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Extractive Opinion Summarization in Quantized Transformer Spaces


We present the Quantized Transformer (QT), an unsupervised system for extractive opinion summarization. QT is inspired by Vector-Quantized Variational Autoencoders, which we repurpose for popularity-driven summarization. It uses a clustering interpretation of the quantized space and a novel extraction algorithm to discover popular opinions among hundreds of reviews, a significant step towards opinion summarization of practical scope. In addition, QT enables controllable summarization without further training, by utilizing properties of the quantized space to extract aspect-specific summaries. We also make publicly available SPACE, a large-scale evaluation benchmark for opinion summarizers, comprising general and aspect-specific summaries for 50 hotels. Experiments demonstrate the promise of our approach, which is validated by human studies where judges showed clear preference for our method over competitive baselines.

Presented at NAACL 2021 Article at MIT Press

Author Biography

Stefanos Angelidis

PhD Student at the Institute for Language, Cognition and Computation (ILCC), School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh