Lifu Huang


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MultiInstruct: Improving Multi-Modal Zero-Shot Learning via Instruction Tuning
Zhiyang Xu | Ying Shen | Lifu Huang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Instruction tuning, a new learning paradigm that fine-tunes pre-trained language models on tasks specified through instructions, has shown promising zero-shot performance on various natural language processing tasks. However, it has yet to be explored for vision and multimodal tasks. In this work, we introduce MultiInstruct, the first multimodal instruction tuning benchmark dataset that consists of 62 diverse multimodal tasks in a unified seq-to-seq format covering 10 broad categories. The tasks are derived from 21 existing open-source datasets and each task is equipped with 5 expert-written instructions. We take OFA as the base pre-trained model for multimodal instruction tuning, and to further improve its zero-shot performance, we explore multiple transfer learning strategies to leverage the large-scale Natural Instructions dataset. Experimental results demonstrate strong zero-shot performance on various unseen multimodal tasks and the benefit of transfer learning from a text-only instruction dataset. We also design a new evaluation metric – Sensitivity, to evaluate how sensitive the model is to the variety of instructions. Our results indicate that fine-tuning the model on a diverse set of tasks and instructions leads to a reduced sensitivity to variations in instructions for each task.

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The Art of Prompting: Event Detection based on Type Specific Prompts
Sijia Wang | Mo Yu | Lifu Huang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

We compare various forms of prompts to represent event types and develop a unified framework to incorporate the event type specific prompts for supervised, few-shot, and zero-shot event detection. The experimental results demonstrate that a well-defined and comprehensive event type prompt can significantly improve event detection performance, especially when the annotated data is scarce (few-shot event detection) or not available (zero-shot event detection). By leveraging the semantics of event types, our unified framework shows up to 22.2% F-score gain over the previous state-of-the-art baselines.

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ADEPT: Adapter-based Efficient Prompt Tuning Approach for Language Models
Aditya Shah | Surendrabikram Thapa | Aneesh Jain | Lifu Huang
Proceedings of The Fourth Workshop on Simple and Efficient Natural Language Processing (SustaiNLP)

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Multimedia Generative Script Learning for Task Planning
Qingyun Wang | Manling Li | Hou Pong Chan | Lifu Huang | Julia Hockenmaier | Girish Chowdhary | Heng Ji
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Goal-oriented generative script learning aims to generate subsequent steps to reach a particular goal, which is an essential task to assist robots or humans in performing stereotypical activities. An important aspect of this process is the ability to capture historical states visually, which provides detailed information that is not covered by text and will guide subsequent steps. Therefore, we propose a new task, Multimedia Generative Script Learning, to generate subsequent steps by tracking historical states in both text and vision modalities, as well as presenting the first benchmark containing 5,652 tasks and 79,089 multimedia steps. This task is challenging in three aspects: the multimedia challenge of capturing the visual states in images, the induction challenge of performing unseen tasks, and the diversity challenge of covering different information in individual steps. We propose to encode visual state changes through a selective multimedia encoder to address the multimedia challenge, transfer knowledge from previously observed tasks using a retrieval-augmented decoder to overcome the induction challenge, and further present distinct information at each step by optimizing a diversity-oriented contrastive learning objective. We define metrics to evaluate both generation and inductive quality. Experiment results demonstrate that our approach significantly outperforms strong baselines.

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Teamwork Is Not Always Good: An Empirical Study of Classifier Drift in Class-incremental Information Extraction
Minqian Liu | Lifu Huang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Class-incremental learning (CIL) aims to develop a learning system that can continually learn new classes from a data stream without forgetting previously learned classes. When learning classes incrementally, the classifier must be constantly updated to incorporate new classes, and the drift in decision boundary may lead to severe forgetting. This fundamental challenge, however, has not yet been studied extensively, especially in the setting where no samples from old classes are stored for rehearsal. In this paper, we take a closer look at how the drift in the classifier leads to forgetting, and accordingly, design four simple yet (super-) effective solutions to alleviate the classifier drift: an Individual Classifiers with Frozen Feature Extractor (ICE) framework where we individually train a classifier for each learning session, and its three variants ICE-PL, ICE-O, and ICE-PL&O which further take the logits of previously learned classes from old sessions or a constant logit of an Other class as constraint to the learning of new classifiers. Extensive experiments and analysis on 6 class-incremental information extraction tasks demonstrate that our solutions, especially ICE-O, consistently show significant improvement over the previous state-of-the-art approaches with up to 44.7% absolute F-score gain, providing a strong baseline and insights for future research on class-incremental learning.

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Learning from a Friend: Improving Event Extraction via Self-Training with Feedback from Abstract Meaning Representation
Zhiyang Xu | Jay Yoon Lee | Lifu Huang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Data scarcity has been the main factor that hinders the progress of event extraction. To overcome this issue, we propose a Self-Training with Feedback (STF) framework that leverages the large-scale unlabeled data and acquires feedback for each new event prediction from the unlabeled data by comparing it to the Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) graph of the same sentence. Specifically, STF consists of (1) a base event extraction model trained on existing event annotations and then applied to large-scale unlabeled corpora to predict new event mentions as pseudo training samples, and (2) a novel scoring model that takes in each new predicted event trigger, an argument, its argument role, as well as their paths in the AMR graph to estimate a compatibility score indicating the correctness of the pseudo label. The compatibility scores further act as feedback to encourage or discourage the model learning on the pseudo labels during self-training. Experimental results on three benchmark datasets, including ACE05-E, ACE05-E+, and ERE, demonstrate the effectiveness of the STF framework on event extraction, especially event argument extraction, with significant performance gain over the base event extraction models and strong baselines. Our experimental analysis further shows that STF is a generic framework as it can be applied to improve most, if not all, event extraction models by leveraging large-scale unlabeled data, even when high-quality AMR graph annotations are not available.

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RoAST: Robustifying Language Models via Adversarial Perturbation with Selective Training
Jaehyung Kim | Yuning Mao | Rui Hou | Hanchao Yu | Davis Liang | Pascale Fung | Qifan Wang | Fuli Feng | Lifu Huang | Madian Khabsa
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Fine-tuning pre-trained language models (LMs) has become the de facto standard in many NLP tasks. Nevertheless, fine-tuned LMs are still prone to robustness issues, such as adversarial robustness and model calibration. Several perspectives of robustness for LMs have been studied independently, but lacking a unified consideration in multiple perspectives. In this paper, we propose Robustifying LMs via Adversarial perturbation with Selective Training (RoAST), a simple yet effective fine-tuning technique to enhance the multi-perspective robustness of LMs in a unified way. RoAST effectively incorporates two important sources for the model robustness, robustness on the perturbed inputs and generalizable knowledge in pre-trained LMs. To be specific, RoAST introduces adversarial perturbation during fine-tuning while the model parameters are selectively updated upon their relative importance to minimize unnecessary deviation. Under a unified evaluation of fine-tuned LMs by incorporating four representative perspectives of model robustness, we demonstrate the effectiveness of RoAST compared to state-of-the-art fine-tuning methods on six different types of LMs, which indicates its usefulness in practice.

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The Art of SOCRATIC QUESTIONING: Recursive Thinking with Large Language Models
Jingyuan Qi | Zhiyang Xu | Ying Shen | Minqian Liu | Di Jin | Qifan Wang | Lifu Huang
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Chain-of-Thought (CoT) prompting enables large language models to solve complex reasoning problems by generating intermediate steps. However, confined by its inherent single-pass and sequential generation process, CoT heavily relies on the initial decisions, causing errors in early steps to accumulate and impact the final answers. In contrast, humans adopt recursive thinking when tackling complex reasoning problems, i.e. iteratively breaking the original problem into approachable sub-problems and aggregating their answers to resolve the original one. Inspired by the human cognitive process, we propose SOCRATIC QUESTIONING, a divide-and-conquer style algorithm that mimics the recursive thinking process. Specifically, SOCRATIC QUESTIONING leverages large language models to raise and answer sub-questions until collecting enough information to tackle the original question. Unlike CoT, SOCRATIC QUESTIONING explicitly navigates the thinking space, stimulates effective recursive thinking, and is more robust towards errors in the thinking process. Extensive experiments on several complex reasoning tasks, including MMLU, MATH, LogiQA, and visual question-answering demonstrate significant performance improvements over the state-of-the-art prompting methods, such as CoT, and Tree-of-Thought. The qualitative analysis clearly shows that the intermediate reasoning steps elicited by SOCRATIC QUESTIONING are similar to humans’ recursively thinking process of complex reasoning problems.

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APrompt: Attention Prompt Tuning for Efficient Adaptation of Pre-trained Language Models
Qifan Wang | Yuning Mao | Jingang Wang | Hanchao Yu | Shaoliang Nie | Sinong Wang | Fuli Feng | Lifu Huang | Xiaojun Quan | Zenglin Xu | Dongfang Liu
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

With the continuous growth of large language models, the process of fine-tuning these models for new tasks has become increasingly parameter-intensive. Prompt tuning, a method that involves tuning a small set of soft prompts, has emerged as an effective and efficient approach for adapting large pre-trained language models. However, most existing prompt tuning approaches only introduce prompts at the input layer, limiting their performance and leaving large rooms for improvement. In this work, we propose a novel Attention Prompt tuning method, namely APrompt, for efficient adaptation of pre-trained language models. We first demonstrate that existing prompt tuning can be considered as a special case of attention prompt tuning. We then formally introduce APrompt, which incorporates query, key, and value prompts into the attention layer to guide the attention computation during fine-tuning. Experimental results on the SuperGLUE benchmark consistently demonstrate that our proposed approach outperforms state-of-the-art baselines and full fine-tuning method with pre-trained models at different scales. In addition, a comprehensive set of ablation studies validate the effectiveness of the prompt design, as well as the efficiency of our approach.


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Incremental Prompting: Episodic Memory Prompt for Lifelong Event Detection
Minqian Liu | Shiyu Chang | Lifu Huang
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Lifelong event detection aims to incrementally update a model with new event types and data while retaining the capability on previously learned old types. One critical challenge is that the model would catastrophically forget old types when continually trained on new data. In this paper, we introduce Episodic Memory Prompts (EMP) to explicitly retain the learned task-specific knowledge. Our method adopts continuous prompt for each task and they are optimized to instruct the model prediction and learn event-specific representation. The EMPs learned in previous tasks are carried along with the model in subsequent tasks, and can serve as a memory module that keeps the old knowledge and transferring to new tasks. Experiment results demonstrate the effectiveness of our method. Furthermore, we also conduct a comprehensive analysis of the new and old event types in lifelong learning.

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PLANET: Dynamic Content Planning in Autoregressive Transformers for Long-form Text Generation
Zhe Hu | Hou Pong Chan | Jiachen Liu | Xinyan Xiao | Hua Wu | Lifu Huang
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Despite recent progress of pre-trained language models on generating fluent text, existing methods still suffer from incoherence problems in long-form text generation tasks that require proper content control and planning to form a coherent high-level logical flow. In this work, we propose PLANET, a novel generation framework leveraging autoregressive self-attention mechanism to conduct content planning and surface realization dynamically. To guide the generation of output sentences, our framework enriches the Transformer decoder with latent representations to maintain sentence-level semantic plans grounded by bag-of-words. Moreover, we introduce a new coherence-based contrastive learning objective to further improve the coherence of output. Extensive experiments are conducted on two challenging long-form text generation tasks including counterargument generation and opinion article generation. Both automatic and human evaluations show that our method significantly outperforms strong baselines and generates more coherent texts with richer contents.

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Probing Script Knowledge from Pre-Trained Models
Zijia Jin | Xingyu Zhang | Mo Yu | Lifu Huang
Proceedings of the Workshop on Unimodal and Multimodal Induction of Linguistic Structures (UM-IoS)

Adversarial attack of structured prediction models faces various challenges such as the difficulty of perturbing discrete words, the sentence quality issue, and the sensitivity of outputs to small perturbations. In this work, we introduce SHARP, a new attack method that formulates the black-box adversarial attack as a search-based optimization problem with a specially designed objective function considering sentence fluency, meaning preservation and attacking effectiveness. Additionally, three different searching strategies are analyzed and compared, , Beam Search, Metropolis-Hastings Sampling, and Hybrid Search. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our attacking strategies on two challenging structured prediction tasks: part-of-speech (POS) tagging and dependency parsing. Through automatic and human evaluations, we show that our method performs a more potent attack compared with pioneer arts. Moreover, the generated adversarial examples can be used to successfully boost the robustness and performance of the victim model via adversarial training.

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Towards Automatic Curation of Antibiotic Resistance Genes via Statement Extraction from Scientific Papers: A Benchmark Dataset and Models
Sidhant Chandak | Liqing Zhang | Connor Brown | Lifu Huang
Proceedings of the 21st Workshop on Biomedical Language Processing

Antibiotic resistance has become a growing worldwide concern as new resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, and thus detecting and collecting the cause – Antibiotic Resistance Genes (ARGs), have been more critical than ever. In this work, we aim to automate the curation of ARGs by extracting ARG-related assertive statements from scientific papers. To support the research towards this direction, we build SciARG, a new benchmark dataset containing 2,000 manually annotated statements as the evaluation set and 12,516 silver-standard training statements that are automatically created from scientific papers by a set of rules. To set up the baseline performance on SciARG, we exploit three state-of-the-art neural architectures based on pre-trained language models and prompt tuning, and further ensemble them to attain the highest 77.0% F-score. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to leverage natural language processing techniques to curate all validated ARGs from scientific papers. Both the code and data are publicly available at

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MOCHA: A Multi-Task Training Approach for Coherent Text Generation from Cognitive Perspective
Zhe Hu | Hou Pong Chan | Lifu Huang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Teaching neural models to generate narrative coherent texts is a critical problem. Recent pre-trained language models have achieved promising results, but there is still a gap between human written texts and machine-generated outputs. In this work, we propose a novel multi-task training strategy for long text generation grounded on the cognitive theory of writing, which empowers the model to learn essential subskills needed for writing including planning and reviewing besides end-to-end generation. We extensively evaluate our model on three open-ended generation tasks including story generation, news article writing and argument generation. Experiments show that our model achieves better results on both few-shot and fully-supervised settings than strong baselines, and human evaluations confirm that our model can generate more coherent outputs.

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Query and Extract: Refining Event Extraction as Type-oriented Binary Decoding
Sijia Wang | Mo Yu | Shiyu Chang | Lichao Sun | Lifu Huang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Event extraction is typically modeled as a multi-class classification problem where event types and argument roles are treated as atomic symbols. These approaches are usually limited to a set of pre-defined types. We propose a novel event extraction framework that uses event types and argument roles as natural language queries to extract candidate triggers and arguments from the input text. With the rich semantics in the queries, our framework benefits from the attention mechanisms to better capture the semantic correlation between the event types or argument roles and the input text. Furthermore, the query-and-extract formulation allows our approach to leverage all available event annotations from various ontologies as a unified model. Experiments on ACE and ERE demonstrate that our approach achieves state-of-the-art performance on each dataset and significantly outperforms existing methods on zero-shot event extraction.

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Extracting Temporal Event Relation with Syntax-guided Graph Transformer
Shuaicheng Zhang | Qiang Ning | Lifu Huang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

Extracting temporal relations (e.g., before, after, and simultaneous) among events is crucial to natural language understanding. One of the key challenges of this problem is that when the events of interest are far away in text, the context in-between often becomes complicated, making it challenging to resolve the temporal relationship between them. This paper thus proposes a new Syntax-guided Graph Transformer network (SGT) to mitigate this issue, by (1) explicitly exploiting the connection between two events based on their dependency parsing trees, and (2) automatically locating temporal cues between two events via a novel syntax-guided attention mechanism. Experiments on two benchmark datasets, MATRES and TB-DENSE, show that our approach significantly outperforms previous state-of-the-art methods on both end-to-end temporal relation extraction and temporal relation classification with up to 7.9% absolute F-score gain; This improvement also proves to be robust on the contrast set of MATRES. We will make all the programs publicly available once the paper is accepted.

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Efficient Federated Learning on Knowledge Graphs via Privacy-preserving Relation Embedding Aggregation
Kai Zhang | Yu Wang | Hongyi Wang | Lifu Huang | Carl Yang | Xun Chen | Lichao Sun
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Federated learning (FL) can be essential in knowledge representation, reasoning, and data mining applications over multi-source knowledge graphs (KGs). A recent study FedE first proposes an FL framework that shares entity embeddings of KGs across all clients. However, entity embedding sharing from FedE would incur a severe privacy leakage. Specifically, the known entity embedding can be used to infer whether a specific relation between two entities exists in a private client. In this paper, we introduce a novel attack method that aims to recover the original data based on the embedding information, which is further used to evaluate the vulnerabilities of FedE. Furthermore, we propose a Federated learning paradigm with privacy-preserving Relation embedding aggregation (FedR) to tackle the privacy issue in FedE. Besides, relation embedding sharing can significantly reduce the communication cost due to its smaller size of queries. We conduct extensive experiments to evaluate FedR with five different KG embedding models and three datasets. Compared to FedE, FedR achieves similar utility and significant improvements regarding privacy-preserving effect and communication efficiency on the link prediction task.

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New Frontiers of Information Extraction
Muhao Chen | Lifu Huang | Manling Li | Ben Zhou | Heng Ji | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies: Tutorial Abstracts

This tutorial targets researchers and practitioners who are interested in AI and ML technologies for structural information extraction (IE) from unstructured textual sources. Particularly, this tutorial will provide audience with a systematic introduction to recent advances of IE, by answering several important research questions. These questions include (i) how to develop an robust IE system from noisy, insufficient training data, while ensuring the reliability of its prediction? (ii) how to foster the generalizability of IE through enhancing the system’s cross-lingual, cross-domain, cross-task and cross-modal transferability? (iii) how to precisely support extracting structural information with extremely fine-grained, diverse and boundless labels? (iv) how to further improve IE by leveraging indirect supervision from other NLP tasks, such as NLI, QA or summarization, and pre-trained language models? (v) how to acquire knowledge to guide the inference of IE systems? We will discuss several lines of frontier research that tackle those challenges, and will conclude the tutorial by outlining directions for further investigation.


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How Knowledge Graph and Attention Help? A Qualitative Analysis into Bag-level Relation Extraction
Zikun Hu | Yixin Cao | Lifu Huang | Tat-Seng Chua
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)

Knowledge Graph (KG) and attention mechanism have been demonstrated effective in introducing and selecting useful information for weakly supervised methods. However, only qualitative analysis and ablation study are provided as evidence. In this paper, we contribute a dataset and propose a paradigm to quantitatively evaluate the effect of attention and KG on bag-level relation extraction (RE). We find that (1) higher attention accuracy may lead to worse performance as it may harm the model’s ability to extract entity mention features; (2) the performance of attention is largely influenced by various noise distribution patterns, which is closely related to real-world datasets; (3) KG-enhanced attention indeed improves RE performance, while not through enhanced attention but by incorporating entity prior; and (4) attention mechanism may exacerbate the issue of insufficient training data. Based on these findings, we show that a straightforward variant of RE model can achieve significant improvements (6% AUC on average) on two real-world datasets as compared with three state-of-the-art baselines. Our codes and datasets are available at

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The Future is not One-dimensional: Complex Event Schema Induction by Graph Modeling for Event Prediction
Manling Li | Sha Li | Zhenhailong Wang | Lifu Huang | Kyunghyun Cho | Heng Ji | Jiawei Han | Clare Voss
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Event schemas encode knowledge of stereotypical structures of events and their connections. As events unfold, schemas are crucial to act as a scaffolding. Previous work on event schema induction focuses either on atomic events or linear temporal event sequences, ignoring the interplay between events via arguments and argument relations. We introduce a new concept of Temporal Complex Event Schema: a graph-based schema representation that encompasses events, arguments, temporal connections and argument relations. In addition, we propose a Temporal Event Graph Model that predicts event instances following the temporal complex event schema. To build and evaluate such schemas, we release a new schema learning corpus containing 6,399 documents accompanied with event graphs, and we have manually constructed gold-standard schemas. Intrinsic evaluations by schema matching and instance graph perplexity, prove the superior quality of our probabilistic graph schema library compared to linear representations. Extrinsic evaluation on schema-guided future event prediction further demonstrates the predictive power of our event graph model, significantly outperforming human schemas and baselines by more than 17.8% on HITS@1.


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Semi-supervised New Event Type Induction and Event Detection
Lifu Huang | Heng Ji
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Most previous event extraction studies assume a set of target event types and corresponding event annotations are given, which could be very expensive. In this paper, we work on a new task of semi-supervised event type induction, aiming to automatically discover a set of unseen types from a given corpus by leveraging annotations available for a few seen types. We design a Semi-Supervised Vector Quantized Variational Autoencoder framework to automatically learn a discrete latent type representation for each seen and unseen type and optimize them using seen type event annotations. A variational autoencoder is further introduced to enforce the reconstruction of each event mention conditioned on its latent type distribution. Experiments show that our approach can not only achieve state-of-the-art performance on supervised event detection but also discover high-quality new event types.

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ReviewRobot: Explainable Paper Review Generation based on Knowledge Synthesis
Qingyun Wang | Qi Zeng | Lifu Huang | Kevin Knight | Heng Ji | Nazneen Fatema Rajani
Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Natural Language Generation

To assist human review process, we build a novel ReviewRobot to automatically assign a review score and write comments for multiple categories such as novelty and meaningful comparison. A good review needs to be knowledgeable, namely that the comments should be constructive and informative to help improve the paper; and explainable by providing detailed evidence. ReviewRobot achieves these goals via three steps: (1) We perform domain-specific Information Extraction to construct a knowledge graph (KG) from the target paper under review, a related work KG from the papers cited by the target paper, and a background KG from a large collection of previous papers in the domain. (2) By comparing these three KGs, we predict a review score and detailed structured knowledge as evidence for each review category. (3) We carefully select and generalize human review sentences into templates, and apply these templates to transform the review scores and evidence into natural language comments. Experimental results show that our review score predictor reaches 71.4%-100% accuracy. Human assessment by domain experts shows that 41.7%-70.5% of the comments generated by ReviewRobot are valid and constructive, and better than human-written ones for 20% of the time. Thus, ReviewRobot can serve as an assistant for paper reviewers, program chairs and authors.


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PaperRobot: Incremental Draft Generation of Scientific Ideas
Qingyun Wang | Lifu Huang | Zhiying Jiang | Kevin Knight | Heng Ji | Mohit Bansal | Yi Luan
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We present a PaperRobot who performs as an automatic research assistant by (1) conducting deep understanding of a large collection of human-written papers in a target domain and constructing comprehensive background knowledge graphs (KGs); (2) creating new ideas by predicting links from the background KGs, by combining graph attention and contextual text attention; (3) incrementally writing some key elements of a new paper based on memory-attention networks: from the input title along with predicted related entities to generate a paper abstract, from the abstract to generate conclusion and future work, and finally from future work to generate a title for a follow-on paper. Turing Tests, where a biomedical domain expert is asked to compare a system output and a human-authored string, show PaperRobot generated abstracts, conclusion and future work sections, and new titles are chosen over human-written ones up to 30%, 24% and 12% of the time, respectively.

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Cosmos QA: Machine Reading Comprehension with Contextual Commonsense Reasoning
Lifu Huang | Ronan Le Bras | Chandra Bhagavatula | Yejin Choi
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Understanding narratives requires reading between the lines, which in turn, requires interpreting the likely causes and effects of events, even when they are not mentioned explicitly. In this paper, we introduce Cosmos QA, a large-scale dataset of 35,600 problems that require commonsense-based reading comprehension, formulated as multiple-choice questions. In stark contrast to most existing reading comprehension datasets where the questions focus on factual and literal understanding of the context paragraph, our dataset focuses on reading between the lines over a diverse collection of people’s everyday narratives, asking such questions as “what might be the possible reason of ...?", or “what would have happened if ..." that require reasoning beyond the exact text spans in the context. To establish baseline performances on Cosmos QA, we experiment with several state-of-the-art neural architectures for reading comprehension, and also propose a new architecture that improves over the competitive baselines. Experimental results demonstrate a significant gap between machine (68.4%) and human performance (94%), pointing to avenues for future research on commonsense machine comprehension. Dataset, code and leaderboard is publicly available at

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Biomedical Event Extraction based on Knowledge-driven Tree-LSTM
Diya Li | Lifu Huang | Heng Ji | Jiawei Han
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)

Event extraction for the biomedical domain is more challenging than that in the general news domain since it requires broader acquisition of domain-specific knowledge and deeper understanding of complex contexts. To better encode contextual information and external background knowledge, we propose a novel knowledge base (KB)-driven tree-structured long short-term memory networks (Tree-LSTM) framework, incorporating two new types of features: (1) dependency structures to capture wide contexts; (2) entity properties (types and category descriptions) from external ontologies via entity linking. We evaluate our approach on the BioNLP shared task with Genia dataset and achieve a new state-of-the-art result. In addition, both quantitative and qualitative studies demonstrate the advancement of the Tree-LSTM and the external knowledge representation for biomedical event extraction.

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Cross-lingual Multi-Level Adversarial Transfer to Enhance Low-Resource Name Tagging
Lifu Huang | Heng Ji | Jonathan May
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)

We focus on improving name tagging for low-resource languages using annotations from related languages. Previous studies either directly project annotations from a source language to a target language using cross-lingual representations or use a shared encoder in a multitask network to transfer knowledge. These approaches inevitably introduce noise to the target language annotation due to mismatched source-target sentence structures. To effectively transfer the resources, we develop a new neural architecture that leverages multi-level adversarial transfer: (1) word-level adversarial training, which projects source language words into the same semantic space as those of the target language without using any parallel corpora or bilingual gazetteers, and (2) sentence-level adversarial training, which yields language-agnostic sequential features. Our neural architecture outperforms previous approaches on CoNLL data sets. Moreover, on 10 low-resource languages, our approach achieves up to 16% absolute F-score gain over all high-performing baselines on cross-lingual transfer without using any target-language resources.


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Zero-Shot Transfer Learning for Event Extraction
Lifu Huang | Heng Ji | Kyunghyun Cho | Ido Dagan | Sebastian Riedel | Clare Voss
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Most previous supervised event extraction methods have relied on features derived from manual annotations, and thus cannot be applied to new event types without extra annotation effort. We take a fresh look at event extraction and model it as a generic grounding problem: mapping each event mention to a specific type in a target event ontology. We design a transferable architecture of structural and compositional neural networks to jointly represent and map event mentions and types into a shared semantic space. Based on this new framework, we can select, for each event mention, the event type which is semantically closest in this space as its type. By leveraging manual annotations available for a small set of existing event types, our framework can be applied to new unseen event types without additional manual annotations. When tested on 23 unseen event types, our zero-shot framework, without manual annotations, achieved performance comparable to a supervised model trained from 3,000 sentences annotated with 500 event mentions.

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Paper Abstract Writing through Editing Mechanism
Qingyun Wang | Zhihao Zhou | Lifu Huang | Spencer Whitehead | Boliang Zhang | Heng Ji | Kevin Knight
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

We present a paper abstract writing system based on an attentive neural sequence-to-sequence model that can take a title as input and automatically generate an abstract. We design a novel Writing-editing Network that can attend to both the title and the previously generated abstract drafts and then iteratively revise and polish the abstract. With two series of Turing tests, where the human judges are asked to distinguish the system-generated abstracts from human-written ones, our system passes Turing tests by junior domain experts at a rate up to 30% and by non-expert at a rate up to 80%.

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Global Attention for Name Tagging
Boliang Zhang | Spencer Whitehead | Lifu Huang | Heng Ji
Proceedings of the 22nd Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning

Many name tagging approaches use local contextual information with much success, but can fail when the local context is ambiguous or limited. We present a new framework to improve name tagging by utilizing local, document-level, and corpus-level contextual information. For each word, we retrieve document-level context from other sentences within the same document and corpus-level context from sentences in other documents. We propose a model that learns to incorporate document-level and corpus-level contextual information alongside local contextual information via document-level and corpus-level attentions, which dynamically weight their respective contextual information and determines the influence of this information through gating mechanisms. Experiments on benchmark datasets show the effectiveness of our approach, which achieves state-of-the-art results for Dutch, German, and Spanish on the CoNLL-2002 and CoNLL-2003 datasets. We will make our code and pre-trained models publicly available for research purposes.

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Multi-lingual Common Semantic Space Construction via Cluster-consistent Word Embedding
Lifu Huang | Kyunghyun Cho | Boliang Zhang | Heng Ji | Kevin Knight
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We construct a multilingual common semantic space based on distributional semantics, where words from multiple languages are projected into a shared space via which all available resources and knowledge can be shared across multiple languages. Beyond word alignment, we introduce multiple cluster-level alignments and enforce the word clusters to be consistently distributed across multiple languages. We exploit three signals for clustering: (1) neighbor words in the monolingual word embedding space; (2) character-level information; and (3) linguistic properties (e.g., apposition, locative suffix) derived from linguistic structure knowledge bases available for thousands of languages. We introduce a new cluster-consistent correlational neural network to construct the common semantic space by aligning words as well as clusters. Intrinsic evaluation on monolingual and multilingual QVEC tasks shows our approach achieves significantly higher correlation with linguistic features which are extracted from manually crafted lexical resources than state-of-the-art multi-lingual embedding learning methods do. Using low-resource language name tagging as a case study for extrinsic evaluation, our approach achieves up to 14.6% absolute F-score gain over the state of the art on cross-lingual direct transfer. Our approach is also shown to be robust even when the size of bilingual dictionary is small.

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Genre Separation Network with Adversarial Training for Cross-genre Relation Extraction
Ge Shi | Chong Feng | Lifu Huang | Boliang Zhang | Heng Ji | Lejian Liao | Heyan Huang
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Relation Extraction suffers from dramatical performance decrease when training a model on one genre and directly applying it to a new genre, due to the distinct feature distributions. Previous studies address this problem by discovering a shared space across genres using manually crafted features, which requires great human effort. To effectively automate this process, we design a genre-separation network, which applies two encoders, one genre-independent and one genre-shared, to explicitly extract genre-specific and genre-agnostic features. Then we train a relation classifier using the genre-agnostic features on the source genre and directly apply to the target genre. Experiment results on three distinct genres of the ACE dataset show that our approach achieves up to 6.1% absolute F1-score gain compared to previous methods. By incorporating a set of external linguistic features, our approach outperforms the state-of-the-art by 1.7% absolute F1 gain. We make all programs of our model publicly available for research purpose

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Entity-aware Image Caption Generation
Di Lu | Spencer Whitehead | Lifu Huang | Heng Ji | Shih-Fu Chang
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Current image captioning approaches generate descriptions which lack specific information, such as named entities that are involved in the images. In this paper we propose a new task which aims to generate informative image captions, given images and hashtags as input. We propose a simple but effective approach to tackle this problem. We first train a convolutional neural networks - long short term memory networks (CNN-LSTM) model to generate a template caption based on the input image. Then we use a knowledge graph based collective inference algorithm to fill in the template with specific named entities retrieved via the hashtags. Experiments on a new benchmark dataset collected from Flickr show that our model generates news-style image descriptions with much richer information. Our model outperforms unimodal baselines significantly with various evaluation metrics.

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Chengyu Cloze Test
Zhiying Jiang | Boliang Zhang | Lifu Huang | Heng Ji
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications

We present a neural recommendation model for Chengyu, which is a special type of Chinese idiom. Given a query, which is a sentence with an empty slot where the Chengyu is taken out, our model will recommend the best Chengyu candidate that best fits the slot context. The main challenge lies in that the literal meaning of a Chengyu is usually very different from it’s figurative meaning. We propose a new neural approach to leverage the definition of each Chengyu and incorporate it as background knowledge. Experiments on both Chengyu cloze test and coherence checking in college entrance exams show that our system achieves 89.5% accuracy on cloze test and outperforms human subjects who attended competitive universities in China. We will make all of our data sets and resources publicly available as a new benchmark for research purposes.

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Describing a Knowledge Base
Qingyun Wang | Xiaoman Pan | Lifu Huang | Boliang Zhang | Zhiying Jiang | Heng Ji | Kevin Knight
Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Natural Language Generation

We aim to automatically generate natural language descriptions about an input structured knowledge base (KB). We build our generation framework based on a pointer network which can copy facts from the input KB, and add two attention mechanisms: (i) slot-aware attention to capture the association between a slot type and its corresponding slot value; and (ii) a new table position self-attention to capture the inter-dependencies among related slots. For evaluation, besides standard metrics including BLEU, METEOR, and ROUGE, we propose a KB reconstruction based metric by extracting a KB from the generation output and comparing it with the input KB. We also create a new data set which includes 106,216 pairs of structured KBs and their corresponding natural language descriptions for two distinct entity types. Experiments show that our approach significantly outperforms state-of-the-art methods. The reconstructed KB achieves 68.8% - 72.6% F-score.

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Tracking State Changes in Procedural Text: a Challenge Dataset and Models for Process Paragraph Comprehension
Bhavana Dalvi | Lifu Huang | Niket Tandon | Wen-tau Yih | Peter Clark
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long Papers)

We present a new dataset and models for comprehending paragraphs about processes (e.g., photosynthesis), an important genre of text describing a dynamic world. The new dataset, ProPara, is the first to contain natural (rather than machine-generated) text about a changing world along with a full annotation of entity states (location and existence) during those changes (81k datapoints). The end-task, tracking the location and existence of entities through the text, is challenging because the causal effects of actions are often implicit and need to be inferred. We find that previous models that have worked well on synthetic data achieve only mediocre performance on ProPara, and introduce two new neural models that exploit alternative mechanisms for state prediction, in particular using LSTM input encoding and span prediction. The new models improve accuracy by up to 19%. We are releasing the ProPara dataset and our models to the community.


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Bridge Text and Knowledge by Learning Multi-Prototype Entity Mention Embedding
Yixin Cao | Lifu Huang | Heng Ji | Xu Chen | Juanzi Li
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Integrating text and knowledge into a unified semantic space has attracted significant research interests recently. However, the ambiguity in the common space remains a challenge, namely that the same mention phrase usually refers to various entities. In this paper, to deal with the ambiguity of entity mentions, we propose a novel Multi-Prototype Mention Embedding model, which learns multiple sense embeddings for each mention by jointly modeling words from textual contexts and entities derived from a knowledge base. In addition, we further design an efficient language model based approach to disambiguate each mention to a specific sense. In experiments, both qualitative and quantitative analysis demonstrate the high quality of the word, entity and multi-prototype mention embeddings. Using entity linking as a study case, we apply our disambiguation method as well as the multi-prototype mention embeddings on the benchmark dataset, and achieve state-of-the-art performance.

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Open Relation Extraction and Grounding
Dian Yu | Lifu Huang | Heng Ji
Proceedings of the Eighth International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Previous open Relation Extraction (open RE) approaches mainly rely on linguistic patterns and constraints to extract important relational triples from large-scale corpora. However, they lack of abilities to cover diverse relation expressions or measure the relative importance of candidate triples within a sentence. It is also challenging to name the relation type of a relational triple merely based on context words, which could limit the usefulness of open RE in downstream applications. We propose a novel importance-based open RE approach by exploiting the global structure of a dependency tree to extract salient triples. We design an unsupervised relation type naming method by grounding relational triples to a large-scale Knowledge Base (KB) schema, leveraging KB triples and weighted context words associated with relational triples. Experiments on the English Slot Filling 2013 dataset demonstrate that our approach achieves 8.1% higher F-score over state-of-the-art open RE methods.

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Improving Slot Filling Performance with Attentive Neural Networks on Dependency Structures
Lifu Huang | Avirup Sil | Heng Ji | Radu Florian
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Slot Filling (SF) aims to extract the values of certain types of attributes (or slots, such as person:cities_of_residence) for a given entity from a large collection of source documents. In this paper we propose an effective DNN architecture for SF with the following new strategies: (1). Take a regularized dependency graph instead of a raw sentence as input to DNN, to compress the wide contexts between query and candidate filler; (2). Incorporate two attention mechanisms: local attention learned from query and candidate filler, and global attention learned from external knowledge bases, to guide the model to better select indicative contexts to determine slot type. Experiments show that this framework outperforms state-of-the-art on both relation extraction (16% absolute F-score gain) and slot filling validation for each individual system (up to 8.5% absolute F-score gain).

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Learning Phrase Embeddings from Paraphrases with GRUs
Zhihao Zhou | Lifu Huang | Heng Ji
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Curation and Applications of Parallel and Comparable Corpora

Learning phrase representations has been widely explored in many Natural Language Processing tasks (e.g., Sentiment Analysis, Machine Translation) and has shown promising improvements. Previous studies either learn non-compositional phrase representations with general word embedding learning techniques or learn compositional phrase representations based on syntactic structures, which either require huge amounts of human annotations or cannot be easily generalized to all phrases. In this work, we propose to take advantage of large-scaled paraphrase database and present a pairwise-GRU framework to generate compositional phrase representations. Our framework can be re-used to generate representations for any phrases. Experimental results show that our framework achieves state-of-the-art results on several phrase similarity tasks.


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AFET: Automatic Fine-Grained Entity Typing by Hierarchical Partial-Label Embedding
Xiang Ren | Wenqi He | Meng Qu | Lifu Huang | Heng Ji | Jiawei Han
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

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Liberal Event Extraction and Event Schema Induction
Lifu Huang | Taylor Cassidy | Xiaocheng Feng | Heng Ji | Clare R. Voss | Jiawei Han | Avirup Sil
Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

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A Language-Independent Neural Network for Event Detection
Xiaocheng Feng | Lifu Huang | Duyu Tang | Heng Ji | Bing Qin | Ting Liu
Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)


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Generating Supplementary Travel Guides from Social Media
Liu Yang | Jing Jiang | Lifu Huang | Minghui Qiu | Lizi Liao
Proceedings of COLING 2014, the 25th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Technical Papers


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Optimized Event Storyline Generation based on Mixture-Event-Aspect Model
Lifu Huang | Lian’en Huang
Proceedings of the 2013 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing


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RelationListwise for Query-Focused Multi-Document Summarization
Wenpeng Yin | Lifu Huang | Yulong Pei | Lian’en Huang
Proceedings of COLING 2012