Ming Gong


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Bridging the Gap between Language Models and Cross-Lingual Sequence Labeling
Nuo Chen | Linjun Shou | Ming Gong | Jian Pei | Daxin Jiang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Large-scale cross-lingual pre-trained language models (xPLMs) have shown effective in cross-lingual sequence labeling tasks (xSL), such as machine reading comprehension (xMRC) by transferring knowledge from a high-resource language to low-resource languages.Despite the great success, we draw an empirical observation that there is an training objective gap between pre-training and fine-tuning stages: e.g., mask language modeling objective requires local understanding of the masked token and the span-extraction objective requires understanding and reasoning of the global input passage/paragraph and question, leading to the discrepancy between pre-training and xMRC. In this paper, we first design a pre-training task tailored for xSL named Cross-lingual Language Informative Span Masking (CLISM) to eliminate the objective gap in a self-supervised manner. Second, we present ContrAstive-Consistency Regularization (CACR), which utilizes contrastive learning to encourage the consistency between representations of input parallel sequences via unsupervised cross-lingual instance-wise training signals during pre-training. By these means, our methods not only bridge the gap between pretrain-finetune, but also enhance PLMs to better capture the alignment between different languages. Extensive experiments prove that our method achieves clearly superior results on multiple xSL benchmarks with limited pre-training data. Our methods also surpass the previous state-of-the-art methods by a large margin in few-shot data setting, where only a few hundred training examples are available.

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Multi-View Document Representation Learning for Open-Domain Dense Retrieval
Shunyu Zhang | Yaobo Liang | Ming Gong | Daxin Jiang | Nan Duan
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Dense retrieval has achieved impressive advances in first-stage retrieval from a large-scale document collection, which is built on bi-encoder architecture to produce single vector representation of query and document. However, a document can usually answer multiple potential queries from different views. So the single vector representation of a document is hard to match with multi-view queries, and faces a semantic mismatch problem. This paper proposes a multi-view document representation learning framework, aiming to produce multi-view embeddings to represent documents and enforce them to align with different queries. First, we propose a simple yet effective method of generating multiple embeddings through viewers. Second, to prevent multi-view embeddings from collapsing to the same one, we further propose a global-local loss with annealed temperature to encourage the multiple viewers to better align with different potential queries. Experiments show our method outperforms recent works and achieves state-of-the-art results.


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Learning from Multiple Noisy Augmented Data Sets for Better Cross-Lingual Spoken Language Understanding
Yingmei Guo | Linjun Shou | Jian Pei | Ming Gong | Mingxing Xu | Zhiyong Wu | Daxin Jiang
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Lack of training data presents a grand challenge to scaling out spoken language understanding (SLU) to low-resource languages. Although various data augmentation approaches have been proposed to synthesize training data in low-resource target languages, the augmented data sets are often noisy, and thus impede the performance of SLU models. In this paper we focus on mitigating noise in augmented data. We develop a denoising training approach. Multiple models are trained with data produced by various augmented methods. Those models provide supervision signals to each other. The experimental results show that our method outperforms the existing state of the art by 3.05 and 4.24 percentage points on two benchmark datasets, respectively. The code will be made open sourced on github.

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GLGE: A New General Language Generation Evaluation Benchmark
Dayiheng Liu | Yu Yan | Yeyun Gong | Weizhen Qi | Hang Zhang | Jian Jiao | Weizhu Chen | Jie Fu | Linjun Shou | Ming Gong | Pengcheng Wang | Jiusheng Chen | Daxin Jiang | Jiancheng Lv | Ruofei Zhang | Winnie Wu | Ming Zhou | Nan Duan
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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Retrieval Enhanced Model for Commonsense Generation
Han Wang | Yang Liu | Chenguang Zhu | Linjun Shou | Ming Gong | Yichong Xu | Michael Zeng
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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WhiteningBERT: An Easy Unsupervised Sentence Embedding Approach
Junjie Huang | Duyu Tang | Wanjun Zhong | Shuai Lu | Linjun Shou | Ming Gong | Daxin Jiang | Nan Duan
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Producing the embedding of a sentence in anunsupervised way is valuable to natural language matching and retrieval problems in practice. In this work, we conduct a thorough examination of pretrained model based unsupervised sentence embeddings. We study on fourpretrained models and conduct massive experiments on seven datasets regarding sentence semantics. We have three main findings. First, averaging all tokens is better than only using [CLS] vector. Second, combining both topand bottom layers is better than only using toplayers. Lastly, an easy whitening-based vector normalization strategy with less than 10 linesof code consistently boosts the performance. The whole project including codes and data is publicly available at https://github.com/Jun-jie-Huang/WhiteningBERT.

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Syntax-Enhanced Pre-trained Model
Zenan Xu | Daya Guo | Duyu Tang | Qinliang Su | Linjun Shou | Ming Gong | Wanjun Zhong | Xiaojun Quan | Daxin Jiang | Nan Duan
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)

We study the problem of leveraging the syntactic structure of text to enhance pre-trained models such as BERT and RoBERTa. Existing methods utilize syntax of text either in the pre-training stage or in the fine-tuning stage, so that they suffer from discrepancy between the two stages. Such a problem would lead to the necessity of having human-annotated syntactic information, which limits the application of existing methods to broader scenarios. To address this, we present a model that utilizes the syntax of text in both pre-training and fine-tuning stages. Our model is based on Transformer with a syntax-aware attention layer that considers the dependency tree of the text. We further introduce a new pre-training task of predicting the syntactic distance among tokens in the dependency tree. We evaluate the model on three downstream tasks, including relation classification, entity typing, and question answering. Results show that our model achieves state-of-the-art performance on six public benchmark datasets. We have two major findings. First, we demonstrate that infusing automatically produced syntax of text improves pre-trained models. Second, global syntactic distances among tokens bring larger performance gains compared to local head relations between contiguous tokens.

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CoSQA: 20,000+ Web Queries for Code Search and Question Answering
Junjie Huang | Duyu Tang | Linjun Shou | Ming Gong | Ke Xu | Daxin Jiang | Ming Zhou | Nan Duan
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)

Finding codes given natural language query is beneficial to the productivity of software developers. Future progress towards better semantic matching between query and code requires richer supervised training resources. To remedy this, we introduce CoSQA dataset. It includes 20,604 labels for pairs of natural language queries and codes, each annotated by at least 3 human annotators. We further introduce a contrastive learning method dubbed CoCLR to enhance text-code matching, which works as a data augmenter to bring more artificially generated training instances. We show that, evaluated on CodeXGLUE with the same CodeBERT model, training on CoSQA improves the accuracy of code question answering by 5.1% and incorporating CoCLR brings a further improvement of 10.5%.


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Enhancing Answer Boundary Detection for Multilingual Machine Reading Comprehension
Fei Yuan | Linjun Shou | Xuanyu Bai | Ming Gong | Yaobo Liang | Nan Duan | Yan Fu | Daxin Jiang
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Multilingual pre-trained models could leverage the training data from a rich source language (such as English) to improve performance on low resource languages. However, the transfer quality for multilingual Machine Reading Comprehension (MRC) is significantly worse than sentence classification tasks mainly due to the requirement of MRC to detect the word level answer boundary. In this paper, we propose two auxiliary tasks in the fine-tuning stage to create additional phrase boundary supervision: (1) A mixed MRC task, which translates the question or passage to other languages and builds cross-lingual question-passage pairs; (2) A language-agnostic knowledge masking task by leveraging knowledge phrases mined from web. Besides, extensive experiments on two cross-lingual MRC datasets show the effectiveness of our proposed approach.

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LogicalFactChecker: Leveraging Logical Operations for Fact Checking with Graph Module Network
Wanjun Zhong | Duyu Tang | Zhangyin Feng | Nan Duan | Ming Zhou | Ming Gong | Linjun Shou | Daxin Jiang | Jiahai Wang | Jian Yin
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Verifying the correctness of a textual statement requires not only semantic reasoning about the meaning of words, but also symbolic reasoning about logical operations like count, superlative, aggregation, etc. In this work, we propose LogicalFactChecker, a neural network approach capable of leveraging logical operations for fact checking. It achieves the state-of-the-art performance on TABFACT, a large-scale, benchmark dataset built for verifying a textual statement with semi-structured tables. This is achieved by a graph module network built upon the Transformer-based architecture. With a textual statement and a table as the input, LogicalFactChecker automatically derives a program (a.k.a. logical form) of the statement in a semantic parsing manner. A heterogeneous graph is then constructed to capture not only the structures of the table and the program, but also the connections between inputs with different modalities. Such a graph reveals the related contexts of each word in the statement, the table and the program. The graph is used to obtain graph-enhanced contextual representations of words in Transformer-based architecture. After that, a program-driven module network is further introduced to exploit the hierarchical structure of the program, where semantic compositionality is dynamically modeled along the program structure with a set of function-specific modules. Ablation experiments suggest that both the heterogeneous graph and the module network are important to obtain strong results.

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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.

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Cross-lingual Machine Reading Comprehension with Language Branch Knowledge Distillation
Junhao Liu | Linjun Shou | Jian Pei | Ming Gong | Min Yang | Daxin Jiang
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Cross-lingual Machine Reading Comprehension (CLMRC) remains a challenging problem due to the lack of large-scale annotated datasets in low-source languages, such as Arabic, Hindi, and Vietnamese. Many previous approaches use translation data by translating from a rich-source language, such as English, to low-source languages as auxiliary supervision. However, how to effectively leverage translation data and reduce the impact of noise introduced by translation remains onerous. In this paper, we tackle this challenge and enhance the cross-lingual transferring performance by a novel augmentation approach named Language Branch Machine Reading Comprehension (LBMRC). A language branch is a group of passages in one single language paired with questions in all target languages. We train multiple machine reading comprehension (MRC) models proficient in individual language based on LBMRC. Then, we devise a multilingual distillation approach to amalgamate knowledge from multiple language branch models to a single model for all target languages. Combining the LBMRC and multilingual distillation can be more robust to the data noises, therefore, improving the model’s cross-lingual ability. Meanwhile, the produced single multilingual model can apply to all target languages, which saves the cost of training, inference, and maintenance for multiple models. Extensive experiments on two CLMRC benchmarks clearly show the effectiveness of our proposed method.

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CodeBERT: A Pre-Trained Model for Programming and Natural Languages
Zhangyin Feng | Daya Guo | Duyu Tang | Nan Duan | Xiaocheng Feng | Ming Gong | Linjun Shou | Bing Qin | Ting Liu | Daxin Jiang | Ming Zhou
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

We present CodeBERT, a bimodal pre-trained model for programming language (PL) and natural language (NL). CodeBERT learns general-purpose representations that support downstream NL-PL applications such as natural language code search, code documentation generation, etc. We develop CodeBERT with Transformer-based neural architecture, and train it with a hybrid objective function that incorporates the pre-training task of replaced token detection, which is to detect plausible alternatives sampled from generators. This enables us to utilize both “bimodal” data of NL-PL pairs and “unimodal data, where the former provides input tokens for model training while the latter helps to learn better generators. We evaluate CodeBERT on two NL-PL applications by fine-tuning model parameters. Results show that CodeBERT achieves state-of-the-art performance on both natural language code search and code documentation generation. Furthermore, to investigate what type of knowledge is learned in CodeBERT, we construct a dataset for NL-PL probing, and evaluate in a zero-shot setting where parameters of pre-trained models are fixed. Results show that CodeBERT performs better than previous pre-trained models on NLPL probing.

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No Answer is Better Than Wrong Answer: A Reflection Model for Document Level Machine Reading Comprehension
Xuguang Wang | Linjun Shou | Ming Gong | Nan Duan | Daxin Jiang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

The Natural Questions (NQ) benchmark set brings new challenges to Machine Reading Comprehension: the answers are not only at different levels of granularity (long and short), but also of richer types (including no-answer, yes/no, single-span and multi-span). In this paper, we target at this challenge and handle all answer types systematically. In particular, we propose a novel approach called Reflection Net which leverages a two-step training procedure to identify the no-answer and wrong-answer cases. Extensive experiments are conducted to verify the effectiveness of our approach. At the time of paper writing (May. 20, 2020), our approach achieved the top 1 on both long and short answer leaderboard, with F1 scores of 77.2 and 64.1, respectively.

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XGLUE: A New Benchmark Datasetfor Cross-lingual Pre-training, Understanding and Generation
Yaobo Liang | Nan Duan | Yeyun Gong | Ning Wu | Fenfei Guo | Weizhen Qi | Ming Gong | Linjun Shou | Daxin Jiang | Guihong Cao | Xiaodong Fan | Ruofei Zhang | Rahul Agrawal | Edward Cui | Sining Wei | Taroon Bharti | Ying Qiao | Jiun-Hung Chen | Winnie Wu | Shuguang Liu | Fan Yang | Daniel Campos | Rangan Majumder | Ming Zhou
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

In this paper, we introduce XGLUE, a new benchmark dataset to train large-scale cross-lingual pre-trained models using multilingual and bilingual corpora, and evaluate their performance across a diverse set of cross-lingual tasks. Comparing to GLUE (Wang et al.,2019), which is labeled in English and includes natural language understanding tasks only, XGLUE has three main advantages: (1) it provides two corpora with different sizes for cross-lingual pre-training; (2) it provides 11 diversified tasks that cover both natural language understanding and generation scenarios; (3) for each task, it provides labeled data in multiple languages. We extend a recent cross-lingual pre-trained model Unicoder (Huang et al., 2019) to cover both understanding and generation tasks, which is evaluated on XGLUE as a strong baseline. We also evaluate the base versions (12-layer) of Multilingual BERT, XLM and XLM-R for comparison.

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MaP: A Matrix-based Prediction Approach to Improve Span Extraction in Machine Reading Comprehension
Huaishao Luo | Yu Shi | Ming Gong | Linjun Shou | Tianrui Li
Proceedings of the 1st Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 10th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing

Span extraction is an essential problem in machine reading comprehension. Most of the existing algorithms predict the start and end positions of an answer span in the given corresponding context by generating two probability vectors. In this paper, we propose a novel approach that extends the probability vector to a probability matrix. Such a matrix can cover more start-end position pairs. Precisely, to each possible start index, the method always generates an end probability vector. Besides, we propose a sampling-based training strategy to address the computational cost and memory issue in the matrix training phase. We evaluate our method on SQuAD 1.1 and three other question answering benchmarks. Leveraging the most competitive models BERT and BiDAF as the backbone, our proposed approach can get consistent improvements in all datasets, demonstrating the effectiveness of the proposed method.


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Unicoder: A Universal Language Encoder by Pre-training with Multiple Cross-lingual Tasks
Haoyang Huang | Yaobo Liang | Nan Duan | Ming Gong | Linjun Shou | Daxin Jiang | Ming Zhou
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

We present Unicoder, a universal language encoder that is insensitive to different languages. Given an arbitrary NLP task, a model can be trained with Unicoder using training data in one language and directly applied to inputs of the same task in other languages. Comparing to similar efforts such as Multilingual BERT and XLM , three new cross-lingual pre-training tasks are proposed, including cross-lingual word recovery, cross-lingual paraphrase classification and cross-lingual masked language model. These tasks help Unicoder learn the mappings among different languages from more perspectives. We also find that doing fine-tuning on multiple languages together can bring further improvement. Experiments are performed on two tasks: cross-lingual natural language inference (XNLI) and cross-lingual question answering (XQA), where XLM is our baseline. On XNLI, 1.8% averaged accuracy improvement (on 15 languages) is obtained. On XQA, which is a new cross-lingual dataset built by us, 5.5% averaged accuracy improvement (on French and German) is obtained.

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NeuronBlocks: Building Your NLP DNN Models Like Playing Lego
Ming Gong | Linjun Shou | Wutao Lin | Zhijie Sang | Quanjia Yan | Ze Yang | Feixiang Cheng | Daxin Jiang
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP): System Demonstrations

Deep Neural Networks (DNN) have been widely employed in industry to address various Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks. However, many engineers find it a big overhead when they have to choose from multiple frameworks, compare different types of models, and understand various optimization mechanisms. An NLP toolkit for DNN models with both generality and flexibility can greatly improve the productivity of engineers by saving their learning cost and guiding them to find optimal solutions to their tasks. In this paper, we introduce NeuronBlocks, a toolkit encapsulating a suite of neural network modules as building blocks to construct various DNN models with complex architecture. This toolkit empowers engineers to build, train, and test various NLP models through simple configuration of JSON files. The experiments on several NLP datasets such as GLUE, WikiQA and CoNLL-2003 demonstrate the effectiveness of NeuronBlocks. Code: https://github.com/Microsoft/NeuronBlocks Demo: https://youtu.be/x6cOpVSZcdo

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Joint Type Inference on Entities and Relations via Graph Convolutional Networks
Changzhi Sun | Yeyun Gong | Yuanbin Wu | Ming Gong | Daxin Jiang | Man Lan | Shiliang Sun | Nan Duan
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We develop a new paradigm for the task of joint entity relation extraction. It first identifies entity spans, then performs a joint inference on entity types and relation types. To tackle the joint type inference task, we propose a novel graph convolutional network (GCN) running on an entity-relation bipartite graph. By introducing a binary relation classification task, we are able to utilize the structure of entity-relation bipartite graph in a more efficient and interpretable way. Experiments on ACE05 show that our model outperforms existing joint models in entity performance and is competitive with the state-of-the-art in relation performance.