Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a subfield of artificial intelligence (AI) and computer science that focuses on the interaction between computers and human (natural) languages. The primary objective of NLP is to enable machines to understand, interpret, and generate human-like text, making it possible for computers to interact with users in a way that is both meaningful and contextually relevant.

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ViTA: An Efficient Video-to-Text Algorithm using VLM for RAG-based Video Analysis System

Retrieval-augmented generation (RAG) is used in natural language processing (NLP) to provide query-relevant information in enterprise documents to large language models (LLMs). Such enterprise context enables the LLMs to generate more informed and accurate responses. When enterprise data is primarily videos AI models like vision language models (VLMs) are necessary to convert information in videos into text. While essential this conversion is a bottleneck especially for large corpus of videos. It delays the timely use of enterprise videos to generate useful responses. We propose ViTA a novel method that leverages two unique characteristics of VLMs to expedite the conversion process. As VLMs output more text tokens they incur higher latency. In addition large (heavyweight) VLMs can extract intricate details from images and videos but they incur much higher latency per output token when compared to smaller (lightweight) VLMs that may miss details. To expedite conversion ViTA first employs a lightweight VLM to quickly understand the gist or overview of an image or a video clip and directs a heavyweight VLM (through prompt engineering) to extract additional details by using only a few (preset number of) output tokens. Our experimental results show that ViTA expedites the conversion time by as much as 43% without compromising the accuracy of responses when compared to a baseline system that only uses a heavyweight VLM.

LeanContext: Cost-efficient Domain-specific Question Answering Using LLMs

Question-answering (QA) is a significant application of Large Language Models (LLMs), shaping chatbot capabilities across healthcare, education, and customer service. However, widespread LLM integration presents a challenge for small businesses due to the high expenses of LLM API usage. Costs rise rapidly when domain-specific data (context) is used alongside queries for accurate domain-specific LLM responses. Extracting context from domain-specific data is implemented by a Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) approach. One option is to summarize the RAG context by using LLMs and reduce the context. However, this can also filter out useful information that is necessary to answer some domain-specific queries. In this paper, we shift from human-oriented summarizers to AI model-friendly summaries. Our approach, LeanContext, efficiently extracts k key sentences from the context that are closely aligned with the query. The choice of k is neither static nor random; we introduce a reinforcement learning technique that dynamically determines k based on the query and context. The rest of the less important sentences are either reduced using a free open-source text reduction method or eliminated. We evaluate LeanContext against several recent query-aware and query-unaware context reduction approaches on prominent datasets (arxiv papers and BBC news articles, NarrativeQA). Despite cost reductions of 37.29% to 67.81%, LeanContext’s ROUGE-1 score decreases only by 1.41% to 2.65% compared to a baseline that retains the entire context (no summarization). LeanContext stands out for its ability to provide precise responses, outperforming competitors by leveraging open-source summarization techniques. Human evaluations of the responses further confirm and validate this superiority. Additionally, if open-source pre-trained LLM-based summarizers are used to reduce context (into human consumable summaries), LeanContext can further modify the reduced context to enhance the accuracy (ROUGE-1 score) by 13.22% to 24.61%.

iRAG: An Incremental Retrieval Augmented Generation System for Videos

Retrieval augmented generation (RAG) systems combine the strengths of language generation and information retrieval to power many real-world applications like chatbots. Use of RAG for combined understanding of multimodal data such as text, images and videos is appealing but two critical limitations exist: one-time, upfront capture of all content in large multimodal data as text descriptions entails high processing times, and not all information in the rich multimodal data is typically in the text descriptions. Since the user queries are not known apriori, developing a system for multimodal to text conversion and interactive querying of multimodal data is challenging.To address these limitations, we propose iRAG, which augments RAG with a novel incremental workflow to enable interactive querying of large corpus of multimodal data. Unlike traditional RAG, iRAG quickly indexes large repositories of multimodal data, and in the incremental workflow, it uses the index to opportunistically extract more details from select portions of the multimodal data to retrieve context relevant to an interactive user query. Such an incremental workflow avoids long multimodal to text conversion times, overcomes information loss issues by doing on-demand query-specific extraction of details in multimodal data, and ensures high quality of responses to interactive user queries that are often not known apriori. To the best of our knowledge, iRAG is the first system to augment RAG with an incremental workflow to support efficient interactive querying of large, real-world multimodal data. Experimental results on real-world long videos demonstrate 23x to 25x faster video to text ingestion, while ensuring that quality of responses to interactive user queries is comparable to responses from a traditional RAG where all video data is converted to text upfront before any querying.

LeanContext: Cost-Efficient Domain-Specific Question Answering using LLMs

Question-answering (QA) is a significant application of Large Language Models (LLMs), shaping chatbot capabilities across healthcare, education, and customer service. However, widespread LLM integration presents a challenge for small businesses due to the high expenses of LLM API usage. Costs rise rapidly when domain-specific data (context) is used alongside queries for accurate domain-specific LLM responses. One option is to summarize the context by using LLMs and reduce the context. However, this can also filter out useful information that is necessary to answer some domain-specific queries. In this paper, we shift from human-oriented summarizers to AI model-friendly summaries. Our approach, LeanContext, efficiently extracts k key sentences from the context that are closely aligned with the query. The choice of k is neither static nor random; we introduce a reinforcement learning technique that dynamically determines k based on the query and context. The rest of the less important sentences are reduced using a free open source text reduction method. We evaluate LeanContext against several recent query-aware and query-unaware context reduction approaches on prominent datasets (arxiv papers and BBC news articles). Despite cost reductions of 37.29% to 67.81%, LeanContext’s ROUGE-1 score decreases only by 1.41% to 2.65% compared to a baseline that retains the entire context (no summarization). Additionally, if free pretrained LLM-based summarizers are used to reduce context (into human consumable summaries), LeanContext can further modify the reduced context to enhance the accuracy (ROUGE-1 score) by 13.22% to 24.61%.

Beyond One Model Fits All: A Survey of Domain Specialization for Large Language Models

Large language models (LLMs) have significantly advanced the field of natural language processing (NLP), providing a highly useful, task agnostic foundation for a wide range of applications. The great promise of LLMs as general task solvers motivated people to extend their functionality largely beyond just a “chatbot”, and use it as an assistant or even replacement for domain experts and tools in specific domains such as healthcare, finance, and education. However, directly applying LLMs to solve sophisticated problems in specific domains meets many hurdles, caused by the heterogeneity of domain data, the sophistication of domain knowledge, the uniqueness of domain objectives, and the diversity of the constraints (e.g., various social norms, cultural conformity, religious beliefs, and ethical standards in the domain applications). To fill such a gap, explosively increase research, and practices have been conducted in very recent years on the domain specialization of LLMs, which, however, calls for a comprehensive and systematic review to better summarizes and guide this promising domain. In this survey paper, first, we propose a systematic taxonomy that categorizes the LLM domain specialization techniques based on the accessibility to LLMs and summarizes the framework for all the subcategories as well as their relations and differences to each other. We also present a comprehensive taxonomy of critical application domains that can benefit from specialized LLMs, discussing their practical significance and open challenges. Furthermore, we offer insights into the current research status and future trends in this area.

Exploring the limits of ChatGPT for Query or Aspect based Text Summarization

Text summarization has been a crucial problem in natural language processing (NLP) for several decades. It aims to condense lengthy documents into shorter versions while retaining the most critical information. Various methods have been proposed for text summarization, including extractive and abstractive summarization. The emergence of large language models (LLMs) like GPT3 and ChatGPT has recently created significant interest in using these models for text summarization tasks. Recent studies (Goyal et al., 2022, Zhang et al., 2023) have shown that LLMs generated news summaries are already on par with humans. However, the performance of LLMs for more practical applications like aspect or query based summaries is underexplored. To fill this gap, we conducted an evaluation of ChatGPT’s performance on four widely used benchmark datasets, encompassing diverse summaries from Reddit posts, news articles, dialogue meetings, and stories. Our experiments reveal that ChatGPT’s performance is comparable to traditional fine tuning methods in terms of Rouge scores. Moreover, we highlight some unique differences between ChatGPT generated summaries and human references, providing valuable insights into the superpower of ChatGPT for diverse text summarization tasks. Our findings call for new directions in this area, and we plan to conduct further research to systematically examine the characteristics of ChatGPT generated summaries through extensive human evaluation.

Asymmetrically Hierarchical Networks with Attentive Interactions for Interpretable Review-based Recommendation

Recently, recommender systems have been able to emit substantially improved recommendations by leveraging user-provided reviews. Existing methods typically merge all reviews of a given user (item) into a long document, and then process user and item documents in the same manner. In practice, however, these two sets of reviews are notably different: users’ reviews reflect a variety of items that they have bought and are hence very heterogeneous in their topics, while an item’s reviews pertain only to that single item and are thus topically homogeneous. In this work, we develop a novel neural network model that properly accounts for this important difference by means of asymmetric attentive modules. The user module learns to attend to only those signals that are relevant with respect to the target item, whereas the item module learns to extract the most salient contents with regard to properties of the item. Our multi-hierarchical paradigm accounts for the fact that neither are all reviews equally useful, nor are all sentences within each review equally pertinent. Extensive experimental results on a variety of real datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our method.

Contextual Grounding of Natural Language Entities in Images

In this paper, we introduce a contextual grounding approach that captures the context in corresponding text entities and image regions to improve the grounding accuracy. Specifically, the proposed architecture accepts pre-trained text token embeddings and image object features from an off-the-shelf object detector as input. Additional encoding to capture the positional and spatial information can be added to enhance the feature quality. There are separate text and image branches facilitating respective architectural refinements for different modalities. The text branch is pre-trained on a large-scale masked language modeling task while the image branch is trained from scratch. Next, the model learns the contextual representations of the text tokens and image objects through layers of high-order interaction respectively. The final grounding head ranks the correspondence between the textual and visual representations through cross-modal interaction. In the evaluation, we show that our model achieves the state-of-the-art grounding accuracy of 71.36% over the Flickr30K Entities dataset. No additional pre-training is necessary to deliver competitive results compared with related work that often requires task-agnostic and task-specific pre-training on cross-modal datasets. The implementation is publicly available at https://gitlab.com/necla-ml/grounding.

Contextual Grounding of Natural Language Phrases in Images

In this paper, we introduce a contextual grounding approach that captures the context in corresponding text entities and image regions to improve the grounding accuracy. Specifically, the proposed architecture accepts pre-trained text token embeddings and image object features from an off-the-shelf object detector as input. Additional encoding to capture the positional and spatial information can be added to enhance the feature quality. There are separate text and image branches facilitating respective architectural refinements for different modalities. The text branch is pre-trained on a large-scale masked language modeling task while the image branch is trained from scratch. Next, the model learns the contextual representations of the text tokens and image objects through layers of high-order interaction respectively. The final grounding head ranks the correspondence between the textual and visual representations through cross-modal interaction. In the evaluation, we show that our model achieves the state-of-the-art grounding accuracy of 71.36% over the Flickr30K Entities dataset. No additional pre-training is necessary to deliver competitive results compared with related work that often requires task-agnostic and task-specific pre-training on cross-modal datasets. The implementation is publicly available at https://gitlab.com/necla-ml/Grounding

Learning Context-Sensitive Convolutional Filters for Text Processing

Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have recently emerged as a popular building block for natural language processing (NLP). Despite their success, most existing CNN models employed in NLP share the same learned (and static) set of filters for all input sentences. In this paper, we consider an approach of using a small meta network to learn context-sensitive convolutional filters for text processing. The role of meta network is to abstract the contextual information of a sentence or document into a set of input-sensitive filters. We further generalize this framework to model sentence pairs, where a bidirectional filter generation mechanism is introduced to encapsulate co-dependent sentence representations. In our benchmarks on four different tasks, including ontology classification, sentiment analysis, answer sentence selection, and paraphrase identification, our proposed model, a modified CNN with context-sensitive filters, consistently outperforms the standard CNN and attention-based CNN baselines. By visualizing the learned context-sensitive filters, we further validate and rationalize the effectiveness of proposed framework.