Lijie Wen


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AMR-based Network for Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis
Fukun Ma | Xuming Hu | Aiwei Liu | Yawen Yang | Shuang Li | Philip S. Yu | Lijie Wen
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Aspect-based sentiment analysis (ABSA) is a fine-grained sentiment classification task. Many recent works have used dependency trees to extract the relation between aspects and contexts and have achieved significant improvements. However, further improvement is limited due to the potential mismatch between the dependency tree as a syntactic structure and the sentiment classification as a semantic task. To alleviate this gap, we replace the syntactic dependency tree with the semantic structure named Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) and propose a model called AMR-based Path Aggregation Relational Network (APARN) to take full advantage of semantic structures. In particular, we design the path aggregator and the relation-enhanced self-attention mechanism that complement each other. The path aggregator extracts semantic features from AMRs under the guidance of sentence information, while the relation-enhanced self-attention mechanism in turn improves sentence features with refined semantic information. Experimental results on four public datasets demonstrate 1.13% average F1 improvement of APARN in ABSA when compared with state-of-the-art baselines.

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Exploring the Compositional Generalization in Context Dependent Text-to-SQL Parsing
Aiwei Liu | Wei Liu | Xuming Hu | Shuang Li | Fukun Ma | Yawen Yang | Lijie Wen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

In the context-dependent Text-to-SQL task, the generated SQL statements are refined iteratively based on the user input utterance from each interaction. The input text from each interaction can be viewed as component modifications to the previous SQL statements, which could be further extracted as the modification patterns. Since these modification patterns could also be combined with other SQL statements, the models are supposed to have the compositional generalization to these novel combinations. This work is the first exploration of compositional generalization in context-dependent Text-to-SQL scenarios. To facilitate related studies, we constructed two challenging benchmarks named CoSQL-CG and SParC-CG by recombining the modification patterns and existing SQL statements. The following experiments show that almost all current models struggle on our proposed benchmarks. Furthermore, we found that better aligning the previous SQL statements with the input utterance could give models better combinatorial generalization ability. Based on these observations, we propose a method name p-align to improve the combinatorial generalization of Text-to-SQL models. Further experiments validate the effectiveness of our model.

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Enhancing Cross-lingual Natural Language Inference by Soft Prompting with Multilingual Verbalizer
Shuang Li | Xuming Hu | Aiwei Liu | Yawen Yang | Fukun Ma | Philip S. Yu | Lijie Wen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Cross-lingual natural language inference is a fundamental problem in cross-lingual language understanding. Many recent works have used prompt learning to address the lack of annotated parallel corpora in XNLI.However, these methods adopt discrete prompting by simply translating the templates to the target language and need external expert knowledge to design the templates. Besides, discrete prompts of human-designed template words are not trainable vectors and can not be migrated to target languages in the inference stage flexibly. In this paper, we propose a novel Soft prompt learning framework with the Multilingual Verbalizer (SoftMV) for XNLI. SoftMV first constructs cloze-style question with soft prompts for the input sample. Then we leverage bilingual dictionaries to generate an augmented multilingual question for the original question. SoftMV adopts a multilingual verbalizer to align the representations of original and augmented multilingual questions into a unified semantic space with consistency regularization. Experimental results on XNLI demonstrate that SoftMV can achieve state-of-the-art performance and significantly outperform the previous methods under the few-shot and full-shot cross-lingual transfer settings.

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Automatic Table Union Search with Tabular Representation Learning
Xuming Hu | Shen Wang | Xiao Qin | Chuan Lei | Zhengyuan Shen | Christos Faloutsos | Asterios Katsifodimos | George Karypis | Lijie Wen | Philip S. Yu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Given a data lake of tabular data as well as a query table, how can we retrieve all the tables in the data lake that can be unioned with the query table? Table union search constitutes an essential task in data discovery and preparation as it enables data scientists to navigate massive open data repositories. Existing methods identify uniability based on column representations (word surface forms or token embeddings) and column relation represented by column representation similarity. However, the semantic similarity obtained between column representations is often insufficient to reveal latent relational features to describe the column relation between pair of columns and not robust to the table noise. To address these issues, in this paper, we propose a multi-stage self-supervised table union search framework called AutoTUS, which represents column relation as a vector– column relational representation and learn column relational representation in a multi-stage manner that can better describe column relation for unionability prediction. In particular, the large language model powered contextualized column relation encoder is updated by adaptive clustering and pseudo label classification iteratively so that the better column relational representation can be learned. Moreover, to improve the robustness of the model against table noises, we propose table noise generator to add table noise to the training table data. Experiments on real-world datasets as well as synthetic test set augmented with table noise show that AutoTUS achieves 5.2% performance gain over the SOTA baseline.

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Entity-to-Text based Data Augmentation for various Named Entity Recognition Tasks
Xuming Hu | Yong Jiang | Aiwei Liu | Zhongqiang Huang | Pengjun Xie | Fei Huang | Lijie Wen | Philip S. Yu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Data augmentation techniques have been used to alleviate the problem of scarce labeled data in various NER tasks (flat, nested, and discontinuous NER tasks). Existing augmentation techniques either manipulate the words in the original text that break the semantic coherence of the text, or exploit generative models that ignore preserving entities in the original text, which impedes the use of augmentation techniques on nested and discontinuous NER tasks. In this work, we propose a novel Entity-to-Text based data augmentation technique named EnTDA to add, delete, replace or swap entities in the entity list of the original texts, and adopt these augmented entity lists to generate semantically coherent and entity preserving texts for various NER tasks. Furthermore, we introduce a diversity beam search to increase the diversity during the text generation process. Experiments on thirteen NER datasets across three tasks (flat, nested, and discontinuous NER tasks) and two settings (full data and low resource settings) show that EnTDA could bring more performance improvements compared to the baseline augmentation techniques.


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Scene Graph Modification as Incremental Structure Expanding
Xuming Hu | Zhijiang Guo | Yu Fu | Lijie Wen | Philip S. Yu
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

A scene graph is a semantic representation that expresses the objects, attributes, and relationships between objects in a scene. Scene graphs play an important role in many cross modality tasks, as they are able to capture the interactions between images and texts. In this paper, we focus on scene graph modification (SGM), where the system is required to learn how to update an existing scene graph based on a natural language query. Unlike previous approaches that rebuilt the entire scene graph, we frame SGM as a graph expansion task by introducing the incremental structure expanding (ISE). ISE constructs the target graph by incrementally expanding the source graph without changing the unmodified structure. Based on ISE, we further propose a model that iterates between nodes prediction and edges prediction, inferring more accurate and harmonious expansion decisions progressively. In addition, we construct a challenging dataset that contains more complicated queries and larger scene graphs than existing datasets. Experiments on four benchmarks demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach, which surpasses the previous state-of-the-art model by large margins.

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Character-level White-Box Adversarial Attacks against Transformers via Attachable Subwords Substitution
Aiwei Liu | Honghai Yu | Xuming Hu | Shu’ang Li | Li Lin | Fukun Ma | Yawen Yang | Lijie Wen
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We propose the first character-level white-box adversarial attack method against transformer models. The intuition of our method comes from the observation that words are split into subtokens before being fed into the transformer models and the substitution between two close subtokens has a similar effect with the character modification. Our method mainly contains three steps. First, a gradient-based method is adopted to find the most vulnerable words in the sentence. Then we split the selected words into subtokens to replace the origin tokenization result from the transformer tokenizer. Finally, we utilize an adversarial loss to guide the substitution of attachable subtokens in which the Gumbel-softmax trick is introduced to ensure gradient propagation. Meanwhile, we introduce the visual and length constraint in the optimization process to achieve minimum character modifications. Extensive experiments on both sentence-level and token-level tasks demonstrate that our method could outperform the previous attack methods in terms of success rate and edit distance. Furthermore, human evaluation verifies our adversarial examples could preserve their origin labels.

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CHEF: A Pilot Chinese Dataset for Evidence-Based Fact-Checking
Xuming Hu | Zhijiang Guo | GuanYu Wu | Aiwei Liu | Lijie Wen | Philip Yu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

The explosion of misinformation spreading in the media ecosystem urges for automated fact-checking. While misinformation spans both geographic and linguistic boundaries, most work in the field has focused on English. Datasets and tools available in other languages, such as Chinese, are limited. In order to bridge this gap, we construct CHEF, the first CHinese Evidence-based Fact-checking dataset of 10K real-world claims. The dataset covers multiple domains, ranging from politics to public health, and provides annotated evidence retrieved from the Internet. Further, we develop established baselines and a novel approach that is able to model the evidence retrieval as a latent variable, allowing jointly training with the veracity prediction model in an end-to-end fashion. Extensive experiments show that CHEF will provide a challenging testbed for the development of fact-checking systems designed to retrieve and reason over non-English claims.

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HiURE: Hierarchical Exemplar Contrastive Learning for Unsupervised Relation Extraction
Shuliang Liu | Xuming Hu | Chenwei Zhang | Shu’ang Li | Lijie Wen | Philip Yu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Unsupervised relation extraction aims to extract the relationship between entities from natural language sentences without prior information on relational scope or distribution. Existing works either utilize self-supervised schemes to refine relational feature signals by iteratively leveraging adaptive clustering and classification that provoke gradual drift problems, or adopt instance-wise contrastive learning which unreasonably pushes apart those sentence pairs that are semantically similar. To overcome these defects, we propose a novel contrastive learning framework named HiURE, which has the capability to derive hierarchical signals from relational feature space using cross hierarchy attention and effectively optimize relation representation of sentences under exemplar-wise contrastive learning. Experimental results on two public datasets demonstrate the advanced effectiveness and robustness of HiURE on unsupervised relation extraction when compared with state-of-the-art models.


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Learning Algebraic Recombination for Compositional Generalization
Chenyao Liu | Shengnan An | Zeqi Lin | Qian Liu | Bei Chen | Jian-Guang Lou | Lijie Wen | Nanning Zheng | Dongmei Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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Semi-supervised Relation Extraction via Incremental Meta Self-Training
Xuming Hu | Chenwei Zhang | Fukun Ma | Chenyao Liu | Lijie Wen | Philip S. Yu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

To alleviate human efforts from obtaining large-scale annotations, Semi-Supervised Relation Extraction methods aim to leverage unlabeled data in addition to learning from limited samples. Existing self-training methods suffer from the gradual drift problem, where noisy pseudo labels on unlabeled data are incorporated during training. To alleviate the noise in pseudo labels, we propose a method called MetaSRE, where a Relation Label Generation Network generates accurate quality assessment on pseudo labels by (meta) learning from the successful and failed attempts on Relation Classification Network as an additional meta-objective. To reduce the influence of noisy pseudo labels, MetaSRE adopts a pseudo label selection and exploitation scheme which assesses pseudo label quality on unlabeled samples and only exploits high-quality pseudo labels in a self-training fashion to incrementally augment labeled samples for both robustness and accuracy. Experimental results on two public datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach.

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Gradient Imitation Reinforcement Learning for Low Resource Relation Extraction
Xuming Hu | Chenwei Zhang | Yawen Yang | Xiaohe Li | Li Lin | Lijie Wen | Philip S. Yu
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Low-resource Relation Extraction (LRE) aims to extract relation facts from limited labeled corpora when human annotation is scarce. Existing works either utilize self-training scheme to generate pseudo labels that will cause the gradual drift problem, or leverage meta-learning scheme which does not solicit feedback explicitly. To alleviate selection bias due to the lack of feedback loops in existing LRE learning paradigms, we developed a Gradient Imitation Reinforcement Learning method to encourage pseudo label data to imitate the gradient descent direction on labeled data and bootstrap its optimization capability through trial and error. We also propose a framework called GradLRE, which handles two major scenarios in low-resource relation extraction. Besides the scenario where unlabeled data is sufficient, GradLRE handles the situation where no unlabeled data is available, by exploiting a contextualized augmentation method to generate data. Experimental results on two public datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of GradLRE on low resource relation extraction when comparing with baselines.

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Counterfactual Inference for Text Classification Debiasing
Chen Qian | Fuli Feng | Lijie Wen | Chunping Ma | Pengjun Xie
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)

Today’s text classifiers inevitably suffer from unintended dataset biases, especially the document-level label bias and word-level keyword bias, which may hurt models’ generalization. Many previous studies employed data-level manipulations or model-level balancing mechanisms to recover unbiased distributions and thus prevent models from capturing the two types of biases. Unfortunately, they either suffer from the extra cost of data collection/selection/annotation or need an elaborate design of balancing strategies. Different from traditional factual inference in which debiasing occurs before or during training, counterfactual inference mitigates the influence brought by unintended confounders after training, which can make unbiased decisions with biased observations. Inspired by this, we propose a model-agnostic text classification debiasing framework – Corsair, which can effectively avoid employing data manipulations or designing balancing mechanisms. Concretely, Corsair first trains a base model on a training set directly, allowing the dataset biases ‘poison’ the trained model. In inference, given a factual input document, Corsair imagines its two counterfactual counterparts to distill and mitigate the two biases captured by the poisonous model. Extensive experiments demonstrate Corsair’s effectiveness, generalizability and fairness.


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SelfORE: Self-supervised Relational Feature Learning for Open Relation Extraction
Xuming Hu | Lijie Wen | Yusong Xu | Chenwei Zhang | Philip Yu
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Open relation extraction is the task of extracting open-domain relation facts from natural language sentences. Existing works either utilize heuristics or distant-supervised annotations to train a supervised classifier over pre-defined relations, or adopt unsupervised methods with additional assumptions that have less discriminative power. In this work, we propose a self-supervised framework named SelfORE, which exploits weak, self-supervised signals by leveraging large pretrained language model for adaptive clustering on contextualized relational features, and bootstraps the self-supervised signals by improving contextualized features in relation classification. Experimental results on three datasets show the effectiveness and robustness of SelfORE on open-domain Relation Extraction when comparing with competitive baselines.

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A Graph Representation of Semi-structured Data for Web Question Answering
Xingyao Zhang | Linjun Shou | Jian Pei | Ming Gong | Lijie Wen | Daxin Jiang
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

The abundant semi-structured data on the Web, such as HTML-based tables and lists, provide commercial search engines a rich information source for question answering (QA). Different from plain text passages in Web documents, Web tables and lists have inherent structures, which carry semantic correlations among various elements in tables and lists. Many existing studies treat tables and lists as flat documents with pieces of text and do not make good use of semantic information hidden in structures. In this paper, we propose a novel graph representation of Web tables and lists based on a systematic categorization of the components in semi-structured data as well as their relations. We also develop pre-training and reasoning techniques on the graph model for the QA task. Extensive experiments on several real datasets collected from a commercial engine verify the effectiveness of our approach. Our method improves F1 score by 3.90 points over the state-of-the-art baselines.