Lu Xu


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Parameter-Efficient Conversational Recommender System as a Language Processing Task
Mathieu Ravaut | Hao Zhang | Lu Xu | Aixin Sun | Yong Liu
Proceedings of the 18th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Conversational recommender systems (CRS) aim to recommend relevant items to users by eliciting user preference through natural language conversation. Prior work often utilizes external knowledge graphs for items’ semantic information, a language model for dialogue generation, and a recommendation module for ranking relevant items. This combination of multiple components suffers from a cumber-some training process, and leads to semantic misalignment issues between dialogue generation and item recommendation. In this paper, we represent items in natural language and formulate CRS as a natural language processing task. Accordingly, we leverage the power of pre-trained language models to encode items, understand user intent via conversation, perform item recommendation through semantic matching, and generate dialogues. As a unified model, our PECRS (Parameter-Efficient CRS), can be optimized in a single stage, without relying on non-textual metadata such as a knowledge graph. Experiments on two benchmark CRS datasets, ReDial and INSPIRED, demonstrate the effectiveness of PECRS on recommendation and conversation. Our code is available at:


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Sampling Better Negatives for Distantly Supervised Named Entity Recognition
Lu Xu | Lidong Bing | Wei Lu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Distantly supervised named entity recognition (DS-NER) has been proposed to exploit the automatically labeled training data instead of human annotations. The distantly annotated datasets are often noisy and contain a considerable number of false negatives. The recent approach uses a weighted sampling approach to select a subset of negative samples for training. However, it requires a good classifier to assign weights to the negative samples. In this paper, we propose a simple and straightforward approach for selecting the top negative samples that have high similarities with all the positive samples for training. Our method achieves consistent performance improvements on four distantly supervised NER datasets. Our analysis also shows that it is critical to differentiate the true negatives from the false negatives.

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Class-Adaptive Self-Training for Relation Extraction with Incompletely Annotated Training Data
Qingyu Tan | Lu Xu | Lidong Bing | Hwee Tou Ng
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Relation extraction (RE) aims to extract relations from sentences and documents. Existing relation extraction models typically rely on supervised machine learning. However, recent studies showed that many RE datasets are incompletely annotated. This is known as the false negative problem in which valid relations are falsely annotated as ‘no_relation’. Models trained with such data inevitably make similar mistakes during the inference stage. Self-training has been proven effective in alleviating the false negative problem. However, traditional self-training is vulnerable to confirmation bias and exhibits poor performance in minority classes. To overcome this limitation, we proposed a novel class-adaptive re-sampling self-training framework. Specifically, we re-sampled the pseudo-labels for each class by precision and recall scores. Our re-sampling strategy favored the pseudo-labels of classes with high precision and low recall, which improved the overall recall without significantly compromising precision. We conducted experiments on document-level and biomedical relation extraction datasets, and the results showed that our proposed self-training framework consistently outperforms existing competitive methods on the Re-DocRED and ChemDisgene datasets when the training data are incompletely annotated.

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Decomposed Prompt Tuning via Low-Rank Reparameterization
Yao Xiao | Lu Xu | Jiaxi Li | Wei Lu | Xiaoli Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

While prompt tuning approaches have achieved competitive performance with high efficiency, we observe that they invariably employ the same initialization process, wherein the soft prompt is either randomly initialized or derived from an existing embedding vocabulary. In contrast to these conventional methods, this study aims to investigate an alternative way to derive soft prompt. Our empirical studies show that the soft prompt typically exhibits a low “intrinsic rank” characteristic. With such observations, we propose decomposed prompt tuning, a novel approach that utilizes low-rank matrices to initialize the soft prompt. Through the low-rank reparameterization, our method significantly reduces the number of trainable parameters while maintaining effectiveness. Experimental results on the SuperGLUE benchmark in both high-resource and low-resource scenarios demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method.


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Revisiting DocRED - Addressing the False Negative Problem in Relation Extraction
Qingyu Tan | Lu Xu | Lidong Bing | Hwee Tou Ng | Sharifah Mahani Aljunied
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The DocRED dataset is one of the most popular and widely used benchmarks for document-level relation extraction (RE). It adopts a recommend-revise annotation scheme so as to have a large-scale annotated dataset. However, we find that the annotation of DocRED is incomplete, i.e., false negative samples are prevalent. We analyze the causes and effects of the overwhelming false negative problem in the DocRED dataset. To address the shortcoming, we re-annotate 4,053 documents in the DocRED dataset by adding the missed relation triples back to the original DocRED. We name our revised DocRED dataset Re-DocRED. We conduct extensive experiments with state-of-the-art neural models on both datasets, and the experimental results show that the models trained and evaluated on our Re-DocRED achieve performance improvements of around 13 F1 points. Moreover, we conduct a comprehensive analysis to identify the potential areas for further improvement.


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Better Feature Integration for Named Entity Recognition
Lu Xu | Zhanming Jie | Wei Lu | Lidong Bing
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

It has been shown that named entity recognition (NER) could benefit from incorporating the long-distance structured information captured by dependency trees. We believe this is because both types of features - the contextual information captured by the linear sequences and the structured information captured by the dependency trees may complement each other. However, existing approaches largely focused on stacking the LSTM and graph neural networks such as graph convolutional networks (GCNs) for building improved NER models, where the exact interaction mechanism between the two types of features is not very clear, and the performance gain does not appear to be significant. In this work, we propose a simple and robust solution to incorporate both types of features with our Synergized-LSTM (Syn-LSTM), which clearly captures how the two types of features interact. We conduct extensive experiments on several standard datasets across four languages. The results demonstrate that the proposed model achieves better performance than previous approaches while requiring fewer parameters. Our further analysis demonstrates that our model can capture longer dependencies compared with strong baselines.

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Learning Span-Level Interactions for Aspect Sentiment Triplet Extraction
Lu Xu | Yew Ken Chia | Lidong Bing
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)

Aspect Sentiment Triplet Extraction (ASTE) is the most recent subtask of ABSA which outputs triplets of an aspect target, its associated sentiment, and the corresponding opinion term. Recent models perform the triplet extraction in an end-to-end manner but heavily rely on the interactions between each target word and opinion word. Thereby, they cannot perform well on targets and opinions which contain multiple words. Our proposed span-level approach explicitly considers the interaction between the whole spans of targets and opinions when predicting their sentiment relation. Thus, it can make predictions with the semantics of whole spans, ensuring better sentiment consistency. To ease the high computational cost caused by span enumeration, we propose a dual-channel span pruning strategy by incorporating supervision from the Aspect Term Extraction (ATE) and Opinion Term Extraction (OTE) tasks. This strategy not only improves computational efficiency but also distinguishes the opinion and target spans more properly. Our framework simultaneously achieves strong performance for the ASTE as well as ATE and OTE tasks. In particular, our analysis shows that our span-level approach achieves more significant improvements over the baselines on triplets with multi-word targets or opinions.


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Position-Aware Tagging for Aspect Sentiment Triplet Extraction
Lu Xu | Hao Li | Wei Lu | Lidong Bing
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Aspect Sentiment Triplet Extraction (ASTE) is the task of extracting the triplets of target entities, their associated sentiment, and opinion spans explaining the reason for the sentiment. Existing research efforts mostly solve this problem using pipeline approaches, which break the triplet extraction process into several stages. Our observation is that the three elements within a triplet are highly related to each other, and this motivates us to build a joint model to extract such triplets using a sequence tagging approach. However, how to effectively design a tagging approach to extract the triplets that can capture the rich interactions among the elements is a challenging research question. In this work, we propose the first end-to-end model with a novel position-aware tagging scheme that is capable of jointly extracting the triplets. Our experimental results on several existing datasets show that jointly capturing elements in the triplet using our approach leads to improved performance over the existing approaches. We also conducted extensive experiments to investigate the model effectiveness and robustness.

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Aspect Sentiment Classification with Aspect-Specific Opinion Spans
Lu Xu | Lidong Bing | Wei Lu | Fei Huang
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Aspect based sentiment analysis, predicting sentiment polarity of given aspects, has drawn extensive attention. Previous attention-based models emphasize using aspect semantics to help extract opinion features for classification. However, these works are either not able to capture opinion spans as a whole, or not able to capture variable-length opinion spans. In this paper, we present a neat and effective structured attention model by aggregating multiple linear-chain CRFs. Such a design allows the model to extract aspect-specific opinion spans and then evaluate sentiment polarity by exploiting the extracted opinion features. The experimental results on four datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed model, and our analysis demonstrates that our model can capture aspect-specific opinion spans.