Naoto Usuyama


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Modular Self-Supervision for Document-Level Relation Extraction
Sheng Zhang | Cliff Wong | Naoto Usuyama | Sarthak Jain | Tristan Naumann | Hoifung Poon
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Extracting relations across large text spans has been relatively underexplored in NLP, but it is particularly important for high-value domains such as biomedicine, where obtaining high recall of the latest findings is crucial for practical applications. Compared to conventional information extraction confined to short text spans, document-level relation extraction faces additional challenges in both inference and learning. Given longer text spans, state-of-the-art neural architectures are less effective and task-specific self-supervision such as distant supervision becomes very noisy. In this paper, we propose decomposing document-level relation extraction into relation detection and argument resolution, taking inspiration from Davidsonian semantics. This enables us to incorporate explicit discourse modeling and leverage modular self-supervision for each sub-problem, which is less noise-prone and can be further refined end-to-end via variational EM. We conduct a thorough evaluation in biomedical machine reading for precision oncology, where cross-paragraph relation mentions are prevalent. Our method outperforms prior state of the art, such as multi-scale learning and graph neural networks, by over 20 absolute F1 points. The gain is particularly pronounced among the most challenging relation instances whose arguments never co-occur in a paragraph.