SpanPredict: Extraction of Predictive Document Spans with Neural Attention

Conference Paper

In many natural language processing applications, identifying predictive text can be as important as the predictions themselves. When predicting medical diagnoses, for example, identifying predictive content in clinical notes not only enhances interpretability, but also allows unknown, descriptive (i.e., text-based) risk factors to be identified. We here formalize this problem as predictive extraction and address it using a simple mechanism based on linear attention. Our method preserves differentiability, allowing scalable inference via stochastic gradient descent. Further, the model decomposes predictions into a sum of contributions of distinct text spans. Importantly, we require only document labels, not ground-truth spans. Results show that our model identifies semantically-cohesive spans and assigns them scores that agree with human ratings, while preserving classification performance.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Subramanian, V; Engelhard, M; Berchuck, S; Chen, L; Henao, R; Carin, L

Published Date

  • January 1, 2021

Published In

  • Naacl Hlt 2021 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Proceedings of the Conference

Start / End Page

  • 5234 - 5258

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9781954085466

Citation Source

  • Scopus