Bowen Li


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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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An Investigation of LLMs’ Inefficacy in Understanding Converse Relations
Chengwen Qi | Bowen Li | Binyuan Hui | Bailin Wang | Jinyang Li | Jinwang Wu | Yuanjun Laili
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Large Language Models (LLMs) have achieved remarkable success in many formal language oriented tasks, such as structural data-to-text and semantic parsing. However current benchmarks mostly follow the data distribution of the pre-training data of LLMs. Therefore, a natural question rises that do LLMs really understand the structured semantics of formal languages. In this paper, we investigate this problem on a special case, converse binary relation. We introduce a new benchmark ConvRe focusing on converse relations, which contains 17 relations and 1240 triples extracted from popular knowledge graph completion datasets. Our ConvRE features two tasks, Re2Text and Text2Re, which are formulated as multi-choice question answering to evaluate LLMs’ ability to determine the matching between relations and associated text. For the evaluation protocol, apart from different prompting methods, we further introduce variants to the test text and few-shot example text. We conduct experiments on three popular LLM families and have observed various scaling trends. The results suggest that LLMs often resort to shortcut learning and still face challenges on our proposed benchmark.

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Causal Document-Grounded Dialogue Pre-training
Yingxiu Zhao | Bowen Yu | Bowen Li | Haiyang Yu | Jinyang Li | Chao Wang | Fei Huang | Yongbin Li | Nevin Zhang
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The goal of document-grounded dialogue (DocGD) is to generate a response by anchoring the evidence in a supporting document in accordance with the dialogue context. This entails four causally interconnected variables. While task-specific pre-training has significantly enhanced performances on numerous downstream tasks, existing DocGD methods still rely on general pre-trained language models without a specifically tailored pre-training approach that explicitly captures the causal relationships. To address this, we present the first causally-complete dataset construction strategy for developing million-scale DocGD pre-training corpora. Additionally, we propose a causally-perturbed pre-training strategy to better capture causality by introducing perturbations on the variables and optimizing the overall causal effect. Experiments conducted on three benchmark datasets demonstrate that our causal pre-training yields substantial and consistent improvements in fully-supervised, low-resource, few-shot, and zero-shot settings.


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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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CGoDial: A Large-Scale Benchmark for Chinese Goal-oriented Dialog Evaluation
Yinpei Dai | Wanwei He | Bowen Li | Yuchuan Wu | Zheng Cao | Zhongqi An | Jian Sun | Yongbin Li
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Practical dialog systems need to deal with various knowledge sources, noisy user expressions, and the shortage of annotated data. To better solve the above problems, we propose CGoDial, a new challenging and comprehensive Chinese benchmark for multi-domain Goal-oriented Dialog evaluation. It contains 96,763 dialog sessions, and 574,949 dialog turns totally, covering three datasets with different knowledge sources: 1) a slot-based dialog (SBD) dataset with table-formed knowledge, 2) a flow-based dialog (FBD) dataset with tree-formed knowledge, and a retrieval-based dialog (RBD) dataset with candidate-formed knowledge. To bridge the gap between academic benchmarks and spoken dialog scenarios, we either collect data from real conversations or add spoken features to existing datasets via crowd-sourcing. The proposed experimental settings include the combinations of training with either the entire training set or a few-shot training set, and testing with either the standard test set or a hard test subset, which can assess model capabilities in terms of general prediction, fast adaptability and reliable robustness.

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S2SQL: Injecting Syntax to Question-Schema Interaction Graph Encoder for Text-to-SQL Parsers
Binyuan Hui | Ruiying Geng | Lihan Wang | Bowen Qin | Yanyang Li | Bowen Li | Jian Sun | Yongbin Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

The task of converting a natural language question into an executable SQL query, known as text-to-SQL, is an important branch of semantic parsing. The state-of-the-art graph-based encoder has been successfully used in this task but does not model the question syntax well. In this paper, we propose S2SQL, injecting Syntax to question-Schema graph encoder for Text-to-SQL parsers, which effectively leverages the syntactic dependency information of questions in text-to-SQL to improve the performance. We also employ the decoupling constraint to induce diverse relational edge embedding, which further improves the network’s performance. Experiments on the Spider and robustness setting Spider-Syn demonstrate that the proposed approach outperforms all existing methods when pre-training models are used, resulting in a performance ranks first on the Spider leaderboard.

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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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Learning to Model Multimodal Semantic Alignment for Story Visualization
Bowen Li | Thomas Lukasiewicz
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Story visualization aims to generate a sequence of images to narrate each sentence in a multi-sentence story, where the images should be realistic and keep global consistency across dynamic scenes and characters. Current works face the problem of semantic misalignment because of their fixed architecture and diversity of input modalities. To address this problem, we explore the semantic alignment between text and image representations by learning to match their semantic levels in the GAN-based generative model. More specifically, we introduce dynamic interactions according to learning to dynamically explore various semantic depths and fuse the different-modal information at a matched semantic level, which thus relieves the text-image semantic misalignment problem. Extensive experiments on different datasets demonstrate the improvements of our approach, neither using segmentation masks nor auxiliary captioning networks, on image quality and story consistency, compared with state-of-the-art methods.


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Multilingual Chart-based Constituency Parse Extraction from Pre-trained Language Models
Taeuk Kim | Bowen Li | Sang-goo Lee
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

As it has been unveiled that pre-trained language models (PLMs) are to some extent capable of recognizing syntactic concepts in natural language, much effort has been made to develop a method for extracting complete (binary) parses from PLMs without training separate parsers. We improve upon this paradigm by proposing a novel chart-based method and an effective top-K ensemble technique. Moreover, we demonstrate that we can broaden the scope of application of the approach into multilingual settings. Specifically, we show that by applying our method on multilingual PLMs, it becomes possible to induce non-trivial parses for sentences from nine languages in an integrated and language-agnostic manner, attaining performance superior or comparable to that of unsupervised PCFGs. We also verify that our approach is robust to cross-lingual transfer. Finally, we provide analyses on the inner workings of our method. For instance, we discover universal attention heads which are consistently sensitive to syntactic information irrespective of the input language.


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Heads-up! Unsupervised Constituency Parsing via Self-Attention Heads
Bowen Li | Taeuk Kim | Reinald Kim Amplayo | Frank Keller
Proceedings of the 1st Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 10th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing

Transformer-based pre-trained language models (PLMs) have dramatically improved the state of the art in NLP across many tasks. This has led to substantial interest in analyzing the syntactic knowledge PLMs learn. Previous approaches to this question have been limited, mostly using test suites or probes. Here, we propose a novel fully unsupervised parsing approach that extracts constituency trees from PLM attention heads. We rank transformer attention heads based on their inherent properties, and create an ensemble of high-ranking heads to produce the final tree. Our method is adaptable to low-resource languages, as it does not rely on development sets, which can be expensive to annotate. Our experiments show that the proposed method often outperform existing approaches if there is no development set present. Our unsupervised parser can also be used as a tool to analyze the grammars PLMs learn implicitly. For this, we use the parse trees induced by our method to train a neural PCFG and compare it to a grammar derived from a human-annotated treebank.


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An Imitation Learning Approach to Unsupervised Parsing
Bowen Li | Lili Mou | Frank Keller
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Recently, there has been an increasing interest in unsupervised parsers that optimize semantically oriented objectives, typically using reinforcement learning. Unfortunately, the learned trees often do not match actual syntax trees well. Shen et al. (2018) propose a structured attention mechanism for language modeling (PRPN), which induces better syntactic structures but relies on ad hoc heuristics. Also, their model lacks interpretability as it is not grounded in parsing actions. In our work, we propose an imitation learning approach to unsupervised parsing, where we transfer the syntactic knowledge induced by PRPN to a Tree-LSTM model with discrete parsing actions. Its policy is then refined by Gumbel-Softmax training towards a semantically oriented objective. We evaluate our approach on the All Natural Language Inference dataset and show that it achieves a new state of the art in terms of parsing F-score, outperforming our base models, including PRPN.