Workshop Papers

Bob Carpenter Scaling High-Order Character Language Models to Gigabytes Paper (PDF)

We describe the implementation steps required to scale high-order character language models to gigabytes of training data without pruning. Our online models build character-level PAT trie structures on the fly using heavily data-unfolded implementations of mutable daughter maps with a long integer count interface. Terminal nodes are shared. Character 8-gram training runs at 200,000 characters per second and allows online tuning of hyperparameters. Our compiled models precompute all probability estimates for observed n-grams and all interpolation parameters, along with suffix pointers to speed up context computations from proportional to n-gram length to a constant. The result is compiled models that are larger than the training models, but execute at 2 million characters per second on a desktop PC. Cross-entropy on held-out data shows these models to be state of the art in terms of performance.

Andrew B. Clegg; Adrian Shepherd Evaluating and Integrating Treebank Parsers on a Biomedical Corpus Paper (PDF)

It is not clear a priori how well parsers trained on the Penn Treebank will parse significantly different corpora without retraining. We carried out a competitive evaluation of three leading treebank parsers on an annotated corpus from the human molecular biology domain, and on an extract from the Penn Treebank for comparison, performing a detailed analysis of the kinds of errors each parser made, along with a quantitative comparison of syntax usage between the two corpora. Our results suggest that these tools are becoming somewhat over-specialised on their training domain at the expense of portability, but also indicate that some of the errors encountered are of doubtful importance for information extraction tasks.

Furthermore, our initial experiments with unsupervised parse combination techniques showed that integrating the output of several parsers can ameliorate some of the performance problems they encounter on unfamiliar text, providing accuracy and coverage improvements, and a novel measure of trustworthiness.

Supplementary materials are available at

Yael Cohen-Sygal; Shuly Wintner XFST2FSA: Comparing Two Finite-State Toolboxes Paper (PDF), Slides (PDF)

This paper introduces xfst2fsa, a compiler which translates grammars expressed in the syntax of the XFST finite-state toolbox to grammars in the language of the FSA Utilities package. Compilation to FSA facilitates the use of grammars developed with the proprietary XFST toolbox on a publicly available platform. The paper describes the non-trivial issues of the compilation process, highlighting several shortcomings of some published algorithms, especially where replace rules are concerned. The compiler augments FSA with most of the operators supported by XFST. Furthermore, it provides a means for comparing the two systems on comparable grammars. The paper presents the results of such a comparison.

Mary Ellen Foster Interleaved Preparation and Output in the COMIC Fission Module Paper (PDF)

We give a technical description of the fission module of the COMIC multimodal dialogue system, which both plans the multimodal content of the system turns and controls the execution of those plans. We emphasise the parts of the implementation that allow the system to begin producing output as soon as possible by preparing and outputting the content in parallel. We also demonstrate how the module was designed to ensure robustness and configurability, and describe how the module has performed successfully as part of the overall system. Finally, we discuss how the techniques used in this module can be applied to other similar dialogue systems.

Alexander Koller; Stefan Thater The Evolution of Dominance Constraint Solvers Paper (PDF)

We describe the evolution of solvers for dominance constraints, a formalism used in underspecified semantics, and present a new graph-based solver using charts. An evaluation on real-world data shows that each solver (including the new one) is significantly faster than its predecessors. We believe that our strategy of successively tailoring a powerful formalism to the actual inputs is more generally applicable.

Paula S. Newman TextTree Construction for Parser and Treebank Development Paper (PDF)

TextTrees, introduced in (Newman, 2005), are skeletal representations formed by systematically converting parser output trees into unlabeled indented strings with minimal bracketing. Files of TextTrees can be read rapidly to evaluate the results of parsing long documents, and are easily edited to allow limited-cost treebank development. This paper reviews the TextTree concept, and then describes the implementation of the almost parser- and grammar-independent TextTree generator, as well as auxiliary methods for producing parser review files and inputs to bracket scoring tools. The results of some limited experiments in TextTree usage are also provided.

Viktor Trón; György Gyepesi; Péter Halácsy; András Kornai; László Németh; Dániel Varga Hunmorph: Open Source Word Analysis Paper (PDF)

Common tasks involving orthographic words include spellchecking, stemming, morphological analysis, and morphological synthesis. To enable significant reuse of the language-specific resources across all such tasks, we have extended the functionality of the open source spellchecker MySpell, yielding a generic word analysis library, the runtime layer of the hunmorph toolkit. We added an offline resource management component, hunlex, which complements the efficiency of our runtime layer with a high-level description language and a configurable precompiler.

Michael White Designing an Extensible API for Integrating Language Modeling and Realization Paper (PDF)

We present an extensible API for integrating language modeling and realization, describing its design and efficient implementation in the OpenCCG surface realizer. With OpenCCG, language models may be used to select realizations with preferred word orders, promote alignment with a conversational partner, avoid repetitive language use, and increase the speed of the best-first anytime search. The API enables a variety of n-gram models to be easily combined and used in conjunction with appropriate edge pruning strategies. The n-gram models may be of any order, operate in reverse (``right-to-left''), and selectively replace certain words with their semantic classes. Factored language models with generalized backoff may also be employed, over words represented as bundles of factors such as form, pitch accent, stem, part of speech, supertag, and semantic class.