Muhao Chen


2023

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Can NLI Provide Proper Indirect Supervision for Low-resource Biomedical Relation Extraction?
Jiashu Xu | Mingyu Derek Ma | Muhao Chen
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Two key obstacles in biomedical relation extraction (RE) are the scarcity of annotations and the prevalence of instances without explicitly pre-defined labels due to low annotation coverage. Existing approaches, which treat biomedical RE as a multi-class classification task, often result in poor generalization in low-resource settings and do not have the ability to make selective prediction on unknown cases but give a guess from seen relations, hindering the applicability of those approaches. We present NBR, which converts biomedical RE as natural language inference formulation through indirect supervision. By converting relations to natural language hypotheses, NBR is capable of exploiting semantic cues to alleviate annotation scarcity. By incorporating a ranking-based loss that implicitly calibrates abstinent instances, NBR learns a clearer decision boundary and is instructed to abstain on uncertain instances. Extensive experiments on three widely-used biomedical RE benchmarks, namely ChemProt, DDI and GAD, verify the effectiveness of NBR in both full-set and low-resource regimes. Our analysis demonstrates that indirect supervision benefits biomedical RE even when a domain gap exists, and combining NLI knowledge with biomedical knowledge leads to the best performance gains.

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Continual Contrastive Finetuning Improves Low-Resource Relation Extraction
Wenxuan Zhou | Sheng Zhang | Tristan Naumann | Muhao Chen | Hoifung Poon
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Relation extraction (RE), which has relied on structurally annotated corpora for model training, has been particularly challenging in low-resource scenarios and domains. Recent literature has tackled low-resource RE by self-supervised learning, where the solution involves pretraining the entity pair embedding by RE-based objective and finetuning on labeled data by classification-based objective. However, a critical challenge to this approach is the gap in objectives, which prevents the RE model from fully utilizing the knowledge in pretrained representations. In this paper, we aim at bridging the gap and propose to pretrain and finetune the RE model using consistent objectives of contrastive learning. Since in this kind of representation learning paradigm, one relation may easily form multiple clusters in the representation space, we further propose a multi-center contrastive loss that allows one relation to form multiple clusters to better align with pretraining. Experiments on two document-level RE datasets, BioRED and Re-DocRED, demonstrate the effectiveness of our method. Particularly, when using 1% end-task training data, our method outperforms PLM-based RE classifier by 10.5% and 6.1% on the two datasets, respectively.

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Improving Factuality of Abstractive Summarization without Sacrificing Summary Quality
Tanay Dixit | Fei Wang | Muhao Chen
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Improving factual consistency of abstractive summarization has been a widely studied topic. However, most of the prior works on training factuality-aware models have ignored the negative effect it has on summary quality. We propose {pasted macro ‘MODEL’}name (i.e. Effective Factual Summarization), a candidate summary generation and ranking technique to improve summary factuality without sacrificing quality. We show that using a contrastive learning framework with our refined candidate summaries leads to significant gains on both factuality and similarity-based metrics. Specifically, we propose a ranking strategy in which we effectively combine two metrics, thereby preventing any conflict during training. Models trained using our approach show up to 6 points of absolute improvement over the base model with respect to FactCC on XSUM and 11 points on CNN/DM, without negatively affecting either similarity-based metrics or absractiveness.

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Contrastive Bootstrapping for Label Refinement
Shudi Hou | Yu Xia | Muhao Chen | Sujian Li
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Traditional text classification typically categorizes texts into pre-defined coarse-grained classes, from which the produced models cannot handle the real-world scenario where finer categories emerge periodically for accurate services. In this work, we investigate the setting where fine-grained classification is done only using the annotation of coarse-grained categories and the coarse-to-fine mapping. We propose a lightweight contrastive clustering-based bootstrapping method to iteratively refine the labels of passages. During clustering, it pulls away negative passage-prototype pairs under the guidance of the mapping from both global and local perspectives. Experiments on NYT and 20News show that our method outperforms the state-of-the-art methods by a large margin.

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Indirectly Supervised Natural Language Processing
Wenpeng Yin | Muhao Chen | Ben Zhou | Qiang Ning | Kai-Wei Chang | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 6: Tutorial Abstracts)

This tutorial targets researchers and practitioners who are interested in ML technologies for NLP from indirect supervision. In particular, we will present a diverse thread of indirect supervision studies that try to answer the following questions: (i) when and how can we provide supervision for a target task T, if all we have is data that corresponds to a “related” task T′? (ii) humans do not use exhaustive supervision; they rely on occasional feedback, and learn from incidental signals from various sources; how can we effectively incorporate such supervision in machine learning? (iii) how can we leverage multi-modal supervision to help NLP? To the end, we will discuss several lines of research that address those challenges, including (i) indirect supervision from T ′ that handles T with outputs spanning from a moderate size to an open space, (ii) the use of sparsely occurring and incidental signals, such as partial labels, noisy labels, knowledge-based constraints, and cross-domain or cross-task annotations—all having statistical associations with the task, (iii) principled ways to measure and understand why these incidental signals can contribute to our target tasks, and (iv) indirect supervision from vision-language signals. We will conclude the tutorial by outlining directions for further investigation.

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Self-Augmentation Improves Zero-Shot Cross-Lingual Transfer
Fei Wang | Kuan-Hao Huang | Kai-Wei Chang | Muhao Chen
Proceedings of the 13th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing and the 3rd Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

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Robust Natural Language Understanding with Residual Attention Debiasing
Fei Wang | James Y. Huang | Tianyi Yan | Wenxuan Zhou | Muhao Chen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Natural language understanding (NLU) models often suffer from unintended dataset biases. Among bias mitigation methods, ensemble-based debiasing methods, especially product-of-experts (PoE), have stood out for their impressive empirical success. However, previous ensemble-based debiasing methods typically apply debiasing on top-level logits without directly addressing biased attention patterns. Attention serves as the main media of feature interaction and aggregation in PLMs and plays a crucial role in providing robust prediction. In this paper, we propose REsidual Attention Debiasing (READ), an end-to-end debiasing method that mitigates unintended biases from attention. Experiments on three NLU benchmarks show that READ significantly improves the OOD performance of BERT-based models, including +12.9% accuracy on HANS, +11.0% accuracy on FEVER-Symmetric, and +2.7% F1 on PAWS. Detailed analyses demonstrate the crucial role of unbiased attention in robust NLU models and that READ effectively mitigates biases in attention.

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Take a Break in the Middle: Investigating Subgoals towards Hierarchical Script Generation
Xinze Li | Yixin Cao | Muhao Chen | Aixin Sun
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Goal-oriented Script Generation is a new task of generating a list of steps that can fulfill the given goal. In this paper, we propose to extend the task from the perspective of cognitive theory. Instead of a simple flat structure, the steps are typically organized hierarchically — Human often decompose a complex task into subgoals, where each subgoal can be further decomposed into steps. To establish the benchmark, we contribute a new dataset, propose several baseline methods, and set up evaluation metrics. Both automatic and human evaluation verify the high-quality of dataset, as well as the effectiveness of incorporating subgoals into hierarchical script generation. Furthermore, We also design and evaluate the model to discover subgoal, and find that it is a bit more difficult to decompose the goals than summarizing from segmented steps.

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Multi-hop Evidence Retrieval for Cross-document Relation Extraction
Keming Lu | I-Hung Hsu | Wenxuan Zhou | Mingyu Derek Ma | Muhao Chen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Relation Extraction (RE) has been extended to cross-document scenarios because many relations are not simply described in a single document. This inevitably brings the challenge of efficient open-space evidence retrieval to support the inference of cross-document relations,along with the challenge of multi-hop reasoning on top of entities and evidence scattered in an open set of documents. To combat these challenges, we propose Mr.Cod (Multi-hop evidence retrieval for Cross-document relation extraction), which is a multi-hop evidence retrieval method based on evidence path mining and ranking. We explore multiple variants of retrievers to show evidence retrieval is essential in cross-document RE.We also propose a contextual dense retriever for this setting. Experiments on CodRED show that evidence retrieval with Mr.Cod effectively acquires cross-document evidence and boosts end-to-end RE performance in both closed and open settings.

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VIPHY: Probing “Visible” Physical Commonsense Knowledge
Shikhar Singh | Ehsan Qasemi | Muhao Chen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Vision-language models (VLMs) have shown remarkable performance on visual reasoning tasks (e.g. attributes, location). While such tasks measure the requisite knowledge to ground and reason over a given visual instance, they do not, however, measure the ability of VLMs to retain and generalize such knowledge. In this work, we evaluate VLMs’ ability to acquire “visible” physical knowledge – the information that is easily accessible from images of static scenes, particularly along the dimensions of object color, size, and space. We build an automatic pipeline to derive a comprehensive knowledge resource for calibrating and probing these models. Our results indicate a severe gap between model and human performance across all three dimensions. Furthermore, we demonstrate that a caption pretrained LM significantly outperforms VLMs on both size and spatial tasks – highlighting that despite sufficient access to ground language with visual modality, they struggle to retain such knowledge.

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Affective and Dynamic Beam Search for Story Generation
Tenghao Huang | Ehsan Qasemi | Bangzheng Li | He Wang | Faeze Brahman | Muhao Chen | Snigdha Chaturvedi
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Storytelling’s captivating potential makes it a fascinating research area, with implications for entertainment, education, therapy, and cognitive studies. In this paper, we propose Affective Story Generator (AffGen) for generating interesting narratives. AffGen introduces ‘intriguing twists’ in narratives by employing two novel techniques—Dynamic Beam Sizing and Affective Reranking. Dynamic Beam Sizing encourages less predictable, more captivating word choices using a contextual multi-arm bandit model. Affective Reranking prioritizes sentence candidates based on affect intensity. Our empirical evaluations, both automatic and human, demonstrate AffGen’s superior performance over existing baselines in generating affectively charged and interesting narratives. Our ablation study and analysis provide insights into the strengths and weaknesses of AffGen.

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Context-faithful Prompting for Large Language Models
Wenxuan Zhou | Sheng Zhang | Hoifung Poon | Muhao Chen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Large language models (LLMs) encode parametric knowledge about world facts and have shown remarkable performance in knowledge-driven NLP tasks. However, their reliance on parametric knowledge may cause them to overlook contextual cues, leading to incorrect predictions in context-sensitive NLP tasks (e.g., knowledge acquisition tasks). In this paper, we seek to assess and enhance LLMs’ contextual faithfulness in two aspects: knowledge conflict and prediction with abstention. We demonstrate that LLMs’ faithfulness can be significantly improved using carefully designed prompting strategies. In particular, we identify opinion-based prompts and counterfactual demonstrations as the most effective methods. Opinion-based prompts reframe the context as a narrator’s statement and inquire about the narrator’s opinions, while counterfactual demonstrations use instances containing false facts to improve faithfulness in knowledge conflict situations. Neither technique requires additional training. We conduct experiments on three datasets of two standard NLP tasks, machine reading comprehension and relation extraction, and the results demonstrate significant improvement in faithfulness to contexts. Code and data are released at https://github.com/wzhouad/context-faithful-llm.

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Dense Retrieval as Indirect Supervision for Large-space Decision Making
Nan Xu | Fei Wang | Mingtao Dong | Muhao Chen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Many discriminative natural language understanding (NLU) tasks have large label spaces. Learning such a process of large-space decision making is particularly challenging due to the lack of training instances per label and the difficulty of selection among many fine-grained labels. Inspired by dense retrieval methods for passage finding in open-domain QA, we propose a reformulation of large-space discriminative NLU tasks as a learning-to-retrieve task, leading to a novel solution named Dense Decision Retrieval (DDR). Instead of predicting fine-grained decisions as logits, DDR adopts a dual-encoder architecture that learns to predict by retrieving from a decision thesaurus. This approach not only leverages rich indirect supervision signals from easy-to-consume learning resources for dense retrieval, it also leads to enhanced prediction generalizability with a semantically meaningful representation of the large decision space. When evaluated on tasks with decision spaces ranging from hundreds to hundred-thousand scales, DDR outperforms strong baselines greatly by 27.54% in P @1 on two extreme multi-label classification tasks, 1.17% in F1 score ultra-fine entity typing, and 1.26% in accuracy on three few-shot intent classification tasks on average.

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A Causal View of Entity Bias in (Large) Language Models
Fei Wang | Wenjie Mo | Yiwei Wang | Wenxuan Zhou | Muhao Chen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Entity bias widely affects pretrained (large) language models, causing them to rely on (biased) parametric knowledge to make unfaithful predictions. Although causality-inspired methods have shown great potential to mitigate entity bias, it is hard to precisely estimate the parameters of underlying causal models in practice. The rise of black-box LLMs also makes the situation even worse, because of their inaccessible parameters and uncalibrated logits. To address these problems, we propose a specific structured causal model (SCM) whose parameters are comparatively easier to estimate. Building upon this SCM, we propose causal intervention techniques to mitigate entity bias for both white-box and black-box settings. The proposed causal intervention perturbs the original entity with neighboring entities. This intervention reduces specific biasing information pertaining to the original entity while still preserving sufficient semantic information from similar entities. Under the white-box setting, our training-time intervention improves OOD performance of PLMs on relation extraction (RE) and machine reading comprehension (MRC) by 5.7 points and by 9.1 points, respectively. Under the black-box setting, our in-context intervention effectively reduces the entity-based knowledge conflicts of GPT-3.5, achieving up to 20.5 points of improvement of exact match accuracy on MRC and up to 17.6 points of reduction in memorization ratio on RE.

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Primacy Effect of ChatGPT
Yiwei Wang | Yujun Cai | Muhao Chen | Yuxuan Liang | Bryan Hooi
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Instruction-tuned large language models (LLMs), such as ChatGPT, have led to promising zero-shot performance in discriminative natural language understanding (NLU) tasks. This involves querying the LLM using a prompt containing the question, and the candidate labels to choose from. The question-answering capabilities of ChatGPT arise from its pre-training on large amounts of human-written text, as well as its subsequent fine-tuning on human preferences, which motivates us to ask: Does ChatGPT also inherit humans’ cognitive biases? In this paper, we study the primacy effect of ChatGPT: the tendency of selecting the labels at earlier positions as the answer. We have two main findings: i) ChatGPT’s decision is sensitive to the order of labels in the prompt; ii) ChatGPT has a clearly higher chance to select the labels at earlier positions as the answer. We hope that our experiments and analyses provide additional insights into building more reliable ChatGPT-based solutions. We release the source code at https://github.com/wangywUST/PrimacyEffectGPT.

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Are All Steps Equally Important? Benchmarking Essentiality Detection in Event Processes
Haoyu Wang | Hongming Zhang | Yueguan Wang | Yuqian Deng | Muhao Chen | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Natural language often describes events in different granularities, such that more coarse-grained (goal) events can often be decomposed into fine-grained sequences of (step) events. A critical but overlooked challenge in understanding an event process lies in the fact that the step events are not equally important to the central goal. In this paper, we seek to fill this gap by studying how well current models can understand the essentiality of different step events towards a goal event. As discussed by cognitive studies, such an ability enables the machine to mimic human’s commonsense reasoning about preconditions and necessary efforts of daily-life tasks. Our work contributes with a high-quality corpus of (goal, step) pairs from a community guideline website WikiHow, where the steps are manually annotated with their essentiality w.r.t. the goal. The high IAA indicates that humans have a consistent understanding of the events. Despite evaluating various statistical and massive pre-trained NLU models, we observe that existing SOTA models all perform drastically behind humans, indicating the need for future investigation of this crucial yet challenging task.

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GeoLM: Empowering Language Models for Geospatially Grounded Language Understanding
Zekun Li | Wenxuan Zhou | Yao-Yi Chiang | Muhao Chen
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Humans subconsciously engage in geospatial reasoning when reading articles. We recognize place names and their spatial relations in text and mentally associate them with their physical locations on Earth. Although pretrained language models can mimic this cognitive process using linguistic context, they do not utilize valuable geospatial information in large, widely available geographical databases, e.g., OpenStreetMap. This paper introduces GeoLM, a geospatially grounded language model that enhances the understanding of geo-entities in natural language. GeoLM leverages geo-entity mentions as anchors to connect linguistic information in text corpora with geospatial information extracted from geographical databases. GeoLM connects the two types of context through contrastive learning and masked language modeling. It also incorporates a spatial coordinate embedding mechanism to encode distance and direction relations to capture geospatial context. In the experiment, we demonstrate that GeoLM exhibits promising capabilities in supporting toponym recognition, toponym linking, relation extraction, and geo-entity typing, which bridge the gap between natural language processing and geospatial sciences. The code is publicly available at https://github.com/knowledge-computing/geolm.

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Bridging Continuous and Discrete Spaces: Interpretable Sentence Representation Learning via Compositional Operations
James Y. Huang | Wenlin Yao | Kaiqiang Song | Hongming Zhang | Muhao Chen | Dong Yu
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Traditional sentence embedding models encode sentences into vector representations to capture useful properties such as the semantic similarity between sentences. However, in addition to similarity, sentence semantics can also be interpreted via compositional operations such as sentence fusion or difference. It is unclear whether the compositional semantics of sentences can be directly reflected as compositional operations in the embedding space. To more effectively bridge the continuous embedding and discrete text spaces, we explore the plausibility of incorporating various compositional properties into the sentence embedding space that allows us to interpret embedding transformations as compositional sentence operations. We propose InterSent, an end-to-end framework for learning interpretable sentence embeddings that supports compositional sentence operations in the embedding space. Our method optimizes operator networks and a bottleneck encoder-decoder model to produce meaningful and interpretable sentence embeddings. Experimental results demonstrate that our method significantly improves the interpretability of sentence embeddings on four textual generation tasks over existing approaches while maintaining strong performance on traditional semantic similarity tasks.

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How Fragile is Relation Extraction under Entity Replacements?
Yiwei Wang | Bryan Hooi | Fei Wang | Yujun Cai | Yuxuan Liang | Wenxuan Zhou | Jing Tang | Manjuan Duan | Muhao Chen
Proceedings of the 27th Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL)

Relation extraction (RE) aims to extract the relations between entity names from the textual context. In principle, textual context determines the ground-truth relation and the RE models should be able to correctly identify the relations reflected by the textual context. However, existing work has found that the RE models memorize the entity name patterns to make RE predictions while ignoring the textual context. This motivates us to raise the question: are RE models robust to the entity replacements? In this work, we operate the random and type-constrained entity replacements over the RE instances in TACRED and evaluate the state-of-the-art RE models under the entity replacements. We observe the 30% - 50% F1 score drops on the state-of-the-art RE models under entity replacements. These results suggest that we need more efforts to develop effective RE models robust to entity replacements. We release the source code at https://github.com/wangywUST/RobustRE.

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Extracting or Guessing? Improving Faithfulness of Event Temporal Relation Extraction
Haoyu Wang | Hongming Zhang | Yuqian Deng | Jacob Gardner | Dan Roth | Muhao Chen
Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics

In this paper, we seek to improve the faithfulness of TempRel extraction models from two perspectives. The first perspective is to extract genuinely based on contextual description. To achieve this, we propose to conduct counterfactual analysis to attenuate the effects of two significant types of training biases: the event trigger bias and the frequent label bias. We also add tense information into event representations to explicitly place an emphasis on the contextual description. The second perspective is to provide proper uncertainty estimation and abstain from extraction when no relation is described in the text. By parameterization of Dirichlet Prior over the model-predicted categorical distribution, we improve the model estimates of the correctness likelihood and make TempRel predictions more selective. We also employ temperature scaling to recalibrate the model confidence measure after bias mitigation. Through experimental analysis on MATRES, MATRES-DS, and TDDiscourse, we demonstrate that our model extracts TempRel and timelines more faithfully compared to SOTA methods, especially under distribution shifts.

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Parameter-Efficient Tuning with Special Token Adaptation
Xiaocong Yang | James Y. Huang | Wenxuan Zhou | Muhao Chen
Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Parameter-efficient tuning aims at updating only a small subset of parameters when adapting a pretrained model to downstream tasks. In this work, we introduce PASTA, in which we only modify the special token representations (e.g., [SEP] and [CLS] in BERT) before the self-attention module at each layer in Transformer-based models. PASTA achieves comparable performance to fine-tuning in natural language understanding tasks including text classification and NER with up to only 0.029% of total parameters trained. Our work not only provides a simple yet effective way of parameter-efficient tuning, which has a wide range of practical applications when deploying finetuned models for multiple tasks, but also demonstrates the pivotal role of special tokens in pretrained language models.

2022

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PInKS: Preconditioned Commonsense Inference with Minimal Supervision
Ehsan Qasemi | Piyush Khanna | Qiang Ning | Muhao Chen
Proceedings of the 2nd Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 12th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Reasoning with preconditions such as “glass can be used for drinking water unless the glass is shattered” remains an open problem for language models. The main challenge lies in the scarcity of preconditions data and the model’s lack of support for such reasoning. We present PInKS , Preconditioned Commonsense Inference with WeaK Supervision, an improved model for reasoning with preconditions through minimum supervision. We show, empirically and theoretically, that PInKS improves the results on benchmarks focused on reasoning with the preconditions of commonsense knowledge (up to 40% Macro-F1 scores). We further investigate PInKS through PAC-Bayesian informativeness analysis, precision measures, and ablation study.

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An Improved Baseline for Sentence-level Relation Extraction
Wenxuan Zhou | Muhao Chen
Proceedings of the 2nd Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 12th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Sentence-level relation extraction (RE) aims at identifying the relationship between two entities in a sentence. Many efforts have been devoted to this problem, while the best performing methods are still far from perfect. In this paper, we revisit two problems that affect the performance of existing RE models, namely entity representation and noisy or ill-defined labels. Our improved RE baseline, incorporated with entity representations with typed markers, achieves an F1 of 74.6% on TACRED, significantly outperforms previous SOTA methods. Furthermore, the presented new baseline achieves an F1 of 91.1% on the refined Re-TACRED dataset, demonstrating that the pretrained language models (PLMs) achieve high performance on this task. We release our code to the community for future research.

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Prix-LM: Pretraining for Multilingual Knowledge Base Construction
Wenxuan Zhou | Fangyu Liu | Ivan Vulić | Nigel Collier | Muhao Chen
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Knowledge bases (KBs) contain plenty of structured world and commonsense knowledge. As such, they often complement distributional text-based information and facilitate various downstream tasks. Since their manual construction is resource- and time-intensive, recent efforts have tried leveraging large pretrained language models (PLMs) to generate additional monolingual knowledge facts for KBs. However, such methods have not been attempted for building and enriching multilingual KBs. Besides wider application, such multilingual KBs can provide richer combined knowledge than monolingual (e.g., English) KBs. Knowledge expressed in different languages may be complementary and unequally distributed: this implies that the knowledge available in high-resource languages can be transferred to low-resource ones. To achieve this, it is crucial to represent multilingual knowledge in a shared/unified space. To this end, we propose a unified representation model, Prix-LM, for multilingual KB construction and completion. We leverage two types of knowledge, monolingual triples and cross-lingual links, extracted from existing multilingual KBs, and tune a multilingual language encoder XLM-R via a causal language modeling objective. Prix-LM integrates useful multilingual and KB-based factual knowledge into a single model. Experiments on standard entity-related tasks, such as link prediction in multiple languages, cross-lingual entity linking and bilingual lexicon induction, demonstrate its effectiveness, with gains reported over strong task-specialised baselines.

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Ultra-fine Entity Typing with Indirect Supervision from Natural Language Inference
Bangzheng Li | Wenpeng Yin | Muhao Chen
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 10

The task of ultra-fine entity typing (UFET) seeks to predict diverse and free-form words or phrases that describe the appropriate types of entities mentioned in sentences. A key challenge for this task lies in the large number of types and the scarcity of annotated data per type. Existing systems formulate the task as a multi-way classification problem and train directly or distantly supervised classifiers. This causes two issues: (i) the classifiers do not capture the type semantics because types are often converted into indices; (ii) systems developed in this way are limited to predicting within a pre-defined type set, and often fall short of generalizing to types that are rarely seen or unseen in training. This work presents LITE🍻, a new approach that formulates entity typing as a natural language inference (NLI) problem, making use of (i) the indirect supervision from NLI to infer type information meaningfully represented as textual hypotheses and alleviate the data scarcity issue, as well as (ii) a learning-to-rank objective to avoid the pre-defining of a type set. Experiments show that, with limited training data, LITE obtains state-of-the-art performance on the UFET task. In addition, LITE demonstrates its strong generalizability by not only yielding best results on other fine-grained entity typing benchmarks, more importantly, a pre-trained LITE system works well on new data containing unseen types.1

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Salience Allocation as Guidance for Abstractive Summarization
Fei Wang | Kaiqiang Song | Hongming Zhang | Lifeng Jin | Sangwoo Cho | Wenlin Yao | Xiaoyang Wang | Muhao Chen | Dong Yu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Abstractive summarization models typically learn to capture the salient information from scratch implicitly. Recent literature adds extractive summaries as guidance for abstractive summarization models to provide hints of salient content and achieves better performance. However, extractive summaries as guidance could be over strict, leading to information loss or noisy signals. Furthermore, it cannot easily adapt to documents with various abstractiveness. As the number and allocation of salience content pieces varies, it is hard to find a fixed threshold deciding which content should be included in the guidance. In this paper, we propose a novel summarization approach with a flexible and reliable salience guidance, namely SEASON (SaliencE Allocation as Guidance for Abstractive SummarizatiON).SEASON utilizes the allocation of salience expectation to guide abstractive summarization and adapts well to articles in different abstractiveness. Automatic and human evaluations on two benchmark datasets show that the proposed method is effective and reliable. Empirical results on more than one million news articles demonstrate a natural fifteen-fifty salience split for news article sentences, providing a useful insight for composing news articles.

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Does Your Model Classify Entities Reasonably? Diagnosing and Mitigating Spurious Correlations in Entity Typing
Nan Xu | Fei Wang | Bangzheng Li | Mingtao Dong | Muhao Chen
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Entity typing aims at predicting one or more words that describe the type(s) of a specific mention in a sentence. Due to shortcuts from surface patterns to annotated entity labels and biased training, existing entity typing models are subject to the problem of spurious correlations. To comprehensively investigate the faithfulness and reliability of entity typing methods, we first systematically define distinct kinds of model biases that are reflected mainly from spurious correlations. Particularly, we identify six types of existing model biases, including mention-context bias, lexical overlapping bias, named entity bias, pronoun bias, dependency bias, and overgeneralization bias. To mitigate model biases, we then introduce a counterfactual data augmentation method. By augmenting the original training set with their debiasedcounterparts, models are forced to fully comprehend sentences and discover the fundamental cues for entity typing, rather than relying on spurious correlations for shortcuts. Experimental results on the UFET dataset show our counterfactual data augmentation approach helps improve generalization of different entity typing models with consistently better performance on both the original and debiased test sets.

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Dangling-Aware Entity Alignment with Mixed High-Order Proximities
Juncheng Liu | Zequn Sun | Bryan Hooi | Yiwei Wang | Dayiheng Liu | Baosong Yang | Xiaokui Xiao | Muhao Chen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

We study dangling-aware entity alignment in knowledge graphs (KGs), which is an underexplored but important problem. As different KGs are naturally constructed by different sets of entities, a KG commonly contains some dangling entities that cannot find counterparts in other KGs. Therefore, dangling-aware entity alignment is more realistic than the conventional entity alignment where prior studies simply ignore dangling entities. We propose a framework using mixed high-order proximities on dangling-aware entity alignment. Our framework utilizes both the local high-order proximity in a nearest neighbor subgraph and the global high-order proximity in an embedding space for both dangling detection and entity alignment. Extensive experiments with two evaluation settings shows that our method more precisely detects dangling entities, and better aligns matchable entities. Further investigations demonstrate that our framework can mitigate the hubness problem on dangling-aware entity alignment.

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GraphCache: Message Passing as Caching for Sentence-Level Relation Extraction
Yiwei Wang | Muhao Chen | Wenxuan Zhou | Yujun Cai | Yuxuan Liang | Bryan Hooi
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

Entity types and textual context are essential properties for sentence-level relation extraction (RE). Existing work only encodes these properties within individual instances, which limits the performance of RE given the insufficient features in a single sentence. In contrast, we model these properties from the whole dataset and use the dataset-level information to enrich the semantics of every instance. We propose the GraphCache (Graph Neural Network as Caching) module, that propagates the features across sentences to learn better representations for RE. GraphCache aggregates the features from sentences in the whole dataset to learn global representations of properties, and use them to augment the local features within individual sentences. The global property features act as dataset-level prior knowledge for RE, and a complement to the sentence-level features. Inspired by the classical caching technique in computer systems, we develop GraphCache to update the property representations in an online manner. Overall, GraphCache yields significant effectiveness gains on RE and enables efficient message passing across all sentences in the dataset.

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SpaBERT: A Pretrained Language Model from Geographic Data for Geo-Entity Representation
Zekun Li | Jina Kim | Yao-Yi Chiang | Muhao Chen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Named geographic entities (geo-entities for short) are the building blocks of many geographic datasets. Characterizing geo-entities is integral to various application domains, such as geo-intelligence and map comprehension, while a key challenge is to capture the spatial-varying context of an entity. We hypothesize that we shall know the characteristics of a geo-entity by its surrounding entities, similar to knowing word meanings by their linguistic context. Accordingly, we propose a novel spatial language model, SpaBERT, which provides a general-purpose geo-entity representation based on neighboring entities in geospatial data. SpaBERT extends BERT to capture linearized spatial context, while incorporating a spatial coordinate embedding mechanism to preserve spatial relations of entities in the 2-dimensional space. SpaBERT is pretrained with masked language modeling and masked entity prediction tasks to learn spatial dependencies. We apply SpaBERT to two downstream tasks: geo-entity typing and geo-entity linking. Compared with the existing language models that do not use spatial context, SpaBERT shows significant performance improvement on both tasks. We also analyze the entity representation from SpaBERT in various settings and the effect of spatial coordinate embedding.

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Sharpness-Aware Minimization with Dynamic Reweighting
Wenxuan Zhou | Fangyu Liu | Huan Zhang | Muhao Chen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Deep neural networks are often overparameterized and may not easily achieve model generalization. Adversarial training has shown effectiveness in improving generalization by regularizing the change of loss on top of adversarially chosen perturbations. The recently proposed sharpness-aware minimization (SAM) algorithm conducts adversarial weight perturbation, encouraging the model to converge to a flat minima. SAM finds a common adversarial weight perturbation per-batch. Although per-instance adversarial weight perturbations are stronger adversaries and can potentially lead to better generalization performance, their computational cost is very high and thus it is impossible to use per-instance perturbations efficiently in SAM. In this paper, we tackle this efficiency bottleneck and propose sharpness-aware minimization with dynamic reweighting (delta-SAM). Our theoretical analysis motivates that it is possible to approach the stronger, per-instance adversarial weight perturbations using reweighted per-batch weight perturbations. delta-SAM dynamically reweights perturbation within each batch according to the theoretically principled weighting factors, serving as a good approximation to per-instance perturbation. Experiments on various natural language understanding tasks demonstrate the effectiveness of delta-SAM.

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Summarization as Indirect Supervision for Relation Extraction
Keming Lu | I-Hung Hsu | Wenxuan Zhou | Mingyu Derek Ma | Muhao Chen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Relation extraction (RE) models have been challenged by their reliance on training data with expensive annotations. Considering that summarization tasks aim at acquiring concise expressions of synoptical information from the longer context, these tasks naturally align with the objective of RE, i.e., extracting a kind of synoptical information that describes the relation of entity mentions. We present SuRE, which converts RE into a summarization formulation. SuRE leads to more precise and resource-efficient RE based on indirect supervision from summarization tasks. To achieve this goal, we develop sentence and relation conversion techniques that essentially bridge the formulation of summarization and RE tasks. We also incorporate constraint decoding techniques with Trie scoring to further enhance summarization-based RE with robust inference. Experiments on three RE datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of SuRE in both full-dataset and low-resource settings, showing that summarization is a promising source of indirect supervision signals to improve RE models.

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PaCo: Preconditions Attributed to Commonsense Knowledge
Ehsan Qasemi | Filip Ilievski | Muhao Chen | Pedro Szekely
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Humans can seamlessly reason with circumstantial preconditions of commonsense knowledge. We understand that a glass is used for drinking water, unless the glass is broken or the water is toxic. Despite state-of-the-art (SOTA) language models’ (LMs) impressive performance on inferring commonsense knowledge, it is unclear whether they understand the circumstantial preconditions. To address this gap, we propose a novel challenge of reasoning with circumstantial preconditions. We collect a dataset, called PaCo, consisting of 12.4 thousand preconditions of commonsense statements expressed in natural language. Based on this dataset, we create three canonical evaluation tasks and use them to examine the capability of existing LMs to understand situational preconditions. Our results reveal a 10-30% gap between machine and human performance on our tasks, which shows that reasoning with preconditions is an open challenge.

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Unified Semantic Typing with Meaningful Label Inference
James Y. Huang | Bangzheng Li | Jiashu Xu | Muhao Chen
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Semantic typing aims at classifying tokens or spans of interest in a textual context into semantic categories such as relations, entity types, and event types. The inferred labels of semantic categories meaningfully interpret how machines understand components of text. In this paper, we present UniST, a unified framework for semantic typing that captures label semantics by projecting both inputs and labels into a joint semantic embedding space. To formulate different lexical and relational semantic typing tasks as a unified task, we incorporate task descriptions to be jointly encoded with the input, allowing UniST to be adapted to different tasks without introducing task-specific model components. UniST optimizes a margin ranking loss such that the semantic relatedness of the input and labels is reflected from their embedding similarity. Our experiments demonstrate that UniST achieves strong performance across three semantic typing tasks: entity typing, relation classification and event typing. Meanwhile, UniST effectively transfers semantic knowledge of labels and substantially improves generalizability on inferring rarely seen and unseen types. In addition, multiple semantic typing tasks can be jointly trained within the unified framework, leading to a single compact multi-tasking model that performs comparably to dedicated single-task models, while offering even better transferability.

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Should We Rely on Entity Mentions for Relation Extraction? Debiasing Relation Extraction with Counterfactual Analysis
Yiwei Wang | Muhao Chen | Wenxuan Zhou | Yujun Cai | Yuxuan Liang | Dayiheng Liu | Baosong Yang | Juncheng Liu | Bryan Hooi
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Recent literature focuses on utilizing the entity information in the sentence-level relation extraction (RE), but this risks leaking superficial and spurious clues of relations. As a result, RE still suffers from unintended entity bias, i.e., the spurious correlation between entity mentions (names) and relations. Entity bias can mislead the RE models to extract the relations that do not exist in the text. To combat this issue, some previous work masks the entity mentions to prevent the RE models from over-fitting entity mentions. However, this strategy degrades the RE performance because it loses the semantic information of entities. In this paper, we propose the CoRE (Counterfactual Analysis based Relation Extraction) debiasing method that guides the RE models to focus on the main effects of textual context without losing the entity information. We first construct a causal graph for RE, which models the dependencies between variables in RE models. Then, we propose to conduct counterfactual analysis on our causal graph to distill and mitigate the entity bias, that captures the causal effects of specific entity mentions in each instance. Note that our CoRE method is model-agnostic to debias existing RE systems during inference without changing their training processes. Extensive experimental results demonstrate that our CoRE yields significant gains on both effectiveness and generalization for RE. The source code is provided at: https://github.com/vanoracai/CoRE.

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Answer Consolidation: Formulation and Benchmarking
Wenxuan Zhou | Qiang Ning | Heba Elfardy | Kevin Small | Muhao Chen
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Current question answering (QA) systems primarily consider the single-answer scenario, where each question is assumed to be paired with one correct answer. However, in many real-world QA applications, multiple answer scenarios arise where consolidating answers into a comprehensive and non-redundant set of answers is a more efficient user interface. In this paper, we formulate the problem of answer consolidation, where answers are partitioned into multiple groups, each representing different aspects of the answer set. Then, given this partitioning, a comprehensive and non-redundant set of answers can be constructed by picking one answer from each group. To initiate research on answer consolidation, we construct a dataset consisting of 4,699 questions and 24,006 sentences and evaluate multiple models. Despite a promising performance achieved by the best-performing supervised models, we still believe this task has room for further improvements.

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Robust (Controlled) Table-to-Text Generation with Structure-Aware Equivariance Learning
Fei Wang | Zhewei Xu | Pedro Szekely | Muhao Chen
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Controlled table-to-text generation seeks to generate natural language descriptions for highlighted subparts of a table. Previous SOTA systems still employ a sequence-to-sequence generation method, which merely captures the table as a linear structure and is brittle when table layouts change. We seek to go beyond this paradigm by (1) effectively expressing the relations of content pieces in the table, and (2) making our model robust to content-invariant structural transformations. Accordingly, we propose an equivariance learning framework, which encodes tables with a structure-aware self-attention mechanism. This prunes the full self-attention structure into an order-invariant graph attention that captures the connected graph structure of cells belonging to the same row or column, and it differentiates between relevant cells and irrelevant cells from the structural perspective. Our framework also modifies the positional encoding mechanism to preserve the relative position of tokens in the same cell but enforce position invariance among different cells. Our technology is free to be plugged into existing table-to-text generation models, and has improved T5-based models to offer better performance on ToTTo and HiTab. Moreover, on a harder version of ToTTo, we preserve promising performance, while previous SOTA systems, even with transformation-based data augmentation, have seen significant performance drops.

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New Frontiers of Information Extraction
Muhao Chen | Lifu Huang | Manling Li | Ben Zhou | Heng Ji | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies: Tutorial Abstracts

This tutorial targets researchers and practitioners who are interested in AI and ML technologies for structural information extraction (IE) from unstructured textual sources. Particularly, this tutorial will provide audience with a systematic introduction to recent advances of IE, by answering several important research questions. These questions include (i) how to develop an robust IE system from noisy, insufficient training data, while ensuring the reliability of its prediction? (ii) how to foster the generalizability of IE through enhancing the system’s cross-lingual, cross-domain, cross-task and cross-modal transferability? (iii) how to precisely support extracting structural information with extremely fine-grained, diverse and boundless labels? (iv) how to further improve IE by leveraging indirect supervision from other NLP tasks, such as NLI, QA or summarization, and pre-trained language models? (v) how to acquire knowledge to guide the inference of IE systems? We will discuss several lines of frontier research that tackle those challenges, and will conclude the tutorial by outlining directions for further investigation.

2021

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Cross-lingual Entity Alignment with Incidental Supervision
Muhao Chen | Weijia Shi | Ben Zhou | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Much research effort has been put to multilingual knowledge graph (KG) embedding methods to address the entity alignment task, which seeks to match entities in different languagespecific KGs that refer to the same real-world object. Such methods are often hindered by the insufficiency of seed alignment provided between KGs. Therefore, we propose a new model, JEANS , which jointly represents multilingual KGs and text corpora in a shared embedding scheme, and seeks to improve entity alignment with incidental supervision signals from text. JEANS first deploys an entity grounding process to combine each KG with the monolingual text corpus. Then, two learning processes are conducted: (i) an embedding learning process to encode the KG and text of each language in one embedding space, and (ii) a self-learning based alignment learning process to iteratively induce the correspondence of entities and that of lexemes between embeddings. Experiments on benchmark datasets show that JEANS leads to promising improvement on entity alignment with incidental supervision, and significantly outperforms state-of-the-art methods that solely rely on internal information of KGs.

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Knowing the No-match: Entity Alignment with Dangling Cases
Zequn Sun | Muhao Chen | Wei Hu
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)

This paper studies a new problem setting of entity alignment for knowledge graphs (KGs). Since KGs possess different sets of entities, there could be entities that cannot find alignment across them, leading to the problem of dangling entities. As the first attempt to this problem, we construct a new dataset and design a multi-task learning framework for both entity alignment and dangling entity detection. The framework can opt to abstain from predicting alignment for the detected dangling entities. We propose three techniques for dangling entity detection that are based on the distribution of nearest-neighbor distances, i.e., nearest neighbor classification, marginal ranking and background ranking. After detecting and removing dangling entities, an incorporated entity alignment model in our framework can provide more robust alignment for remaining entities. Comprehensive experiments and analyses demonstrate the effectiveness of our framework. We further discover that the dangling entity detection module can, in turn, improve alignment learning and the final performance. The contributed resource is publicly available to foster further research.

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Event-Centric Natural Language Processing
Muhao Chen | Hongming Zhang | Qiang Ning | Manling Li | Heng Ji | Kathleen McKeown | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing: Tutorial Abstracts

This tutorial targets researchers and practitioners who are interested in AI technologies that help machines understand natural language text, particularly real-world events described in the text. These include methods to extract the internal structures of an event regarding its protagonist(s), participant(s) and properties, as well as external structures concerning memberships, temporal and causal relations of multiple events. This tutorial will provide audience with a systematic introduction of (i) knowledge representations of events, (ii) various methods for automated extraction, conceptualization and prediction of events and their relations, (iii) induction of event processes and properties, and (iv) a wide range of NLU and commonsense understanding tasks that benefit from aforementioned techniques. We will conclude the tutorial by outlining emerging research problems in this area.

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Probabilistic Box Embeddings for Uncertain Knowledge Graph Reasoning
Xuelu Chen | Michael Boratko | Muhao Chen | Shib Sankar Dasgupta | Xiang Lorraine Li | Andrew McCallum
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Knowledge bases often consist of facts which are harvested from a variety of sources, many of which are noisy and some of which conflict, resulting in a level of uncertainty for each triple. Knowledge bases are also often incomplete, prompting the use of embedding methods to generalize from known facts, however, existing embedding methods only model triple-level uncertainty, and reasoning results lack global consistency. To address these shortcomings, we propose BEUrRE, a novel uncertain knowledge graph embedding method with calibrated probabilistic semantics. BEUrRE models each entity as a box (i.e. axis-aligned hyperrectangle) and relations between two entities as affine transforms on the head and tail entity boxes. The geometry of the boxes allows for efficient calculation of intersections and volumes, endowing the model with calibrated probabilistic semantics and facilitating the incorporation of relational constraints. Extensive experiments on two benchmark datasets show that BEUrRE consistently outperforms baselines on confidence prediction and fact ranking due to its probabilistic calibration and ability to capture high-order dependencies among facts.

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Contrastive Out-of-Distribution Detection for Pretrained Transformers
Wenxuan Zhou | Fangyu Liu | Muhao Chen
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Pretrained Transformers achieve remarkable performance when training and test data are from the same distribution. However, in real-world scenarios, the model often faces out-of-distribution (OOD) instances that can cause severe semantic shift problems at inference time. Therefore, in practice, a reliable model should identify such instances, and then either reject them during inference or pass them over to models that handle another distribution. In this paper, we develop an unsupervised OOD detection method, in which only the in-distribution (ID) data are used in training. We propose to fine-tune the Transformers with a contrastive loss, which improves the compactness of representations, such that OOD instances can be better differentiated from ID ones. These OOD instances can then be accurately detected using the Mahalanobis distance in the model’s penultimate layer. We experiment with comprehensive settings and achieve near-perfect OOD detection performance, outperforming baselines drastically. We further investigate the rationales behind the improvement, finding that more compact representations through margin-based contrastive learning bring the improvement. We release our code to the community for future research.

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Salience-Aware Event Chain Modeling for Narrative Understanding
Xiyang Zhang | Muhao Chen | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Storytelling, whether via fables, news reports, documentaries, or memoirs, can be thought of as the communication of interesting and related events that, taken together, form a concrete process. It is desirable to extract the event chains that represent such processes. However, this extraction remains a challenging problem. We posit that this is due to the nature of the texts from which chains are discovered. Natural language text interleaves a narrative of concrete, salient events with background information, contextualization, opinion, and other elements that are important for a variety of necessary discourse and pragmatics acts but are not part of the principal chain of events being communicated. We introduce methods for extracting this principal chain from natural language text, by filtering away non-salient events and supportive sentences. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our methods at isolating critical event chains by comparing their effect on downstream tasks. We show that by pre-training large language models on our extracted chains, we obtain improvements in two tasks that benefit from a clear understanding of event chains: narrative prediction and event-based temporal question answering. The demonstrated improvements and ablative studies confirm that our extraction method isolates critical event chains.

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Learning Constraints and Descriptive Segmentation for Subevent Detection
Haoyu Wang | Hongming Zhang | Muhao Chen | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Event mentions in text correspond to real-world events of varying degrees of granularity. The task of subevent detection aims to resolve this granularity issue, recognizing the membership of multi-granular events in event complexes. Since knowing the span of descriptive contexts of event complexes helps infer the membership of events, we propose the task of event-based text segmentation (EventSeg) as an auxiliary task to improve the learning for subevent detection. To bridge the two tasks together, we propose an approach to learning and enforcing constraints that capture dependencies between subevent detection and EventSeg prediction, as well as guiding the model to make globally consistent inference. Specifically, we adopt Rectifier Networks for constraint learning and then convert the learned constraints to a regularization term in the loss function of the neural model. Experimental results show that the proposed method outperforms baseline methods by 2.3% and 2.5% on benchmark datasets for subevent detection, HiEve and IC, respectively, while achieving a decent performance on EventSeg prediction.

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Learning from Noisy Labels for Entity-Centric Information Extraction
Wenxuan Zhou | Muhao Chen
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Recent information extraction approaches have relied on training deep neural models. However, such models can easily overfit noisy labels and suffer from performance degradation. While it is very costly to filter noisy labels in large learning resources, recent studies show that such labels take more training steps to be memorized and are more frequently forgotten than clean labels, therefore are identifiable in training. Motivated by such properties, we propose a simple co-regularization framework for entity-centric information extraction, which consists of several neural models with identical structures but different parameter initialization. These models are jointly optimized with the task-specific losses and are regularized to generate similar predictions based on an agreement loss, which prevents overfitting on noisy labels. Extensive experiments on two widely used but noisy benchmarks for information extraction, TACRED and CoNLL03, demonstrate the effectiveness of our framework. We release our code to the community for future research.

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Do Language Models Perform Generalizable Commonsense Inference?
Peifeng Wang | Filip Ilievski | Muhao Chen | Xiang Ren
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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Table-based Fact Verification With Salience-aware Learning
Fei Wang | Kexuan Sun | Jay Pujara | Pedro Szekely | Muhao Chen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Tables provide valuable knowledge that can be used to verify textual statements. While a number of works have considered table-based fact verification, direct alignments of tabular data with tokens in textual statements are rarely available. Moreover, training a generalized fact verification model requires abundant labeled training data. In this paper, we propose a novel system to address these problems. Inspired by counterfactual causality, our system identifies token-level salience in the statement with probing-based salience estimation. Salience estimation allows enhanced learning of fact verification from two perspectives. From one perspective, our system conducts masked salient token prediction to enhance the model for alignment and reasoning between the table and the statement. From the other perspective, our system applies salience-aware data augmentation to generate a more diverse set of training instances by replacing non-salient terms. Experimental results on TabFact show the effective improvement by the proposed salience-aware learning techniques, leading to the new SOTA performance on the benchmark.

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HyperExpan: Taxonomy Expansion with Hyperbolic Representation Learning
Mingyu Derek Ma | Muhao Chen | Te-Lin Wu | Nanyun Peng
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Taxonomies are valuable resources for many applications, but the limited coverage due to the expensive manual curation process hinders their general applicability. Prior works attempt to automatically expand existing taxonomies to improve their coverage by learning concept embeddings in Euclidean space, while taxonomies, inherently hierarchical, more naturally align with the geometric properties of a hyperbolic space. In this paper, we present HyperExpan, a taxonomy expansion algorithm that seeks to preserve the structure of a taxonomy in a more expressive hyperbolic embedding space and learn to represent concepts and their relations with a Hyperbolic Graph Neural Network (HGNN). Specifically, HyperExpan leverages position embeddings to exploit the structure of the existing taxonomies, and characterizes the concept profile information to support the inference on new concepts that are unseen during training. Experiments show that our proposed HyperExpan outperforms baseline models with representation learning in a Euclidean feature space and achieves state-of-the-art performance on the taxonomy expansion benchmarks.

2020

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Joint Constrained Learning for Event-Event Relation Extraction
Haoyu Wang | Muhao Chen | Hongming Zhang | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Understanding natural language involves recognizing how multiple event mentions structurally and temporally interact with each other. In this process, one can induce event complexes that organize multi-granular events with temporal order and membership relations interweaving among them. Due to the lack of jointly labeled data for these relational phenomena and the restriction on the structures they articulate, we propose a joint constrained learning framework for modeling event-event relations. Specifically, the framework enforces logical constraints within and across multiple temporal and subevent relations of events by converting these constraints into differentiable learning objectives. We show that our joint constrained learning approach effectively compensates for the lack of jointly labeled data, and outperforms SOTA methods on benchmarks for both temporal relation extraction and event hierarchy construction, replacing a commonly used but more expensive global inference process. We also present a promising case study to show the effectiveness of our approach to inducing event complexes on an external corpus.

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Analogous Process Structure Induction for Sub-event Sequence Prediction
Hongming Zhang | Muhao Chen | Haoyu Wang | Yangqiu Song | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Computational and cognitive studies of event understanding suggest that identifying, comprehending, and predicting events depend on having structured representations of a sequence of events and on conceptualizing (abstracting) its components into (soft) event categories. Thus, knowledge about a known process such as “buying a car” can be used in the context of a new but analogous process such as “buying a house”. Nevertheless, most event understanding work in NLP is still at the ground level and does not consider abstraction. In this paper, we propose an Analogous Process Structure Induction (APSI) framework, which leverages analogies among processes and conceptualization of sub-event instances to predict the whole sub-event sequence of previously unseen open-domain processes. As our experiments and analysis indicate, APSI supports the generation of meaningful sub-event sequences for unseen processes and can help predict missing events.

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Knowledge Association with Hyperbolic Knowledge Graph Embeddings
Zequn Sun | Muhao Chen | Wei Hu | Chengming Wang | Jian Dai | Wei Zhang
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Capturing associations for knowledge graphs (KGs) through entity alignment, entity type inference and other related tasks benefits NLP applications with comprehensive knowledge representations. Recent related methods built on Euclidean embeddings are challenged by the hierarchical structures and different scales of KGs. They also depend on high embedding dimensions to realize enough expressiveness. Differently, we explore with low-dimensional hyperbolic embeddings for knowledge association. We propose a hyperbolic relational graph neural network for KG embedding and capture knowledge associations with a hyperbolic transformation. Extensive experiments on entity alignment and type inference demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of our method.

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Multilingual Knowledge Graph Completion via Ensemble Knowledge Transfer
Xuelu Chen | Muhao Chen | Changjun Fan | Ankith Uppunda | Yizhou Sun | Carlo Zaniolo
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Predicting missing facts in a knowledge graph(KG) is a crucial task in knowledge base construction and reasoning, and it has been the subject of much research in recent works us-ing KG embeddings. While existing KG embedding approaches mainly learn and predict facts within a single KG, a more plausible solution would benefit from the knowledge in multiple language-specific KGs, considering that different KGs have their own strengths and limitations on data quality and coverage. This is quite challenging since the transfer of knowledge among multiple independently maintained KGs is often hindered by the insufficiency of alignment information and inconsistency of described facts. In this paper, we propose kens, a novel framework for embedding learning and ensemble knowledge transfer across a number of language-specific KGs.KEnS embeds all KGs in a shared embedding space, where the association of entities is captured based on self-learning. Then, KEnS performs ensemble inference to com-bine prediction results from multiple language-specific embeddings, for which multiple en-semble techniques are investigated. Experiments on the basis of five real-world language-specific KGs show that, by effectively identifying and leveraging complementary knowledge, KEnS consistently improves state-of-the-art methods on KG completion.

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What Are You Trying to Do? Semantic Typing of Event Processes
Muhao Chen | Hongming Zhang | Haoyu Wang | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 24th Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning

This paper studies a new cognitively motivated semantic typing task,multi-axis event process typing, that, given anevent process, attempts to infer free-form typelabels describing (i) the type of action made bythe process and (ii) the type of object the pro-cess seeks to affect. This task is inspired bycomputational and cognitive studies of eventunderstanding, which suggest that understand-ing processes of events is often directed by rec-ognizing the goals, plans or intentions of theprotagonist(s). We develop a large dataset con-taining over 60k event processes, featuring ul-tra fine-grained typing on both the action andobject type axes with very large (10ˆ3∼10ˆ4)label vocabularies. We then propose a hybridlearning framework,P2GT, which addressesthe challenging typing problem with indirectsupervision from glosses1and a joint learning-to-rank framework. As our experiments indi-cate,P2GTsupports identifying the intent ofprocesses, as well as the fine semantic type ofthe affected object. It also demonstrates the ca-pability of handling few-shot cases, and stronggeneralizability on out-of-domain processes.

2019

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Learning Bilingual Word Embeddings Using Lexical Definitions
Weijia Shi | Muhao Chen | Yingtao Tian | Kai-Wei Chang
Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP (RepL4NLP-2019)

Bilingual word embeddings, which represent lexicons of different languages in a shared embedding space, are essential for supporting semantic and knowledge transfers in a variety of cross-lingual NLP tasks. Existing approaches to training bilingual word embeddings require either large collections of pre-defined seed lexicons that are expensive to obtain, or parallel sentences that comprise coarse and noisy alignment. In contrast, we propose BiLex that leverages publicly available lexical definitions for bilingual word embedding learning. Without the need of predefined seed lexicons, BiLex comprises a novel word pairing strategy to automatically identify and propagate the precise fine-grain word alignment from lexical definitions. We evaluate BiLex in word-level and sentence-level translation tasks, which seek to find the cross-lingual counterparts of words and sentences respectively. BiLex significantly outperforms previous embedding methods on both tasks.

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Retrofitting Contextualized Word Embeddings with Paraphrases
Weijia Shi | Muhao Chen | Pei Zhou | Kai-Wei Chang
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Contextualized word embeddings, such as ELMo, provide meaningful representations for words and their contexts. They have been shown to have a great impact on downstream applications. However, we observe that the contextualized embeddings of a word might change drastically when its contexts are paraphrased. As these embeddings are over-sensitive to the context, the downstream model may make different predictions when the input sentence is paraphrased. To address this issue, we propose a post-processing approach to retrofit the embedding with paraphrases. Our method learns an orthogonal transformation on the input space of the contextualized word embedding model, which seeks to minimize the variance of word representations on paraphrased contexts. Experiments show that the proposed method significantly improves ELMo on various sentence classification and inference tasks.

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Examining Gender Bias in Languages with Grammatical Gender
Pei Zhou | Weijia Shi | Jieyu Zhao | Kuan-Hao Huang | Muhao Chen | Ryan Cotterell | Kai-Wei Chang
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Recent studies have shown that word embeddings exhibit gender bias inherited from the training corpora. However, most studies to date have focused on quantifying and mitigating such bias only in English. These analyses cannot be directly extended to languages that exhibit morphological agreement on gender, such as Spanish and French. In this paper, we propose new metrics for evaluating gender bias in word embeddings of these languages and further demonstrate evidence of gender bias in bilingual embeddings which align these languages with English. Finally, we extend an existing approach to mitigate gender bias in word embedding of these languages under both monolingual and bilingual settings. Experiments on modified Word Embedding Association Test, word similarity, word translation, and word pair translation tasks show that the proposed approaches can effectively reduce the gender bias while preserving the utility of the original embeddings.

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Learning to Represent Bilingual Dictionaries
Muhao Chen | Yingtao Tian | Haochen Chen | Kai-Wei Chang | Steven Skiena | Carlo Zaniolo
Proceedings of the 23rd Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL)

Bilingual word embeddings have been widely used to capture the correspondence of lexical semantics in different human languages. However, the cross-lingual correspondence between sentences and words is less studied, despite that this correspondence can significantly benefit many applications such as crosslingual semantic search and textual inference. To bridge this gap, we propose a neural embedding model that leverages bilingual dictionaries. The proposed model is trained to map the lexical definitions to the cross-lingual target words, for which we explore with different sentence encoding techniques. To enhance the learning process on limited resources, our model adopts several critical learning strategies, including multi-task learning on different bridges of languages, and joint learning of the dictionary model with a bilingual word embedding model. We conduct experiments on two new tasks. In the cross-lingual reverse dictionary retrieval task, we demonstrate that our model is capable of comprehending bilingual concepts based on descriptions, and the proposed learning strategies are effective. In the bilingual paraphrase identification task, we show that our model effectively associates sentences in different languages via a shared embedding space, and outperforms existing approaches in identifying bilingual paraphrases.