Pengfei Tang


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Enhancing Self-Attention with Knowledge-Assisted Attention Maps
Jiangang Bai | Yujing Wang | Hong Sun | Ruonan Wu | Tianmeng Yang | Pengfei Tang | Defu Cao | Mingliang Zhang1 | Yunhai Tong | Yaming Yang | Jing Bai | Ruofei Zhang | Hao Sun | Wei Shen
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Large-scale pre-trained language models have attracted extensive attentions in the research community and shown promising results on various tasks of natural language processing. However, the attention maps, which record the attention scores between tokens in self-attention mechanism, are sometimes ineffective as they are learned implicitly without the guidance of explicit semantic knowledge. Thus, we aim to infuse explicit external knowledge into pre-trained language models to further boost their performance. Existing works of knowledge infusion largely depend on multi-task learning frameworks, which are inefficient and require large-scale re-training when new knowledge is considered. In this paper, we propose a novel and generic solution, KAM-BERT, which directly incorporates knowledge-generated attention maps into the self-attention mechanism. It requires only a few extra parameters and supports efficient fine-tuning once new knowledge is added. KAM-BERT achieves consistent improvements on various academic datasets for natural language understanding. It also outperforms other state-of-the-art methods which conduct knowledge infusion into transformer-based architectures. Moreover, we apply our model to an industry-scale ad relevance application and show its advantages in the real-world scenario.


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Certified Robustness to Word Substitution Attack with Differential Privacy
Wenjie Wang | Pengfei Tang | Jian Lou | Li Xiong
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

The robustness and security of natural language processing (NLP) models are significantly important in real-world applications. In the context of text classification tasks, adversarial examples can be designed by substituting words with synonyms under certain semantic and syntactic constraints, such that a well-trained model will give a wrong prediction. Therefore, it is crucial to develop techniques to provide a rigorous and provable robustness guarantee against such attacks. In this paper, we propose WordDP to achieve certified robustness against word substitution at- tacks in text classification via differential privacy (DP). We establish the connection between DP and adversarial robustness for the first time in the text domain and propose a conceptual exponential mechanism-based algorithm to formally achieve the robustness. We further present a practical simulated exponential mechanism that has efficient inference with certified robustness. We not only provide a rigorous analytic derivation of the certified condition but also experimentally compare the utility of WordDP with existing defense algorithms. The results show that WordDP achieves higher accuracy and more than 30X efficiency improvement over the state-of-the-art certified robustness mechanism in typical text classification tasks.


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Utilizing Multimodal Feature Consistency to Detect Adversarial Examples on Clinical Summaries
Wenjie Wang | Youngja Park | Taesung Lee | Ian Molloy | Pengfei Tang | Li Xiong
Proceedings of the 3rd Clinical Natural Language Processing Workshop

Recent studies have shown that adversarial examples can be generated by applying small perturbations to the inputs such that the well- trained deep learning models will misclassify. With the increasing number of safety and security-sensitive applications of deep learn- ing models, the robustness of deep learning models has become a crucial topic. The robustness of deep learning models for health- care applications is especially critical because the unique characteristics and the high financial interests of the medical domain make it more sensitive to adversarial attacks. Among the modalities of medical data, the clinical summaries have higher risks to be attacked because they are generated by third-party companies. As few works studied adversarial threats on clinical summaries, in this work we first apply adversarial attack to clinical summaries of electronic health records (EHR) to show the text-based deep learning systems are vulnerable to adversarial examples. Secondly, benefiting from the multi-modality of the EHR dataset, we propose a novel defense method, MATCH (Multimodal feATure Consistency cHeck), which leverages the consistency between multiple modalities in the data to defend against adversarial examples on a single modality. Our experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of MATCH on a hospital readmission prediction task comparing with baseline methods.