Ming Gao


2023

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FashionKLIP: Enhancing E-Commerce Image-Text Retrieval with Fashion Multi-Modal Conceptual Knowledge Graph
Xiaodan Wang | Chengyu Wang | Lei Li | Zhixu Li | Ben Chen | Linbo Jin | Jun Huang | Yanghua Xiao | Ming Gao
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 5: Industry Track)

Image-text retrieval is a core task in the multi-modal domain, which arises a lot of attention from both research and industry communities. Recently, the booming of visual-language pre-trained (VLP) models has greatly enhanced the performance of cross-modal retrieval. However, the fine-grained interactions between objects from different modalities are far from well-established. This issue becomes more severe in the e-commerce domain, which lacks sufficient training data and fine-grained cross-modal knowledge. To alleviate the problem, this paper proposes a novel e-commerce knowledge-enhanced VLP model FashionKLIP. We first automatically establish a multi-modal conceptual knowledge graph from large-scale e-commerce image-text data, and then inject the prior knowledge into the VLP model to align across modalities at the conceptual level. The experiments conducted on a public benchmark dataset demonstrate that FashionKLIP effectively enhances the performance of e-commerce image-text retrieval upon state-of-the-art VLP models by a large margin. The application of the method in real industrial scenarios also proves the feasibility and efficiency of FashionKLIP.

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When Gradient Descent Meets Derivative-Free Optimization: A Match Made in Black-Box Scenario
Chengcheng Han | Liqing Cui | Renyu Zhu | Jianing Wang | Nuo Chen | Qiushi Sun | Xiang Li | Ming Gao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Large pre-trained language models (PLMs) have garnered significant attention for their versatility and potential for solving a wide spectrum of natural language processing (NLP) tasks. However, the cost of running these PLMs may be prohibitive. Furthermore, PLMs may not be open-sourced due to commercial considerations and potential risks of misuse, such as GPT-3. The parameters and gradients of PLMs are unavailable in this scenario. To solve the issue, black-box tuning has been proposed, which utilizes derivative-free optimization (DFO), instead of gradient descent, for training task-specific continuous prompts. However, these gradient-free methods still exhibit a significant gap compared to gradient-based methods. In this paper, we introduce gradient descent into black-box tuning scenario through knowledge distillation. Furthermore, we propose a novel method GDFO, which integrates gradient descent and derivative-free optimization to optimize task-specific continuous prompts in a harmonized manner. Experimental results show that GDFO can achieve significant performance gains over previous state-of-the-art methods.

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Pass-Tuning: Towards Structure-Aware Parameter-Efficient Tuning for Code Representation Learning
Nuo Chen | Qiushi Sun | Jianing Wang | Xiang Li | Ming Gao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Code pre-trained models (CodePTMs) have recently become the de-facto paradigm for various tasks in the domain of code intelligence. To achieve excellent performance, the widely used strategy is to fine-tune all the parameters of CodePTMs. However, as the model size increases along with the number of downstream tasks, this strategy becomes excessively expensive. There are also some prior works that utilize Parameter-Efficient Learning (PEL) methods for model tuning in natural language processing to mitigate similar problems, but applying them directly to CodePTMs fails to capture the inherent structural characteristics of codes. To address the problem, in this paper, we propose Pass-Tuning for structure-aware Parameter-Efficient code representation learning. Specifically, a plug-and-play graph neural network module that can learn from Abstract Syntax Tree (AST) is employed as a tunable prefix. On the one hand, Pass-Tuning can further exploit the structural information of source code. On the other hand, it could serve as a replacement for full fine-tuning. We evaluate our method on multiple tasks across eight programming languages, including code understanding and generation. These results demonstrate the effectiveness, robustness, and universality of our method.

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Uncertainty-aware Parameter-Efficient Self-training for Semi-supervised Language Understanding
Jianing Wang | Qiushi Sun | Nuo Chen | Chengyu Wang | Jun Huang | Ming Gao | Xiang Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

The recent success of large pre-trained language models (PLMs) heavily hinges on massive labeled data, which typically produces inferior performance in low-resource scenarios. To remedy this dilemma, we study self-training as one of the predominant semi-supervised learning (SSL) approaches, which utilizes large-scale unlabeled data to generate synthetic examples. However, too many noisy labels will hurt the model performance, and the self-training procedure requires multiple training iterations making it more expensive if all the model parameters of the PLM are updated. This paper presents UPET, a novel Uncertainty-aware Parameter-Efficient self-Training framework to effectively and efficiently address the labeled data scarcity issue. Specifically, we incorporate Monte Carlo (MC) dropout in Bayesian neural network (BNN) to perform uncertainty estimation for the teacher model and then judiciously select reliable pseudo-labeled examples based on confidence and certainty. During the student training, we introduce multiple parameter-efficient learning (PEL) paradigms that allow optimizes only a small percentage of parameters. We also propose a novel Easy-Hard Contrastive Tuning to enhance the robustness and generalization. Extensive experiments over multiple downstream tasks demonstrate that UPET achieves a substantial improvement in terms of performance and efficiency. Our codes and data are released at https: //github.com/wjn1996/UPET.

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Evaluating and Enhancing the Robustness of Code Pre-trained Models through Structure-Aware Adversarial Samples Generation
Nuo Chen | Qiushi Sun | Jianing Wang | Ming Gao | Xiaoli Li | Xiang Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Code pre-trained models (CodePTMs) have significantly advanced the field of neural code intelligence. Despite their capabilities, these models are susceptible to adversarial attacks that subtly modify the model inputs, resulting in incorrect outputs or predictions. Previous methods of robustness evaluation for CodePTMs primarily stem from a textual perspective, without explicitly taking into account the structure of the code. Furthermore, prior studies fail to encompass a broad enough spectrum of tasks and models. In this paper, we propose a set of novel robustness evaluation methods based on the intrinsic structure of the code. Specifically, we first launch adversarial attacks on crucial identifier tokens and sub-tree structures to explore the impact of imperceptible perturbation. Then, we perform global restructuring of the code using different traversal methods for abstract syntax trees, aiming to explore the model’s sensitivity to input samples with equivalent information. Moreover, for each scenario, we employ adversarial training methods to explore the possibility of restoring the performance of perturbed models. For both code understanding and generation, our proposed method has demonstrated its effectiveness across a wide range of models and tasks, thereby allowing us to make one step forward in our understanding of the inner mechanisms of CodePTMs.

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DialCoT Meets PPO: Decomposing and Exploring Reasoning Paths in Smaller Language Models
Chengcheng Han | Xiaowei Du | Che Zhang | Yixin Lian | Xiang Li | Ming Gao | Baoyuan Wang
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Chain-of-Thought (CoT) prompting has successfully enhanced the reasoning capabilities of Large Language Models (LLMs) with at least 100 billion parameters. However, it is ineffective, or even detrimental, to the performance on reasoning tasks in Smaller Language Models (SLMs) with less than 10 billion parameters. In this paper, we propose Dialogue-guided Chain-of-Thought (DialCoT) to improve the reasoning capabilities of SLMs, with the aim of generating intermediate reasoning steps in a dialogue format to guide the model to the final answer. Furthermore, we optimize the model to choose the optimal reasoning path through the Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO) algorithm, further enhancing its reasoning capabilities. Compared to previous methods, our advantages lie in: 1) We transform the process of solving complex reasoning problems into decomposing problems and solving a series of simpler sub-questions, significantly reducing task difficulty and making it more suitable for SLMs. 2) We optimize the model to choose the optimal reasoning path through the PPO algorithm. Comprehensive experiments on four arithmetic reasoning datasets show that our method can achieve significant performance gains over state-of-the-art competitors.

2022

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A Neural Network Architecture for Program Understanding Inspired by Human Behaviors
Renyu Zhu | Lei Yuan | Xiang Li | Ming Gao | Wenyuan Cai
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Program understanding is a fundamental task in program language processing. Despite the success, existing works fail to take human behaviors as reference in understanding programs. In this paper, we consider human behaviors and propose the PGNN-EK model that consists of two main components. On the one hand, inspired by the “divide-and-conquer” reading behaviors of humans, we present a partitioning-based graph neural network model PGNN on the upgraded AST of codes. On the other hand, to characterize human behaviors of resorting to other resources to help code comprehension, we transform raw codes with external knowledge and apply pre-training techniques for information extraction. Finally, we combine the two embeddings generated from the two components to output code embeddings. We conduct extensive experiments to show the superior performance of PGNN-EK on the code summarization and code clone detection tasks. In particular, to show the generalization ability of our model, we release a new dataset that is more challenging for code clone detection and could advance the development of the community. Our codes and data are publicly available at https://github.com/RecklessRonan/PGNN-EK.

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KECP: Knowledge Enhanced Contrastive Prompting for Few-shot Extractive Question Answering
Jianing Wang | Chengyu Wang | Minghui Qiu | Qiuhui Shi | Hongbin Wang | Jun Huang | Ming Gao
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Extractive Question Answering (EQA) is one of the most essential tasks in Machine Reading Comprehension (MRC), which can be solved by fine-tuning the span selecting heads of Pre-trained Language Models (PLMs). However, most existing approaches for MRC may perform poorly in the few-shot learning scenario. To solve this issue, we propose a novel framework named Knowledge Enhanced Contrastive Prompt-tuning (KECP). Instead of adding pointer heads to PLMs, we introduce a seminal paradigm for EQA that transforms the task into a non-autoregressive Masked Language Modeling (MLM) generation problem. Simultaneously, rich semantics from the external knowledge base (KB) and the passage context support enhancing the query’s representations. In addition, to boost the performance of PLMs, we jointly train the model by the MLM and contrastive learning objectives. Experiments on multiple benchmarks demonstrate that our method consistently outperforms state-of-the-art approaches in few-shot settings by a large margin.

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Knowledge Prompting in Pre-trained Language Model for Natural Language Understanding
Jianing Wang | Wenkang Huang | Minghui Qiu | Qiuhui Shi | Hongbin Wang | Xiang Li | Ming Gao
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Knowledge-enhanced Pre-trained Language Model (PLM) has recently received significant attention, which aims to incorporate factual knowledge into PLMs. However, most existing methods modify the internal structures of fixed types of PLMs by stacking complicated modules, and introduce redundant and irrelevant factual knowledge from knowledge bases (KBs). In this paper, to address these problems, we introduce a seminal knowledge prompting paradigm and further propose a knowledge-prompting-based PLM framework KP-PLM. This framework can be flexibly combined with existing mainstream PLMs. Specifically, we first construct a knowledge sub-graph from KBs for each context. Then we design multiple continuous prompts rules and transform the knowledge sub-graph into natural language prompts. To further leverage the factual knowledge from these prompts, we propose two novel knowledge-aware self-supervised tasks including prompt relevance inspection and masked prompt modeling. Extensive experiments on multiple natural language understanding (NLU) tasks show the superiority of KP-PLM over other state-of-the-art methods in both full-resource and low-resource settings. Our source codes will be released upon the acceptance of the paper.

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SpanProto: A Two-stage Span-based Prototypical Network for Few-shot Named Entity Recognition
Jianing Wang | Chengyu Wang | Chuanqi Tan | Minghui Qiu | Songfang Huang | Jun Huang | Ming Gao
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Few-shot Named Entity Recognition (NER) aims to identify named entities with very little annotated data. Previous methods solve this problem based on token-wise classification, which ignores the information of entity boundaries, and inevitably the performance is affected by the massive non-entity tokens. To this end, we propose a seminal span-based prototypical network (SpanProto) that tackles few-shot NER via a two-stage approach, including span extraction and mention classification. In the span extraction stage, we transform the sequential tags into a global boundary matrix, enabling the model to focus on the explicit boundary information. For mention classification, we leverage prototypical learning to capture the semantic representations for each labeled span and make the model better adapt to novel-class entities. To further improve the model performance, we split out the false positives generated by the span extractor but not labeled in the current episode set, and then present a margin-based loss to separate them from each prototype region. Experiments over multiple benchmarks demonstrate that our model outperforms strong baselines by a large margin.

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Towards Unified Prompt Tuning for Few-shot Text Classification
Jianing Wang | Chengyu Wang | Fuli Luo | Chuanqi Tan | Minghui Qiu | Fei Yang | Qiuhui Shi | Songfang Huang | Ming Gao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Prompt-based fine-tuning has boosted the performance of Pre-trained Language Models (PLMs) on few-shot text classification by employing task-specific prompts. Yet, PLMs are unfamiliar with prompt-style expressions during pre-training, which limits the few-shot learning performance on downstream tasks. It would be desirable if the models can acquire some prompting knowledge before adapting to specific NLP tasks. We present the Unified Prompt Tuning (UPT) framework, leading to better few-shot text classification for BERT-style models by explicitly capturing prompting semantics from non-target NLP datasets. In UPT, a novel paradigm Prompt-Options-Verbalizer is proposed for joint prompt learning across different NLP tasks, forcing PLMs to capture task-invariant prompting knowledge. We further design a self-supervised task named Knowledge-enhanced Selective Masked Language Modeling to improve the PLM’s generalization abilities for accurate adaptation to previously unseen tasks. After multi-task learning across multiple tasks, the PLM can be better prompt-tuned towards any dissimilar target tasks in low-resourced settings. Experiments over a variety of NLP tasks show that UPT consistently outperforms state-of-the-arts for prompt-based fine-tuning.

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ARTIST: A Transformer-based Chinese Text-to-Image Synthesizer Digesting Linguistic and World Knowledge
Tingting Liu | Chengyu Wang | Xiangru Zhu | Lei Li | Minghui Qiu | Jun Huang | Ming Gao | Yanghua Xiao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Text-to-Image Synthesis (TIS) is a popular task to convert natural language texts into realistic images. Recently, transformer-based TIS models (such as DALL-E) have been proposed using the encoder-decoder architectures. Yet, these billion-scale TIS models are difficult to tune and deploy in resource-constrained environments. In addition, there is a lack of language-specific TIS benchmarks for Chinese, together with high-performing models with moderate sizes. In this work, we present ARTIST, A tRansformer-based Chinese Text-to-Image SynThesizer for high-resolution image generation. In ARTIST, the rich linguistic and relational knowledge facts are injected into the model to ensure better model performance without the usage of ultra-large models. We further establish a large-scale Chinese TIS benchmark with the re-production results of state-of-the-art transformer-based TIS models. Results show ARTIST outperforms previous approaches.

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CAT-probing: A Metric-based Approach to Interpret How Pre-trained Models for Programming Language Attend Code Structure
Nuo Chen | Qiushi Sun | Renyu Zhu | Xiang Li | Xuesong Lu | Ming Gao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Code pre-trained models (CodePTMs) have recently demonstrated significant success in code intelligence. To interpret these models, some probing methods have been applied. However, these methods fail to consider the inherent characteristics of codes. In this paper, to address the problem, we propose a novel probing method CAT-probing to quantitatively interpret how CodePTMs attend code structure. We first denoise the input code sequences based on the token types pre-defined by the compilers to filter those tokens whose attention scores are too small. After that, we define a new metric CAT-score to measure the commonality between the token-level attention scores generated in CodePTMs and the pair-wise distances between corresponding AST nodes. The higher the CAT-score, the stronger the ability of CodePTMs to capture code structure. We conduct extensive experiments to integrate CAT-probing with representative CodePTMs for different programming languages. Experimental results show the effectiveness of CAT-probing in CodePTM interpretation. Our codes and data are publicly available at https://github.com/nchen909/CodeAttention.

2021

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TransPrompt: Towards an Automatic Transferable Prompting Framework for Few-shot Text Classification
Chengyu Wang | Jianing Wang | Minghui Qiu | Jun Huang | Ming Gao
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Recent studies have shown that prompts improve the performance of large pre-trained language models for few-shot text classification. Yet, it is unclear how the prompting knowledge can be transferred across similar NLP tasks for the purpose of mutual reinforcement. Based on continuous prompt embeddings, we propose TransPrompt, a transferable prompting framework for few-shot learning across similar tasks. In TransPrompt, we employ a multi-task meta-knowledge acquisition procedure to train a meta-learner that captures cross-task transferable knowledge. Two de-biasing techniques are further designed to make it more task-agnostic and unbiased towards any tasks. After that, the meta-learner can be adapted to target tasks with high accuracy. Extensive experiments show that TransPrompt outperforms single-task and cross-task strong baselines over multiple NLP tasks and datasets. We further show that the meta-learner can effectively improve the performance on previously unseen tasks; and TransPrompt also outperforms strong fine-tuning baselines when learning with full training sets.

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Meta-Learning Adversarial Domain Adaptation Network for Few-Shot Text Classification
Chengcheng Han | Zeqiu Fan | Dongxiang Zhang | Minghui Qiu | Ming Gao | Aoying Zhou
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021