles) * 21st October 2018: Extended submission deadline * 9th December 2018: Deadline for reviews and responses to authors * 10th February 2019: Camera-ready deadline

Guest Editors of the special issue: * Ondřej Bojar (Charles University) * Raffaella Bernardi (University of Trento) * Holger Schwenk (Facebook AI Research) * Bonnie Webber (University of Edinburgh)

Guest Editorial Board: * Omri Abend (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) * Marco Baroni (Facebook AI Research, University of Trento) * Bob Coecke (University of Oxford) * Alexis Conneau (Facebook AI Research) * Katrin Erk (University of Texas at Austin) * Orhan Firat (Google) * Albert Gatt (University of Malta) * Caglar Gulcehre (Google) * Aurelie Herbelot (Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento) * Eva Maria Vecchi (University of Cambridge) * Louise McNally (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) * Laura Rimell (DeepMind) * Mernoosh Sadrzadeh (Queen Mary University of London) * Hinrich Schuetze (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich) * Mark Steedman (University of Edinburgh) * Ivan Titov (University of Edinburgh)

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