Evaluating the Utility of Hand-crafted Features in Sequence Labelling

08/28/2018 ∙ by Minghao Wu, et al. ∙ 0

Conventional wisdom is that hand-crafted features are redundant for deep learning models, as they already learn adequate representations of text automatically from corpora. In this work, we test this claim by proposing a new method for exploiting handcrafted features as part of a novel hybrid learning approach, incorporating a feature auto-encoder loss component. We evaluate on the task of named entity recognition (NER), where we show that including manual features for part-of-speech, word shapes and gazetteers can improve the performance of a neural CRF model. We obtain a F_1 of 91.89 for the CoNLL-2003 English shared task, which significantly outperforms a collection of highly competitive baseline models. We also present an ablation study showing the importance of auto-encoding, over using features as either inputs or outputs alone, and moreover, show including the autoencoder components reduces training requirements to 60%, while retaining the same predictive accuracy.

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