Hongru Liang


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Knowing-how & Knowing-that: A New Task for Machine Comprehension of User Manuals
Hongru Liang | Jia Liu | Weihong Du | Dingnan Jin | Wenqiang Lei | Zujie Wen | Jiancheng Lv
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

The machine reading comprehension (MRC) of user manuals has huge potential in customer service. However, current methods have trouble answering complex questions. Therefore, we introduce the knowing-how & knowing-that task that requires the model to answer factoid-style, procedure-style, and inconsistent questions about user manuals. We resolve this task by jointly representing the sTeps and fActs in a gRAh (TARA), which supports a unified inference of various questions. Towards a systematical benchmarking study, we design a heuristic method to automatically parse user manuals into TARAs and build an annotated dataset to test the model’s ability in answering real-world questions. Empirical results demonstrate that representing user manuals as TARAs is a desired solution for the MRC of user manuals. An in-depth investigation of TARA further sheds light on the issues and broader impacts of future representations of user manuals. We hope our work can move the MRC of user manuals to a more complex and realistic stage.

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Well Begun is Half Done: Generator-agnostic Knowledge Pre-Selection for Knowledge-Grounded Dialogue
Lang Qin | Yao Zhang | Hongru Liang | Jun Wang | Zhenglu Yang
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Accurate knowledge selection is critical in knowledge-grounded dialogue systems. Towards a closer look at it, we offer a novel perspective to organize existing literature, i.e., knowledge selection coupled with, after, and before generation. We focus on the third under-explored category of study, which can not only select knowledge accurately in advance, but has the advantage to reduce the learning, adjustment, and interpretation burden of subsequent response generation models, especially LLMs. We propose \tt{GATE}, a generator-agnostic knowledge selection method, to prepare knowledge for subsequent response generation models by selecting context-related knowledge among different knowledge structures and variable knowledge requirements. Experimental results demonstrate the superiority of \tt{GATE}, and indicate that knowledge selection before generation is a lightweight yet effective way to facilitate LLMs (e.g., ChatGPT) to generate more informative responses.

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Towards Effective Automatic Debt Collection with Persona Awareness
Tong Zhang | Junhong Liu | Chen Huang | Jia Liu | Hongru Liang | Zujie Wen | Wenqiang Lei
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: Industry Track

Understanding debtor personas is crucial for collectors to empathize with debtors and develop more effective collection strategies. In this paper, we take the first step towards comprehensively investigating the significance of debtor personas and present a successful commercial practice on automatic debt collection agents. Specifically, we organize the debtor personas into a taxonomy and construct a persona-aware conversation dataset. Building upon it, we implement a simple yet effective persona-aware agent called PAD. After two-month online testing, PAD increases the recovery rate by 3.31% and collects an additional ~100K RMB. Our commercial practice brings inspiration to the debt collection industry by providing an effective automatic solution.


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Fact-Tree Reasoning for N-ary Question Answering over Knowledge Graphs
Yao Zhang | Peiyao Li | Hongru Liang | Adam Jatowt | Zhenglu Yang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Current Question Answering over Knowledge Graphs (KGQA) task mainly focuses on performing answer reasoning upon KGs with binary facts. However, it neglects the n-ary facts, which contain more than two entities. In this work, we highlight a more challenging but under-explored task: n-ary KGQA, i.e., answering n-ary facts questions upon n-ary KGs. Nevertheless, the multi-hop reasoning framework popular in binary KGQA task is not directly applicable on n-ary KGQA. We propose two feasible improvements: 1) upgrade the basic reasoning unit from entity or relation to fact, and 2) upgrade the reasoning structure from chain to tree. Therefore, we propose a novel fact-tree reasoning framework, FacTree, which integrates the above two upgrades. FacTree transforms the question into a fact tree and performs iterative fact reasoning on the fact tree to infer the correct answer. Experimental results on the n-ary KGQA dataset we constructed and two binary KGQA benchmarks demonstrate the effectiveness of FacTree compared with state-of-the-art methods.


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GMH: A General Multi-hop Reasoning Model for KG Completion
Yao Zhang | Hongru Liang | Adam Jatowt | Wenqiang Lei | Xin Wei | Ning Jiang | Zhenglu Yang
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Knowledge graphs are essential for numerous downstream natural language processing applications, but are typically incomplete with many facts missing. This results in research efforts on multi-hop reasoning task, which can be formulated as a search process and current models typically perform short distance reasoning. However, the long-distance reasoning is also vital with the ability to connect the superficially unrelated entities. To the best of our knowledge, there lacks a general framework that approaches multi-hop reasoning in mixed long-short distance reasoning scenarios. We argue that there are two key issues for a general multi-hop reasoning model: i) where to go, and ii) when to stop. Therefore, we propose a general model which resolves the issues with three modules: 1) the local-global knowledge module to estimate the possible paths, 2) the differentiated action dropout module to explore a diverse set of paths, and 3) the adaptive stopping search module to avoid over searching. The comprehensive results on three datasets demonstrate the superiority of our model with significant improvements against baselines in both short and long distance reasoning scenarios.


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JTAV: Jointly Learning Social Media Content Representation by Fusing Textual, Acoustic, and Visual Features
Hongru Liang | Haozheng Wang | Jun Wang | Shaodi You | Zhe Sun | Jin-Mao Wei | Zhenglu Yang
Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Learning social media content is the basis of many real-world applications, including information retrieval and recommendation systems, among others. In contrast with previous works that focus mainly on single modal or bi-modal learning, we propose to learn social media content by fusing jointly textual, acoustic, and visual information (JTAV). Effective strategies are proposed to extract fine-grained features of each modality, that is, attBiGRU and DCRNN. We also introduce cross-modal fusion and attentive pooling techniques to integrate multi-modal information comprehensively. Extensive experimental evaluation conducted on real-world datasets demonstrate our proposed model outperforms the state-of-the-art approaches by a large margin.