Hongyuan Mei


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Robustness of Learning from Task Instructions
Jiasheng Gu | Hongyu Zhao | Hanzi Xu | Liangyu Nie | Hongyuan Mei | Wenpeng Yin
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Traditional supervised learning mostly works on individual tasks and requires training on a large set of task-specific examples. This paradigm seriously hinders the development of task generalization since preparing a task-specific example set is costly. To build a system that can quickly and easily generalize to new tasks, task instructions have been adopted as an emerging trend of supervision recently. These instructions give the model the definition of the task and allow the model to output the appropriate answer based on the instructions and inputs. However, task instructions are often expressed in different forms, which can be interpreted from two threads: first, some instructions are short sentences and are pretrained language model (PLM) oriented, such as prompts, while other instructions are paragraphs and are human-oriented, such as those in Amazon MTurk; second, different end-users very likely explain the same task with instructions of different textual expressions. A robust system for task generalization should be able to handle any new tasks regardless of the variability of instructions. However, the system robustness in dealing with instruction-driven task generalization is still unexplored. This work investigates the system robustness when the instructions of new tasks are (i) manipulated, (ii) paraphrased, or (iii) from different levels of conciseness. To our knowledge, this is the first work that systematically studies how robust a PLM is when it is supervised by instructions with different factors of variability.


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Hidden State Variability of Pretrained Language Models Can Guide Computation Reduction for Transfer Learning
Shuo Xie | Jiahao Qiu | Ankita Pasad | Li Du | Qing Qu | Hongyuan Mei
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

While transferring a pretrained language model, common approaches conventionally attach their task-specific classifiers to the top layer and adapt all the pretrained layers. We investigate whether one could make a task-specific selection on which subset of the layers to adapt and where to place the classifier. The goal is to reduce the computation cost of transfer learning methods (e.g. fine-tuning or adapter-tuning) without sacrificing its performance. We propose to select layers based on the variability of their hidden states given a task-specific corpus. We say a layer is already “well-specialized” in a task if the within-class variability of its hidden states is low relative to the between-class variability. Our variability metric is cheap to compute and doesn’t need any training or hyperparameter tuning. It is robust to data imbalance and data scarcity. Extensive experiments on the GLUE benchmark demonstrate that selecting layers based on our metric can yield significantly stronger performance than using the same number of top layers and often match the performance of fine-tuning or adapter-tuning the entire language model.

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Tiny-Attention Adapter: Contexts Are More Important Than the Number of Parameters
Hongyu Zhao | Hao Tan | Hongyuan Mei
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Adapter-tuning is a paradigm that transfers a pretrained language model to downstream tasks by adding and tuning a small number of new parameters. Previously proposed adapter architectures are all feed-forward neural networks. In this paper, we investigate the effectiveness of using tiny-attention—i.e., attention with extremely small per-head dimensionality—as adapters. Our tiny-attention adapter learns to modify the hidden states at each position directly conditioned on the hidden states at all the other positions, which is missed by the previously proposed adapters. Moreover, we view its multiple attention heads as a mixture of experts and propose to average their weights during deployment, which further reduces its inference computation cost. On the GLUE benchmark, our tiny-attention adapter outperforms the other parameter-efficient transfer learning methods as well as full fine-tuning while only updating 0.05% of the parameters. On the FewGLUE benchmark, its performance is comparable to that of GPT-3 and PET.


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On the Idiosyncrasies of the Mandarin Chinese Classifier System
Shijia Liu | Hongyuan Mei | Adina Williams | Ryan Cotterell
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers)

While idiosyncrasies of the Chinese classifier system have been a richly studied topic among linguists (Adams and Conklin, 1973; Erbaugh, 1986; Lakoff, 1986), not much work has been done to quantify them with statistical methods. In this paper, we introduce an information-theoretic approach to measuring idiosyncrasy; we examine how much the uncertainty in Mandarin Chinese classifiers can be reduced by knowing semantic information about the nouns that the classifiers modify. Using the empirical distribution of classifiers from the parsed Chinese Gigaword corpus (Graff et al., 2005), we compute the mutual information (in bits) between the distribution over classifiers and distributions over other linguistic quantities. We investigate whether semantic classes of nouns and adjectives differ in how much they reduce uncertainty in classifier choice, and find that it is not fully idiosyncratic; while there are no obvious trends for the majority of semantic classes, shape nouns reduce uncertainty in classifier choice the most.


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Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP
Isabelle Augenstein | Kris Cao | He He | Felix Hill | Spandana Gella | Jamie Kiros | Hongyuan Mei | Dipendra Misra
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP

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Halo: Learning Semantics-Aware Representations for Cross-Lingual Information Extraction
Hongyuan Mei | Sheng Zhang | Kevin Duh | Benjamin Van Durme
Proceedings of the Seventh Joint Conference on Lexical and Computational Semantics

Cross-lingual information extraction (CLIE) is an important and challenging task, especially in low resource scenarios. To tackle this challenge, we propose a training method, called Halo, which enforces the local region of each hidden state of a neural model to only generate target tokens with the same semantic structure tag. This simple but powerful technique enables a neural model to learn semantics-aware representations that are robust to noise, without introducing any extra parameter, thus yielding better generalization in both high and low resource settings.


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What to talk about and how? Selective Generation using LSTMs with Coarse-to-Fine Alignment
Hongyuan Mei | Mohit Bansal | Matthew R. Walter
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies