Dejiao Zhang


2022

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Learning Dialogue Representations from Consecutive Utterances
Zhihan Zhou | Dejiao Zhang | Wei Xiao | Nicholas Dingwall | Xiaofei Ma | Andrew Arnold | Bing Xiang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Learning high-quality dialogue representations is essential for solving a variety of dialogue-oriented tasks, especially considering that dialogue systems often suffer from data scarcity. In this paper, we introduce Dialogue Sentence Embedding (DSE), a self-supervised contrastive learning method that learns effective dialogue representations suitable for a wide range of dialogue tasks. DSE learns from dialogues by taking consecutive utterances of the same dialogue as positive pairs for contrastive learning. Despite its simplicity, DSE achieves significantly better representation capability than other dialogue representation and universal sentence representation models. We evaluate DSE on five downstream dialogue tasks that examine dialogue representation at different semantic granularities. Experiments in few-shot and zero-shot settings show that DSE outperforms baselines by a large margin, for example, it achieves 13% average performance improvement over the strongest unsupervised baseline in 1-shot intent classification on 6 datasets. We also provide analyses on the benefits and limitations of our model.

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Lifelong Pretraining: Continually Adapting Language Models to Emerging Corpora
Xisen Jin | Dejiao Zhang | Henghui Zhu | Wei Xiao | Shang-Wen Li | Xiaokai Wei | Andrew Arnold | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Pretrained language models (PTLMs) are typically learned over a large, static corpus and further fine-tuned for various downstream tasks. However, when deployed in the real world, a PTLM-based model must deal with data distributions that deviates from what the PTLM was initially trained on. In this paper, we study a lifelong language model pretraining challenge where a PTLM is continually updated so as to adapt to emerging data. Over a domain-incremental research paper stream and a chronologically-ordered tweet stream, we incrementally pretrain a PTLM with different continual learning algorithms, and keep track of the downstream task performance (after fine-tuning). We evaluate PTLM’s ability to adapt to new corpora while retaining learned knowledge in earlier corpora. Our experiments show distillation-based approaches to be most effective in retaining downstream performance in earlier domains. The algorithms also improve knowledge transfer, allowing models to achieve better downstream performance over latest data, and improve temporal generalization when distribution gaps exist between training and evaluation because of time. We believe our problem formulation, methods, and analysis will inspire future studies towards continual pretraining of language models.

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Virtual Augmentation Supported Contrastive Learning of Sentence Representations
Dejiao Zhang | Wei Xiao | Henghui Zhu | Xiaofei Ma | Andrew Arnold
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Despite profound successes, contrastive representation learning relies on carefully designed data augmentations using domain-specific knowledge. This challenge is magnified in natural language processing, where no general rules exist for data augmentation due to the discrete nature of natural language. We tackle this challenge by presenting a Virtual augmentation Supported Contrastive Learning of sentence representations (VaSCL). Originating from the interpretation that data augmentation essentially constructs the neighborhoods of each training instance, we, in turn, utilize the neighborhood to generate effective data augmentations. Leveraging the large training batch size of contrastive learning, we approximate the neighborhood of an instance via its K-nearest in-batch neighbors in the representation space. We then define an instance discrimination task regarding the neighborhood and generate the virtual augmentation in an adversarial training manner. We access the performance of VaSCL on a wide range of downstream tasks and set a new state-of-the-art for unsupervised sentence representation learning.

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Lifelong Pretraining: Continually Adapting Language Models to Emerging Corpora
Xisen Jin | Dejiao Zhang | Henghui Zhu | Wei Xiao | Shang-Wen Li | Xiaokai Wei | Andrew Arnold | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of BigScience Episode #5 -- Workshop on Challenges & Perspectives in Creating Large Language Models

Pretrained language models (PTLMs) are typically learned over a large, static corpus and further fine-tuned for various downstream tasks. However, when deployed in the real world, a PTLM-based model must deal with data distributions that deviates from what the PTLM was initially trained on. In this paper, we study a lifelong language model pretraining challenge where a PTLM is continually updated so as to adapt to emerging data. Over a domain-incremental research paper stream and a chronologically-ordered tweet stream, we incrementally pretrain a PTLM with different continual learning algorithms, and keep track of the downstream task performance (after fine-tuning). We evaluate PTLM’s ability to adapt to new corpora while retaining learned knowledge in earlier corpora. Our experiments show distillation-based approaches to be most effective in retaining downstream performance in earlier domains. The algorithms also improve knowledge transfer, allowing models to achieve better downstream performance over latest data, and improve temporal generalization when distribution gaps exist between training and evaluation because of time. We believe our problem formulation, methods, and analysis will inspire future studies towards continual pretraining of language models.

2021

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Pairwise Supervised Contrastive Learning of Sentence Representations
Dejiao Zhang | Shang-Wen Li | Wei Xiao | Henghui Zhu | Ramesh Nallapati | Andrew O. Arnold | Bing Xiang
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Many recent successes in sentence representation learning have been achieved by simply fine-tuning on the Natural Language Inference (NLI) datasets with triplet loss or siamese loss. Nevertheless, they share a common weakness: sentences in a contradiction pair are not necessarily from different semantic categories. Therefore, optimizing the semantic entailment and contradiction reasoning objective alone is inadequate to capture the high-level semantic structure. The drawback is compounded by the fact that the vanilla siamese or triplet losses only learn from individual sentence pairs or triplets, which often suffer from bad local optima. In this paper, we propose PairSupCon, an instance discrimination based approach aiming to bridge semantic entailment and contradiction understanding with high-level categorical concept encoding. We evaluate PairSupCon on various downstream tasks that involve understanding sentence semantics at different granularities. We outperform the previous state-of-the-art method with 10%–13% averaged improvement on eight clustering tasks, and 5%–6% averaged improvement on seven semantic textual similarity (STS) tasks.

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Answering Ambiguous Questions through Generative Evidence Fusion and Round-Trip Prediction
Yifan Gao | Henghui Zhu | Patrick Ng | Cicero Nogueira dos Santos | Zhiguo Wang | Feng Nan | Dejiao Zhang | Ramesh Nallapati | Andrew O. Arnold | Bing Xiang
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)

In open-domain question answering, questions are highly likely to be ambiguous because users may not know the scope of relevant topics when formulating them. Therefore, a system needs to find possible interpretations of the question, and predict one or multiple plausible answers. When multiple plausible answers are found, the system should rewrite the question for each answer to resolve the ambiguity. In this paper, we present a model that aggregates and combines evidence from multiple passages to adaptively predict a single answer or a set of question-answer pairs for ambiguous questions. In addition, we propose a novel round-trip prediction approach to iteratively generate additional interpretations that our model fails to find in the first pass, and then verify and filter out the incorrect question-answer pairs to arrive at the final disambiguated output. Our model, named Refuel, achieves a new state-of-the-art performance on the AmbigQA dataset, and shows competitive performance on NQ-Open and TriviaQA. The proposed round-trip prediction is a model-agnostic general approach for answering ambiguous open-domain questions, which improves our Refuel as well as several baseline models. We release source code for our models and experiments at https://github.com/amzn/refuel-open-domain-qa.

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Improving Factual Consistency of Abstractive Summarization via Question Answering
Feng Nan | Cicero Nogueira dos Santos | Henghui Zhu | Patrick Ng | Kathleen McKeown | Ramesh Nallapati | Dejiao Zhang | Zhiguo Wang | Andrew O. Arnold | Bing Xiang
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)

A commonly observed problem with the state-of-the art abstractive summarization models is that the generated summaries can be factually inconsistent with the input documents. The fact that automatic summarization may produce plausible-sounding yet inaccurate summaries is a major concern that limits its wide application. In this paper we present an approach to address factual consistency in summarization. We first propose an efficient automatic evaluation metric to measure factual consistency; next, we propose a novel learning algorithm that maximizes the proposed metric during model training. Through extensive experiments, we confirm that our method is effective in improving factual consistency and even overall quality of the summaries, as judged by both automatic metrics and human evaluation.

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Entity-level Factual Consistency of Abstractive Text Summarization
Feng Nan | Ramesh Nallapati | Zhiguo Wang | Cicero Nogueira dos Santos | Henghui Zhu | Dejiao Zhang | Kathleen McKeown | Bing Xiang
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

A key challenge for abstractive summarization is ensuring factual consistency of the generated summary with respect to the original document. For example, state-of-the-art models trained on existing datasets exhibit entity hallucination, generating names of entities that are not present in the source document. We propose a set of new metrics to quantify the entity-level factual consistency of generated summaries and we show that the entity hallucination problem can be alleviated by simply filtering the training data. In addition, we propose a summary-worthy entity classification task to the training process as well as a joint entity and summary generation approach, which yield further improvements in entity level metrics.

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Supporting Clustering with Contrastive Learning
Dejiao Zhang | Feng Nan | Xiaokai Wei | Shang-Wen Li | Henghui Zhu | Kathleen McKeown | Ramesh Nallapati | Andrew O. Arnold | Bing Xiang
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Unsupervised clustering aims at discovering the semantic categories of data according to some distance measured in the representation space. However, different categories often overlap with each other in the representation space at the beginning of the learning process, which poses a significant challenge for distance-based clustering in achieving good separation between different categories. To this end, we propose Supporting Clustering with Contrastive Learning (SCCL) – a novel framework to leverage contrastive learning to promote better separation. We assess the performance of SCCL on short text clustering and show that SCCL significantly advances the state-of-the-art results on most benchmark datasets with 3%-11% improvement on Accuracy and 4%-15% improvement on Normalized Mutual Information. Furthermore, our quantitative analysis demonstrates the effectiveness of SCCL in leveraging the strengths of both bottom-up instance discrimination and top-down clustering to achieve better intra-cluster and inter-cluster distances when evaluated with the ground truth cluster labels.

2020

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Margin-aware Unsupervised Domain Adaptation for Cross-lingual Text Labeling
Dejiao Zhang | Ramesh Nallapati | Henghui Zhu | Feng Nan | Cicero Nogueira dos Santos | Kathleen McKeown | Bing Xiang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Unsupervised domain adaptation addresses the problem of leveraging labeled data in a source domain to learn a well-performing model in a target domain where labels are unavailable. In this paper, we improve upon a recent theoretical work (Zhang et al., 2019b) and adopt the Margin Disparity Discrepancy (MDD) unsupervised domain adaptation algorithm to solve the cross-lingual text labeling problems. Experiments on cross-lingual document classification and NER demonstrate the proposed domain adaptation approach advances the state-of-the-art results by a large margin. Specifically, we improve MDD by efficiently optimizing the margin loss on the source domain via Virtual Adversarial Training (VAT). This bridges the gap between theory and the loss function used in the original work Zhang et al.(2019b), and thereby significantly boosts the performance. Our numerical results also indicate that VAT can remarkably improve the generalization performance of both domains for various domain adaptation approaches.