BERT has a Mouth and must Speak, but it is not an MRF

Update on June 9 2021: i still don’t know the fate of the hypothetical manuscript by Chandel et al., but i’ve noticed that Kartik Goyal, Chris Dyer & Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick fixed this issue ( in this blog post by using BERT’s conditional as a proposal distribution in Metropolis-Hastings, to sample from the distribution defined using the potentials defined by the BERT’s single-token conditionals’ logits. It was pointed out by our colleagues at NYU, Chandel, Joseph and Ranganath, that there is an error in the recent technical report <BERT has a Mouth, and It Must Speak: BERT as a Markov Random Field Language Model> written

Are we ready for self-driving cars?

Last Monday (April 29), I had an awesome experience of having been invited and participating in the debate event organized by the Review and Debates at NYU ( By being born and raised in South Korea, I can confidently tell you that i cannot remember a single moment where I participated in any kind of formal debate nor a single chance in which i was taught how to make an argument for or against any specific topic. My mom often tells me I draw way too gloomy picture of Korean K-12 education I had, but it is true that our

On the causality view of “Context-Aware Learning for Neural Machine Translation”

[Notice: what an unfortunate timing! This post is definitely NOT an april fool’s joke.] Sebastien Jean and I had a paper titled <context-aware learning for neural machine translation> rejected from NAACL’19, perhaps understandable because we did not report any substantial gain in the BLEU score. As I finally found some time to read Pearl’s <Book of Why> due to a personal reason  (yes, personal reasons sometimes can help), I thought I wrote a short note on how the idea in this paper was originally motivated. As I was never educated in causal inference or learning, I was scared of using a term

Lecture note “Brief Introduction to Machine Learning without Deep Learning”

This past Spring (2017), I taught the undergrad <Intro to Machine Learning> course. This was not only the first time for me to teach <Intro to Machine Learning> but also the first time for me to teach an undergrad course (!) This course was taught a year before by David Sontag who has now moved to MIT. Obviously, I thought about re-using David’s materials as they were, which you can find at These materials are really great, and the coverage of various topics in ML is simply amazing. I highly recommend all the materials on this web page. All the things

to arXiv or not to arXiv

I believe it is a universal phenomenon: when you’re swamped with work, you suddenly feel the irresistible urge to do something else. This is one of those something else. Back in January (2016), right after the submission deadline of NAACL’16, Chris Dyer famously (?) posted on this Facebook wall, “to arxiv or not to arxiv, that is the increasingly annoying question.” This question of “to arxiv or not to arxiv” a conference submission, that has not yet gone through peer-review, indeed has become a thorny issue in the field of machine learning and a wider research community around it, including