Jing Xu


2023

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Continual Dialogue State Tracking via Example-Guided Question Answering
Hyundong Cho | Andrea Madotto | Zhaojiang Lin | Khyathi Chandu | Satwik Kottur | Jing Xu | Jonathan May | Chinnadhurai Sankar
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Dialogue systems are frequently updated to accommodate new services, but naively updating them by continually training with data for new services in diminishing performance on previously learnt services. Motivated by the insight that dialogue state tracking (DST), a crucial component of dialogue systems that estimates the user’s goal as a conversation proceeds, is a simple natural language understanding task, we propose reformulating it as a bundle of granular example-guided question answering tasks to minimize the task shift between services and thus benefit continual learning. Our approach alleviates service-specific memorization and teaches a model to contextualize the given question and example to extract the necessary information from the conversation. We find that a model with just 60M parameters can achieve a significant boost by learning to learn from in-context examples retrieved by a retriever trained to identify turns with similar dialogue state changes. Combining our method with dialogue-level memory replay, our approach attains state of the art performance on DST continual learning metrics without relying on any complex regularization or parameter expansion methods.

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Infusing Hierarchical Guidance into Prompt Tuning: A Parameter-Efficient Framework for Multi-level Implicit Discourse Relation Recognition
Haodong Zhao | Ruifang He | Mengnan Xiao | Jing Xu
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Multi-level implicit discourse relation recognition (MIDRR) aims at identifying hierarchical discourse relations among arguments. Previous methods achieve the promotion through fine-tuning PLMs. However, due to the data scarcity and the task gap, the pre-trained feature space cannot be accurately tuned to the task-specific space, which even aggravates the collapse of the vanilla space. Besides, the comprehension of hierarchical semantics for MIDRR makes the conversion much harder. In this paper, we propose a prompt-based Parameter-Efficient Multi-level IDRR (PEMI) framework to solve the above problems. First, we leverage parameter-efficient prompt tuning to drive the inputted arguments to match the pre-trained space and realize the approximation with few parameters. Furthermore, we propose a hierarchical label refining (HLR) method for the prompt verbalizer to deeply integrate hierarchical guidance into the prompt tuning. Finally, our model achieves comparable results on PDTB 2.0 and 3.0 using about 0.1% trainable parameters compared with baselines and the visualization demonstrates the effectiveness of our HLR method.

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The CRINGE Loss: Learning what language not to model
Leonard Adolphs | Tianyu Gao | Jing Xu | Kurt Shuster | Sainbayar Sukhbaatar | Jason Weston
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Standard language model training employs gold human documents or human-human interaction data, and treats all training data as positive examples. Growing evidence shows that even with very large amounts of positive training data, issues remain that can be alleviated with relatively small amounts of negative data – examples of what the model should not do. In this work, we propose a novel procedure to train with such data called the “CRINGE” loss (ContRastive Iterative Negative GEneration). We show the effectiveness of this approach across three different experiments on the tasks of safe generation, contradiction avoidance, and open-domain dialogue. Our models outperform multiple strong baselines and are conceptually simple, easy to train and implement.

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Learning New Skills after Deployment: Improving open-domain internet-driven dialogue with human feedback
Jing Xu | Megan Ung | Mojtaba Komeili | Kushal Arora | Y-Lan Boureau | Jason Weston
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Frozen models trained to mimic static datasets can never improve their performance. Models that can employ internet-retrieval for up-to-date information and obtain feedback from humans during deployment provide the promise of both adapting to new information, and improving their performance. In this work we study how to improve internet-driven conversational skills in such a learning framework. We collect deployment data, which we make publicly available, of human interactions, and collect various types of human feedback – including binary quality measurements, free-form text feedback, and fine-grained reasons for failure. We then study various algorithms for improving from such feedback, including standard supervised learning, rejection sampling, model-guiding and reward-based learning, in order to make recommendations on which type of feed- back and algorithms work best. We find the recently introduced DIRECTOR model (Arora et al., 2022) shows significant improvements over other existing approaches.

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Training Models to Generate, Recognize, and Reframe Unhelpful Thoughts
Mounica Maddela | Megan Ung | Jing Xu | Andrea Madotto | Heather Foran | Y-Lan Boureau
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Many cognitive approaches to well-being, such as recognizing and reframing unhelpful thoughts, have received considerable empirical support over the past decades, yet still lack truly widespread adoption in self-help format. A barrier to that adoption is a lack of adequately specific and diverse dedicated practice material. This work examines whether current language models can be leveraged to both produce a virtually unlimited quantity of practice material illustrating standard unhelpful thought patterns matching specific given contexts, and generate suitable positive reframing proposals. We propose PATTERNREFRAME, a novel dataset of about 10k examples of thoughts containing unhelpful thought patterns conditioned on a given persona, accompanied by about 27k positive reframes. By using this dataset to train and/or evaluate current models, we show that existing models can already be powerful tools to help generate an abundance of tailored practice material and hypotheses, with no or minimal additional model training required.

2022

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Beyond Goldfish Memory: Long-Term Open-Domain Conversation
Jing Xu | Arthur Szlam | Jason Weston
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Despite recent improvements in open-domain dialogue models, state of the art models are trained and evaluated on short conversations with little context. In contrast, the long-term conversation setting has hardly been studied. In this work we collect and release a human-human dataset consisting of multiple chat sessions whereby the speaking partners learn about each other’s interests and discuss the things they have learnt from past sessions. We show how existing models trained on existing datasets perform poorly in this long-term conversation setting in both automatic and human evaluations, and we study long-context models that can perform much better. In particular, we find retrieval-augmented methods and methods with an ability to summarize and recall previous conversations outperform the standard encoder-decoder architectures currently considered state of the art.

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SaFeRDialogues: Taking Feedback Gracefully after Conversational Safety Failures
Megan Ung | Jing Xu | Y-Lan Boureau
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Current open-domain conversational models can easily be made to talk in inadequate ways. Online learning from conversational feedback given by the conversation partner is a promising avenue for a model to improve and adapt, so as to generate fewer of these safety failures. However, current state-of-the-art models tend to react to feedback with defensive or oblivious responses. This makes for an unpleasant experience and may discourage conversation partners from giving feedback in the future. This work proposes SaFeRDialogues, a task and dataset of graceful responses to conversational feedback about safety failures. We collect a dataset of 8k dialogues demonstrating safety failures, feedback signaling them, and a response acknowledging the feedback. We show how fine-tuning on this dataset results in conversations that human raters deem considerably more likely to lead to a civil conversation, without sacrificing engagingness or general conversational ability.

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A Multi-turn Machine Reading Comprehension Framework with Rethink Mechanism for Emotion-Cause Pair Extraction
Changzhi Zhou | Dandan Song | Jing Xu | Zhijing Wu
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Emotion-cause pair extraction (ECPE) is an emerging task in emotion cause analysis, which extracts potential emotion-cause pairs from an emotional document. Most recent studies use end-to-end methods to tackle the ECPE task. However, these methods either suffer from a label sparsity problem or fail to model complicated relations between emotions and causes. Furthermore, they all do not consider explicit semantic information of clauses. To this end, we transform the ECPE task into a document-level machine reading comprehension (MRC) task and propose a Multi-turn MRC framework with Rethink mechanism (MM-R). Our framework can model complicated relations between emotions and causes while avoiding generating the pairing matrix (the leading cause of the label sparsity problem). Besides, the multi-turn structure can fuse explicit semantic information flow between emotions and causes. Extensive experiments on the benchmark emotion cause corpus demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed framework, which outperforms existing state-of-the-art methods.

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S+PAGE: A Speaker and Position-Aware Graph Neural Network Model for Emotion Recognition in Conversation
Chen Liang | Jing Xu | Yangkun Lin | Chong Yang | Yongliang Wang
Proceedings of the 2nd Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 12th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Emotion recognition in conversation (ERC) has attracted much attention in recent years for its necessity in widespread applications. With the development of graph neural network (GNN), recent state-of-the-art ERC models mostly use GNN to embed the intrinsic structure information of a conversation into the utterance features. In this paper, we propose a novel GNN-based model for ERC, namely S+PAGE, to better capture the speaker and position-aware conversation structure information. Specifically, we add the relative positional encoding and speaker dependency encoding in the representations of edge weights and edge types respectively to acquire a more reasonable aggregation algorithm for ERC. Besides, a two-stream conversational Transformer is presented to extract both the self and inter-speaker contextual features for each utterance. Extensive experiments are conducted on four ERC benchmarks with state-of-the-art models employed as baselines for comparison, whose results demonstrate the superiority of our model.

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ZHIXIAOBAO at SemEval-2022 Task 10: Apporoaching Structured Sentiment with Graph Parsing
Yangkun Lin | Chen Liang | Jing Xu | Chong Yang | Yongliang Wang
Proceedings of the 16th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2022)

This paper presents our submission to task 10, Structured Sentiment Analysis of the SemEval 2022 competition. The task aims to extract all elements of the fine-grained sentiment in a text. We cast structured sentiment analysis to the prediction of the sentiment graphs following (Barnes et al., 2021), where nodes are spans of sentiment holders, targets and expressions, and directed edges denote the relation types between them. Our approach closely follows that of semantic dependency parsing (Dozat and Manning, 2018). The difference is that we use pre-trained language models (e.g., BERT and RoBERTa) as text encoder to solve the problem of limited annotated data. Additionally, we make improvements on the computation of cross attention and present the suffix masking technique to make further performance improvement. Substantially, our model achieved the Top-1 average Sentiment Graph F1 score on seven datasets in five different languages in the monolingual subtask.

2021

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Bot-Adversarial Dialogue for Safe Conversational Agents
Jing Xu | Da Ju | Margaret Li | Y-Lan Boureau | Jason Weston | Emily Dinan
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Conversational agents trained on large unlabeled corpora of human interactions will learn patterns and mimic behaviors therein, which include offensive or otherwise toxic behavior. We introduce a new human-and-model-in-the-loop framework for evaluating the toxicity of such models, and compare a variety of existing methods in both the cases of non-adversarial and adversarial users that expose their weaknesses. We then go on to propose two novel methods for safe conversational agents, by either training on data from our new human-and-model-in-the-loop framework in a two-stage system, or ”baking-in” safety to the generative model itself. We find our new techniques are (i) safer than existing models; while (ii) maintaining usability metrics such as engagingness relative to state-of-the-art chatbots. In contrast, we expose serious safety issues in existing standard systems like GPT2, DialoGPT, and BlenderBot.

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Recipes for Building an Open-Domain Chatbot
Stephen Roller | Emily Dinan | Naman Goyal | Da Ju | Mary Williamson | Yinhan Liu | Jing Xu | Myle Ott | Eric Michael Smith | Y-Lan Boureau | Jason Weston
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Building open-domain chatbots is a challenging area for machine learning research. While prior work has shown that scaling neural models in the number of parameters and the size of the data they are trained on gives improved results, we highlight other ingredients. Good conversation requires blended skills: providing engaging talking points, and displaying knowledge, empathy and personality appropriately, while maintaining a consistent persona. We show that large scale models can learn these skills when given appropriate training data and choice of generation strategy. We build variants of these recipes with 90M, 2.7B and 9.4B parameter models, and make our models and code publicly available. Human evaluations show our best models outperform existing approaches in multi-turn dialogue on engagingness and humanness measurements. We then discuss the limitations of this work by analyzing failure cases of our models.

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Modularized Interaction Network for Named Entity Recognition
Fei Li | Zheng Wang | Siu Cheung Hui | Lejian Liao | Dandan Song | Jing Xu | Guoxiu He | Meihuizi Jia
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)

Although the existing Named Entity Recognition (NER) models have achieved promising performance, they suffer from certain drawbacks. The sequence labeling-based NER models do not perform well in recognizing long entities as they focus only on word-level information, while the segment-based NER models which focus on processing segment instead of single word are unable to capture the word-level dependencies within the segment. Moreover, as boundary detection and type prediction may cooperate with each other for the NER task, it is also important for the two sub-tasks to mutually reinforce each other by sharing their information. In this paper, we propose a novel Modularized Interaction Network (MIN) model which utilizes both segment-level information and word-level dependencies, and incorporates an interaction mechanism to support information sharing between boundary detection and type prediction to enhance the performance for the NER task. We have conducted extensive experiments based on three NER benchmark datasets. The performance results have shown that the proposed MIN model has outperformed the current state-of-the-art models.