Salience Allocation as Guidance for Abstractive Summarization

Abstractive summarization models typically learn to capture the salient information from scratch implicitly. Recent literature adds extractive summaries as guidance for abstractive summarization models to provide hints of salient content and achieves better performance. However, extractive summaries as guidance could be over strict, leading to information loss or noisy signals. Furthermore, it cannot easily adapt to documents with various abstractiveness. As the number and allocation of salience content pieces vary, it is hard to find a fixed threshold deciding which content should be included in the guidance. In this paper, we propose a novel summarization approach with a flexible and reliable salience guidance, namely SEASON (SaliencE Allocation as Guidance for Abstractive SummarizatiON). SEASON utilizes the allocation of salience expectation to guide abstractive summarization and adapts well to articles in different abstractiveness. Automatic and human evaluations on two benchmark datasets show that the proposed method is effective and reliable. Empirical results on more than one million news articles demonstrate a natural fifteen-fifty salience split for news article sentences, providing a useful insight for composing news articles.

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Task Dataset Model Metric Name Metric Value Global Rank Result Benchmark
Abstractive Text Summarization CNN / Daily Mail SEASON ROUGE-1 46.27 # 7
ROUGE-2 22.64 # 3
ROUGE-L 43.08 # 7


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