Ming Yan


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MinD at SemEval-2021 Task 6: Propaganda Detection using Transfer Learning and Multimodal Fusion
Junfeng Tian | Min Gui | Chenliang Li | Ming Yan | Wenming Xiao
Proceedings of the 15th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2021)

We describe our systems of subtask1 and subtask3 for SemEval-2021 Task 6 on Detection of Persuasion Techniques in Texts and Images. The purpose of subtask1 is to identify propaganda techniques given textual content, and the goal of subtask3 is to detect them given both textual and visual content. For subtask1, we investigate transfer learning based on pre-trained language models (PLMs) such as BERT, RoBERTa to solve data sparsity problems. For subtask3, we extract heterogeneous visual representations (i.e., face features, OCR features, and multimodal representations) and explore various multimodal fusion strategies to combine the textual and visual representations. The official evaluation shows our ensemble model ranks 1st for subtask1 and 2nd for subtask3.

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E2E-VLP: End-to-End Vision-Language Pre-training Enhanced by Visual Learning
Haiyang Xu | Ming Yan | Chenliang Li | Bin Bi | Songfang Huang | Wenming Xiao | Fei Huang
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)

Vision-language pre-training (VLP) on large-scale image-text pairs has achieved huge success for the cross-modal downstream tasks. The most existing pre-training methods mainly adopt a two-step training procedure, which firstly employs a pre-trained object detector to extract region-based visual features, then concatenates the image representation and text embedding as the input of Transformer to train. However, these methods face problems of using task-specific visual representation of the specific object detector for generic cross-modal understanding, and the computation inefficiency of two-stage pipeline. In this paper, we propose the first end-to-end vision-language pre-trained model for both V+L understanding and generation, namely E2E-VLP, where we build a unified Transformer framework to jointly learn visual representation, and semantic alignments between image and text. We incorporate the tasks of object detection and image captioning into pre-training with a unified Transformer encoder-decoder architecture for enhancing visual learning. An extensive set of experiments have been conducted on well-established vision-language downstream tasks to demonstrate the effectiveness of this novel VLP paradigm.

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StructuralLM: Structural Pre-training for Form Understanding
Chenliang Li | Bin Bi | Ming Yan | Wei Wang | Songfang Huang | Fei Huang | Luo Si
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)

Large pre-trained language models achieve state-of-the-art results when fine-tuned on downstream NLP tasks. However, they almost exclusively focus on text-only representation, while neglecting cell-level layout information that is important for form image understanding. In this paper, we propose a new pre-training approach, StructuralLM, to jointly leverage cell and layout information from scanned documents. Specifically, we pre-train StructuralLM with two new designs to make the most of the interactions of cell and layout information: 1) each cell as a semantic unit; 2) classification of cell positions. The pre-trained StructuralLM achieves new state-of-the-art results in different types of downstream tasks, including form understanding (from 78.95 to 85.14), document visual question answering (from 72.59 to 83.94) and document image classification (from 94.43 to 96.08).

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Addressing Semantic Drift in Generative Question Answering with Auxiliary Extraction
Chenliang Li | Bin Bi | Ming Yan | Wei Wang | Songfang Huang
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Recently, question answering (QA) based on machine reading comprehension has become popular. This work focuses on generative QA which aims to generate an abstractive answer to a given question instead of extracting an answer span from a provided passage. Generative QA often suffers from two critical problems: (1) summarizing content irrelevant to a given question, (2) drifting away from a correct answer during generation. In this paper, we address these problems by a novel Rationale-Enriched Answer Generator (REAG), which incorporates an extractive mechanism into a generative model. Specifically, we add an extraction task on the encoder to obtain the rationale for an answer, which is the most relevant piece of text in an input document to a given question. Based on the extracted rationale and original input, the decoder is expected to generate an answer with high confidence. We jointly train REAG on the MS MARCO QA+NLG task and the experimental results show that REAG improves the quality and semantic accuracy of answers over baseline models.


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Multi-source Meta Transfer for Low Resource Multiple-Choice Question Answering
Ming Yan | Hao Zhang | Di Jin | Joey Tianyi Zhou
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Multiple-choice question answering (MCQA) is one of the most challenging tasks in machine reading comprehension since it requires more advanced reading comprehension skills such as logical reasoning, summarization, and arithmetic operations. Unfortunately, most existing MCQA datasets are small in size, which increases the difficulty of model learning and generalization. To address this challenge, we propose a multi-source meta transfer (MMT) for low-resource MCQA. In this framework, we first extend meta learning by incorporating multiple training sources to learn a generalized feature representation across domains. To bridge the distribution gap between training sources and the target, we further introduce the meta transfer that can be integrated into the multi-source meta training. More importantly, the proposed MMT is independent of backbone language models. Extensive experiments demonstrate the superiority of MMT over state-of-the-arts, and continuous improvements can be achieved on different backbone networks on both supervised and unsupervised domain adaptation settings.

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PALM: Pre-training an Autoencoding&Autoregressive Language Model for Context-conditioned Generation
Bin Bi | Chenliang Li | Chen Wu | Ming Yan | Wei Wang | Songfang Huang | Fei Huang | Luo Si
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Self-supervised pre-training, such as BERT, MASS and BART, has emerged as a powerful technique for natural language understanding and generation. Existing pre-training techniques employ autoencoding and/or autoregressive objectives to train Transformer-based models by recovering original word tokens from corrupted text with some masked tokens. The training goals of existing techniques are often inconsistent with the goals of many language generation tasks, such as generative question answering and conversational response generation, for producing new text given context. This work presents PALM with a novel scheme that jointly pre-trains an autoencoding and autoregressive language model on a large unlabeled corpus, specifically designed for generating new text conditioned on context. The new scheme alleviates the mismatch introduced by the existing denoising scheme between pre-training and fine-tuning where generation is more than reconstructing original text. An extensive set of experiments show that PALM achieves new state-of-the-art results on a variety of language generation benchmarks covering generative question answering (Rank 1 on the official MARCO leaderboard), abstractive summarization on CNN/DailyMail as well as Gigaword, question generation on SQuAD, and conversational response generation on Cornell Movie Dialogues.


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Incorporating External Knowledge into Machine Reading for Generative Question Answering
Bin Bi | Chen Wu | Ming Yan | Wei Wang | Jiangnan Xia | Chenliang Li
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Commonsense and background knowledge is required for a QA model to answer many nontrivial questions. Different from existing work on knowledge-aware QA, we focus on a more challenging task of leveraging external knowledge to generate answers in natural language for a given question with context. In this paper, we propose a new neural model, Knowledge-Enriched Answer Generator (KEAG), which is able to compose a natural answer by exploiting and aggregating evidence from all four information sources available: question, passage, vocabulary and knowledge. During the process of answer generation, KEAG adaptively determines when to utilize symbolic knowledge and which fact from the knowledge is useful. This allows the model to exploit external knowledge that is not explicitly stated in the given text, but that is relevant for generating an answer. The empirical study on public benchmark of answer generation demonstrates that KEAG improves answer quality over models without knowledge and existing knowledge-aware models, confirming its effectiveness in leveraging knowledge.


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Multi-Granularity Hierarchical Attention Fusion Networks for Reading Comprehension and Question Answering
Wei Wang | Ming Yan | Chen Wu
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

This paper describes a novel hierarchical attention network for reading comprehension style question answering, which aims to answer questions for a given narrative paragraph. In the proposed method, attention and fusion are conducted horizontally and vertically across layers at different levels of granularity between question and paragraph. Specifically, it first encode the question and paragraph with fine-grained language embeddings, to better capture the respective representations at semantic level. Then it proposes a multi-granularity fusion approach to fully fuse information from both global and attended representations. Finally, it introduces a hierarchical attention network to focuses on the answer span progressively with multi-level soft-alignment. Extensive experiments on the large-scale SQuAD, TriviaQA dataset validate the effectiveness of the proposed method. At the time of writing the paper, our model achieves state-of-the-art on the both SQuAD and TriviaQA Wiki leaderboard as well as two adversarial SQuAD datasets.