Cheng Yang


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An Energy-based Model for Word-level AutoCompletion in Computer-aided Translation
Cheng Yang | Guoping Huang | Mo Yu | Zhirui Zhang | Siheng Li | Mingming Yang | Shuming Shi | Yujiu Yang | Lemao Liu
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 12

Word-level AutoCompletion (WLAC) is a rewarding yet challenging task in Computer-aided Translation. Existing work addresses this task through a classification model based on a neural network that maps the hidden vector of the input context into its corresponding label (i.e., the candidate target word is treated as a label). Since the context hidden vector itself does not take the label into account and it is projected to the label through a linear classifier, the model cannot sufficiently leverage valuable information from the source sentence as verified in our experiments, which eventually hinders its overall performance. To alleviate this issue, this work proposes an energy-based model for WLAC, which enables the context hidden vector to capture crucial information from the source sentence. Unfortunately, training and inference suffer from efficiency and effectiveness challenges, therefore we employ three simple yet effective strategies to put our model into practice. Experiments on four standard benchmarks demonstrate that our reranking-based approach achieves substantial improvements (about 6.07%) over the previous state-of-the-art model. Further analyses show that each strategy of our approach contributes to the final performance.1


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Enhancing Dialogue Generation with Conversational Concept Flows
Siheng Li | Wangjie Jiang | Pengda Si | Cheng Yang | Qiu Yao | Jinchao Zhang | Jie Zhou | Yujiu Yang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EACL 2023

Human conversations contain natural and reasonable topic shifts, reflected as the concept flows across utterances. Previous researches prove that explicitly modeling concept flows with a large commonsense knowledge graph effectively improves response quality. However, we argue that there exists a gap between the knowledge graph and the conversation. The knowledge graph has limited commonsense knowledge and ignores the characteristics of natural conversations. Thus, many concepts and relations in conversations are not included. To bridge this gap, we propose to enhance dialogue generation with conversational concept flows. Specifically, we extract abundant concepts and relations from natural conversations and build a new conversation-aware knowledge graph. In addition, we design a novel relation-aware graph encoder to capture the concept flows guided by the knowledge graph. Experimental results on the large-scale Reddit conversation dataset indicate that our method performs better than strong baselines, andfurther analysis verifies the effectiveness of each component. All our code and data will be publicly available after acceptance.

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NewsDialogues: Towards Proactive News Grounded Conversation
Siheng Li | Yichun Yin | Cheng Yang | Wangjie Jiang | Yiwei Li | Zesen Cheng | Lifeng Shang | Xin Jiang | Qun Liu | Yujiu Yang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Hot news is one of the most popular topics in daily conversations. However, news grounded conversation has long been stymied by the lack of well-designed task definition and scarce data. In this paper, we propose a novel task, Proactive News Grounded Conversation, in which a dialogue system can proactively lead the conversation based on some key topics of the news. In addition, both information-seeking and chit-chat scenarios are included realistically, where the user may ask a series of questions about the news details or express their opinions and be eager to chat. To further develop this novel task, we collect a human-to-human Chinese dialogue dataset NewsDialogues, which includes 1K conversations with a total of 14.6K utterances and detailed annotations for target topics and knowledge spans. Furthermore, we propose a method named Predict-Generate-Rank, consisting of a generator for grounded knowledge prediction and response generation, and a ranker for the ranking of multiple responses to alleviate the exposure bias. We conduct comprehensive experiments to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method and further present several key findings and challenges to prompt future research.

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Question Answering as Programming for Solving Time-Sensitive Questions
Xinyu Zhu | Cheng Yang | Bei Chen | Siheng Li | Jian-Guang Lou | Yujiu Yang
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Question answering plays a pivotal role in human daily life because it involves our acquisition of knowledge about the world. However, due to the dynamic and ever-changing nature of real-world facts, the answer can be completely different when the time constraint in the question changes. Recently, Large Language Models (LLMs) have shown remarkable intelligence in question answering, while our experiments reveal that the aforementioned problems still pose a significant challenge to existing LLMs. This can be attributed to the LLMs’ inability to perform rigorous reasoning based on surface-level text semantics. To overcome this limitation, rather than requiring LLMs to directly answer the question, we propose a novel approach where we reframe the Question Answering task as Programming (QAaP). Concretely, by leveraging modern LLMs’ superior capability in understanding both natural language and programming language, we endeavor to harness LLMs to represent diversely expressed text as well-structured code and select the best matching answer from multiple candidates through programming. We evaluate our QAaP framework on several time-sensitive question answering datasets and achieve decent improvement, up to 14.5% over strong baselines.

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Specialist or Generalist? Instruction Tuning for Specific NLP Tasks
Chufan Shi | Yixuan Su | Cheng Yang | Yujiu Yang | Deng Cai
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The potential of large language models (LLMs) to simultaneously perform a wide range of natural language processing (NLP) tasks has been the subject of extensive research. Although instruction tuning has proven to be a data-efficient method for transforming LLMs into such generalist models, their performance still lags behind specialist models trained exclusively for specific tasks. In this paper, we investigate whether incorporating broadcoverage generalist instruction tuning can contribute to building a specialist model. We hypothesize that its efficacy depends on task specificity and skill requirements. Our experiments assess four target tasks with distinct coverage levels, revealing that integrating generalist instruction tuning consistently enhances model performance when the task coverage is broad. The effect is particularly pronounced when the amount of task-specific training data is limited. Further investigation into three target tasks focusing on different capabilities demonstrates that generalist instruction tuning improves understanding and reasoning abilities. However, for tasks requiring factual knowledge, generalist data containing hallucinatory information may negatively affect the model’s performance. Overall, our work provides a systematic guide for developing specialist models with general instruction tuning.

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AutoConv: Automatically Generating Information-seeking Conversations with Large Language Models
Siheng Li | Cheng Yang | Yichun Yin | Xinyu Zhu | Zesen Cheng | Lifeng Shang | Xin Jiang | Qun Liu | Yujiu Yang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Information-seeking conversation, which aims to help users gather information through conversation, has achieved great progress in recent years. However, the research is still stymied by the scarcity of training data. To alleviate this problem, we propose AutoConv for synthetic conversation generation, which takes advantage of the few-shot learning ability and generation capacity of large language models (LLM). Specifically, we formulate the conversation generation problem as a language modeling task, then finetune an LLM with a few human conversations to capture the characteristics of the information-seeking process and use it for generating synthetic conversations with high quality. Experimental results on two frequently-used datasets verify that AutoConv has substantial improvements over strong baselines and alleviates the dependence on human annotation. In addition, we also provide several analysis studies to promote future research.


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IIGROUP Submissions for WMT22 Word-Level AutoCompletion Task
Cheng Yang | Siheng Li | Chufan Shi | Yujiu Yang
Proceedings of the Seventh Conference on Machine Translation (WMT)

This paper presents IIGroup’s submission to the WMT22 Word-Level AutoCompletion(WLAC) Shared Task in four language directions. We propose to use a Generate-then-Rerank framework to solve this task. More specifically, the generator is used to generate candidate words and recall as many positive candidates as possible. To facilitate the training process of the generator, we propose a span-level mask prediction task. Once we get the candidate words, we take the top-K candidates and feed them into the reranker. The reranker is used to select the most confident candidate. The experimental results in four language directions demonstrate the effectiveness of our systems. Our systems achieve competitive performance ranking 1st in English to Chinese subtask and 2nd in Chinese to English subtask.


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Treasures Outside Contexts: Improving Event Detection via Global Statistics
Rui Li | Wenlin Zhao | Cheng Yang | Sen Su
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Event detection (ED) aims at identifying event instances of specified types in given texts, which has been formalized as a sequence labeling task. As far as we know, existing neural-based ED models make decisions relying entirely on the contextual semantic features of each word in the inputted text, which we find is easy to be confused by the varied contexts in the test stage. To this end, we come up with the idea of introducing a set of statistical features from word-event co-occurrence frequencies in the entire training set to cooperate with contextual features. Specifically, we propose a Semantic and Statistic-Joint Discriminative Network (SS-JDN) consisting of a semantic feature extractor, a statistical feature extractor, and a joint event discriminator. In experiments, SS-JDN effectively exceeds ten recent strong baselines on ACE2005 and KBP2015 datasets. Further, we perform extensive experiments to comprehensively probe SS-JDN.

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KACC: A Multi-task Benchmark for Knowledge Abstraction, Concretization and Completion
Jie Zhou | Shengding Hu | Xin Lv | Cheng Yang | Zhiyuan Liu | Wei Xu | Jie Jiang | Juanzi Li | Maosong Sun
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021


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Graph Neural News Recommendation with Unsupervised Preference Disentanglement
Linmei Hu | Siyong Xu | Chen Li | Cheng Yang | Chuan Shi | Nan Duan | Xing Xie | Ming Zhou
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

With the explosion of news information, personalized news recommendation has become very important for users to quickly find their interested contents. Most existing methods usually learn the representations of users and news from news contents for recommendation. However, they seldom consider high-order connectivity underlying the user-news interactions. Moreover, existing methods failed to disentangle a user’s latent preference factors which cause her clicks on different news. In this paper, we model the user-news interactions as a bipartite graph and propose a novel Graph Neural News Recommendation model with Unsupervised Preference Disentanglement, named GNUD. Our model can encode high-order relationships into user and news representations by information propagation along the graph. Furthermore, the learned representations are disentangled with latent preference factors by a neighborhood routing algorithm, which can enhance expressiveness and interpretability. A preference regularizer is also designed to force each disentangled subspace to independently reflect an isolated preference, improving the quality of the disentangled representations. Experimental results on real-world news datasets demonstrate that our proposed model can effectively improve the performance of news recommendation and outperform state-of-the-art news recommendation methods.


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GEAR: Graph-based Evidence Aggregating and Reasoning for Fact Verification
Jie Zhou | Xu Han | Cheng Yang | Zhiyuan Liu | Lifeng Wang | Changcheng Li | Maosong Sun
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Fact verification (FV) is a challenging task which requires to retrieve relevant evidence from plain text and use the evidence to verify given claims. Many claims require to simultaneously integrate and reason over several pieces of evidence for verification. However, previous work employs simple models to extract information from evidence without letting evidence communicate with each other, e.g., merely concatenate the evidence for processing. Therefore, these methods are unable to grasp sufficient relational and logical information among the evidence. To alleviate this issue, we propose a graph-based evidence aggregating and reasoning (GEAR) framework which enables information to transfer on a fully-connected evidence graph and then utilizes different aggregators to collect multi-evidence information. We further employ BERT, an effective pre-trained language representation model, to improve the performance. Experimental results on a large-scale benchmark dataset FEVER have demonstrated that GEAR could leverage multi-evidence information for FV and thus achieves the promising result with a test FEVER score of 67.10%. Our code is available at

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Jiuge: A Human-Machine Collaborative Chinese Classical Poetry Generation System
Guo Zhipeng | Xiaoyuan Yi | Maosong Sun | Wenhao Li | Cheng Yang | Jiannan Liang | Huimin Chen | Yuhui Zhang | Ruoyu Li
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

Research on the automatic generation of poetry, the treasure of human culture, has lasted for decades. Most existing systems, however, are merely model-oriented, which input some user-specified keywords and directly complete the generation process in one pass, with little user participation. We believe that the machine, being a collaborator or an assistant, should not replace human beings in poetic creation. Therefore, we proposed Jiuge, a human-machine collaborative Chinese classical poetry generation system. Unlike previous systems, Jiuge allows users to revise the unsatisfied parts of a generated poem draft repeatedly. According to the revision, the poem will be dynamically updated and regenerated. After the revision and modification procedure, the user can write a satisfying poem together with Jiuge system collaboratively. Besides, Jiuge can accept multi-modal inputs, such as keywords, plain text or images. By exposing the options of poetry genres, styles and revision modes, Jiuge, acting as a professional assistant, allows constant and active participation of users in poetic creation.

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Improving Distantly-Supervised Relation Extraction with Joint Label Embedding
Linmei Hu | Luhao Zhang | Chuan Shi | Liqiang Nie | Weili Guan | Cheng Yang
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Distantly-supervised relation extraction has proven to be effective to find relational facts from texts. However, the existing approaches treat labels as independent and meaningless one-hot vectors, which cause a loss of potential label information for selecting valid instances. In this paper, we propose a novel multi-layer attention-based model to improve relation extraction with joint label embedding. The model makes full use of both structural information from Knowledge Graphs and textual information from entity descriptions to learn label embeddings through gating integration while avoiding the imposed noise with an attention mechanism. Then the learned label embeddings are used as another atten- tion over the instances (whose embeddings are also enhanced with the entity descriptions) for improving relation extraction. Extensive experiments demonstrate that our model significantly outperforms state-of-the-art methods.


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Stylistic Chinese Poetry Generation via Unsupervised Style Disentanglement
Cheng Yang | Maosong Sun | Xiaoyuan Yi | Wenhao Li
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The ability to write diverse poems in different styles under the same poetic imagery is an important characteristic of human poetry writing. Most previous works on automatic Chinese poetry generation focused on improving the coherency among lines. Some work explored style transfer but suffered from expensive expert labeling of poem styles. In this paper, we target on stylistic poetry generation in a fully unsupervised manner for the first time. We propose a novel model which requires no supervised style labeling by incorporating mutual information, a concept in information theory, into modeling. Experimental results show that our model is able to generate stylistic poems without losing fluency and coherency.