Guoqing Zheng


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Pathologies of Pre-trained Language Models in Few-shot Fine-tuning
Hanjie Chen | Guoqing Zheng | Ahmed Awadallah | Yangfeng Ji
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Insights from Negative Results in NLP

Although adapting pre-trained language models with few examples has shown promising performance on text classification, there is a lack of understanding of where the performance gain comes from. In this work, we propose to answer this question by interpreting the adaptation behavior using post-hoc explanations from model predictions. By modeling feature statistics of explanations, we discover that (1) without fine-tuning, pre-trained models (e.g. BERT and RoBERTa) show strong prediction bias across labels; (2) although few-shot fine-tuning can mitigate the prediction bias and demonstrate promising prediction performance, our analysis shows models gain performance improvement by capturing non-task-related features (e.g. stop words) or shallow data patterns (e.g. lexical overlaps). These observations alert that pursuing model performance with fewer examples may incur pathological prediction behavior, which requires further sanity check on model predictions and careful design in model evaluations in few-shot fine-tuning.

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WALNUT: A Benchmark on Semi-weakly Supervised Learning for Natural Language Understanding
Guoqing Zheng | Giannis Karamanolakis | Kai Shu | Ahmed Awadallah
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Building machine learning models for natural language understanding (NLU) tasks relies heavily on labeled data. Weak supervision has been proven valuable when large amount of labeled data is unavailable or expensive to obtain. Existing works studying weak supervision for NLU either mostly focus on a specific task or simulate weak supervision signals from ground-truth labels. It is thus hard to compare different approaches and evaluate the benefit of weak supervision without access to a unified and systematic benchmark with diverse tasks and real-world weak labeling rules. In this paper, we propose such a benchmark, named WALNUT, to advocate and facilitate research on weak supervision for NLU. WALNUT consists of NLU tasks with different types, including document-level and token-level prediction tasks. WALNUT is the first semi-weakly supervised learning benchmark for NLU, where each task contains weak labels generated by multiple real-world weak sources, together with a small set of clean labels. We conduct baseline evaluations on WALNUT to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of various weak supervision methods and model architectures. Our results demonstrate the benefit of weak supervision for low-resource NLU tasks and highlight interesting patterns across tasks. We expect WALNUT to stimulate further research on methodologies to leverage weak supervision more effectively. The benchmark and code for baselines are available at


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MetaXL: Meta Representation Transformation for Low-resource Cross-lingual Learning
Mengzhou Xia | Guoqing Zheng | Subhabrata Mukherjee | Milad Shokouhi | Graham Neubig | Ahmed Hassan Awadallah
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

The combination of multilingual pre-trained representations and cross-lingual transfer learning is one of the most effective methods for building functional NLP systems for low-resource languages. However, for extremely low-resource languages without large-scale monolingual corpora for pre-training or sufficient annotated data for fine-tuning, transfer learning remains an understudied and challenging task. Moreover, recent work shows that multilingual representations are surprisingly disjoint across languages, bringing additional challenges for transfer onto extremely low-resource languages. In this paper, we propose MetaXL, a meta-learning based framework that learns to transform representations judiciously from auxiliary languages to a target one and brings their representation spaces closer for effective transfer. Extensive experiments on real-world low-resource languages – without access to large-scale monolingual corpora or large amounts of labeled data – for tasks like cross-lingual sentiment analysis and named entity recognition show the effectiveness of our approach. Code for MetaXL is publicly available at

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Self-Training with Weak Supervision
Giannis Karamanolakis | Subhabrata Mukherjee | Guoqing Zheng | Ahmed Hassan Awadallah
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

State-of-the-art deep neural networks require large-scale labeled training data that is often expensive to obtain or not available for many tasks. Weak supervision in the form of domain-specific rules has been shown to be useful in such settings to automatically generate weakly labeled training data. However, learning with weak rules is challenging due to their inherent heuristic and noisy nature. An additional challenge is rule coverage and overlap, where prior work on weak supervision only considers instances that are covered by weak rules, thus leaving valuable unlabeled data behind. In this work, we develop a weak supervision framework (ASTRA) that leverages all the available data for a given task. To this end, we leverage task-specific unlabeled data through self-training with a model (student) that considers contextualized representations and predicts pseudo-labels for instances that may not be covered by weak rules. We further develop a rule attention network (teacher) that learns how to aggregate student pseudo-labels with weak rule labels, conditioned on their fidelity and the underlying context of an instance. Finally, we construct a semi-supervised learning objective for end-to-end training with unlabeled data, domain-specific rules, and a small amount of labeled data. Extensive experiments on six benchmark datasets for text classification demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach with significant improvements over state-of-the-art baselines.

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A Dataset and Baselines for Multilingual Reply Suggestion
Mozhi Zhang | Wei Wang | Budhaditya Deb | Guoqing Zheng | Milad Shokouhi | Ahmed Hassan Awadallah
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)

Reply suggestion models help users process emails and chats faster. Previous work only studies English reply suggestion. Instead, we present MRS, a multilingual reply suggestion dataset with ten languages. MRS can be used to compare two families of models: 1) retrieval models that select the reply from a fixed set and 2) generation models that produce the reply from scratch. Therefore, MRS complements existing cross-lingual generalization benchmarks that focus on classification and sequence labeling tasks. We build a generation model and a retrieval model as baselines for MRS. The two models have different strengths in the monolingual setting, and they require different strategies to generalize across languages. MRS is publicly available at

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A Conditional Generative Matching Model for Multi-lingual Reply Suggestion
Budhaditya Deb | Guoqing Zheng | Milad Shokouhi | Ahmed Hassan Awadallah
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

We study the problem of multilingual automated reply suggestions (RS) model serving many languages simultaneously. Multilingual models are often challenged by model capacity and severe data distribution skew across languages. While prior works largely focus on monolingual models, we propose Conditional Generative Matching models (CGM), optimized within a Variational Autoencoder framework to address challenges arising from multilingual RS. CGM does so with expressive message conditional priors, mixture densities to enhance multilingual data representation, latent alignment for language discrimination, and effective variational optimization techniques for training multilingual RS. The enhancements result in performance that exceed competitive baselines in relevance (ROUGE score) by more than 10% on average, and 16%for low resource languages. CGM also shows remarkable improvements in diversity (80%) illustrating its expressiveness in representation of multi-lingual data.