NEUROSTRUCTURAL DECODING: Neural Text Generation with Structural Constraints

Mohaddeseh Bastan, Mihai Surdeanu, Niranjan Balasubramanian

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Text generation often involves producing texts that also satisfy a given set of semantic constraints. While most approaches for conditional text generation have primarily focused on lexical constraints, they often struggle to effectively incorporate syntactic constraints, which provide a richer language for approximating semantic constraints. We address this gap by introducing NEUROSTRUCTURAL DECODING, a new decoding algorithm that incorporates syntactic constraints to further improve the quality of the generated text. We build NEUROSTRUCTURAL DECODING on the NeuroLogic Decoding (Lu et al., 2021b) algorithm, which enables language generation models to produce fluent text while satisfying complex lexical constraints. Our algorithm is powerful and scalable. It tracks lexico-syntactic constraints (e.g., we need to observe dog as subject and ball as object) during decoding by parsing the partial generations at each step. To this end, we adapt a dependency parser to generate parses for incomplete sentences. Our approach is evaluated on three different language generation tasks, and the results show improved performance in both lexical and syntactic metrics compared to previous methods. The results suggest this is a promising solution for integrating fine-grained controllable text generation into the conventional beam search decoding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLong Papers
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781959429722
StatePublished - 2023
Event61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, ACL 2023 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: Jul 9 2023Jul 14 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics
ISSN (Print)0736-587X


Conference61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, ACL 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics


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