Mukai Li


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Prompt for Extraction? PAIE: Prompting Argument Interaction for Event Argument Extraction
Yubo Ma | Zehao Wang | Yixin Cao | Mukai Li | Meiqi Chen | Kun Wang | Jing Shao
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In this paper, we propose an effective yet efficient model PAIE for both sentence-level and document-level Event Argument Extraction (EAE), which also generalizes well when there is a lack of training data. On the one hand, PAIE utilizes prompt tuning for extractive objectives to take the best advantages of Pre-trained Language Models (PLMs). It introduces two span selectors based on the prompt to select start/end tokens among input texts for each role. On the other hand, it captures argument interactions via multi-role prompts and conducts joint optimization with optimal span assignments via a bipartite matching loss. Also, with a flexible prompt design, PAIE can extract multiple arguments with the same role instead of conventional heuristic threshold tuning. We have conducted extensive experiments on three benchmarks, including both sentence- and document-level EAE. The results present promising improvements from PAIE (3.5% and 2.3% F1 gains in average on three benchmarks, for PAIE-base and PAIE-large respectively). Further analysis demonstrates the efficiency, generalization to few-shot settings, and effectiveness of different extractive prompt tuning strategies. Our code is available at

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MMEKG: Multi-modal Event Knowledge Graph towards Universal Representation across Modalities
Yubo Ma | Zehao Wang | Mukai Li | Yixin Cao | Meiqi Chen | Xinze Li | Wenqi Sun | Kunquan Deng | Kun Wang | Aixin Sun | Jing Shao
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

Events are fundamental building blocks of real-world happenings. In this paper, we present a large-scale, multi-modal event knowledge graph named MMEKG. MMEKG unifies different modalities of knowledge via events, which complement and disambiguate each other.Specifically, MMEKG incorporates (i) over 990 thousand concept events with 644 relation types to cover most types of happenings, and (ii) over 863 million instance events connected through 934 million relations, which provide rich contextual information in texts and/or images. To collect billion-scale instance events and relations among them, we additionally develop an efficient yet effective pipeline for textual/visual knowledge extraction system. We also develop an induction strategy to create million-scale concept events and a schema organizing all events and relations in MMEKG. To this end, we also provide a pipeline enabling our system to seamlessly parse texts/images to event graphs and to retrieve multi-modal knowledge at both concept- and instance-levels.

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ERGO: Event Relational Graph Transformer for Document-level Event Causality Identification
Meiqi Chen | Yixin Cao | Kunquan Deng | Mukai Li | Kun Wang | Jing Shao | Yan Zhang
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Document-level Event Causality Identification (DECI) aims to identify event-event causal relations in a document. Existing works usually build an event graph for global reasoning across multiple sentences. However, the edges between events have to be carefully designed through heuristic rules or external tools. In this paper, we propose a novel Event Relational Graph TransfOrmer (ERGO) framework for DECI, to ease the graph construction and improve it over the noisy edge issue. Different from conventional event graphs, we define a pair of events as a node and build a complete event relational graph without any prior knowledge or tools. This naturally formulates DECI as a node classification problem, and thus we capture the causation transitivity among event pairs via a graph transformer. Furthermore, we design a criss-cross constraint and an adaptive focal loss for the imbalanced classification, to alleviate the issues of false positives and false negatives. Extensive experiments on two benchmark datasets show that ERGO greatly outperforms previous state-of-the-art (SOTA) methods (12.8% F1 gains on average).


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Mind the Style of Text! Adversarial and Backdoor Attacks Based on Text Style Transfer
Fanchao Qi | Yangyi Chen | Xurui Zhang | Mukai Li | Zhiyuan Liu | Maosong Sun
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Adversarial attacks and backdoor attacks are two common security threats that hang over deep learning. Both of them harness task-irrelevant features of data in their implementation. Text style is a feature that is naturally irrelevant to most NLP tasks, and thus suitable for adversarial and backdoor attacks. In this paper, we make the first attempt to conduct adversarial and backdoor attacks based on text style transfer, which is aimed at altering the style of a sentence while preserving its meaning. We design an adversarial attack method and a backdoor attack method, and conduct extensive experiments to evaluate them. Experimental results show that popular NLP models are vulnerable to both adversarial and backdoor attacks based on text style transfer—the attack success rates can exceed 90% without much effort. It reflects the limited ability of NLP models to handle the feature of text style that has not been widely realized. In addition, the style transfer-based adversarial and backdoor attack methods show superiority to baselines in many aspects. All the code and data of this paper can be obtained at

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ONION: A Simple and Effective Defense Against Textual Backdoor Attacks
Fanchao Qi | Yangyi Chen | Mukai Li | Yuan Yao | Zhiyuan Liu | Maosong Sun
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Backdoor attacks are a kind of emergent training-time threat to deep neural networks (DNNs). They can manipulate the output of DNNs and possess high insidiousness. In the field of natural language processing, some attack methods have been proposed and achieve very high attack success rates on multiple popular models. Nevertheless, there are few studies on defending against textual backdoor attacks. In this paper, we propose a simple and effective textual backdoor defense named ONION, which is based on outlier word detection and, to the best of our knowledge, is the first method that can handle all the textual backdoor attack situations. Experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of our model in defending BiLSTM and BERT against five different backdoor attacks. All the code and data of this paper can be obtained at

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Hidden Killer: Invisible Textual Backdoor Attacks with Syntactic Trigger
Fanchao Qi | Mukai Li | Yangyi Chen | Zhengyan Zhang | Zhiyuan Liu | Yasheng Wang | Maosong Sun
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)

Backdoor attacks are a kind of insidious security threat against machine learning models. After being injected with a backdoor in training, the victim model will produce adversary-specified outputs on the inputs embedded with predesigned triggers but behave properly on normal inputs during inference. As a sort of emergent attack, backdoor attacks in natural language processing (NLP) are investigated insufficiently. As far as we know, almost all existing textual backdoor attack methods insert additional contents into normal samples as triggers, which causes the trigger-embedded samples to be detected and the backdoor attacks to be blocked without much effort. In this paper, we propose to use the syntactic structure as the trigger in textual backdoor attacks. We conduct extensive experiments to demonstrate that the syntactic trigger-based attack method can achieve comparable attack performance (almost 100% success rate) to the insertion-based methods but possesses much higher invisibility and stronger resistance to defenses. These results also reveal the significant insidiousness and harmfulness of textual backdoor attacks. All the code and data of this paper can be obtained at