Meng Cao


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Analyzing Multi-Sentence Aggregation in Abstractive Summarization via the Shapley Value
Jingyi He | Meng Cao | Jackie Chi Kit Cheung
Proceedings of the 4th New Frontiers in Summarization Workshop

Abstractive summarization systems aim to write concise summaries capturing the most essential information of the input document in their own words. One of the ways to achieve this is to gather and combine multiple pieces of information from the source document, a process we call aggregation. Despite its importance, the extent to which both reference summaries in benchmark datasets and system-generated summaries require aggregation is yet unknown. In this work, we propose AggSHAP, a measure of the degree of aggregation in a summary sentence. We show that AggSHAP distinguishes multi-sentence aggregation from single-sentence extraction or paraphrasing through automatic and human evaluations. We find that few reference or model-generated summary sentences have a high degree of aggregation measured by the proposed metric. We also demonstrate negative correlations between AggSHAP and other quality scores of system summaries. These findings suggest the need to develop new tasks and datasets to encourage multi-sentence aggregation in summarization.

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Responsible AI Considerations in Text Summarization Research: A Review of Current Practices
Yu Lu Liu | Meng Cao | Su Lin Blodgett | Jackie Chi Kit Cheung | Alexandra Olteanu | Adam Trischler
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

AI and NLP publication venues have increasingly encouraged researchers to reflect on possible ethical considerations, adverse impacts, and other responsible AI issues their work might engender. However, for specific NLP tasks our understanding of how prevalent such issues are, or when and why these issues are likely to arise, remains limited. Focusing on text summarization—a common NLP task largely overlooked by the responsible AI community—we examine research and reporting practices in the current literature. We conduct a multi-round qualitative analysis of 333 summarization papers from the ACL Anthology published between 2020–2022. We focus on how, which, and when responsible AI issues are covered, which relevant stakeholders are considered, and mismatches between stated and realized research goals. We also discuss current evaluation practices and consider how authors discuss the limitations of both prior work and their own work. Overall, we find that relatively few papers engage with possible stakeholders or contexts of use, which limits their consideration of potential downstream adverse impacts or other responsible AI issues. Based on our findings, we make recommendations on concrete practices and research directions.


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Hallucinated but Factual! Inspecting the Factuality of Hallucinations in Abstractive Summarization
Meng Cao | Yue Dong | Jackie Cheung
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

State-of-the-art abstractive summarization systems often generate hallucinations; i.e., content that is not directly inferable from the source text. Despite being assumed to be incorrect, we find that much hallucinated content is actually consistent with world knowledge, which we call factual hallucinations. Including these factual hallucinations in a summary can be beneficial because they provide useful background information. In this work, we propose a novel detection approach that separates factual from non-factual hallucinations of entities. Our method is based on an entity’s prior and posterior probabilities according to pre-trained and finetuned masked language models, respectively. Empirical results suggest that our method vastly outperforms two baselines in both accuracy and F1 scores and has a strong correlation with human judgments on factuality classification tasks. Furthermore, we use our method as a reward signal to train a summarization system using an off-line reinforcement learning (RL) algorithm that can significantly improve the factuality of generated summaries while maintaining the level of abstractiveness.

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Learning with Rejection for Abstractive Text Summarization
Meng Cao | Yue Dong | Jingyi He | Jackie Chi Kit Cheung
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

State-of-the-art abstractive summarization systems frequently hallucinate content that is not supported by the source document, mainly due to noise in the training dataset.Existing methods opt to drop the noisy samples or tokens from the training set entirely, reducing the effective training set size and creating an artificial propensity to copy words from the source. In this work, we propose a training objective for abstractive summarization based on rejection learning, in which the model learns whether or not to reject potentially noisy tokens. We further propose a regularized decoding objective that penalizes non-factual candidate summaries during inference by using the rejection probability learned during training.We show that our method considerably improves the factuality of generated summaries in automatic and human evaluations when compared to five baseline models, and that it does so while increasing the abstractiveness of the generated summaries.


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On Pursuit of Designing Multi-modal Transformer for Video Grounding
Meng Cao | Long Chen | Mike Zheng Shou | Can Zhang | Yuexian Zou
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Video grounding aims to localize the temporal segment corresponding to a sentence query from an untrimmed video. Almost all existing video grounding methods fall into two frameworks: 1) Top-down model: It predefines a set of segment candidates and then conducts segment classification and regression. 2) Bottom-up model: It directly predicts frame-wise probabilities of the referential segment boundaries. However, all these methods are not end-to-end, i.e., they always rely on some time-consuming post-processing steps to refine predictions. To this end, we reformulate video grounding as a set prediction task and propose a novel end-to-end multi-modal Transformer model, dubbed as GTR. Specifically, GTR has two encoders for video and language encoding, and a cross-modal decoder for grounding prediction. To facilitate the end-to-end training, we use a Cubic Embedding layer to transform the raw videos into a set of visual tokens. To better fuse these two modalities in the decoder, we design a new Multi-head Cross-Modal Attention. The whole GTR is optimized via a Many-to-One matching loss. Furthermore, we conduct comprehensive studies to investigate different model design choices. Extensive results on three benchmarks have validated the superiority of GTR. All three typical GTR variants achieve record-breaking performance on all datasets and metrics, with several times faster inference speed.


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TeMP: Temporal Message Passing for Temporal Knowledge Graph Completion
Jiapeng Wu | Meng Cao | Jackie Chi Kit Cheung | William L. Hamilton
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Inferring missing facts in temporal knowledge graphs (TKGs) is a fundamental and challenging task. Previous works have approached this problem by augmenting methods for static knowledge graphs to leverage time-dependent representations. However, these methods do not explicitly leverage multi-hop structural information and temporal facts from recent time steps to enhance their predictions. Additionally, prior work does not explicitly address the temporal sparsity and variability of entity distributions in TKGs. We propose the Temporal Message Passing (TeMP) framework to address these challenges by combining graph neural networks, temporal dynamics models, data imputation and frequency-based gating techniques. Experiments on standard TKG tasks show that our approach provides substantial gains compared to the previous state of the art, achieving a 10.7% average relative improvement in Hits@10 across three standard benchmarks. Our analysis also reveals important sources of variability both within and across TKG datasets, and we introduce several simple but strong baselines that outperform the prior state of the art in certain settings.

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Factual Error Correction for Abstractive Summarization Models
Meng Cao | Yue Dong | Jiapeng Wu | Jackie Chi Kit Cheung
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Neural abstractive summarization systems have achieved promising progress, thanks to the availability of large-scale datasets and models pre-trained with self-supervised methods. However, ensuring the factual consistency of the generated summaries for abstractive summarization systems is a challenge. We propose a post-editing corrector module to address this issue by identifying and correcting factual errors in generated summaries. The neural corrector model is pre-trained on artificial examples that are created by applying a series of heuristic transformations on reference summaries. These transformations are inspired by the error analysis of state-of-the-art summarization model outputs. Experimental results show that our model is able to correct factual errors in summaries generated by other neural summarization models and outperforms previous models on factual consistency evaluation on the CNN/DailyMail dataset. We also find that transferring from artificial error correction to downstream settings is still very challenging.


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Referring Expression Generation Using Entity Profiles
Meng Cao | Jackie Chi Kit Cheung
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Referring Expression Generation (REG) is the task of generating contextually appropriate references to entities. A limitation of existing REG systems is that they rely on entity-specific supervised training, which means that they cannot handle entities not seen during training. In this study, we address this in two ways. First, we propose task setups in which we specifically test a REG system’s ability to generalize to entities not seen during training. Second, we propose a profile-based deep neural network model, ProfileREG, which encodes both the local context and an external profile of the entity to generate reference realizations. Our model generates tokens by learning to choose between generating pronouns, generating from a fixed vocabulary, or copying a word from the profile. We evaluate our model on three different splits of the WebNLG dataset, and show that it outperforms competitive baselines in all settings according to automatic and human evaluations.