Henghui Zhu


2022

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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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Entailment Tree Explanations via Iterative Retrieval-Generation Reasoner
Danilo Neves Ribeiro | Shen Wang | Xiaofei Ma | Rui Dong | Xiaokai Wei | Henghui Zhu | Xinchi Chen | Peng Xu | Zhiheng Huang | Andrew Arnold | Dan Roth
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

Large language models have achieved high performance on various question answering (QA) benchmarks, but the explainability of their output remains elusive. Structured explanations, called entailment trees, were recently suggested as a way to explain the reasoning behind a QA system’s answer. In order to better generate such entailment trees, we propose an architecture called Iterative Retrieval-Generation Reasoner (IRGR). Our model is able to explain a given hypothesis by systematically generating a step-by-step explanation from textual premises. The IRGR model iteratively searches for suitable premises, constructing a single entailment step at a time. Contrary to previous approaches, our method combines generation steps and retrieval of premises, allowing the model to leverage intermediate conclusions, and mitigating the input size limit of baseline encoder-decoder models. We conduct experiments using the EntailmentBank dataset, where we outperform existing benchmarks on premise retrieval and entailment tree generation, with around 300% gain in overall correctness.

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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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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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Dual Reader-Parser on Hybrid Textual and Tabular Evidence for Open Domain Question Answering
Alexander Hanbo Li | Patrick Ng | Peng Xu | Henghui Zhu | Zhiguo Wang | 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)

The current state-of-the-art generative models for open-domain question answering (ODQA) have focused on generating direct answers from unstructured textual information. However, a large amount of world’s knowledge is stored in structured databases, and need to be accessed using query languages such as SQL. Furthermore, query languages can answer questions that require complex reasoning, as well as offering full explainability. In this paper, we propose a hybrid framework that takes both textual and tabular evidences as input and generates either direct answers or SQL queries depending on which form could better answer the question. The generated SQL queries can then be executed on the associated databases to obtain the final answers. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that applies Text2SQL to ODQA tasks. Empirically, we demonstrate that on several ODQA datasets, the hybrid methods consistently outperforms the baseline models that only takes homogeneous input by a large margin. Specifically we achieve the state-of-the-art performance on OpenSQuAD dataset using a T5-base model. In a detailed analysis, we demonstrate that the being able to generate structural SQL queries can always bring gains, especially for those questions that requires complex reasoning.

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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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Zero-shot Generalization in Dialog State Tracking through Generative Question Answering
Shuyang Li | Jin Cao | Mukund Sridhar | Henghui Zhu | Shang-Wen Li | Wael Hamza | Julian McAuley
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Dialog State Tracking (DST), an integral part of modern dialog systems, aims to track user preferences and constraints (slots) in task-oriented dialogs. In real-world settings with constantly changing services, DST systems must generalize to new domains and unseen slot types. Existing methods for DST do not generalize well to new slot names and many require known ontologies of slot types and values for inference. We introduce a novel ontology-free framework that supports natural language queries for unseen constraints and slots in multi-domain task-oriented dialogs. Our approach is based on generative question-answering using a conditional language model pre-trained on substantive English sentences. Our model improves joint goal accuracy in zero-shot domain adaptation settings by up to 9% (absolute) over the previous state-of-the-art on the MultiWOZ 2.1 dataset.

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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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An Ensemble Approach for Automatic Structuring of Radiology Reports
Morteza Pourreza Shahri | Amir Tahmasebi | Bingyang Ye | Henghui Zhu | Javed Aslam | Timothy Ferris
Proceedings of the 3rd Clinical Natural Language Processing Workshop

Automatic structuring of electronic medical records is of high demand for clinical workflow solutions to facilitate extraction, storage, and querying of patient care information. However, developing a scalable solution is extremely challenging, specifically for radiology reports, as most healthcare institutes use either no template or department/institute specific templates. Moreover, radiologists’ reporting style varies from one to another as sentences are written in a telegraphic format and do not follow general English grammar rules. In this work, we present an ensemble method that consolidates the predictions of three models, capturing various attributes of textual information for automatic labeling of sentences with section labels. These three models are: 1) Focus Sentence model, capturing context of the target sentence; 2) Surrounding Context model, capturing the neighboring context of the target sentence; and finally, 3) Formatting/Layout model, aimed at learning report formatting cues. We utilize Bi-directional LSTMs, followed by sentence encoders, to acquire the context. Furthermore, we define several features that incorporate the structure of reports. We compare our proposed approach against multiple baselines and state-of-the-art approaches on a proprietary dataset as well as 100 manually annotated radiology notes from the MIMIC-III dataset, which we are making publicly available. Our proposed approach significantly outperforms other approaches by achieving 97.1% accuracy.

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Enhancing Clinical BERT Embedding using a Biomedical Knowledge Base
Boran Hao | Henghui Zhu | Ioannis Paschalidis
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Domain knowledge is important for building Natural Language Processing (NLP) systems for low-resource settings, such as in the clinical domain. In this paper, a novel joint training method is introduced for adding knowledge base information from the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) into language model pre-training for some clinical domain corpus. We show that in three different downstream clinical NLP tasks, our pre-trained language model outperforms the corresponding model with no knowledge base information and other state-of-the-art models. Specifically, in a natural language inference task applied to clinical texts, our knowledge base pre-training approach improves accuracy by up to 1.7%, whereas in clinical name entity recognition tasks, the F1-score improves by up to 1.0%. The pre-trained models are available at https://github.com/noc-lab/clinical-kb-bert.

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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.

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End-to-End Synthetic Data Generation for Domain Adaptation of Question Answering Systems
Siamak Shakeri | Cicero Nogueira dos Santos | Henghui Zhu | Patrick Ng | Feng Nan | Zhiguo Wang | Ramesh Nallapati | Bing Xiang
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

We propose an end-to-end approach for synthetic QA data generation. Our model comprises a single transformer-based encoder-decoder network that is trained end-to-end to generate both answers and questions. In a nutshell, we feed a passage to the encoder and ask the decoder to generate a question and an answer token-by-token. The likelihood produced in the generation process is used as a filtering score, which avoids the need for a separate filtering model. Our generator is trained by fine-tuning a pretrained LM using maximum likelihood estimation. The experimental results indicate significant improvements in the domain adaptation of QA models outperforming current state-of-the-art methods.

2019

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Neural Token Representations and Negation and Speculation Scope Detection in Biomedical and General Domain Text
Elena Sergeeva | Henghui Zhu | Amir Tahmasebi | Peter Szolovits
Proceedings of the Tenth International Workshop on Health Text Mining and Information Analysis (LOUHI 2019)

Since the introduction of context-aware token representation techniques such as Embeddings from Language Models (ELMo) and Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT), there has been numerous reports on improved performance on a variety of natural language tasks. Nevertheless, the degree to which the resulting context-aware representations encode information about morpho-syntactic properties of the word/token in a sentence remains unclear. In this paper, we investigate the application and impact of state-of-the-art neural token representations for automatic cue-conditional speculation and negation scope detection coupled with the independently computed morpho-syntactic information. Through this work, We establish a new state-of-the-art for the BioScope and NegPar corpus. More importantly, we provide a thorough analysis of neural representations and additional features interactions, cue-representation for conditioning, discuss model behavior on different datasets and address the annotation-induced biases in the learned representations.