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

Sebastian Padó, Ruihong Huang (Editors)

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Hong Kong, China
Association for Computational Linguistics
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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
Sebastian Padó | Ruihong Huang

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ALTER : Auxiliary Text Rewriting Tool for Natural Language GenerationALTER: Auxiliary Text Rewriting Tool for Natural Language Generation
Qiongkai Xu | Chenchen Xu | Lizhen Qu

In this paper, we describe ALTER, an auxiliary text rewriting tool that facilitates the rewriting process for natural language generation tasks, such as paraphrasing, text simplification, fairness-aware text rewriting, and text style transfer. Our tool is characterized by two features, i) recording of word-level revision histories and ii) flexible auxiliary edit support and feedback to annotators. The text rewriting assist and traceable rewriting history are potentially beneficial to the future research of natural language generation.

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Automatic Taxonomy Induction and Expansion
Nicolas Rodolfo Fauceglia | Alfio Gliozzo | Sarthak Dash | Md. Faisal Mahbub Chowdhury | Nandana Mihindukulasooriya

The Knowledge Graph Induction Service (KGIS) is an end-to-end knowledge induction system. One of its main capabilities is to automatically induce taxonomies from input documents using a hybrid approach that takes advantage of linguistic patterns, semantic web and neural networks. KGIS allows the user to semi-automatically curate and expand the induced taxonomy through a component called Smart SpreadSheet by exploiting distributional semantics. In this paper, we describe these taxonomy induction and expansion features of KGIS. A screencast video demonstrating the system is available in

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EGG : a toolkit for research on Emergence of lanGuage in GamesEGG: a toolkit for research on Emergence of lanGuage in Games
Eugene Kharitonov | Rahma Chaabouni | Diane Bouchacourt | Marco Baroni

There is renewed interest in simulating language emergence among deep neural agents that communicate to jointly solve a task, spurred by the practical aim to develop language-enabled interactive AIs, as well as by theoretical questions about the evolution of human language. However, optimizing deep architectures connected by a discrete communication channel (such as that in which language emerges) is technically challenging. We introduce EGG, a toolkit that greatly simplifies the implementation of emergent-language communication games. EGG’s modular design provides a set of building blocks that the user can combine to create new games, easily navigating the optimization and architecture space. We hope that the tool will lower the technical barrier, and encourage researchers from various backgrounds to do original work in this exciting area.

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Entity resolution for noisy ASR transcriptsASR transcripts
Arushi Raghuvanshi | Vijay Ramakrishnan | Varsha Embar | Lucien Carroll | Karthik Raghunathan

Large vocabulary domain-agnostic Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) systems often mistranscribe domain-specific words and phrases. Since these generic ASR systems are the first component of most voice assistants in production, building Natural Language Understanding (NLU) systems that are robust to these errors can be a challenging task. In this paper, we focus on handling ASR errors in named entities, specifically person names, for a voice-based collaboration assistant. We demonstrate an effective method for resolving person names that are mistranscribed by black-box ASR systems, using character and phoneme-based information retrieval techniques and contextual information, which improves accuracy by 40.8 % on our production system. We provide a live interactive demo to further illustrate the nuances of this problem and the effectiveness of our solution.

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EUSP : An Easy-to-Use Semantic Parsing PlatFormEUSP: An Easy-to-Use Semantic Parsing PlatForm
Bo An | Chen Bo | Xianpei Han | Le Sun

Semantic parsing aims to map natural language utterances into structured meaning representations. We present a modular platform, EUSP (Easy-to-Use Semantic Parsing PlatForm), that facilitates developers to build semantic parser from scratch. Instead of requiring a large amount of training data or complex grammar knowledge, in our platform developers can build grammar-based semantic parser or neural-based semantic parser through configure files which specify the modules and components that compose semantic parsing system. A high quality grammar-based semantic parsing system only requires domain lexicons rather than costly training data for a semantic parser. Furthermore, we provide a browser-based method to generate the semantic parsing system to minimize the difficulty of development. Experimental results show that the neural-based semantic parser system achieves competitive performance on semantic parsing task, and grammar-based semantic parsers significantly improve the performance of a business search engine.

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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

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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INMT : Interactive Neural Machine Translation PredictionINMT: Interactive Neural Machine Translation Prediction
Sebastin Santy | Sandipan Dandapat | Monojit Choudhury | Kalika Bali

In this paper, we demonstrate an Interactive Machine Translation interface, that assists human translators with on-the-fly hints and suggestions. This makes the end-to-end translation process faster, more efficient and creates high-quality translations. We augment the OpenNMT backend with a mechanism to accept the user input and generate conditioned translations.

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Journalist-in-the-Loop : Continuous Learning as a Service for Rumour Analysis
Twin Karmakharm | Nikolaos Aletras | Kalina Bontcheva

Automatically identifying rumours in social media and assessing their veracity is an important task with downstream applications in journalism. A significant challenge is how to keep rumour analysis tools up-to-date as new information becomes available for particular rumours that spread in a social network. This paper presents a novel open-source web-based rumour analysis tool that can continuous learn from journalists. The system features a rumour annotation service that allows journalists to easily provide feedback for a given social media post through a web-based interface. The feedback allows the system to improve an underlying state-of-the-art neural network-based rumour classification model. The system can be easily integrated as a service into existing tools and platforms used by journalists using a REST API.

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LIDA : Lightweight Interactive Dialogue AnnotatorLIDA: Lightweight Interactive Dialogue Annotator
Edward Collins | Nikolai Rozanov | Bingbing Zhang

Dialogue systems have the potential to change how people interact with machines but are highly dependent on the quality of the data used to train them. It is therefore important to develop good dialogue annotation tools which can improve the speed and quality of dialogue data annotation. With this in mind, we introduce LIDA, an annotation tool designed specifically for conversation data. As far as we know, LIDA is the first dialogue annotation system that handles the entire dialogue annotation pipeline from raw text, as may be the output of transcription services, to structured conversation data. Furthermore it supports the integration of arbitrary machine learning mod-els as annotation recommenders and also has a dedicated interface to resolve inter-annotator disagreements such as after crowdsourcing an-notations for a dataset. LIDA is fully open source, documented and publicly available. [ ] Screen Cast :

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LINSPECTOR WEB : A Multilingual Probing Suite for Word RepresentationsLINSPECTOR WEB: A Multilingual Probing Suite for Word Representations
Max Eichler | Gözde Gül Şahin | Iryna Gurevych

We present LINSPECTOR WEB, an open source multilingual inspector to analyze word representations. Our system provides researchers working in low-resource settings with an easily accessible web based probing tool to gain quick insights into their word embeddings especially outside of the English language. To do this we employ 16 simple linguistic probing tasks such as gender, case marking, and tense for a diverse set of 28 languages. We support probing of static word embeddings along with pretrained AllenNLP models that are commonly used for NLP downstream tasks such as named entity recognition, natural language inference and dependency parsing. The results are visualized in a polar chart and also provided as a table. LINSPECTOR WEB is available as an offline tool or at

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Memory Grounded Conversational Reasoning
Seungwhan Moon | Pararth Shah | Rajen Subba | Anuj Kumar

We demonstrate a conversational system which engages the user through a multi-modal, multi-turn dialog over the user’s memories. The system can perform QA over memories by responding to user queries to recall specific attributes and associated media (e.g. photos) of past episodic memories. The system can also make proactive suggestions to surface related events or facts from past memories to make conversations more engaging and natural. To implement such a system, we collect a new corpus of memory grounded conversations, which comprises human-to-human role-playing dialogs given synthetic memory graphs with simulated attributes. Our proof-of-concept system operates on these synthetic memory graphs, however it can be trained and applied to real-world user memory data (e.g. photo albums, etc.) We present the architecture of the proposed conversational system, and example queries that the system supports.

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MY-AKKHARA : A Romanization-based Burmese (Myanmar) Input MethodMY-AKKHARA: A Romanization-based Burmese (Myanmar) Input Method
Chenchen Ding | Masao Utiyama | Eiichiro Sumita

MY-AKKHARA is a method used to input Burmese texts encoded in the Unicode standard, based on commonly accepted Latin transcription. By using this method, arbitrary Burmese strings can be accurately inputted with 26 lowercase Latin letters. Meanwhile, the 26 uppercase Latin letters are designed as shortcuts of lowercase letter sequences. The frequency of Burmese characters is considered in MY-AKKHARA to realize an efficient keystroke distribution on a QWERTY keyboard. Given that the Unicode standard has not been extensively used in digitization of Burmese, we hope that MY-AKKHARA can contribute to the widespread use of Unicode in Myanmar and can provide a platform for smart input methods for Burmese in the future. An implementation of MY-AKKHARA running in Windows is released at

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PolyResponse : A Rank-based Approach to Task-Oriented Dialogue with Application in Restaurant Search and BookingPolyResponse: A Rank-based Approach to Task-Oriented Dialogue with Application in Restaurant Search and Booking
Matthew Henderson | Ivan Vulić | Iñigo Casanueva | Paweł Budzianowski | Daniela Gerz | Sam Coope | Georgios Spithourakis | Tsung-Hsien Wen | Nikola Mrkšić | Pei-Hao Su

We present PolyResponse, a conversational search engine that supports task-oriented dialogue. It is a retrieval-based approach that bypasses the complex multi-component design of traditional task-oriented dialogue systems and the use of explicit semantics in the form of task-specific ontologies. The PolyResponse engine is trained on hundreds of millions of examples extracted from real conversations : it learns what responses are appropriate in different conversational contexts. It then ranks a large index of text and visual responses according to their similarity to the given context, and narrows down the list of relevant entities during the multi-turn conversation. We introduce a restaurant search and booking system powered by the PolyResponse engine, currently available in 8 different languages.

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PyOpenDial : A Python-based Domain-Independent Toolkit for Developing Spoken Dialogue Systems with Probabilistic RulesPyOpenDial: A Python-based Domain-Independent Toolkit for Developing Spoken Dialogue Systems with Probabilistic Rules
Youngsoo Jang | Jongmin Lee | Jaeyoung Park | Kyeng-Hun Lee | Pierre Lison | Kee-Eung Kim

We present PyOpenDial, a Python-based domain-independent, open-source toolkit for spoken dialogue systems. Recent advances in core components of dialogue systems, such as speech recognition, language understanding, dialogue management, and language generation, harness deep learning to achieve state-of-the-art performance. The original OpenDial, implemented in Java, provides a plugin architecture to integrate external modules, but lacks Python bindings, making it difficult to interface with popular deep learning frameworks such as Tensorflow or PyTorch. To this end, we re-implemented OpenDial in Python and extended the toolkit with a number of novel functionalities for neural dialogue state tracking and action planning. We describe the overall architecture and its extensions, and illustrate their use on an example where the system response model is implemented with a recurrent neural network.

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SEAGLE : A Platform for Comparative Evaluation of Semantic Encoders for Information RetrievalSEAGLE: A Platform for Comparative Evaluation of Semantic Encoders for Information Retrieval
Fabian David Schmidt | Markus Dietsche | Simone Paolo Ponzetto | Goran Glavaš

We introduce Seagle, a platform for comparative evaluation of semantic text encoding models on information retrieval (IR) tasks. Seagle implements (1) word embedding aggregators, which represent texts as algebraic aggregations of pretrained word embeddings and (2) pretrained semantic encoders, and allows for their comparative evaluation on arbitrary (monolingual and cross-lingual) IR collections. We benchmark Seagle’s models on monolingual document retrieval and cross-lingual sentence retrieval. Seagle functionality can be exploited via an easy-to-use web interface and its modular backend (micro-service architecture) can easily be extended with additional semantic search models.

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A Stylometry Toolkit for Latin LiteratureLatin Literature
Thomas J. Bolt | Jeffrey H. Flynt | Pramit Chaudhuri | Joseph P. Dexter

Computational stylometry has become an increasingly important aspect of literary criticism, but many humanists lack the technical expertise or language-specific NLP resources required to exploit computational methods. We demonstrate a stylometry toolkit for analysis of Latin literary texts, which is freely available at Our toolkit generates data for a diverse range of literary features and has an intuitive point-and-click interface. The features included have proven effective for multiple literary studies and are calculated using custom heuristics without the need for syntactic parsing. As such, the toolkit models one approach to the user-friendly generation of stylometric data, which could be extended to other premodern and non-English languages underserved by standard NLP resources.

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A Summarization System for Scientific Documents
Shai Erera | Michal Shmueli-Scheuer | Guy Feigenblat | Ora Peled Nakash | Odellia Boni | Haggai Roitman | Doron Cohen | Bar Weiner | Yosi Mass | Or Rivlin | Guy Lev | Achiya Jerbi | Jonathan Herzig | Yufang Hou | Charles Jochim | Martin Gleize | Francesca Bonin | Francesca Bonin | David Konopnicki

We present a novel system providing summaries for Computer Science publications. Through a qualitative user study, we identified the most valuable scenarios for discovery, exploration and understanding of scientific documents. Based on these findings, we built a system that retrieves and summarizes scientific documents for a given information need, either in form of a free-text query or by choosing categorized values such as scientific tasks, datasets and more. Our system ingested 270,000 papers, and its summarization module aims to generate concise yet detailed summaries. We validated our approach with human experts.

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TEASPN : Framework and Protocol for Integrated Writing Assistance EnvironmentsTEASPN: Framework and Protocol for Integrated Writing Assistance Environments
Masato Hagiwara | Takumi Ito | Tatsuki Kuribayashi | Jun Suzuki | Kentaro Inui

Language technologies play a key role in assisting people with their writing. Although there has been steady progress in e.g., grammatical error correction (GEC), human writers are yet to benefit from this progress due to the high development cost of integrating with writing software. We propose TEASPN, a protocol and an open-source framework for achieving integrated writing assistance environments. The protocol standardizes the way writing software communicates with servers that implement such technologies, allowing developers and researchers to integrate the latest developments in natural language processing (NLP) with low cost. As a result, users can enjoy the integrated experience in their favorite writing software. The results from experiments with human participants show that users use a wide range of technologies and rate their writing experience favorably, allowing them to write more fluent text.

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UER : An Open-Source Toolkit for Pre-training ModelsUER: An Open-Source Toolkit for Pre-training Models
Zhe Zhao | Hui Chen | Jinbin Zhang | Xin Zhao | Tao Liu | Wei Lu | Xi Chen | Haotang Deng | Qi Ju | Xiaoyong Du

Existing works, including ELMO and BERT, have revealed the importance of pre-training for NLP tasks. While there does not exist a single pre-training model that works best in all cases, it is of necessity to develop a framework that is able to deploy various pre-training models efficiently. For this purpose, we propose an assemble-on-demand pre-training toolkit, namely Universal Encoder Representations (UER). UER is loosely coupled, and encapsulated with rich modules. By assembling modules on demand, users can either reproduce a state-of-the-art pre-training model or develop a pre-training model that remains unexplored. With UER, we have built a model zoo, which contains pre-trained models based on different corpora, encoders, and targets (objectives). With proper pre-trained models, we could achieve new state-of-the-art results on a range of downstream datasets.