Generating Temporally-ordered Event Sequences via Event Optimal Transport.

International Conference on Computational Linguistics(2022)

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Abstract
Generating temporally-ordered event sequences in texts is important to natural language processing. Two emerging tasks in this direction are temporal event ordering (rearranging the set of events to correct order) and event infilling (generating an event at a specified position). To tackle the two related tasks, the existing method adopts a vanilla sequence-to-sequence model via maximum likelihood estimation (MLE). However, applying this approach to these tasks will cause two issues. One issue is that the MLE loss emphasizes strict local alignment and ignores the global semantics of the event. The other issue is that the model adopts a word-level objective to model events in texts, failing to evaluate the predicted results of the model from the perspective of event sequence. To alleviate these issues, we present a novel model to tackle the generation of temporally-ordered event sequences via Event Optimal Transport (EOT). First, we treat the events in the sequence as modeling units and explicitly extract the semantics of the events. Second, to provide event sequence-level evaluation of the predicted results of the model, we directly match events in sequences. Extensive experimental results show that our approach outperforms previous models on all evaluation datasets. In particular, the accuracy is improved by 7.7%, and the Macro F1 is improved by 7.2% on one of the datasets.
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