Bolin Ding


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Tunable Soft Prompts are Messengers in Federated Learning
Chenhe Dong | Yuexiang Xie | Bolin Ding | Ying Shen | Yaliang Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Federated learning (FL) enables multiple participants to collaboratively train machine learning models using decentralized data sources, alleviating privacy concerns that arise from directly sharing local data. However, the lack of model privacy protection in FL becomes an unneglectable challenge, especially when people want to federally finetune models based on a proprietary large language model. In this study, we propose a novel FL training approach that accomplishes information exchange among participants via tunable soft prompts. These soft prompts, updated and transmitted between the server and clients, assume the role of the global model parameters and serve as messengers to deliver useful knowledge from the local data and global model. As the global model itself is not required to be shared and the local training is conducted based on an auxiliary model with fewer parameters than the global model, the proposed approach provides protection for the global model while reducing communication and computation costs in FL. Extensive experiments show the effectiveness of the proposed approach compared to several baselines. We have released the source code at


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Factual Consistency Evaluation for Text Summarization via Counterfactual Estimation
Yuexiang Xie | Fei Sun | Yang Deng | Yaliang Li | Bolin Ding
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Despite significant progress has been achieved in text summarization, factual inconsistency in generated summaries still severely limits its practical applications. Among the key factors to ensure factual consistency, a reliable automatic evaluation metric is the first and the most crucial one. However, existing metrics either neglect the intrinsic cause of the factual inconsistency or rely on auxiliary tasks, leading to an unsatisfied correlation with human judgments or increasing the inconvenience of usage in practice. In light of these challenges, we propose a novel metric to evaluate the factual consistency in text summarization via counterfactual estimation, which formulates the causal relationship among the source document, the generated summary, and the language prior. We remove the effect of language prior, which can cause factual inconsistency, from the total causal effect on the generated summary, and provides a simple yet effective way to evaluate consistency without relying on other auxiliary tasks. We conduct a series of experiments on three public abstractive text summarization datasets, and demonstrate the advantages of the proposed metric in both improving the correlation with human judgments and the convenience of usage. The source code is available at