Chao Shang


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Diable: Efficient Dialogue State Tracking as Operations on Tables
Pietro Lesci | Yoshinari Fujinuma | Momchil Hardalov | Chao Shang | Yassine Benajiba | Lluis Marquez
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Sequence-to-sequence state-of-the-art systems for dialogue state tracking (DST) use the full dialogue history as input, represent the current state as a list with all the slots, and generate the entire state from scratch at each dialogue turn. This approach is inefficient, especially when the number of slots is large and the conversation is long. We propose Diable, a new task formalisation that simplifies the design and implementation of efficient DST systems and allows one to easily plug and play large language models. We represent the dialogue state as a table and formalise DST as a table manipulation task. At each turn, the system updates the previous state by generating table operations based on the dialogue context. Extensive experimentation on the MultiWoz datasets demonstrates that Diable (i) outperforms strong efficient DST baselines, (ii) is 2.4x more time efficient than current state-of-the-art methods while retaining competitive Joint Goal Accuracy, and (iii) is robust to noisy data annotations due to the table operations approach.


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Improving Time Sensitivity for Question Answering over Temporal Knowledge Graphs
Chao Shang | Guangtao Wang | Peng Qi | Jing Huang
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Question answering over temporal knowledge graphs (KGs) efficiently uses facts contained in a temporal KG, which records entity relations and when they occur in time, to answer natural language questions (e.g., “Who was the president of the US before Obama?”). These questions often involve three time-related challenges that previous work fail to adequately address: 1) questions often do not specify exact timestamps of interest (e.g., “Obama” instead of 2000); 2) subtle lexical differences in time relations (e.g., “before” vs “after”); 3) off-the-shelf temporal KG embeddings that previous work builds on ignore the temporal order of timestamps, which is crucial for answering temporal-order related questions. In this paper, we propose a time-sensitive question answering (TSQA) framework to tackle these problems. TSQA features a timestamp estimation module to infer the unwritten timestamp from the question. We also employ a time-sensitive KG encoder to inject ordering information into the temporal KG embeddings that TSQA is based on. With the help of techniques to reduce the search space for potential answers, TSQA significantly outperforms the previous state of the art on a new benchmark for question answering over temporal KGs, especially achieving a 32% (absolute) error reduction on complex questions that require multiple steps of reasoning over facts in the temporal KG.


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TAG: Gradient Attack on Transformer-based Language Models
Jieren Deng | Yijue Wang | Ji Li | Chenghong Wang | Chao Shang | Hang Liu | Sanguthevar Rajasekaran | Caiwen Ding
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Although distributed learning has increasingly gained attention in terms of effectively utilizing local devices for data privacy enhancement, recent studies show that publicly shared gradients in the training process can reveal the private training data (gradient leakage) to a third-party. We have, however, no systematic understanding of the gradient leakage mechanism on the Transformer based language models. In this paper, as the first attempt, we formulate the gradient attack problem on the Transformer-based language models and propose a gradient attack algorithm, TAG, to reconstruct the local training data. Experimental results on Transformer, TinyBERT4, TinyBERT6 BERT_BASE, and BERT_LARGE using GLUE benchmark show that compared with DLG, TAG works well on more weight distributions in reconstructing training data and achieves 1.5x recover rate and 2.5x ROUGE-2 over prior methods without the need of ground truth label. TAG can obtain up to 90% data by attacking gradients in CoLA dataset. In addition, TAG is stronger than previous approaches on larger models, smaller dictionary size, and smaller input length. We hope the proposed TAG will shed some light on the privacy leakage problem in Transformer-based NLP models.


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Taxonomy Construction of Unseen Domains via Graph-based Cross-Domain Knowledge Transfer
Chao Shang | Sarthak Dash | Md. Faisal Mahbub Chowdhury | Nandana Mihindukulasooriya | Alfio Gliozzo
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Extracting lexico-semantic relations as graph-structured taxonomies, also known as taxonomy construction, has been beneficial in a variety of NLP applications. Recently Graph Neural Network (GNN) has shown to be powerful in successfully tackling many tasks. However, there has been no attempt to exploit GNN to create taxonomies. In this paper, we propose Graph2Taxo, a GNN-based cross-domain transfer framework for the taxonomy construction task. Our main contribution is to learn the latent features of taxonomy construction from existing domains to guide the structure learning of an unseen domain. We also propose a novel method of directed acyclic graph (DAG) generation for taxonomy construction. Specifically, our proposed Graph2Taxo uses a noisy graph constructed from automatically extracted noisy hyponym hypernym candidate pairs, and a set of taxonomies for some known domains for training. The learned model is then used to generate taxonomy for a new unknown domain given a set of terms for that domain. Experiments on benchmark datasets from science and environment domains show that our approach attains significant improvements correspondingly over the state of the art.