Enhancing Coherence of Extractive Summarization with Multitask Learning

Renlong Jie, Xiaojun Meng, Lifeng Shang, Xin Jiang, Qun Liu

This study proposes a multitask learning architecture for extractive summarization with coherence boosting. The architecture contains an extractive summarizer and coherent discriminator module. The coherent discriminator is trained online on the sentence vectors of the augmented textual input, thus improving its general ability of judging whether the input sentences are coherent. Meanwhile, we maximize the coherent scores from the coherent discriminator by updating the parameters of the summarizer. To make the extractive sentences trainable in a differentiable manner, we introduce two strategies, including pre-trained converting model (model-based) and converting matrix (MAT-based) that merge sentence representations. Experiments show that our proposed method significantly improves the proportion of consecutive sentences in the extracted summaries based on their positions in the original article (i.e., automatic sentence-level coherence metric), while the goodness in terms of other automatic metrics (i.e., Rouge scores and BertScores) are preserved. Human evaluation also evidences the improvement of coherence and consistency of the extracted summaries given by our method.

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