Changjie Fan


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DecBERT: Enhancing the Language Understanding of BERT with Causal Attention Masks
Ziyang Luo | Yadong Xi | Jing Ma | Zhiwei Yang | Xiaoxi Mao | Changjie Fan | Rongsheng Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

Since 2017, the Transformer-based models play critical roles in various downstream Natural Language Processing tasks. However, a common limitation of the attention mechanism utilized in Transformer Encoder is that it cannot automatically capture the information of word order, so explicit position embeddings are generally required to be fed into the target model. In contrast, Transformer Decoder with the causal attention masks is naturally sensitive to the word order. In this work, we focus on improving the position encoding ability of BERT with the causal attention masks. Furthermore, we propose a new pre-trained language model DecBERT and evaluate it on the GLUE benchmark. Experimental results show that (1) the causal attention mask is effective for BERT on the language understanding tasks; (2) our DecBERT model without position embeddings achieve comparable performance on the GLUE benchmark; and (3) our modification accelerates the pre-training process and DecBERT w/ PE achieves better overall performance than the baseline systems when pre-training with the same amount of computational resources.

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Easy and Efficient Transformer: Scalable Inference Solution For Large NLP Model
Gongzheng Li | Yadong Xi | Jingzhen Ding | Duan Wang | Ziyang Luo | Rongsheng Zhang | Bai Liu | Changjie Fan | Xiaoxi Mao | Zeng Zhao
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies: Industry Track

Recently, large-scale transformer-based models have been proven to be effective over various tasks across many domains. Nevertheless, applying them in industrial production requires tedious and heavy works to reduce inference costs. To fill such a gap, we introduce a scalable inference solution: Easy and Efficient Transformer (EET), including a series of transformer inference optimization at the algorithm and implementation levels. First, we design highly optimized kernels for long inputs and large hidden sizes. Second, we propose a flexible CUDA memory manager to reduce the memory footprint when deploying a large model. Compared with the state-of-the-art transformer inference library (Faster Transformer v4.0), EET can achieve an average of 1.40-4.20x speedup on the transformer decoder layer with an A100 GPU.

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LOT: A Story-Centric Benchmark for Evaluating Chinese Long Text Understanding and Generation
Jian Guan | Zhuoer Feng | Yamei Chen | Ruilin He | Xiaoxi Mao | Changjie Fan | Minlie Huang
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 10

Standard multi-task benchmarks are essential for developing pretraining models that can generalize to various downstream tasks. Existing benchmarks for natural language processing (NLP) usually focus only on understanding or generating short texts. However, long text modeling requires many distinct abilities in contrast to short texts, such as the modeling of long-range discourse and commonsense relations, and the coherence and controllability of generation. The lack of standardized benchmarks makes it difficult to assess these abilities of a model and fairly compare different models, especially Chinese models. Therefore, we propose a story-centric benchmark named LOT for evaluating Chinese long text modeling, which aggregates two understanding tasks and two generation tasks. We construct new datasets for these tasks based on human-written Chinese stories with hundreds of words. Furthermore, we release an encoder-decoder-based Chinese long text pretraining model named LongLM with up to 1 billion parameters. We pretrain LongLM on 120G Chinese novels with two generative tasks including text infilling and conditional continuation. Extensive experiments show that LongLM outperforms similar-sized pretraining models substantially on both the understanding and generation tasks in LOT.


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Long Text Generation by Modeling Sentence-Level and Discourse-Level Coherence
Jian Guan | Xiaoxi Mao | Changjie Fan | Zitao Liu | Wenbiao Ding | Minlie Huang
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)

Generating long and coherent text is an important but challenging task, particularly for open-ended language generation tasks such as story generation. Despite the success in modeling intra-sentence coherence, existing generation models (e.g., BART) still struggle to maintain a coherent event sequence throughout the generated text. We conjecture that this is because of the difficulty for the decoder to capture the high-level semantics and discourse structures in the context beyond token-level co-occurrence. In this paper, we propose a long text generation model, which can represent the prefix sentences at sentence level and discourse level in the decoding process. To this end, we propose two pretraining objectives to learn the representations by predicting inter-sentence semantic similarity and distinguishing between normal and shuffled sentence orders. Extensive experiments show that our model can generate more coherent texts than state-of-the-art baselines.

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OpenMEVA: A Benchmark for Evaluating Open-ended Story Generation Metrics
Jian Guan | Zhexin Zhang | Zhuoer Feng | Zitao Liu | Wenbiao Ding | Xiaoxi Mao | Changjie Fan | Minlie Huang
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)

Automatic metrics are essential for developing natural language generation (NLG) models, particularly for open-ended language generation tasks such as story generation. However, existing automatic metrics are observed to correlate poorly with human evaluation. The lack of standardized benchmark datasets makes it difficult to fully evaluate the capabilities of a metric and fairly compare different metrics. Therefore, we propose OpenMEVA, a benchmark for evaluating open-ended story generation metrics. OpenMEVA provides a comprehensive test suite to assess the capabilities of metrics, including (a) the correlation with human judgments, (b) the generalization to different model outputs and datasets, (c) the ability to judge story coherence, and (d) the robustness to perturbations. To this end, OpenMEVA includes both manually annotated stories and auto-constructed test examples. We evaluate existing metrics on OpenMEVA and observe that they have poor correlation with human judgments, fail to recognize discourse-level incoherence, and lack inferential knowledge (e.g., causal order between events), the generalization ability and robustness. Our study presents insights for developing NLG models and metrics in further research.

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KuiLeiXi: a Chinese Open-Ended Text Adventure Game
Yadong Xi | Xiaoxi Mao | Le Li | Lei Lin | Yanjiang Chen | Shuhan Yang | Xuhan Chen | Kailun Tao | Zhi Li | Gongzheng Li | Lin Jiang | Siyan Liu | Zeng Zhao | Minlie Huang | Changjie Fan | Zhipeng Hu
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

There is a long history of research related to automated story generation, dating back as far as the 1970s. Recently, the rapid development of pre-trained language models has spurred great progresses in this field. Equipped with GPT-2 and the latest GPT-3, AI Dungeon has been seen as a famous example of the powerful text generation capabilities of large-scale pre-trained language models, and a possibility for future games. However, as a game, AI Dungeon lacks incentives to players and relies entirely on players to explore on their own. This makes players’ enthusiasm decline rapidly. In this paper, we present an open-ended text adventure game in Chinese, named as KuiLeiXi. In KuiLeiXi, players need to interact with the AI until the pre-determined plot goals are reached. By introducing the plot goals, players have a stronger incentive to explore ways to reach plot goals, while the AI’s abilities are not abused to generate harmful contents. This limited freedom allows this game to be integrated as a part of a romance simulation mobile game, Yu Jian Love. Since KuiLeiXi was launched, it has received a lot of positive feedbacks from more than 100,000 players. A demo video is available at


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Youling: an AI-assisted Lyrics Creation System
Rongsheng Zhang | Xiaoxi Mao | Le Li | Lin Jiang | Lin Chen | Zhiwei Hu | Yadong Xi | Changjie Fan | Minlie Huang
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

Recently, a variety of neural models have been proposed for lyrics generation. However, most previous work completes the generation process in a single pass with little human intervention. We believe that lyrics creation is a creative process with human intelligence centered. AI should play a role as an assistant in the lyrics creation process, where human interactions are crucial for high-quality creation. This paper demonstrates Youling, an AI-assisted lyrics creation system, designed to collaborate with music creators. In the lyrics generation process, Youling supports traditional one pass full-text generation mode as well as an interactive generation mode, which allows users to select the satisfactory sentences from generated candidates conditioned on preceding context. The system also provides a revision module which enables users to revise undesired sentences or words of lyrics repeatedly. Besides, Youling allows users to use multifaceted attributes to control the content and format of generated lyrics. The demo video of the system is available at