Can Ma


pdf bib
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.

pdf bib
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


pdf bib
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.


pdf bib
Improving Encoder by Auxiliary Supervision Tasks for Table-to-Text Generation
Liang Li | Can Ma | Yinliang Yue | Dayong Hu
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Table-to-text generation aims at automatically generating natural text to help people conveniently obtain salient information in tables. Although neural models for table-to-text have achieved remarkable progress, some problems are still overlooked. Previous methods cannot deduce the factual results from the entity’s (player or team) performance and the relations between entities. To solve this issue, we first build an entity graph from the input tables and introduce a reasoning module to perform reasoning on the graph. Moreover, there are different relations (e.g., the numeric size relation and the importance relation) between records in different dimensions. And these relations may contribute to the data-to-text generation. However, it is hard for a vanilla encoder to capture these. Consequently, we propose to utilize two auxiliary tasks, Number Ranking (NR) and Importance Ranking (IR), to supervise the encoder to capture the different relations. Experimental results on ROTOWIRE and RW-FG show that our method not only has a good generalization but also outperforms previous methods on several metrics: BLEU, Content Selection, Content Ordering.