Nuo Chen


2022

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A Transformer-based Threshold-Free Framework for Multi-Intent NLU
Lisung Chen | Nuo Chen | Yuexian Zou | Yong Wang | Xinzhong Sun
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Multi-intent natural language understanding (NLU) has recently gained attention. It detects multiple intents in an utterance, which is better suited to real-world scenarios. However, the state-of-the-art joint NLU models mainly detect multiple intents on threshold-based strategy, resulting in one main issue: the model is extremely sensitive to the threshold settings. In this paper, we propose a transformer-based Threshold-Free Multi-intent NLU model (TFMN) with multi-task learning (MTL). Specifically, we first leverage multiple layers of a transformer-based encoder to generate multi-grain representations. Then we exploit the information of the number of multiple intents in each utterance without additional manual annotations and propose an auxiliary detection task: Intent Number detection (IND). Furthermore, we propose a threshold-free intent multi-intent classifier that utilizes the output of IND task and detects the multiple intents without depending on the threshold. Extensive experiments demonstrate that our proposed model achieves superior results on two public multi-intent datasets.

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End-to-end Spoken Conversational Question Answering: Task, Dataset and Model
Chenyu You | Nuo Chen | Fenglin Liu | Shen Ge | Xian Wu | Yuexian Zou
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

In spoken question answering, the systems are designed to answer questions from contiguous text spans within the related speech transcripts. However, the most natural way that human seek or test their knowledge is via human conversations. Therefore, we propose a new Spoken Conversational Question Answering task (SCQA), aiming at enabling the systems to model complex dialogues flow given the speech documents. In this task, our main objective is to build the system to deal with conversational questions based on the audio recordings, and to explore the plausibility of providing more cues from different modalities with systems in information gathering. To this end, instead of directly adopting automatically generated speech transcripts with highly noisy data, we propose a novel unified data distillation approach, DDNet, which effectively ingests cross-modal information to achieve fine-grained representations of the speech and language modalities. Moreover, we propose a simple and novel mechanism, termed Dual Attention, by encouraging better alignments between audio and text to ease the process of knowledge transfer. To evaluate the capacity of SCQA systems in a dialogue-style interaction, we assemble a Spoken Conversational Question Answering (Spoken-CoQA) dataset with more than 40k question-answer pairs from 4k conversations. We first show that the performance of the existing state-of-the-art methods significantly degrade on our dataset, hence demonstrating the necessity of incorporating cross-modal information to achieve good performance gains. Our experimental results demonstrate that our proposed method achieves superior performance in spoken conversational question answering. Codes and datasets will be made publicly available.

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

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

2021

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Self-supervised Contrastive Cross-Modality Representation Learning for Spoken Question Answering
Chenyu You | Nuo Chen | Yuexian Zou
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Spoken question answering (SQA) requires fine-grained understanding of both spoken documents and questions for the optimal answer prediction. In this paper, we propose novel training schemes for spoken question answering with a self-supervised training stage and a contrastive representation learning stage. In the self-supervised stage, we propose three auxiliary self-supervised tasks, including utterance restoration, utterance insertion, and question discrimination, and jointly train the model to capture consistency and coherence among speech documents without any additional data or annotations. We then propose to learn noise-invariant utterance representations in a contrastive objective by adopting multiple augmentation strategies, including span deletion and span substitution. Besides, we design a Temporal-Alignment attention to semantically align the speech-text clues in the learned common space and benefit the SQA tasks. By this means, the training schemes can more effectively guide the generation model to predict more proper answers. Experimental results show that our model achieves state-of-the-art results on three SQA benchmarks. Our code will be publicly available after publication.