He Xie


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An Empirical Analysis of Leveraging Knowledge for Low-Resource Task-Oriented Semantic Parsing
Mayank Kulkarni | Aoxiao Zhong | Nicolas Guenon des mesnards | Sahar Movaghati | Mukund Sridhar | He Xie | Jianhua Lu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Task-oriented semantic parsing has drawn a lot of interest from the NLP community, and especially the voice assistant industry as it enables representing the meaning of user requests with arbitrarily nested semantics, including multiple intents and compound entities. SOTA models are large seq2seq transformers and require hundreds of thousands of annotated examples to be trained. However annotating such data to bootstrap new domains or languages is expensive and error-prone, especially for requests made of nested semantics. In addition large models easily break the tight latency constraints imposed in a user-facing production environment. As part of this work we explore leveraging external knowledge to improve model accuracy in low-resource and low-compute settings. We demonstrate that using knowledge-enhanced encoders inside seq2seq models does not result in performance gains by itself, but jointly learning to uncover entities in addition to the parse generation is a simple yet effective way of improving performance across the board. We show this is especially true in the low-compute scarce-data setting and for entity-rich domains, with relative gains up to 74.48% on the TOPv2 dataset.

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Measuring and Mitigating Local Instability in Deep Neural Networks
Arghya Datta | Subhrangshu Nandi | Jingcheng Xu | Greg Ver Steeg | He Xie | Anoop Kumar | Aram Galstyan
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) are becoming integral components of real world services relied upon by millions of users. Unfortunately, architects of these systems can find it difficult to ensure reliable performance as irrelevant details like random initialization can unexpectedly change the outputs of a trained system with potentially disastrous consequences. We formulate the model stability problem by studying how the predictions of a model change, even when it is retrained on the same data, as a consequence of stochasticity in the training process. For Natural Language Understanding (NLU) tasks, we find instability in predictions for a significant fraction of queries. We formulate principled metrics, like per-sample “label entropy” across training runs or within a single training run, to quantify this phenomenon. Intriguingly, we find that unstable predictions do not appear at random, but rather appear to be clustered in data-specific ways. We study data-agnostic regularization methods to improve stability and propose new data-centric methods that exploit our local stability estimates. We find that our localized data-specific mitigation strategy dramatically outperforms data-agnostic methods, and comes within 90% of the gold standard, achieved by ensembling, at a fraction of the computational cost.


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Industry Scale Semi-Supervised Learning for Natural Language Understanding
Luoxin Chen | Francisco Garcia | Varun Kumar | He Xie | Jianhua Lu
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies: Industry Papers

This paper presents a production Semi-Supervised Learning (SSL) pipeline based on the student-teacher framework, which leverages millions of unlabeled examples to improve Natural Language Understanding (NLU) tasks. We investigate two questions related to the use of unlabeled data in production SSL context: 1) how to select samples from a huge unlabeled data pool that are beneficial for SSL training, and 2) how does the selected data affect the performance of different state-of-the-art SSL techniques. We compare four widely used SSL techniques, Pseudo-label (PL), Knowledge Distillation (KD), Virtual Adversarial Training (VAT) and Cross-View Training (CVT) in conjunction with two data selection methods including committee-based selection and submodular optimization based selection. We further examine the benefits and drawbacks of these techniques when applied to intent classification (IC) and named entity recognition (NER) tasks, and provide guidelines specifying when each of these methods might be beneficial to improve large scale NLU systems.

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Towards Realistic Single-Task Continuous Learning Research for NER
Justin Payan | Yuval Merhav | He Xie | Satyapriya Krishna | Anil Ramakrishna | Mukund Sridhar | Rahul Gupta
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

There is an increasing interest in continuous learning (CL), as data privacy is becoming a priority for real-world machine learning applications. Meanwhile, there is still a lack of academic NLP benchmarks that are applicable for realistic CL settings, which is a major challenge for the advancement of the field. In this paper we discuss some of the unrealistic data characteristics of public datasets, study the challenges of realistic single-task continuous learning as well as the effectiveness of data rehearsal as a way to mitigate accuracy loss. We construct a CL NER dataset from an existing publicly available dataset and release it along with the code to the research community.


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Paraphrase Generation for Semi-Supervised Learning in NLU
Eunah Cho | He Xie | William M. Campbell
Proceedings of the Workshop on Methods for Optimizing and Evaluating Neural Language Generation

Semi-supervised learning is an efficient way to improve performance for natural language processing systems. In this work, we propose Para-SSL, a scheme to generate candidate utterances using paraphrasing and methods from semi-supervised learning. In order to perform paraphrase generation in the context of a dialog system, we automatically extract paraphrase pairs to create a paraphrase corpus. Using this data, we build a paraphrase generation system and perform one-to-many generation, followed by a validation step to select only the utterances with good quality. The paraphrase-based semi-supervised learning is applied to five functionalities in a natural language understanding system. Our proposed method for semi-supervised learning using paraphrase generation does not require user utterances and can be applied prior to releasing a new functionality to a system. Experiments show that we can achieve up to 19% of relative slot error reduction without an access to user utterances, and up to 35% when leveraging live traffic utterances.