Binhua Li


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CATS: A Pragmatic Chinese Answer-to-Sequence Dataset with Large Scale and High Quality
Liang Li | Ruiying Geng | Chengyang Fang | Bing Li | Can Ma | Rongyu Cao | Binhua Li | Fei Huang | Yongbin Li
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

There are three problems existing in the popular data-to-text datasets. First, the large-scale datasets either contain noise or lack real application scenarios. Second, the datasets close to real applications are relatively small in size. Last, current datasets bias in the English language while leaving other languages underexplored.To alleviate these limitations, in this paper, we present CATS, a pragmatic Chinese answer-to-sequence dataset with large scale and high quality. The dataset aims to generate textual descriptions for the answer in the practical TableQA system. Further, to bridge the structural gap between the input SQL and table and establish better semantic alignments, we propose a Unified Graph Transformation approach to establish a joint encoding space for the two hybrid knowledge resources and convert this task to a graph-to-text problem. The experiment results demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed method. Further analysis on CATS attests to both the high quality and challenges of the dataset

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History Semantic Graph Enhanced Conversational KBQA with Temporal Information Modeling
Hao Sun | Yang Li | Liwei Deng | Bowen Li | Binyuan Hui | Binhua Li | Yunshi Lan | Yan Zhang | Yongbin Li
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Context information modeling is an important task in conversational KBQA. However, existing methods usually assume the independence of utterances and model them in isolation. In this paper, we propose a History Semantic Graph Enhanced KBQA model (HSGE) that is able to effectively model long-range semantic dependencies in conversation history while maintaining low computational cost. The framework incorporates a context-aware encoder, which employs a dynamic memory decay mechanism and models context at different levels of granularity. We evaluate HSGE on a widely used benchmark dataset for complex sequential question answering. Experimental results demonstrate that it outperforms existing baselines averaged on all question types.

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Plan-then-Seam: Towards Efficient Table-to-Text Generation
Liang Li | Ruiying Geng | Chengyang Fang | Bing Li | Can Ma | Binhua Li | Yongbin Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EACL 2023

Table-to-text generation aims at automatically generating text to help people conveniently obtain salient information in tables. Recent works explicitly decompose the generation process into content planning and surface generation stages, employing two autoregressive networks for them respectively. However, they are computationally expensive due to the non-parallelizable nature of autoregressive decoding and the redundant parameters of two networks. In this paper, we propose the first totally non-autoregressive table-to-text model (Plan-then-Seam, PTS) that produces its outputs in parallel with one single network.PTS firstly writes and calibrates one plan of the content to be generated with a novel rethinking pointer predictor, and then takes the plan as the context for seaming to decode the description. These two steps share parameters and perform iteratively to capture token inter-dependency while keeping parallel decoding. Experiments on two public benchmarks show that PTS achieves 3.0 5.6 times speedup for inference time, reducing 50% parameters, while maintaining as least comparable performance against strong two-stage table-to-text competitors.


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SUN: Exploring Intrinsic Uncertainties in Text-to-SQL Parsers
Bowen Qin | Lihan Wang | Binyuan Hui | Bowen Li | Xiangpeng Wei | Binhua Li | Fei Huang | Luo Si | Min Yang | Yongbin Li
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

This paper aims to improve the performance of text-to-SQL parsing by exploring the intrinsic uncertainties in the neural network based approaches (called SUN). From the data uncertainty perspective, it is indisputable that a single SQL can be learned from multiple semantically-equivalent questions. Different from previous methods that are limited to one-to-one mapping, we propose a data uncertainty constraint to explore the underlying complementary semantic information among multiple semantically-equivalent questions (many-to-one) and learn the robust feature representations with reduced spurious associations. In this way, we can reduce the sensitivity of the learned representations and improve the robustness of the parser. From the model uncertainty perspective, there is often structural information (dependence) among the weights of neural networks. To improve the generalizability and stability of neural text-to-SQL parsers, we propose a model uncertainty constraint to refine the query representations by enforcing the output representations of different perturbed encoding networks to be consistent with each other. Extensive experiments on five benchmark datasets demonstrate that our method significantly outperforms strong competitors and achieves new state-of-the-art results.

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Graph-to-Text Generation with Dynamic Structure Pruning
Liang Li | Ruiying Geng | Bowen Li | Can Ma | Yinliang Yue | Binhua Li | Yongbin Li
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Most graph-to-text works are built on the encoder-decoder framework with cross-attention mechanism. Recent studies have shown that explicitly modeling the input graph structure can significantly improve the performance. However, the vanilla structural encoder cannot capture all specialized information in a single forward pass for all decoding steps, resulting in inaccurate semantic representations. Meanwhile, the input graph is flatted as an unordered sequence in the cross attention, ignoring the original graph structure. As a result, the obtained input graph context vector in the decoder may be flawed. To address these issues, we propose a Structure-Aware Cross-Attention (SACA) mechanism to re-encode the input graph representation conditioning on the newly generated context at each decoding step in a structure aware manner. We further adapt SACA and introduce its variant Dynamic Graph Pruning (DGP) mechanism to dynamically drop irrelevant nodes in the decoding process. We achieve new state-of-the-art results on two graph-to-text datasets, LDC2020T02 and ENT-DESC, with only minor increase on computational cost.

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STAR: SQL Guided Pre-Training for Context-dependent Text-to-SQL Parsing
Zefeng Cai | Xiangyu Li | Binyuan Hui | Min Yang | Bowen Li | Binhua Li | Zheng Cao | Weijie Li | Fei Huang | Luo Si | Yongbin Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

In this paper, we propose a novel SQL guided pre-training framework STAR for context-dependent text-to-SQL parsing, which leverages contextual information to enrich natural language (NL) utterance and table schema representations for text-to-SQL conversations. Concretely, we propose two novel pre-training objectives which respectively explore the context-dependent interactions of NL utterances and SQL queries within each text-to-SQL conversation: (i) schema state tracking (SST) objective that tracks and explores the schema states of context-dependent SQL queries in the form of schema-states by predicting and updating the value of each schema slot during interaction; (ii) utterance dependency tracking (UDT) objective that employs weighted contrastive learning to pull together two semantically similar NL utterances and push away the representations of semantically dissimilar NL utterances within each conversation. In addition, we construct a high-quality large-scale context-dependent text-to-SQL conversation corpus to pre-train STAR. Extensive experiments show that STAR achieves new state-of-the-art performance on two downstream benchmarks (SParC and CoSQL), significantly outperforming previous pre-training methods and ranking first on the leaderboard. We believe the release of the constructed corpus, codebase and pre-trained STAR checkpoints would push forward the research in this area.

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Towards Generalizable and Robust Text-to-SQL Parsing
Chang Gao | Bowen Li | Wenxuan Zhang | Wai Lam | Binhua Li | Fei Huang | Luo Si | Yongbin Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Text-to-SQL parsing tackles the problem of mapping natural language questions to executable SQL queries. In practice, text-to-SQL parsers often encounter various challenging scenarios, requiring them to be generalizable and robust. While most existing work addresses a particular generalization or robustness challenge, we aim to study it in a more comprehensive manner. In specific, we believe that text-to-SQL parsers should be (1) generalizable at three levels of generalization, namely i.i.d., zero-shot, and compositional, and (2) robust against input perturbations. To enhance these capabilities of the parser, we propose a novel TKK framework consisting of Task decomposition, Knowledge acquisition, and Knowledge composition to learn text-to-SQL parsing in stages. By dividing the learning process into multiple stages, our framework improves the parser’s ability to acquire general SQL knowledge instead of capturing spurious patterns, making it more generalizable and robust. Experimental results under various generalization and robustness settings show that our framework is effective in all scenarios and achieves state-of-the-art performance on the Spider, SParC, and CoSQL datasets.


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Dynamic Memory Induction Networks for Few-Shot Text Classification
Ruiying Geng | Binhua Li | Yongbin Li | Jian Sun | Xiaodan Zhu
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

This paper proposes Dynamic Memory Induction Networks (DMIN) for few-short text classification. The model develops a dynamic routing mechanism over static memory, enabling it to better adapt to unseen classes, a critical capability for few-short classification. The model also expands the induction process with supervised learning weights and query information to enhance the generalization ability of meta-learning. The proposed model brings forward the state-of-the-art performance significantly by 2 4% improvement on the miniRCV1 and ODIC datasets. Detailed analysis is further performed to show how the proposed network achieves the new performance.


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Induction Networks for Few-Shot Text Classification
Ruiying Geng | Binhua Li | Yongbin Li | Xiaodan Zhu | Ping Jian | Jian Sun
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Text classification tends to struggle when data is deficient or when it needs to adapt to unseen classes. In such challenging scenarios, recent studies have used meta-learning to simulate the few-shot task, in which new queries are compared to a small support set at the sample-wise level. However, this sample-wise comparison may be severely disturbed by the various expressions in the same class. Therefore, we should be able to learn a general representation of each class in the support set and then compare it to new queries. In this paper, we propose a novel Induction Network to learn such a generalized class-wise representation, by innovatively leveraging the dynamic routing algorithm in meta-learning. In this way, we find the model is able to induce and generalize better. We evaluate the proposed model on a well-studied sentiment classification dataset (English) and a real-world dialogue intent classification dataset (Chinese). Experiment results show that on both datasets, the proposed model significantly outperforms the existing state-of-the-art approaches, proving the effectiveness of class-wise generalization in few-shot text classification.