PhD Dissertation 2023 - Han He

Computational Structures as Neural Symbolic Representation

Han He


Although end-to-end neural models have been dominating Natural Language Processing for both performance and flexibility, critics have recently drawn attention to their poor generalization and lack of interpretability. Conversely, symbolic paradigms such as Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) are humanly comprehensible but less flexible. In response, we propose Executable Abstract Meaning Representation (EAMR) as a reconciliation of both paradigms. EAMR is a neural symbolic framework that frames a task as a program, which interactively gets generated, revised and executed. In our novel definition, execution is a sequence of transforms on AMR graphs. Through a hybrid runtime, EAMR learns the automatic execution of AMR graphs, yet it also allows for the integration of hand-crafted heuristics, knowledge bases and APIs. EAMR can be used in many applications such as dialogue understanding and response generation.

Department / School

Computer Science and Informatics / Emory University

Degree / Year

PhD / Fall 2023


Jinho D. Choi, Computer Science and QTM, Emory University (Chair)
Fei Liu, Computer Science, Emory University
Liang Zhao, Computer Science, Emory University
Song Feng, Amazon Inc.


Anthology | Paper | Presentation

Liang Zhao (top-left), Jinho Choi, Han He (top-right), Fei Liu (bottom-left), Song Feng (bottom-right)