Dongsheng Li


2023

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DaMSTF: Domain Adversarial Learning Enhanced Meta Self-Training for Domain Adaptation
Menglong Lu | Zhen Huang | Yunxiang Zhao | Zhiliang Tian | Yang Liu | Dongsheng Li
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Self-training emerges as an important research line on domain adaptation. By taking the model’s prediction as the pseudo labels of the unlabeled data, self-training bootstraps the model with pseudo instances in the target domain. However, the prediction errors of pseudo labels (label noise) challenge the performance of self-training. To address this problem, previous approaches only use reliable pseudo instances, i.e., pseudo instances with high prediction confidence, to retrain the model. Although these strategies effectively reduce the label noise, they are prone to miss the hard examples. In this paper, we propose a new self-training framework for domain adaptation, namely Domain adversarial learning enhanced Self-Training Framework (DaMSTF). Firstly, DaMSTF involves meta-learning to estimate the importance of each pseudo instance, so as to simultaneously reduce the label noise and preserve hard examples. Secondly, we design a meta constructor for constructing the meta-validation set, which guarantees the effectiveness of the meta-learning module by improving the quality of the meta-validation set. Thirdly, we find that the meta-learning module suffers from the training guidance vanish- ment and tends to converge to an inferior optimal. To this end, we employ domain adversarial learning as a heuristic neural network initialization method, which can help the meta-learning module converge to a better optimal. Theoretically and experimentally, we demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed DaMSTF. On the cross-domain sentiment classification task, DaMSTF improves the performance of BERT with an average of nearly 4%.

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DiffusionNER: Boundary Diffusion for Named Entity Recognition
Yongliang Shen | Kaitao Song | Xu Tan | Dongsheng Li | Weiming Lu | Yueting Zhuang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In this paper, we propose DiffusionNER, which formulates the named entity recognition task as a boundary-denoising diffusion process and thus generates named entities from noisy spans. During training, DiffusionNER gradually adds noises to the golden entity boundaries by a fixed forward diffusion process and learns a reverse diffusion process to recover the entity boundaries. In inference, DiffusionNER first randomly samples some noisy spans from a standard Gaussian distribution and then generates the named entities by denoising them with the learned reverse diffusion process. The proposed boundary-denoising diffusion process allows progressive refinement and dynamic sampling of entities, empowering DiffusionNER with efficient and flexible entity generation capability. Experiments on multiple flat and nested NER datasets demonstrate that DiffusionNER achieves comparable or even better performance than previous state-of-the-art models.

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Towards Understanding Omission in Dialogue Summarization
Yicheng Zou | Kaitao Song | Xu Tan | Zhongkai Fu | Qi Zhang | Dongsheng Li | Tao Gui
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Dialogue summarization aims to condense the lengthy dialogue into a concise summary, and has recently achieved significant progress. However, the result of existing methods is still far from satisfactory. Previous works indicated that omission is a major factor in affecting the quality of summarization, but few of them have further explored the omission problem, such as how omission affects summarization results and how to detect omission, which is critical for reducing omission and improving summarization quality. Moreover, analyzing and detecting omission relies on summarization datasets with omission labels (i.e., which dialogue utterances are omitted in the summarization), which are not available in the current literature. In this paper, we propose the OLDS dataset, which provides high-quality omission labels for dialogue summarization. By analyzing this dataset, we find that a large improvement in summarization quality can be achieved by providing ground-truth omission labels for the summarization model to recover omission information, which demonstrates the importance of omission detection for omission mitigation in dialogue summarization. Therefore, we formulate an omission detection task and demonstrate our proposed dataset can support the training and evaluation of this task well. We also call for research action on omission detection based on our proposed datasets. Our dataset and codes are publicly available.

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Learning Joint Structural and Temporal Contextualized Knowledge Embeddings for Temporal Knowledge Graph Completion
Yifu Gao | Yongquan He | Zhigang Kan | Yi Han | Linbo Qiao | Dongsheng Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Temporal knowledge graph completion that predicts missing links for incomplete temporal knowledge graphs (TKG) is gaining increasing attention. Most existing works have achieved good results by incorporating time information into static knowledge graph embedding methods. However, they ignore the contextual nature of the TKG structure, i.e., query-specific subgraph contains both structural and temporal neighboring facts. This paper presents the SToKE, a novel method that employs the pre-trained language model (PLM) to learn joint Structural and Temporal Contextualized Knowledge Embeddings.Specifically, we first construct an event evolution tree (EET) for each query to enable PLMs to handle the TKG, which can be seen as a structured event sequence recording query-relevant structural and temporal contexts. We then propose a novel temporal embedding and structural matrix to learn the time information and structural dependencies of facts in EET.Finally, we formulate TKG completion as a mask prediction problem by masking the missing entity of the query to fine-tune pre-trained language models. Experimental results on three widely used datasets show the superiority of our model.

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GRACE: Gradient-guided Controllable Retrieval for Augmenting Attribute-based Text Generation
Zhihua Wen | Zhiliang Tian | Zhen Huang | Yuxin Yang | Zexin Jian | Changjian Wang | Dongsheng Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Attribute-based generation methods are of growing significance in controlling the generation of large pre-trained language models (PLMs). Existing studies control the generation by (1) finetuning the model with attributes or (2) guiding the inference processing toward control signals while freezing the PLM. However, finetuning approaches infuse domain bias into generation, making it hard to generate out-of-domain texts. Besides, many methods guide the inference in its word-by-word generation, pushing the word probability to the target attributes, resulting in less fluent sentences. We argue that distilling controlling information from natural texts can produce fluent sentences while maintaining high controllability. In this paper, we propose GRAdient-guided Controllable rEtrieval (GRACE), a retrieval-augmented generation framework to facilitate the generation of fluent sentences with high attribute relevance. GRACE memorizes the semantic and attribute information from unlabeled corpora and applies a controllable retrieval to obtain desired information. For the generation, we design techniques to eliminate the domain bias from the retrieval results and integrate it into the generation model. Additionally, we propose a gradient-guided generation scheme that iteratively steers generation toward higher attribute relevance. Experimental results and quantities of examples verify the effectiveness of our method.

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GROVE: A Retrieval-augmented Complex Story Generation Framework with A Forest of Evidence
Zhihua Wen | Zhiliang Tian | Wei Wu | Yuxin Yang | Yanqi Shi | Zhen Huang | Dongsheng Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Conditional story generation is significant in human-machine interaction, particularly in producing stories with complex plots. While Large language models (LLMs) perform well on multiple NLP tasks, including story generation, it is challenging to generate stories with both complex and creative plots. Existing methods often rely on detailed prompts to guide LLMs to meet target conditions, which inadvertently restrict the creative potential of the generated stories. We argue that leveraging information from exemplary human-written stories facilitates generating more diverse plotlines. Delving deeper into story details helps build complex and credible plots. In this paper, we propose a retrieval-auGmented stoRy generation framework with a fOrest of eVidEnce (GROVE) to enhance stories’ complexity. We build a retrieval repository for target conditions to produce few-shot examples to prompt LLMs. Additionally, we design an “asking-why” prompting scheme that extracts a forest of evidence, providing compensation for the ambiguities that may occur in the generated story. This iterative process uncovers underlying story backgrounds. Finally, we select the most fitting chains of evidence from the evidence forest and integrate them into the generated story, thereby enhancing the narrative’s complexity and credibility. Experimental results and numerous examples verify the effectiveness of our method.

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Self-Evolution Learning for Mixup: Enhance Data Augmentation on Few-Shot Text Classification Tasks
Haoqi Zheng | Qihuang Zhong | Liang Ding | Zhiliang Tian | Xin Niu | Changjian Wang | Dongsheng Li | Dacheng Tao
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Text classification tasks often encounter few-shot scenarios with limited labeled data, and addressing data scarcity is crucial. Data augmentation with mixup merges sample pairs to generate new pseudos, which can relieve the data deficiency issue in text classification. However, the quality of pseudo-samples generated by mixup exhibits significant variations. Most of the mixup methods fail to consider the varying degree of learning difficulty in different stages of training. And mixup generates new samples with one-hot labels, which encourages the model to produce a high prediction score for the correct class that is much larger than other classes, resulting in the model’s over-confidence. In this paper, we propose a self-evolution learning (SE) based mixup approach for data augmentation in text classification, which can generate more adaptive and model-friendly pseudo samples for the model training. SE caters to the growth of the model learning ability and adapts to the ability when generating training samples. To alleviate the model over-confidence, we introduce an instance-specific label smoothing regularization approach, which linearly interpolates the model’s output and one-hot labels of the original samples to generate new soft labels for label mixing up. Through experimental analysis, experiments show that our SE brings consistent and significant improvements upon different mixup methods. In-depth analyses demonstrate that SE enhances the model’s generalization ability.

2022

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Social Bot-Aware Graph Neural Network for Early Rumor Detection
Zhen Huang | Zhilong Lv | Xiaoyun Han | Binyang Li | Menglong Lu | Dongsheng Li
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Early rumor detection is a key challenging task to prevent rumors from spreading widely. Sociological research shows that social bots’ behavior in the early stage has become the main reason for rumors’ wide spread. However, current models do not explicitly distinguish genuine users from social bots, and their failure in identifying rumors timely. Therefore, this paper aims at early rumor detection by accounting for social bots’ behavior, and presents a Social Bot-Aware Graph Neural Network, named SBAG. SBAG firstly pre-trains a multi-layer perception network to capture social bot features, and then constructs multiple graph neural networks by embedding the features to model the early propagation of posts, which is further used to detect rumors. Extensive experiments on three benchmark datasets show that SBAG achieves significant improvements against the baselines and also identifies rumors within 3 hours while maintaining more than 90% accuracy.

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Improving Few-Shot Relation Classification by Prototypical Representation Learning with Definition Text
Li Zhenzhen | Yuyang Zhang | Jian-Yun Nie | Dongsheng Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

Few-shot relation classification is difficult because the few instances available may not represent well the relation patterns. Some existing approaches explored extra information such as relation definition, in addition to the instances, to learn a better relation representation. However, the encoding of the extra information has been performed independently from the labeled instances. In this paper, we propose to learn a prototype encoder from relation definition in a way that is useful for relation instance classification. To this end, we use a joint training approach to train both a prototype encoder from definition and an instance encoder. Extensive experiments on several datasets demonstrate the effectiveness and usefulness of our prototype encoder from definition text, enabling us to outperform state-of-the-art approaches.

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Empathetic and Emotionally Positive Conversation Systems with an Emotion-specific Query-Response Memory
Zhiliang Tian | Yinliang Wang | Yiping Song | Chi Zhang | Dongkyu Lee | Yingxiu Zhao | Dongsheng Li | Nevin L. Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Emotional conversation systems generate responses for the input queries considering the speaker’s emotions in a conversation. Existing emotional conversation systems output emotional responses according to either a given emotion or the user’s emotion reflected in the input queries. Following a given emotion may lead to an emotional drift between the given emotion and the conversation state, and following only the user’s emotion may aggravate the user’s negative feelings if users suffer from a negative mood. In this paper, we propose to generate empathetic responses catering to the user’s emotions while leading the conversation to be emotionally positive. Particularly, by abstracting the conversation corpus, we extract and store the different responding strategies for different users’ emotions and conversational topics into a memory. We encourage positive emotions in conversation via a sentiment evaluator. We model the memory outputs with a Gaussian mixture distribution and sample a final responding strategy from the distribution. The strategy acts as a condition to a transformer model to generate responses. The experiments verify our model surpasses the baseline methods in appropriateness, diversity, and generating emotionally positive responses.

2021

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Diversity and Consistency: Exploring Visual Question-Answer Pair Generation
Sen Yang | Qingyu Zhou | Dawei Feng | Yang Liu | Chao Li | Yunbo Cao | Dongsheng Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Although showing promising values to downstream applications, generating question and answer together is under-explored. In this paper, we introduce a novel task that targets question-answer pair generation from visual images. It requires not only generating diverse question-answer pairs but also keeping the consistency of them. We study different generation paradigms for this task and propose three models: the pipeline model, the joint model, and the sequential model. We integrate variational inference into these models to achieve diversity and consistency. We also propose region representation scaling and attention alignment to improve the consistency further. We finally devise an evaluator as a quantitative metric for consistency. We validate our approach on two benchmarks, VQA2.0 and Visual-7w, by automatically and manually evaluating diversity and consistency. Experimental results show the effectiveness of our models: they can generate diverse or consistent pairs. Moreover, this task can be used to improve visual question generation and visual question answering.

2019

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Open-Domain Targeted Sentiment Analysis via Span-Based Extraction and Classification
Minghao Hu | Yuxing Peng | Zhen Huang | Dongsheng Li | Yiwei Lv
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Open-domain targeted sentiment analysis aims to detect opinion targets along with their sentiment polarities from a sentence. Prior work typically formulates this task as a sequence tagging problem. However, such formulation suffers from problems such as huge search space and sentiment inconsistency. To address these problems, we propose a span-based extract-then-classify framework, where multiple opinion targets are directly extracted from the sentence under the supervision of target span boundaries, and corresponding polarities are then classified using their span representations. We further investigate three approaches under this framework, namely the pipeline, joint, and collapsed models. Experiments on three benchmark datasets show that our approach consistently outperforms the sequence tagging baseline. Moreover, we find that the pipeline model achieves the best performance compared with the other two models.

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Retrieve, Read, Rerank: Towards End-to-End Multi-Document Reading Comprehension
Minghao Hu | Yuxing Peng | Zhen Huang | Dongsheng Li
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

This paper considers the reading comprehension task in which multiple documents are given as input. Prior work has shown that a pipeline of retriever, reader, and reranker can improve the overall performance. However, the pipeline system is inefficient since the input is re-encoded within each module, and is unable to leverage upstream components to help downstream training. In this work, we present RE3QA, a unified question answering model that combines context retrieving, reading comprehension, and answer reranking to predict the final answer. Unlike previous pipelined approaches, RE3QA shares contextualized text representation across different components, and is carefully designed to use high-quality upstream outputs (e.g., retrieved context or candidate answers) for directly supervising downstream modules (e.g., the reader or the reranker). As a result, the whole network can be trained end-to-end to avoid the context inconsistency problem. Experiments show that our model outperforms the pipelined baseline and achieves state-of-the-art results on two versions of TriviaQA and two variants of SQuAD.

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Exploring Pre-trained Language Models for Event Extraction and Generation
Sen Yang | Dawei Feng | Linbo Qiao | Zhigang Kan | Dongsheng Li
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Traditional approaches to the task of ACE event extraction usually depend on manually annotated data, which is often laborious to create and limited in size. Therefore, in addition to the difficulty of event extraction itself, insufficient training data hinders the learning process as well. To promote event extraction, we first propose an event extraction model to overcome the roles overlap problem by separating the argument prediction in terms of roles. Moreover, to address the problem of insufficient training data, we propose a method to automatically generate labeled data by editing prototypes and screen out generated samples by ranking the quality. Experiments on the ACE2005 dataset demonstrate that our extraction model can surpass most existing extraction methods. Besides, incorporating our generation method exhibits further significant improvement. It obtains new state-of-the-art results on the event extraction task, including pushing the F1 score of trigger classification to 81.1%, and the F1 score of argument classification to 58.9%.

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A Multi-Type Multi-Span Network for Reading Comprehension that Requires Discrete Reasoning
Minghao Hu | Yuxing Peng | Zhen Huang | Dongsheng Li
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Rapid progress has been made in the field of reading comprehension and question answering, where several systems have achieved human parity in some simplified settings. However, the performance of these models degrades significantly when they are applied to more realistic scenarios, such as answers involve various types, multiple text strings are correct answers, or discrete reasoning abilities are required. In this paper, we introduce the Multi-Type Multi-Span Network (MTMSN), a neural reading comprehension model that combines a multi-type answer predictor designed to support various answer types (e.g., span, count, negation, and arithmetic expression) with a multi-span extraction method for dynamically producing one or multiple text spans. In addition, an arithmetic expression reranking mechanism is proposed to rank expression candidates for further confirming the prediction. Experiments show that our model achieves 79.9 F1 on the DROP hidden test set, creating new state-of-the-art results. Source code (https://github.com/huminghao16/MTMSN) is released to facilitate future work.

2018

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Attention-Guided Answer Distillation for Machine Reading Comprehension
Minghao Hu | Yuxing Peng | Furu Wei | Zhen Huang | Dongsheng Li | Nan Yang | Ming Zhou
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Despite that current reading comprehension systems have achieved significant advancements, their promising performances are often obtained at the cost of making an ensemble of numerous models. Besides, existing approaches are also vulnerable to adversarial attacks. This paper tackles these problems by leveraging knowledge distillation, which aims to transfer knowledge from an ensemble model to a single model. We first demonstrate that vanilla knowledge distillation applied to answer span prediction is effective for reading comprehension systems. We then propose two novel approaches that not only penalize the prediction on confusing answers but also guide the training with alignment information distilled from the ensemble. Experiments show that our best student model has only a slight drop of 0.4% F1 on the SQuAD test set compared to the ensemble teacher, while running 12x faster during inference. It even outperforms the teacher on adversarial SQuAD datasets and NarrativeQA benchmark.