Pengfei Li


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End-to-End Simultaneous Speech Translation with Pretraining and Distillation: Huawei Noah’s System for AutoSimTranS 2022
Xingshan Zeng | Pengfei Li | Liangyou Li | Qun Liu
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Automatic Simultaneous Translation

This paper describes the system submitted to AutoSimTrans 2022 from Huawei Noah’s Ark Lab, which won the first place in the audio input track of the Chinese-English translation task. Our system is based on RealTranS, an end-to-end simultaneous speech translation model. We enhance the model with pretraining, by initializing the acoustic encoder with ASR encoder, and the semantic encoder and decoder with NMT encoder and decoder, respectively. To relieve the data scarcity, we further construct pseudo training corpus as a kind of knowledge distillation with ASR data and the pretrained NMT model. Meanwhile, we also apply several techniques to improve the robustness and domain generalizability, including punctuation removal, token-level knowledge distillation and multi-domain finetuning. Experiments show that our system significantly outperforms the baselines at all latency and also verify the effectiveness of our proposed methods.

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Universal Conditional Masked Language Pre-training for Neural Machine Translation
Pengfei Li | Liangyou Li | Meng Zhang | Minghao Wu | Qun Liu
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Pre-trained sequence-to-sequence models have significantly improved Neural Machine Translation (NMT). Different from prior works where pre-trained models usually adopt an unidirectional decoder, this paper demonstrates that pre-training a sequence-to-sequence model but with a bidirectional decoder can produce notable performance gains for both Autoregressive and Non-autoregressive NMT. Specifically, we propose CeMAT, a conditional masked language model pre-trained on large-scale bilingual and monolingual corpora in many languages. We also introduce two simple but effective methods to enhance the CeMAT, aligned code-switching & masking and dynamic dual-masking. We conduct extensive experiments and show that our CeMAT can achieve significant performance improvement for all scenarios from low- to extremely high-resource languages, i.e., up to +14.4 BLEU on low resource and +7.9 BLEU improvements on average for Autoregressive NMT. For Non-autoregressive NMT, we demonstrate it can also produce consistent performance gains, i.e., up to +5.3 BLEU. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work to pre-train a unified model for fine-tuning on both NMT tasks. Code, data, and pre-trained models are available at

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Automatic True/False Question Generation for Educational Purpose
Bowei Zou | Pengfei Li | Liangming Pan | Ai Ti Aw
Proceedings of the 17th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications (BEA 2022)

In field of teaching, true/false questioning is an important educational method for assessing students’ general understanding of learning materials. Manually creating such questions requires extensive human effort and expert knowledge. Question Generation (QG) technique offers the possibility to automatically generate a large number of questions. However, there is limited work on automatic true/false question generation due to the lack of training data and difficulty finding question-worthy content. In this paper, we propose an unsupervised True/False Question Generation approach (TF-QG) that automatically generates true/false questions from a given passage for reading comprehension test. TF-QG consists of a template-based framework that aims to test the specific knowledge in the passage by leveraging various NLP techniques, and a generative framework to generate more flexible and complicated questions by using a novel masking-and-infilling strategy. Human evaluation shows that our approach can generate high-quality and valuable true/false questions. In addition, simulated testing on the generated questions challenges the state-of-the-art inference models from NLI, QA, and fact verification tasks.


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NoahNMT at WMT 2021: Dual Transfer for Very Low Resource Supervised Machine Translation
Meng Zhang | Minghao Wu | Pengfei Li | Liangyou Li | Qun Liu
Proceedings of the Sixth Conference on Machine Translation

This paper describes the NoahNMT system submitted to the WMT 2021 shared task of Very Low Resource Supervised Machine Translation. The system is a standard Transformer model equipped with our recent technique of dual transfer. It also employs widely used techniques that are known to be helpful for neural machine translation, including iterative back-translation, selected finetuning, and ensemble. The final submission achieves the top BLEU for three translation directions.


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Improving Relation Extraction with Knowledge-attention
Pengfei Li | Kezhi Mao | Xuefeng Yang | Qi Li
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

While attention mechanisms have been proven to be effective in many NLP tasks, majority of them are data-driven. We propose a novel knowledge-attention encoder which incorporates prior knowledge from external lexical resources into deep neural networks for relation extraction task. Furthermore, we present three effective ways of integrating knowledge-attention with self-attention to maximize the utilization of both knowledge and data. The proposed relation extraction system is end-to-end and fully attention-based. Experiment results show that the proposed knowledge-attention mechanism has complementary strengths with self-attention, and our integrated models outperform existing CNN, RNN, and self-attention based models. State-of-the-art performance is achieved on TACRED, a complex and large-scale relation extraction dataset.