Huan Zhang


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HoneyBee: Progressive Instruction Finetuning of Large Language Models for Materials Science
Yu Song | Santiago Miret | Huan Zhang | Bang Liu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

We propose an instruction-based process for trustworthy data curation in materials science (MatSci-Instruct), which we then apply to finetune a LLaMa-based language model targeted for materials science (HoneyBee). MatSci-Instruct helps alleviate the scarcity of relevant, high-quality materials science textual data available in the open literature, and HoneyBee is the first billion-parameter language model specialized to materials science. In MatSci-Instruct we improve the trustworthiness of generated data by prompting multiple commercially available large language models for generation with an Instructor module (e.g. Chat-GPT) and verification from an independent Verifier module (e.g. Claude). Using MatSci-Instruct, we construct a dataset of multiple tasks and measure the quality of our dataset along multiple dimensions, including accuracy against known facts, relevance to materials science, as well as completeness and reasonableness of the data. Moreover, we iteratively generate more targeted instructions and instruction-data in a finetuning-evaluation-feedback loop leading to progressively better performance for our finetuned HoneyBee models. Our evaluation on the MatSci-NLP benchmark shows HoneyBee’s outperformance of existing language models on materials science tasks and iterative improvement in successive stages of instruction-data refinement. We study the quality of HoneyBee’s language modeling through automatic evaluation and analyze case studies to further understand the model’s capabilities and limitations. Our code and relevant datasets are publicly available at


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Sharpness-Aware Minimization with Dynamic Reweighting
Wenxuan Zhou | Fangyu Liu | Huan Zhang | Muhao Chen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Deep neural networks are often overparameterized and may not easily achieve model generalization. Adversarial training has shown effectiveness in improving generalization by regularizing the change of loss on top of adversarially chosen perturbations. The recently proposed sharpness-aware minimization (SAM) algorithm conducts adversarial weight perturbation, encouraging the model to converge to a flat minima. SAM finds a common adversarial weight perturbation per-batch. Although per-instance adversarial weight perturbations are stronger adversaries and can potentially lead to better generalization performance, their computational cost is very high and thus it is impossible to use per-instance perturbations efficiently in SAM. In this paper, we tackle this efficiency bottleneck and propose sharpness-aware minimization with dynamic reweighting (delta-SAM). Our theoretical analysis motivates that it is possible to approach the stronger, per-instance adversarial weight perturbations using reweighted per-batch weight perturbations. delta-SAM dynamically reweights perturbation within each batch according to the theoretically principled weighting factors, serving as a good approximation to per-instance perturbation. Experiments on various natural language understanding tasks demonstrate the effectiveness of delta-SAM.


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Double Perturbation: On the Robustness of Robustness and Counterfactual Bias Evaluation
Chong Zhang | Jieyu Zhao | Huan Zhang | Kai-Wei Chang | Cho-Jui Hsieh
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Robustness and counterfactual bias are usually evaluated on a test dataset. However, are these evaluations robust? If the test dataset is perturbed slightly, will the evaluation results keep the same? In this paper, we propose a “double perturbation” framework to uncover model weaknesses beyond the test dataset. The framework first perturbs the test dataset to construct abundant natural sentences similar to the test data, and then diagnoses the prediction change regarding a single-word substitution. We apply this framework to study two perturbation-based approaches that are used to analyze models’ robustness and counterfactual bias in English. (1) For robustness, we focus on synonym substitutions and identify vulnerable examples where prediction can be altered. Our proposed attack attains high success rates (96.0%-99.8%) in finding vulnerable examples on both original and robustly trained CNNs and Transformers. (2) For counterfactual bias, we focus on substituting demographic tokens (e.g., gender, race) and measure the shift of the expected prediction among constructed sentences. Our method is able to reveal the hidden model biases not directly shown in the test dataset. Our code is available at


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面向医学文本处理的医学实体标注规范(Medical Entity Annotation Standard for Medical Text Processing)
Huan Zhang (张欢) | Yuan Zong (宗源) | Baobao Chang (常宝宝) | Zhifang Sui (穗志方) | Hongying Zan (昝红英) | Kunli Zhang (张坤丽)
Proceedings of the 19th Chinese National Conference on Computational Linguistics


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Reducing Sentiment Bias in Language Models via Counterfactual Evaluation
Po-Sen Huang | Huan Zhang | Ray Jiang | Robert Stanforth | Johannes Welbl | Jack Rae | Vishal Maini | Dani Yogatama | Pushmeet Kohli
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Advances in language modeling architectures and the availability of large text corpora have driven progress in automatic text generation. While this results in models capable of generating coherent texts, it also prompts models to internalize social biases present in the training corpus. This paper aims to quantify and reduce a particular type of bias exhibited by language models: bias in the sentiment of generated text. Given a conditioning context (e.g., a writing prompt) and a language model, we analyze if (and how) the sentiment of the generated text is affected by changes in values of sensitive attributes (e.g., country names, occupations, genders) in the conditioning context using a form of counterfactual evaluation. We quantify sentiment bias by adopting individual and group fairness metrics from the fair machine learning literature, and demonstrate that large-scale models trained on two different corpora (news articles, and Wikipedia) exhibit considerable levels of bias. We then propose embedding and sentiment prediction-derived regularization on the language model’s latent representations. The regularizations improve fairness metrics while retaining comparable levels of perplexity and semantic similarity.

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Towards Non-task-specific Distillation of BERT via Sentence Representation Approximation
Bowen Wu | Huan Zhang | MengYuan Li | Zongsheng Wang | Qihang Feng | Junhong Huang | Baoxun Wang
Proceedings of the 1st Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 10th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing

Recently, BERT has become an essential ingredient of various NLP deep models due to its effectiveness and universal-usability. However, the online deployment of BERT is often blocked by its large-scale parameters and high computational cost. There are plenty of studies showing that the knowledge distillation is efficient in transferring the knowledge from BERT into the model with a smaller size of parameters. Nevertheless, current BERT distillation approaches mainly focus on task-specified distillation, such methodologies lead to the loss of the general semantic knowledge of BERT for universal-usability. In this paper, we propose a sentence representation approximating oriented distillation framework that can distill the pre-trained BERT into a simple LSTM based model without specifying tasks. Consistent with BERT, our distilled model is able to perform transfer learning via fine-tuning to adapt to any sentence-level downstream task. Besides, our model can further cooperate with task-specific distillation procedures. The experimental results on multiple NLP tasks from the GLUE benchmark show that our approach outperforms other task-specific distillation methods or even much larger models, i.e., ELMO, with efficiency well-improved.


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Attacking Visual Language Grounding with Adversarial Examples: A Case Study on Neural Image Captioning
Hongge Chen | Huan Zhang | Pin-Yu Chen | Jinfeng Yi | Cho-Jui Hsieh
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Visual language grounding is widely studied in modern neural image captioning systems, which typically adopts an encoder-decoder framework consisting of two principal components: a convolutional neural network (CNN) for image feature extraction and a recurrent neural network (RNN) for language caption generation. To study the robustness of language grounding to adversarial perturbations in machine vision and perception, we propose Show-and-Fool, a novel algorithm for crafting adversarial examples in neural image captioning. The proposed algorithm provides two evaluation approaches, which check if we can mislead neural image captioning systems to output some randomly chosen captions or keywords. Our extensive experiments show that our algorithm can successfully craft visually-similar adversarial examples with randomly targeted captions or keywords, and the adversarial examples can be made highly transferable to other image captioning systems. Consequently, our approach leads to new robustness implications of neural image captioning and novel insights in visual language grounding.