View publication

Teachers often conduct surveys in order to collect data from a predefined group of students to gain insights into topics of interest. When analyzing surveys with open-ended textual responses, it is extremely time-consuming, labor-intensive, and difficult to manually process all the responses into an insightful and comprehensive report. In the analysis step, traditionally, the teacher has to read each of the responses and decide on how to group them in order to extract insightful information. Even though it is possible to group the responses only using certain keywords, such an approach would be limited since it not only fails to account for embedded contexts but also cannot detect polysemous words or phrases and semantics that are not expressible in single words. In this work, we present a novel end-to-end context-aware framework that extracts, aggregates, and abbreviates embedded semantic patterns in open-response survey data. Our framework relies on a pre-trained natural language model in order to encode the textual data into semantic vectors. The encoded vectors then get clustered either into an optimally tuned number of groups or into a set of groups with pre-specified titles. In the former case, the clusters are then further analyzed to extract a representative set of keywords or summary sentences that serve as the labels of the clusters. In our framework, for the designated clusters, we finally provide context-aware wordclouds that demonstrate the semantically prominent keywords within each group. Honoring user privacy, we have successfully built the on-device implementation of our framework suitable for real-time analysis on mobile devices and have tested it on a synthetic dataset. Our framework reduces the costs at-scale by automating the process of extracting the most insightful information pieces from survey data.

Related readings and updates.

Recognizing People in Photos Through Private On-Device Machine Learning

Photos (on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS) is an integral way for people to browse, search, and relive life's moments with their friends and family. Photos uses a number of machine learning algorithms, running privately on-device, to help curate and organize images, Live Photos, and videos. An algorithm foundational to this goal recognizes people from their visual appearance.

See article details

Can Global Semantic Context Improve Neural Language Models?

Entering text on your iPhone, discovering news articles you might enjoy, finding out answers to questions you may have, and many other language-related tasks depend upon robust natural language processing (NLP) models. Word embeddings are a category of NLP models that mathematically map words to numerical vectors. This capability makes it fairly straightforward to find numerically similar vectors or vector clusters, then reverse the mapping to get relevant linguistic information. Such models are at the heart of familiar apps like News, search, Siri, keyboards, and Maps. In this article, we explore whether we can improve word predictions for the QuickType keyboard using global semantic context.

See article details