Eric Fosler-Lussier


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TextEssence : A Tool for Interactive Analysis of Semantic Shifts Between CorporaTextEssence: A Tool for Interactive Analysis of Semantic Shifts Between Corpora
Denis Newman-Griffis | Venkatesh Sivaraman | Adam Perer | Eric Fosler-Lussier | Harry Hochheiser
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies: Demonstrations

Embeddings of words and concepts capture syntactic and semantic regularities of language ; however, they have seen limited use as tools to study characteristics of different corpora and how they relate to one another. We introduce TextEssence, an interactive system designed to enable comparative analysis of corpora using embeddings. TextEssence includes visual, neighbor-based, and similarity-based modes of embedding analysis in a lightweight, web-based interface. We further propose a new measure of embedding confidence based on nearest neighborhood overlap, to assist in identifying high-quality embeddings for corpus analysis. A case study on COVID-19 scientific literature illustrates the utility of the system. TextEssence can be found at


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HARE : a Flexible Highlighting Annotator for Ranking and ExplorationHARE: a Flexible Highlighting Annotator for Ranking and Exploration
Denis Newman-Griffis | Eric Fosler-Lussier
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP): System Demonstrations

Exploration and analysis of potential data sources is a significant challenge in the application of NLP techniques to novel information domains. We describe HARE, a system for highlighting relevant information in document collections to support ranking and triage, which provides tools for post-processing and qualitative analysis for model development and tuning. We apply HARE to the use case of narrative descriptions of mobility information in clinical data, and demonstrate its utility in comparing candidate embedding features. We provide a web-based interface for annotation visualization and document ranking, with a modular backend to support interoperability with existing annotation tools. Our system is available online at

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Writing habits and telltale neighbors : analyzing clinical concept usage patterns with sublanguage embeddings
Denis Newman-Griffis | Eric Fosler-Lussier
Proceedings of the Tenth International Workshop on Health Text Mining and Information Analysis (LOUHI 2019)

Natural language processing techniques are being applied to increasingly diverse types of electronic health records, and can benefit from in-depth understanding of the distinguishing characteristics of medical document types. We present a method for characterizing the usage patterns of clinical concepts among different document types, in order to capture semantic differences beyond the lexical level. By training concept embeddings on clinical documents of different types and measuring the differences in their nearest neighborhood structures, we are able to measure divergences in concept usage while correcting for noise in embedding learning. Experiments on the MIMIC-III corpus demonstrate that our approach captures clinically-relevant differences in concept usage and provides an intuitive way to explore semantic characteristics of clinical document collections.

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Characterizing the Impact of Geometric Properties of Word Embeddings on Task Performance
Brendan Whitaker | Denis Newman-Griffis | Aparajita Haldar | Hakan Ferhatosmanoglu | Eric Fosler-Lussier
Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Evaluating Vector Space Representations for NLP

Analysis of word embedding properties to inform their use in downstream NLP tasks has largely been studied by assessing nearest neighbors. However, geometric properties of the continuous feature space contribute directly to the use of embedding features in downstream models, and are largely unexplored. We consider four properties of word embedding geometry, namely : position relative to the origin, distribution of features in the vector space, global pairwise distances, and local pairwise distances. We define a sequence of transformations to generate new embeddings that expose subsets of these properties to downstream models and evaluate change in task performance to understand the contribution of each property to NLP models. We transform publicly available pretrained embeddings from three popular toolkits (word2vec, GloVe, and FastText) and evaluate on a variety of intrinsic tasks, which model linguistic information in the vector space, and extrinsic tasks, which use vectors as input to machine learning models. We find that intrinsic evaluations are highly sensitive to absolute position, while extrinsic tasks rely primarily on local similarity. Our findings suggest that future embedding models and post-processing techniques should focus primarily on similarity to nearby points in vector space.


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Jointly Embedding Entities and Text with Distant Supervision
Denis Newman-Griffis | Albert M Lai | Eric Fosler-Lussier
Proceedings of The Third Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP

Learning representations for knowledge base entities and concepts is becoming increasingly important for NLP applications. However, recent entity embedding methods have relied on structured resources that are expensive to create for new domains and corpora. We present a distantly-supervised method for jointly learning embeddings of entities and text from an unnanotated corpus, using only a list of mappings between entities and surface forms. We learn embeddings from open-domain and biomedical corpora, and compare against prior methods that rely on human-annotated text or large knowledge graph structure. Our embeddings capture entity similarity and relatedness better than prior work, both in existing biomedical datasets and a new Wikipedia-based dataset that we release to the community. Results on analogy completion and entity sense disambiguation indicate that entities and words capture complementary information that can be effectively combined for downstream use.


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Insights into Analogy Completion from the Biomedical Domain
Denis Newman-Griffis | Albert Lai | Eric Fosler-Lussier
BioNLP 2017

Analogy completion has been a popular task in recent years for evaluating the semantic properties of word embeddings, but the standard methodology makes a number of assumptions about analogies that do not always hold, either in recent benchmark datasets or when expanding into other domains. Through an analysis of analogies in the biomedical domain, we identify three assumptions : that of a Single Answer for any given analogy, that the pairs involved describe the Same Relationship, and that each pair is Informative with respect to the other. We propose modifying the standard methodology to relax these assumptions by allowing for multiple correct answers, reporting MAP and MRR in addition to accuracy, and using multiple example pairs. We further present BMASS, a novel dataset for evaluating linguistic regularities in biomedical embeddings, and demonstrate that the relationships described in the dataset pose significant semantic challenges to current word embedding methods.

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Cross-Lingual Transfer Learning for POS Tagging without Cross-Lingual ResourcesPOS Tagging without Cross-Lingual Resources
Joo-Kyung Kim | Young-Bum Kim | Ruhi Sarikaya | Eric Fosler-Lussier
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Training a POS tagging model with crosslingual transfer learning usually requires linguistic knowledge and resources about the relation between the source language and the target language. In this paper, we introduce a cross-lingual transfer learning model for POS tagging without ancillary resources such as parallel corpora. The proposed cross-lingual model utilizes a common BLSTM that enables knowledge transfer from other languages, and private BLSTMs for language-specific representations. The cross-lingual model is trained with language-adversarial training and bidirectional language modeling as auxiliary objectives to better represent language-general information while not losing the information about a specific target language. Evaluating on POS datasets from 14 languages in the Universal Dependencies corpus, we show that the proposed transfer learning model improves the POS tagging performance of the target languages without exploiting any linguistic knowledge between the source language and the target language.