Benyou Wang


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On the Difference of BERT-style and CLIP-style Text Encoders
Zhihong Chen | Guiming Chen | Shizhe Diao | Xiang Wan | Benyou Wang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Masked language modeling (MLM) has been one of the most popular pretraining recipes in natural language processing, e.g., BERT, one of the representative models. Recently, contrastive language-image pretraining (CLIP) has also attracted attention, especially its vision models that achieve excellent performance on a broad range of vision tasks. However, few studies are dedicated to studying the text encoders learned by CLIP. In this paper, we analyze the difference between BERT-style and CLIP-style text encoders from three experiments: (i) general text understanding, (ii) vision-centric text understanding, and (iii) text-to-image generation. Experimental analyses show that although CLIP-style text encoders underperform BERT-style ones for general text understanding tasks, they are equipped with a unique ability, i.e., synesthesia, for the cross-modal association, which is more similar to the senses of humans.

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One Cannot Stand for Everyone! Leveraging Multiple User Simulators to train Task-oriented Dialogue Systems
Yajiao Liu | Xin Jiang | Yichun Yin | Yasheng Wang | Fei Mi | Qun Liu | Xiang Wan | Benyou Wang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

User simulators are agents designed to imitate human users; recent advances have found that Task-oriented Dialogue (ToD) systems optimized toward a user simulator could better satisfy the need of human users. However, this might result in a sub-optimal ToD system if it is tailored to only one ad hoc user simulator, since human users can behave differently. In this paper, we propose a framework called MUST to optimize ToD systems via leveraging Multiple User SimulaTors. The main challenges of implementing MUST fall in 1) how to adaptively determine which user simulator to interact with the ToD system at each optimization step, since the ToD system might be over-fitted to some specific user simulators, and simultaneously under-fitted to some others; 2) how to avoid catastrophic forgetting of the adaption for a simulator that is not selected for several consecutive optimization steps.To tackle these challenges, we formulate MUST as a Multi-armed bandits (MAB) problem and provide a method called MUSTadaptive that balances i) the boosting adaption for adaptive interactions between different user simulators and the ToD system andii) the uniform adaption to avoid the catastrophic forgetting issue.With both automatic evaluations and human evaluations, our experimental results on MultiWOZ show that the dialogue system trained by MUST achieves a better performance than those trained by a single user simulator. It also has a better generalization ability when testing with unseen user simulators.

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Lifting the Curse of Capacity Gap in Distilling Language Models
Chen Zhang | Yang Yang | Jiahao Liu | Jingang Wang | Yunsen Xian | Benyou Wang | Dawei Song
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Pretrained language models (LMs) have shown compelling performance on various downstream tasks, but unfortunately they require a tremendous amount of inference compute. Knowledge distillation finds a path to compress LMs to small ones with a teacher-student paradigm. However, when the capacity gap between the teacher and the student is large, a curse of capacity gap appears, invoking a deficiency in distilling LMs. While a few studies have been carried out to fill the gap, the curse is not yet well tackled. In this paper, we aim at lifting the curse of capacity gap via enlarging the capacity of the student without notably increasing the inference compute. Largely motivated by sparse activation regime of mixture of experts (MoE), we propose a mixture of minimal experts (MiniMoE), which imposes extra parameters to the student but introduces almost no additional inference compute. Experimental results on GLUE and CoNLL demonstrate the curse of capacity gap is lifted by the magic of MiniMoE to a large extent. MiniMoE also achieves the state-of-the-art performance at small FLOPs compared with a range of competitive baselines. With a compression rate as much as ~50×, MiniMoE preserves ~95% GLUE score of the teacher.

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Can Language Models Make Fun? A Case Study in Chinese Comical Crosstalk
Jianquan Li | XiangBo Wu | Xiaokang Liu | Qianqian Xie | Prayag Tiwari | Benyou Wang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Language is the principal tool for human communication, in which humor is one of the most attractive parts. Producing natural language like humans using computers, a.k.a, Natural Language Generation (NLG), has been widely used for dialogue systems, chatbots, machine translation, as well as computer-aid creation e.g., idea generations, scriptwriting. However, the humor aspect of natural language is relatively under-investigated, especially in the age of pre-trained language models. In this work, we aim to preliminarily test *whether NLG can generate humor as humans do*. We build a largest dataset consisting of numerous **C**hinese **C**omical **C**rosstalk scripts (called **C**3 in short), which is for a popular Chinese performing art called ‘Xiangsheng’ or ‘相声’ since 1800s.We benchmark various generation approaches including training-from-scratch Seq2seq, fine-tuned middle-scale PLMs, and large-scale PLMs (with and without fine-tuning). Moreover, we also conduct a human assessment, showing that 1) *large-scale pretraining largely improves crosstalk generation quality*; and 2) *even the scripts generated from the best PLM is far from what we expect*. We conclude humor generation could be largely improved using large-scaled PLMs, but it is still in its infancy. The data and benchmarking code are publicly available in [](


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Hypoformer: Hybrid Decomposition Transformer for Edge-friendly Neural Machine Translation
Sunzhu Li | Peng Zhang | Guobing Gan | Xiuqing Lv | Benyou Wang | Junqiu Wei | Xin Jiang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Transformer has been demonstrated effective in Neural Machine Translation (NMT). However, it is memory-consuming and time-consuming in edge devices, resulting in some difficulties for real-time feedback. To compress and accelerate Transformer, we propose a Hybrid Tensor-Train (HTT) decomposition, which retains full rank and meanwhile reduces operations and parameters. A Transformer using HTT, named Hypoformer, consistently and notably outperforms the recent light-weight SOTA methods on three standard translation tasks under different parameter and speed scales. In extreme low resource scenarios, Hypoformer has 7.1 points absolute improvement in BLEU and 1.27 X speedup than vanilla Transformer on IWSLT’14 De-En task.

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DPTDR: Deep Prompt Tuning for Dense Passage Retrieval
Zhengyang Tang | Benyou Wang | Ting Yao
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Deep prompt tuning (DPT) has gained great success in most natural language processing (NLP) tasks. However, it is not well-investigated in dense retrieval where fine-tuning (FT) still dominates. When deploying multiple retrieval tasks using the same backbone model (e.g., RoBERTa), FT-based methods are unfriendly in terms of deployment cost: each new retrieval model needs to repeatedly deploy the backbone model without reuse. To reduce the deployment cost in such a scenario, this work investigates applying DPT in dense retrieval. The challenge is that directly applying DPT in dense retrieval largely underperforms FT methods. To compensate for the performance drop, we propose two model-agnostic and task-agnostic strategies for DPT-based retrievers, namely retrieval-oriented intermediate pretraining and unified negative mining, as a general approach that could be compatible with any pre-trained language model and retrieval task. The experimental results show that the proposed method (called DPTDR) outperforms previous state-of-the-art models on both MS-MARCO and Natural Questions. We also conduct ablation studies to examine the effectiveness of each strategy in DPTDR. We believe this work facilitates the industry, as it saves enormous efforts and costs of deployment and increases the utility of computing resources. Our code is available at


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What Does Your Smile Mean? Jointly Detecting Multi-Modal Sarcasm and Sentiment Using Quantum Probability
Yaochen Liu | Yazhou Zhang | Qiuchi Li | Benyou Wang | Dawei Song
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Sarcasm and sentiment embody intrinsic uncertainty of human cognition, making joint detection of multi-modal sarcasm and sentiment a challenging task. In view of the advantages of quantum probability (QP) in modeling such uncertainty, this paper explores the potential of QP as a mathematical framework and proposes a QP driven multi-task (QPM) learning framework. The QPM framework involves a complex-valued multi-modal representation encoder, a quantum-like fusion subnetwork and a quantum measurement mechanism. Each multi-modal (e.g., textual, visual) utterance is first encoded as a quantum superposition of a set of basis terms using a complex-valued representation. Then, the quantum-like fusion subnetwork leverages quantum state composition and quantum interference to model the contextual interaction between adjacent utterances and the correlations across modalities respectively. Finally, quantum incompatible measurements are performed on the multi-modal representation of each utterance to yield the probabilistic outcomes of sarcasm and sentiment recognition. The experimental results show that our model achieves a state-of-the-art performance.


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A Multi-task Learning Framework for Opinion Triplet Extraction
Chen Zhang | Qiuchi Li | Dawei Song | Benyou Wang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

The state-of-the-art Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis (ABSA) approaches are mainly based on either detecting aspect terms and their corresponding sentiment polarities, or co-extracting aspect and opinion terms. However, the extraction of aspect-sentiment pairs lacks opinion terms as a reference, while co-extraction of aspect and opinion terms would not lead to meaningful pairs without determining their sentiment dependencies. To address the issue, we present a novel view of ABSA as an opinion triplet extraction task, and propose a multi-task learning framework to jointly extract aspect terms and opinion terms, and simultaneously parses sentiment dependencies between them with a biaffine scorer. At inference phase, the extraction of triplets is facilitated by a triplet decoding method based on the above outputs. We evaluate the proposed framework on four SemEval benchmarks for ASBA. The results demonstrate that our approach significantly outperforms a range of strong baselines and state-of-the-art approaches.


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CNM: An Interpretable Complex-valued Network for Matching
Qiuchi Li | Benyou Wang | Massimo Melucci
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers)

This paper seeks to model human language by the mathematical framework of quantum physics. With the well-designed mathematical formulations in quantum physics, this framework unifies different linguistic units in a single complex-valued vector space, e.g. words as particles in quantum states and sentences as mixed systems. A complex-valued network is built to implement this framework for semantic matching. With well-constrained complex-valued components, the network admits interpretations to explicit physical meanings. The proposed complex-valued network for matching (CNM) achieves comparable performances to strong CNN and RNN baselines on two benchmarking question answering (QA) datasets.


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Quantum-Inspired Complex Word Embedding
Qiuchi Li | Sagar Uprety | Benyou Wang | Dawei Song
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP

A challenging task for word embeddings is to capture the emergent meaning or polarity of a combination of individual words. For example, existing approaches in word embeddings will assign high probabilities to the words “Penguin” and “Fly” if they frequently co-occur, but it fails to capture the fact that they occur in an opposite sense - Penguins do not fly. We hypothesize that humans do not associate a single polarity or sentiment to each word. The word contributes to the overall polarity of a combination of words depending upon which other words it is combined with. This is analogous to the behavior of microscopic particles which exist in all possible states at the same time and interfere with each other to give rise to new states depending upon their relative phases. We make use of the Hilbert Space representation of such particles in Quantum Mechanics where we subscribe a relative phase to each word, which is a complex number, and investigate two such quantum inspired models to derive the meaning of a combination of words. The proposed models achieve better performances than state-of-the-art non-quantum models on binary sentence classification tasks.