Jianhao Yan


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DC-MBR: Distributional Cooling for Minimum Bayesian Risk Decoding
Jianhao Yan | Jin Xu | Fandong Meng | Jie Zhou | Yue Zhang
Proceedings of the 2024 Joint International Conference on Computational Linguistics, Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC-COLING 2024)

Minimum Bayesian Risk Decoding (MBR) emerges as a promising decoding algorithm in Neural Machine Translation. However, MBR performs poorly with label smoothing, which is surprising as label smoothing provides decent improvement with beam search and improves generality in various tasks. In this work, we show that the issue arises from the inconsistency of label smoothing on the token-level and sequence-level distributions. We demonstrate that even though label smoothing only causes a slight change in the token level, the sequence-level distribution is highly skewed. We coin the issue autoregressive over-smoothness. To address this issue, we propose a simple and effective method, Distributional Cooling MBR (DC-MBR), which manipulates the entropy of output distributions by tuning down the Softmax temperature. We theoretically prove the equivalence between the pre-tuning label smoothing factor and distributional cooling. Extensive experiments on NMT benchmarks validate that distributional cooling improves MBR in various settings.


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Non-Autoregressive Document-Level Machine Translation
Guangsheng Bao | Zhiyang Teng | Hao Zhou | Jianhao Yan | Yue Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Non-autoregressive translation (NAT) models achieve comparable performance and superior speed compared to auto-regressive translation (AT) models in the context of sentence-level machine translation (MT). However, their abilities are unexplored in document-level MT, hindering their usage in real scenarios. In this paper, we conduct a comprehensive examination of typical NAT models in the context of document-level MT and further propose a simple but effective design of sentence alignment between source and target. Experiments show that NAT models achieve high acceleration on documents, and sentence alignment significantly enhances their performance. However, current NAT models still have a significant performance gap compared to their AT counterparts. Further investigation reveals that NAT models suffer more from the multi-modality and misalignment issues in the context of document-level MT, and current NAT models struggle with exploiting document context and handling discourse phenomena. We delve into these challenges and provide our code at https://github.com/baoguangsheng/nat-on-doc.

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Revisiting Cross-Lingual Summarization: A Corpus-based Study and A New Benchmark with Improved Annotation
Yulong Chen | Huajian Zhang | Yijie Zhou | Xuefeng Bai | Yueguan Wang | Ming Zhong | Jianhao Yan | Yafu Li | Judy Li | Xianchao Zhu | Yue Zhang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Most existing cross-lingual summarization (CLS) work constructs CLS corpora by simply and directly translating pre-annotated summaries from one language to another, which can contain errors from both summarization and translation processes. To address this issue, we propose ConvSumX, a cross-lingual conversation summarization benchmark, through a new annotation schema that explicitly considers source input context. ConvSumX consists of 2 sub-tasks under different real-world scenarios, with each covering 3 language directions. We conduct thorough analysis on ConvSumX and 3 widely-used manually annotated CLS corpora and empirically find that ConvSumX is more faithful towards input text. Additionally, based on the same intuition, we propose a 2-Step method, which takes both conversation and summary as input to simulate human annotation process. Experimental results show that 2-Step method surpasses strong baselines on ConvSumX under both automatic and human evaluation. Analysis shows that both source input text and summary are crucial for modeling cross-lingual summaries.

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Explicit Syntactic Guidance for Neural Text Generation
Yafu Li | Leyang Cui | Jianhao Yan | Yongjing Yin | Wei Bi | Shuming Shi | Yue Zhang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Most existing text generation models follow the sequence-to-sequence paradigm. Generative Grammar suggests that humans generate natural language texts by learning language grammar. We propose a syntax-guided generation schema, which generates the sequence guided by a constituency parse tree in a top-down direction. The decoding process can be decomposed into two parts: (1) predicting the infilling texts for each constituent in the lexicalized syntax context given the source sentence; (2) mapping and expanding each constituent to construct the next-level syntax context. Accordingly, we propose a structural beam search method to find possible syntax structures hierarchically. Experiments on paraphrase generation and machine translation show that the proposed method outperforms autoregressive baselines, while also demonstrating effectiveness in terms of interpretability, controllability, and diversity.


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Digging Errors in NMT: Evaluating and Understanding Model Errors from Partial Hypothesis Space
Jianhao Yan | Chenming Wu | Fandong Meng | Jie Zhou
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Solid evaluation of neural machine translation (NMT) is key to its understanding and improvement. Current evaluation of an NMT system is usually built upon a heuristic decoding algorithm (e.g., beam search) and an evaluation metric assessing similarity between the translation and golden reference. However, this system-level evaluation framework is limited by evaluating only one best hypothesis and search errors brought by heuristic decoding algorithms. To better understand NMT models, we propose a novel evaluation protocol, which defines model errors with model’s ranking capability over hypothesis space. To tackle the problem of exponentially large space, we propose two approximation methods, top region evaluation along with an exact top-k decoding algorithm, which finds top-ranked hypotheses in the whole hypothesis space, and Monte Carlo sampling evaluation, which simulates hypothesis space from a broader perspective. To quantify errors, we define our NMT model errors by measuring distance between the hypothesis array ranked by the model and the ideally ranked hypothesis array. After confirming the strong correlation with human judgment, we apply our evaluation to various NMT benchmarks and model architectures. We show that the state-of-the-art Transformer models face serious ranking issues and only perform at the random chance level in the top region. We further analyze model errors on architectures with different depths and widths, as well as different data-augmentation techniques, showing how these factors affect model errors. Finally, we connect model errors with the search algorithms and provide interesting findings of beam search inductive bias and correlation with Minimum Bayes Risk (MBR) decoding.


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Selective Knowledge Distillation for Neural Machine Translation
Fusheng Wang | Jianhao Yan | Fandong Meng | Jie Zhou
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)

Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models achieve state-of-the-art performance on many translation benchmarks. As an active research field in NMT, knowledge distillation is widely applied to enhance the model’s performance by transferring teacher model’s knowledge on each training sample. However, previous work rarely discusses the different impacts and connections among these samples, which serve as the medium for transferring teacher knowledge. In this paper, we design a novel protocol that can effectively analyze the different impacts of samples by comparing various samples’ partitions. Based on above protocol, we conduct extensive experiments and find that the teacher’s knowledge is not the more, the better. Knowledge over specific samples may even hurt the whole performance of knowledge distillation. Finally, to address these issues, we propose two simple yet effective strategies, i.e., batch-level and global-level selections, to pick suitable samples for distillation. We evaluate our approaches on two large-scale machine translation tasks, WMT’14 English-German and WMT’19 Chinese-English. Experimental results show that our approaches yield up to +1.28 and +0.89 BLEU points improvements over the Transformer baseline, respectively.


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WeChat Neural Machine Translation Systems for WMT20
Fandong Meng | Jianhao Yan | Yijin Liu | Yuan Gao | Xianfeng Zeng | Qinsong Zeng | Peng Li | Ming Chen | Jie Zhou | Sifan Liu | Hao Zhou
Proceedings of the Fifth Conference on Machine Translation

We participate in the WMT 2020 shared newstranslation task on Chinese→English. Our system is based on the Transformer (Vaswaniet al., 2017a) with effective variants and the DTMT (Meng and Zhang, 2019) architecture. In our experiments, we employ data selection, several synthetic data generation approaches (i.e., back-translation, knowledge distillation, and iterative in-domain knowledge transfer), advanced finetuning approaches and self-bleu based model ensemble. Our constrained Chinese→English system achieves 36.9 case-sensitive BLEU score, which is thehighest among all submissions.

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A Sentiment-Controllable Topic-to-Essay Generator with Topic Knowledge Graph
Lin Qiao | Jianhao Yan | Fandong Meng | Zhendong Yang | Jie Zhou
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Generating a vivid, novel, and diverse essay with only several given topic words is a promising task of natural language generation. Previous work in this task exists two challenging problems: neglect of sentiment beneath the text and insufficient utilization of topic-related knowledge. Therefore, we propose a novel Sentiment Controllable topic-to- essay generator with a Topic Knowledge Graph enhanced decoder, named SCTKG, which is based on the conditional variational auto-encoder (CVAE) framework. We firstly inject the sentiment information into the generator for controlling sentiment for each sentence, which leads to various generated essays. Then we design a Topic Knowledge Graph enhanced decoder. Unlike existing models that use knowledge entities separately, our model treats knowledge graph as a whole and encodes more structured, connected semantic information in the graph to generate a more relevant essay. Experimental results show that our SCTKG can generate sentiment controllable essays and outperform the state-of-the-art approach in terms of topic relevance, fluency, and diversity on both automatic and human evaluation.

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Multi-Unit Transformers for Neural Machine Translation
Jianhao Yan | Fandong Meng | Jie Zhou
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Transformer models achieve remarkable success in Neural Machine Translation. Many efforts have been devoted to deepening the Transformer by stacking several units (i.e., a combination of Multihead Attentions and FFN) in a cascade, while the investigation over multiple parallel units draws little attention. In this paper, we propose the Multi-Unit Transformer (MUTE) , which aim to promote the expressiveness of the Transformer by introducing diverse and complementary units. Specifically, we use several parallel units and show that modeling with multiple units improves model performance and introduces diversity. Further, to better leverage the advantage of the multi-unit setting, we design biased module and sequential dependency that guide and encourage complementariness among different units. Experimental results on three machine translation tasks, the NIST Chinese-to-English, WMT’14 English-to-German and WMT’18 Chinese-to-English, show that the MUTE models significantly outperform the Transformer-Base, by up to +1.52, +1.90 and +1.10 BLEU points, with only a mild drop in inference speed (about 3.1%). In addition, our methods also surpass the Transformer-Big model, with only 54% of its parameters. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of the MUTE, as well as its efficiency in both the inference process and parameter usage.


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Relation Extraction with Temporal Reasoning Based on Memory Augmented Distant Supervision
Jianhao Yan | Lin He | Ruqin Huang | Jian Li | Ying Liu
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)

Distant supervision (DS) is an important paradigm for automatically extracting relations. It utilizes existing knowledge base to collect examples for the relation we intend to extract, and then uses these examples to automatically generate the training data. However, the examples collected can be very noisy, and pose significant challenge for obtaining high quality labels. Previous work has made remarkable progress in predicting the relation from distant supervision, but typically ignores the temporal relations among those supervising instances. This paper formulates the problem of relation extraction with temporal reasoning and proposes a solution to predict whether two given entities participate in a relation at a given time spot. For this purpose, we construct a dataset called WIKI-TIME which additionally includes the valid period of a certain relation of two entities in the knowledge base. We propose a novel neural model to incorporate both the temporal information encoding and sequential reasoning. The experimental results show that, compared with the best of existing models, our model achieves better performance in both WIKI-TIME dataset and the well-studied NYT-10 dataset.