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Continuous space models with neural networks in natural language processing

Abstract : The purpose of language models is in general to capture and to model regularities of language, thereby capturing morphological, syntactical and distributional properties of word sequences in a given language. They play an important role in many successful applications of Natural Language Processing, such as Automatic Speech Recognition, Machine Translation and Information Extraction. The most successful approaches to date are based on n-gram assumption and the adjustment of statistics from the training data by applying smoothing and back-off techniques, notably Kneser-Ney technique, introduced twenty years ago. In this way, language models predict a word based on its n-1 previous words. In spite of their prevalence, conventional n-gram based language models still suffer from several limitations that could be intuitively overcome by consulting human expert knowledge. One critical limitation is that, ignoring all linguistic properties, they treat each word as one discrete symbol with no relation with the others. Another point is that, even with a huge amount of data, the data sparsity issue always has an important impact, so the optimal value of n in the n-gram assumption is often 4 or 5 which is insufficient in practice. This kind of model is constructed based on the count of n-grams in training data. Therefore, the pertinence of these models is conditioned only on the characteristics of the training text (its quantity, its representation of the content in terms of theme, date). Recently, one of the most successful attempts that tries to directly learn word similarities is to use distributed word representations in language modeling, where distributionally words, which have semantic and syntactic similarities, are expected to be represented as neighbors in a continuous space. These representations and the associated objective function (the likelihood of the training data) are jointly learned using a multi-layer neural network architecture. In this way, word similarities are learned automatically. This approach has shown significant and consistent improvements when applied to automatic speech recognition and statistical machine translation tasks. A major difficulty with the continuous space neural network based approach remains the computational burden, which does not scale well to the massive corpora that are nowadays available. For this reason, the first contribution of this dissertation is the definition of a neural architecture based on a tree representation of the output vocabulary, namely Structured OUtput Layer (SOUL), which makes them well suited for large scale frameworks. The SOUL model combines the neural network approach with the class-based approach. It achieves significant improvements on both state-of-the-art large scale automatic speech recognition and statistical machine translations tasks. The second contribution is to provide several insightful analyses on their performances, their pros and cons, their induced word space representation. Finally, the third contribution is the successful adoption of the continuous space neural network into a machine translation framework. New translation models are proposed and reported to achieve significant improvements over state-of-the-art baseline systems.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 9:37:11 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00776704, version 1



Hai Son Le. Continuous space models with neural networks in natural language processing. Other [cs.OH]. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012PA112407⟩. ⟨tel-00776704⟩



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