Li Jian


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Generative Table Pre-training Empowers Models for Tabular Prediction
Tianping Zhang | Shaowen Wang | Shuicheng Yan | Li Jian | Qian Liu
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Recently, the topic of table pre-training has attracted considerable research interest. However, how to employ table pre-training to boost the performance of tabular prediction remains an open challenge. In this paper, we propose TapTap, the first attempt that leverages table pre-training to empower models for tabular prediction. After pre-training on a large corpus of real-world tabular data, TapTap can generate high-quality synthetic tables to support various applications on tabular data, including privacy protection, low resource regime, missing value imputation, and imbalanced classification. Extensive experiments on 12 datasets demonstrate that TapTap outperforms a total of 16 baselines in different scenarios. Meanwhile, it can be easily combined with various backbone models, including LightGBM, Multilayer Perceptron (MLP) and Transformer. Moreover, with the aid of table pre-training, models trained using synthetic data generated by TapTap can even compete with models using the original dataset on half of the experimental datasets, marking a milestone in the development of synthetic tabular data generation. The code and datasets are available at


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FewNLU: Benchmarking State-of-the-Art Methods for Few-Shot Natural Language Understanding
Yanan Zheng | Jing Zhou | Yujie Qian | Ming Ding | Chonghua Liao | Li Jian | Ruslan Salakhutdinov | Jie Tang | Sebastian Ruder | Zhilin Yang
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

The few-shot natural language understanding (NLU) task has attracted much recent attention. However, prior methods have been evaluated under a disparate set of protocols, which hinders fair comparison and measuring the progress of the field. To address this issue, we introduce an evaluation framework that improves previous evaluation procedures in three key aspects, i.e., test performance, dev-test correlation, and stability. Under this new evaluation framework, we re-evaluate several state-of-the-art few-shot methods for NLU tasks. Our framework reveals new insights: (1) both the absolute performance and relative gap of the methods were not accurately estimated in prior literature; (2) no single method dominates most tasks with consistent performance; (3) improvements of some methods diminish with a larger pretrained model; and (4) gains from different methods are often complementary and the best combined model performs close to a strong fully-supervised baseline. We open-source our toolkit, FewNLU, that implements our evaluation framework along with a number of state-of-the-art methods.

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FlipDA: Effective and Robust Data Augmentation for Few-Shot Learning
Jing Zhou | Yanan Zheng | Jie Tang | Li Jian | Zhilin Yang
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Most previous methods for text data augmentation are limited to simple tasks and weak baselines. We explore data augmentation on hard tasks (i.e., few-shot natural language understanding) and strong baselines (i.e., pretrained models with over one billion parameters). Under this setting, we reproduced a large number of previous augmentation methods and found that these methods bring marginal gains at best and sometimes degrade the performance much. To address this challenge, we propose a novel data augmentation method FlipDA that jointly uses a generative model and a classifier to generate label-flipped data. Central to the idea of FlipDA is the discovery that generating label-flipped data is more crucial to the performance than generating label-preserved data. Experiments show that FlipDA achieves a good tradeoff between effectiveness and robustness—it substantially improves many tasks while not negatively affecting the others.