Junlan Feng


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Learning to Leverage High-Order Medical Knowledge Graph for Joint Entity and Relation Extraction
Zhe Yang | Yi Huang | Junlan Feng
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Automatic medical entity and relation extraction is essential for daily electronic medical record (EMR) analysis, and has attracted a lot of academic attention. Tremendous progress has been made in recent years. However, medical terms are difficult to understand, and their relations are more complicated than general ones. Based on this situation, domain knowledge gives better background and contexts for medical terms. Despite the benefits of medical domain knowledge, the utilization way of it for joint entity and relation extraction is inadequate. To foster this line of research, in this work, we propose to leverage the medical knowledge graph for extracting entities and relations for Chinese Medical Texts in a collective way. Specifically, we propose to construct a high-order heterogeneous graph based on medical knowledge graph, which is linked to the entity mentions in the text. In this way, neighbors from the high-order heterogeneous graph can pass the message to each other for better global context representations. Our experiments on real Chinese Medical Texts show that our method is more effective than state-of-the-art methods.

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Beyond Layout Embedding: Layout Attention with Gaussian Biases for Structured Document Understanding
Xi Zhu | Xue Han | Shuyuan Peng | Shuo Lei | Chao Deng | Junlan Feng
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Effectively encoding layout information is a central problem in structured document understanding. Most existing methods rely heavily on millions of trainable parameters to learn the layout features of each word from Cartesian coordinates. However, two unresolved questions remain: (1) Is the Cartesian coordinate system the optimal choice for layout modeling? (2) Are massive learnable parameters truly necessary for layout representation? In this paper, we address these questions by proposing Layout Attention with Gaussian Biases (LAGaBi): Firstly, we find that polar coordinates provide a superior choice over Cartesian coordinates as they offer a measurement of both distance and angle between word pairs, capturing relative positions more effectively. Furthermore, by feeding the distances and angles into 2-D Gaussian kernels, we model intuitive inductive layout biases, i.e., the words closer within a document should receive more attention, which will act as the attention biases to revise the textual attention distribution. LAGaBi is model-agnostic and language-independent, which can be applied to a range of transformer-based models, such as the text pre-training models from the BERT series and the LayoutLM series that incorporate visual features. Experimental results on three widely used benchmarks demonstrate that, despite reducing the number of layout parameters from millions to 48, LAGaBi achieves competitive or even superior performance.

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Log-FGAER: Logic-Guided Fine-Grained Address Entity Recognition from Multi-Turn Spoken Dialogue
Xue Han | Yitong Wang | Qian Hu | Pengwei Hu | Chao Deng | Junlan Feng
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Fine-grained address entity recognition (FGAER) from multi-turn spoken dialogues is particularly challenging. The major reason lies in that a full address is often formed through a conversation process. Different parts of an address are distributed through multiple turns of a dialogue with spoken noises. It is nontrivial to extract by turn and combine them. This challenge has not been well emphasized by main-stream entity extraction algorithms. To address this issue, we propose in this paper a logic-guided fine-grained address recognition method (Log-FGAER), where we formulate the address hierarchy relationship as the logic rule and softly apply it in a probabilistic manner to improve the accuracy of FGAER. In addition, we provide an ontology-based data augmentation methodology that employs ChatGPT to augment a spoken dialogue dataset with labeled address entities. Experiments are conducted using datasets generated by the proposed data augmentation technique and derived from real-world scenarios. The results of the experiment demonstrate the efficacy of our proposal.


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Proceedings of the Towards Semi-Supervised and Reinforced Task-Oriented Dialog Systems (SereTOD)
Zhijian Ou | Junlan Feng | Juanzi Li
Proceedings of the Towards Semi-Supervised and Reinforced Task-Oriented Dialog Systems (SereTOD)

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CMCC: A Comprehensive and Large-Scale Human-Human Dataset for Dialogue Systems
Yi Huang | Xiaoting Wu | Si Chen | Wei Hu | Qing Zhu | Junlan Feng | Chao Deng | Zhijian Ou | Jiangjiang Zhao
Proceedings of the Towards Semi-Supervised and Reinforced Task-Oriented Dialog Systems (SereTOD)

Dialogue modeling problems severely limit the real-world deployment of neural conversational models and building a human-like dialogue agent is an extremely challenging task. Recently, data-driven models become more and more prevalent which need a huge amount of conversation data. In this paper, we release around 100,000 dialogue, which come from real-world dialogue transcripts between real users and customer-service staffs. We call this dataset as CMCC (China Mobile Customer Care) dataset, which differs from existing dialogue datasets in both size and nature significantly. The dataset reflects several characteristics of human-human conversations, e.g., task-driven, care-oriented, and long-term dependency among the context. It also covers various dialogue types including task-oriented, chitchat and conversational recommendation in real-world scenarios. To our knowledge, CMCC is the largest real human-human spoken dialogue dataset and has dozens of times the data scale of others, which shall significantly promote the training and evaluation of dialogue modeling methods. The results of extensive experiments indicate that CMCC is challenging and needs further effort. We hope that this resource will allow for more effective models across various dialogue sub-problems to be built in the future.

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State-Aware Adversarial Training for Utterance-Level Dialogue Generation
Yi Huang | Xiaoting Wu | Wei Hu | Junlan Feng | Chao Deng
Proceedings of the Towards Semi-Supervised and Reinforced Task-Oriented Dialog Systems (SereTOD)

Dialogue generation is a challenging problem because it not only requires us to model the context in a conversation but also to exploit it to generate a coherent and fluent utterance. This paper, aiming for a specific topic of this field, proposes an adversarial training based framework for utterance-level dialogue generation. Technically, we train an encoder-decoder generator simultaneously with a discriminative classifier that make the utterance approximate to the state-aware inputs. Experiments on MultiWoZ 2.0 and MultiWoZ 2.1 datasets show that our method achieves advanced improvements on both automatic and human evaluations, and on the effectiveness of our framework facing low-resource. We further explore the effect of fine-grained augmentations for downstream dialogue state tracking (DST) tasks. Experimental results demonstrate the high-quality data generated by our proposed framework improves the performance over state-of-the-art models.

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Information Extraction and Human-Robot Dialogue towards Real-life Tasks A Baseline Study with the MobileCS Dataset
Hong Liu | Hao Peng | Zhijian Ou | Juanzi Li | Yi Huang | Junlan Feng
Proceedings of the Towards Semi-Supervised and Reinforced Task-Oriented Dialog Systems (SereTOD)

Recently, there have merged a class of taskoriented dialogue (TOD) datasets collected through Wizard-of-Oz simulated games. However, the Wizard-of-Oz data are in fact simulated data and thus are fundamentally different from real-life conversations, which are more noisy and casual. Recently, the SereTOD challenge is organized and releases the MobileCS dataset, which consists of real-world dialog transcripts between real users and customerservice staffs from China Mobile. Based on the MobileCS dataset, the SereTOD challenge has two tasks, not only evaluating the construction of the dialogue system itself, but also examining information extraction from dialog transcripts, which is crucial for building the knowledge base for TOD. This paper mainly presents a baseline study of the two tasks with the MobileCS dataset. We introduce how the two baselines are constructed, the problems encountered, and the results. We anticipate that the baselines can facilitate exciting future research to build human-robot dialogue systems for real-life tasks.

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A Generative User Simulator with GPT-based Architecture and Goal State Tracking for Reinforced Multi-Domain Dialog Systems
Hong Liu | Yucheng Cai | Zhijian Ou | Yi Huang | Junlan Feng
Proceedings of the Towards Semi-Supervised and Reinforced Task-Oriented Dialog Systems (SereTOD)

Building user simulators (USs) for reinforcement learning (RL) of task-oriented dialog systems (DSs) has gained more and more attention, which, however, still faces several fundamental challenges. First, it is unclear whether we can leverage pretrained language models to design, for example, GPT-2 based USs, to catch up and interact with the recently advanced GPT- 2 based DSs. Second, an important ingredient in a US is that the user goal can be effectively incorporated and tracked; but how to flexibly integrate goal state tracking and develop an end-to-end trainable US for multi-domains has remained to be a challenge. In this work, we propose a generative user simulator (GUS) with GPT-2 based architecture and goal state tracking towards addressing the above two challenges. Extensive experiments are conducted on MultiWOZ2.1. Different DSs are trained via RL with GUS, the classic agenda-based user simulator (ABUS) and other ablation simulators respectively, and are compared for crossmodel evaluation, corpus-based evaluation and human evaluation. The GUS achieves superior results in all three evaluation tasks.

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Generalized Intent Discovery: Learning from Open World Dialogue System
Yutao Mou | Keqing He | Yanan Wu | Pei Wang | Jingang Wang | Wei Wu | Yi Huang | Junlan Feng | Weiran Xu
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Traditional intent classification models are based on a pre-defined intent set and only recognize limited in-domain (IND) intent classes. But users may input out-of-domain (OOD) queries in a practical dialogue system. Such OOD queries can provide directions for future improvement. In this paper, we define a new task, Generalized Intent Discovery (GID), which aims to extend an IND intent classifier to an open-world intent set including IND and OOD intents. We hope to simultaneously classify a set of labeled IND intent classes while discovering and recognizing new unlabeled OOD types incrementally. We construct three public datasets for different application scenarios and propose two kinds of frameworks, pipeline-based and end-to-end for future work. Further, we conduct exhaustive experiments and qualitative analysis to comprehend key challenges and provide new guidance for future GID research.

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PSSAT: A Perturbed Semantic Structure Awareness Transferring Method for Perturbation-Robust Slot Filling
Guanting Dong | Daichi Guo | Liwen Wang | Xuefeng Li | Zechen Wang | Chen Zeng | Keqing He | Jinzheng Zhao | Hao Lei | Xinyue Cui | Yi Huang | Junlan Feng | Weiran Xu
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Most existing slot filling models tend to memorize inherent patterns of entities and corresponding contexts from training data. However, these models can lead to system failure or undesirable outputs when being exposed to spoken language perturbation or variation in practice. We propose a perturbed semantic structure awareness transferring method for training perturbation-robust slot filling models. Specifically, we introduce two MLM-based training strategies to respectively learn contextual semantic structure and word distribution from unsupervised language perturbation corpus. Then, we transfer semantic knowledge learned from upstream training procedure into the original samples and filter generated data by consistency processing. These procedures aims to enhance the robustness of slot filling models. Experimental results show that our method consistently outperforms the previous basic methods and gains strong generalization while preventing the model from memorizing inherent patterns of entities and contexts.

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Advancing Semi-Supervised Task Oriented Dialog Systems by JSA Learning of Discrete Latent Variable Models
Yucheng Cai | Hong Liu | Zhijian Ou | Yi Huang | Junlan Feng
Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

Developing semi-supervised task-oriented dialog (TOD) systems by leveraging unlabeled dialog data has attracted increasing interests. For semi-supervised learning of latent state TOD models, variational learning is often used, but suffers from the annoying high-variance of the gradients propagated through discrete latent variables and the drawback of indirectly optimizing the target log-likelihood. Recently, an alternative algorithm, called joint stochastic approximation (JSA), has emerged for learning discrete latent variable models with impressive performances. In this paper, we propose to apply JSA to semi-supervised learning of the latent state TOD models, which is referred to as JSA-TOD. To our knowledge, JSA-TOD represents the first work in developing JSA based semi-supervised learning of discrete latent variable conditional models for such long sequential generation problems like in TOD systems. Extensive experiments show that JSA-TOD significantly outperforms its variational learning counterpart. Remarkably, semi-supervised JSA-TOD using 20% labels performs close to the full-supervised baseline on MultiWOZ2.1.


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Counterfactual Matters: Intrinsic Probing For Dialogue State Tracking
Yi Huang | Junlan Feng | Xiaoting Wu | Xiaoyu Du
The First Workshop on Evaluations and Assessments of Neural Conversation Systems

A Dialogue State Tracker (DST) is a core component of modular task-oriented dialogue systems. Tremendous research progress has been made in past ten years to improve performance of DSTs especially on benchmark datasets. However, their generalization to novel and realistic scenarios beyond the held-out conversations is limited. In this paper, we design experimental studies to answer: 1) How does the distribution of dialogue data affect the performance of DSTs? 2) What are effective ways to probe counterfactual matter for DSTs? Our findings are: the performance variance of generative DSTs is not only due to the model structure itself, but can be attributed to the distribution of cross-domain values. Evaluating iconic generative DST models on MultiWOZ dataset with counterfactuals results in a significant performance drop of up to 34.64% (from 50.91% to 16.27%) in absolute joint goal accuracy. It is believed that our experimental results can guide the future work to better understand the intrinsic core of DST and rethink the suitable way for specific tasks given the application property.


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A structure-enhanced graph convolutional network for sentiment analysis
Fanyu Meng | Junlan Feng | Danping Yin | Si Chen | Min Hu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Syntactic information is essential for both sentiment analysis(SA) and aspect-based sentiment analysis(ABSA). Previous work has already achieved great progress utilizing Graph Convolutional Network(GCN) over dependency tree of a sentence. However, these models do not fully exploit the syntactic information obtained from dependency parsing such as the diversified types of dependency relations. The message passing process of GCN should be distinguished based on these syntactic information. To tackle this problem, we design a novel weighted graph convolutional network(WGCN) which can exploit rich syntactic information based on the feature combination. Furthermore, we utilize BERT instead of Bi-LSTM to generate contextualized representations as inputs for GCN and present an alignment method to keep word-level dependencies consistent with wordpiece unit of BERT. With our proposal, we are able to improve the state-of-the-art on four ABSA tasks out of six and two SA tasks out of three.

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Towards Low-Resource Semi-Supervised Dialogue Generation with Meta-Learning
Yi Huang | Junlan Feng | Shuo Ma | Xiaoyu Du | Xiaoting Wu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

In this paper, we propose a meta-learning based semi-supervised explicit dialogue state tracker (SEDST) for neural dialogue generation, denoted as MEDST. Our main motivation is to further bridge the chasm between the need for high accuracy dialogue state tracker and the common reality that only scarce annotated data is available for most real-life dialogue tasks. Specifically, MEDST has two core steps: meta-training with adequate unlabelled data in an automatic way and meta-testing with a few annotated data by supervised learning. In particular, we enhance SEDST via entropy regularization, and investigate semi-supervised learning frameworks based on model-agnostic meta-learning (MAML) that are able to reduce the amount of required intermediate state labelling. We find that by leveraging un-annotated data in meta-way instead, the amount of dialogue state annotations can be reduced below 10% while maintaining equivalent system performance. Experimental results show MEDST outperforms SEDST substantially by 18.7% joint goal accuracy and 14.3% entity match rate on the KVRET corpus with 2% labelled data in semi-supervision.

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Meta-Reinforced Multi-Domain State Generator for Dialogue Systems
Yi Huang | Junlan Feng | Min Hu | Xiaoting Wu | Xiaoyu Du | Shuo Ma
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

A Dialogue State Tracker (DST) is a core component of a modular task-oriented dialogue system. Tremendous progress has been made in recent years. However, the major challenges remain. The state-of-the-art accuracy for DST is below 50% for a multi-domain dialogue task. A learnable DST for any new domain requires a large amount of labeled in-domain data and training from scratch. In this paper, we propose a Meta-Reinforced Multi-Domain State Generator (MERET). Our first contribution is to improve the DST accuracy. We enhance a neural model based DST generator with a reward manager, which is built on policy gradient reinforcement learning (RL) to fine-tune the generator. With this change, we are able to improve the joint accuracy of DST from 48.79% to 50.91% on the MultiWOZ corpus. Second, we explore to train a DST meta-learning model with a few domains as source domains and a new domain as target domain. We apply the model-agnostic meta-learning algorithm (MAML) to DST and the obtained meta-learning model is used for new domain adaptation. Our experimental results show this solution is able to outperform the traditional training approach with extremely less training data in target domain.

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A Probabilistic End-To-End Task-Oriented Dialog Model with Latent Belief States towards Semi-Supervised Learning
Yichi Zhang | Zhijian Ou | Min Hu | Junlan Feng
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Structured belief states are crucial for user goal tracking and database query in task-oriented dialog systems. However, training belief trackers often requires expensive turn-level annotations of every user utterance. In this paper we aim at alleviating the reliance on belief state labels in building end-to-end dialog systems, by leveraging unlabeled dialog data towards semi-supervised learning. We propose a probabilistic dialog model, called the LAtent BElief State (LABES) model, where belief states are represented as discrete latent variables and jointly modeled with system responses given user inputs. Such latent variable modeling enables us to develop semi-supervised learning under the principled variational learning framework. Furthermore, we introduce LABES-S2S, which is a copy-augmented Seq2Seq model instantiation of LABES. In supervised experiments, LABES-S2S obtains strong results on three benchmark datasets of different scales. In utilizing unlabeled dialog data, semi-supervised LABES-S2S significantly outperforms both supervised-only and semi-supervised baselines. Remarkably, we can reduce the annotation demands to 50% without performance loss on MultiWOZ.


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Robust Sentiment Detection on Twitter from Biased and Noisy Data
Luciano Barbosa | Junlan Feng
Coling 2010: Posters


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Effects of Word Confusion Networks on Voice Search
Junlan Feng | Srinivas Bangalore
Proceedings of the 12th Conference of the European Chapter of the ACL (EACL 2009)


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A Data Driven Approach to Relevancy Recognition for Contextual Question Answering
Fan Yang | Junlan Feng | Giuseppe Di Fabbrizio
Proceedings of the Interactive Question Answering Workshop at HLT-NAACL 2006