Qian Liu


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PTCSpell: Pre-trained Corrector Based on Character Shape and Pinyin for Chinese Spelling Correction
Xiao Wei | Jianbao Huang | Hang Yu | Qian Liu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Chinese spelling correction (CSC) is a challenging task with the goal of correcting each wrong character in Chinese texts. Incorrect characters in a Chinese text are mainly due to the similar shape and similar pronunciation of Chinese characters. Recently, the paradigm of pre-training and fine-tuning has achieved remarkable success in natural language processing. However, the pre-training objectives in existing methods are not tailored for the CSC task since they neglect the visual and phonetic properties of characters, resulting in suboptimal spelling correction. In this work, we propose to pre-train a new corrector named PTCSpell for the CSC task under the detector-corrector architecture. The corrector we propose has the following two improvements. First, we design two novel pre-training objectives to capture pronunciation and shape information in Chinese characters. Second, we propose a new strategy to tackle the issue that the detector’s prediction results mislead the corrector by balancing the loss of wrong characters and correct characters. Experiments on three benchmarks (i.e., SIGHAN 2013, 2014, and 2015) show that our model achieves an average of 5.8% F1 improvements at the correction level over state-of-the-art methods, verifying its effectiveness.

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Scene Graph as Pivoting: Inference-time Image-free Unsupervised Multimodal Machine Translation with Visual Scene Hallucination
Hao Fei | Qian Liu | Meishan Zhang | Min Zhang | Tat-Seng Chua
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In this work, we investigate a more realistic unsupervised multimodal machine translation (UMMT) setup, inference-time image-free UMMT, where the model is trained with source-text image pairs, and tested with only source-text inputs. First, we represent the input images and texts with the visual and language scene graphs (SG), where such fine-grained vision-language features ensure a holistic understanding of the semantics. To enable pure-text input during inference, we devise a visual scene hallucination mechanism that dynamically generates pseudo visual SG from the given textual SG. Several SG-pivoting based learning objectives are introduced for unsupervised translation training. On the benchmark Multi30K data, our SG-based method outperforms the best-performing baseline by significant BLEU scores on the task and setup, helping yield translations with better completeness, relevance and fluency without relying on paired images. Further in-depth analyses reveal how our model advances in the task setting.

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Reasoning Implicit Sentiment with Chain-of-Thought Prompting
Hao Fei | Bobo Li | Qian Liu | Lidong Bing | Fei Li | Tat-Seng Chua
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

While sentiment analysis systems try to determine the sentiment polarities of given targets based on the key opinion expressions in input texts, in implicit sentiment analysis (ISA) the opinion cues come in an implicit and obscure manner. Thus detecting implicit sentiment requires the common-sense and multi-hop reasoning ability to infer the latent intent of opinion. Inspired by the recent chain-of-thought (CoT) idea, in this work we introduce a Three-hop Reasoning (THOR) CoT framework to mimic the human-like reasoning process for ISA. We design a three-step prompting principle for THOR to step-by-step induce the implicit aspect, opinion, and finally the sentiment polarity. Our THOR+Flan-T5 (11B) pushes the state-of-the-art (SoTA) by over 6% F1 on supervised setup. More strikingly, THOR+GPT3 (175B) boosts the SoTA by over 50% F1 on zero-shot setting.


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SenticNet 7: A Commonsense-based Neurosymbolic AI Framework for Explainable Sentiment Analysis
Erik Cambria | Qian Liu | Sergio Decherchi | Frank Xing | Kenneth Kwok
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

In recent years, AI research has demonstrated enormous potential for the benefit of humanity and society. While often better than its human counterparts in classification and pattern recognition tasks, however, AI still struggles with complex tasks that require commonsense reasoning such as natural language understanding. In this context, the key limitations of current AI models are: dependency, reproducibility, trustworthiness, interpretability, and explainability. In this work, we propose a commonsense-based neurosymbolic framework that aims to overcome these issues in the context of sentiment analysis. In particular, we employ unsupervised and reproducible subsymbolic techniques such as auto-regressive language models and kernel methods to build trustworthy symbolic representations that convert natural language to a sort of protolanguage and, hence, extract polarity from text in a completely interpretable and explainable manner.

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CGIM: A Cycle Guided Interactive Learning Model for Consistency Identification in Task-oriented Dialogue
Libo Qin | Qiguang Chen | Tianbao Xie | Qian Liu | Shijue Huang | Wanxiang Che | Zhou Yu
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Consistency identification in task-oriented dialog (CI-ToD) usually consists of three subtasks, aiming to identify inconsistency between current system response and current user response, dialog history and the corresponding knowledge base. This work aims to solve CI-ToD task by introducing an explicit interaction paradigm, Cycle Guided Interactive learning Model (CGIM), which achieves to make information exchange explicitly from all the three tasks. Specifically, CGIM relies on two core insights, referred to as guided multi-head attention module and cycle interactive mechanism, that collaborate from each other. On the one hand, each two tasks are linked with the guided multi-head attention module, aiming to explicitly model the interaction across two related tasks. On the other hand, we further introduce cycle interactive mechanism that focuses on facilitating model to exchange information among the three correlated sub-tasks via a cycle interaction manner. Experimental results on CI-ToD benchmark show that our model achieves the state-of-the-art performance, pushing the overall score to 56.3% (5.0% point absolute improvement). In addition, we find that CGIM is robust to the initial task flow order.

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LEMON: Language-Based Environment Manipulation via Execution-Guided Pre-training
Qi Shi | Qian Liu | Bei Chen | Yu Zhang | Ting Liu | Jian-Guang Lou
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Language-based environment manipulation requires agents to manipulate the environment following natural language instructions, which is challenging due to the huge space of the environments. To address this challenge, various approaches have been proposed in recent work. Although these approaches work well for their intended environments, they are difficult to generalize across environments. In this work, we propose LEMON, a general framework for language-based environment manipulation tasks. Specifically, we first specify a general approach for language-based environment manipulation tasks, which can deal with various environments using the same generative language model. Then we propose an execution-guided pre-training strategy to inject prior knowledge of environments to the language model with a pure synthetic pre-training corpus. Experimental results on tasks including Alchemy, Scene, Tangrams, ProPara and Recipes demonstrate the effectiveness of LEMON: it achieves new state-of-the-art results on four of the tasks, and the execution-guided pre-training strategy brings remarkable improvements on all experimental tasks.

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Mixed-modality Representation Learning and Pre-training for Joint Table-and-Text Retrieval in OpenQA
Junjie Huang | Wanjun Zhong | Qian Liu | Ming Gong | Daxin Jiang | Nan Duan
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Retrieving evidences from tabular and textual resources is essential for open-domain question answering (OpenQA), which provides more comprehensive information. However, training an effective dense table-text retriever is difficult due to the challenges of table-text discrepancy and data sparsity problem. To address the above challenges, we introduce an optimized OpenQA Table-Text Retriever (OTTeR) to jointly retrieve tabular and textual evidences. Firstly, we propose to enhance mixed-modality representation learning via two mechanisms: modality-enhanced representation and mixed-modality negative sampling strategy. Secondly, to alleviate data sparsity problem and enhance the general retrieval ability, we conduct retrieval-centric mixed-modality synthetic pre-training. Experimental results demonstrate that OTTeR substantially improves the performance of table-and-text retrieval on the OTT-QA dataset. Comprehensive analyses examine the effectiveness of all the proposed mechanisms. Besides, equipped with OTTeR, our OpenQA system achieves the state-of-the-art result on the downstream QA task, with 10.1% absolute improvement in terms of the exact match over the previous best system.

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Reasoning Like Program Executors
Xinyu Pi | Qian Liu | Bei Chen | Morteza Ziyadi | Zeqi Lin | Qiang Fu | Yan Gao | Jian-Guang Lou | Weizhu Chen
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Reasoning over natural language is a long-standing goal for the research community. However, studies have shown that existing language models are inadequate in reasoning. To address the issue, we present POET, a novel reasoning pre-training paradigm. Through pre-training language models with programs and their execution results, POET empowers language models to harvest the reasoning knowledge possessed by program executors via a data-driven approach. POET is conceptually simple and can be instantiated by different kinds of program executors. In this paper, we showcase two simple instances POET-Math and POET-Logic, in addition to a complex instance, POET-SQL. Experimental results on six benchmarks demonstrate that POET can significantly boost model performance in natural language reasoning, such as numerical reasoning, logical reasoning, and multi-hop reasoning. POET opens a new gate on reasoning-enhancement pre-training, and we hope our analysis would shed light on the future research of reasoning like program executors.

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Exploring the Secrets Behind the Learning Difficulty of Meaning Representations for Semantic Parsing
Zhenwen Li | Jiaqi Guo | Qian Liu | Jian-Guang Lou | Tao Xie
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Previous research has shown that the design of Meaning Representation (MR) greatly influences the final model performance of a neural semantic parser. Therefore, designing a good MR is a long-term goal for semantic parsing. However, it is still an art as there is no quantitative indicator that can tell us which MR among a set of candidates may have the best final model performance. In practice, in order toselect an MR design, researchers often have to go through the whole training-testing process for all design candidates, and the process often costs a lot. In this paper, we propose a data-aware metric called ISS (denoting incremental structural stability) of MRs, and demonstrate that ISS is highly correlated with the final performance. The finding shows that ISS can be used as an indicator for MR design to avoid the costly training-testing process.


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Learning Algebraic Recombination for Compositional Generalization
Chenyao Liu | Shengnan An | Zeqi Lin | Qian Liu | Bei Chen | Jian-Guang Lou | Lijie Wen | Nanning Zheng | Dongmei Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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Awakening Latent Grounding from Pretrained Language Models for Semantic Parsing
Qian Liu | Dejian Yang | Jiahui Zhang | Jiaqi Guo | Bin Zhou | Jian-Guang Lou
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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Chase: A Large-Scale and Pragmatic Chinese Dataset for Cross-Database Context-Dependent Text-to-SQL
Jiaqi Guo | Ziliang Si | Yu Wang | Qian Liu | Ming Fan | Jian-Guang Lou | Zijiang Yang | Ting Liu
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)

The cross-database context-dependent Text-to-SQL (XDTS) problem has attracted considerable attention in recent years due to its wide range of potential applications. However, we identify two biases in existing datasets for XDTS: (1) a high proportion of context-independent questions and (2) a high proportion of easy SQL queries. These biases conceal the major challenges in XDTS to some extent. In this work, we present Chase, a large-scale and pragmatic Chinese dataset for XDTS. It consists of 5,459 coherent question sequences (17,940 questions with their SQL queries annotated) over 280 databases, in which only 35% of questions are context-independent, and 28% of SQL queries are easy. We experiment on Chase with three state-of-the-art XDTS approaches. The best approach only achieves an exact match accuracy of 40% over all questions and 16% over all question sequences, indicating that Chase highlights the challenging problems of XDTS. We believe that XDTS can provide fertile soil for addressing the problems.

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ReTraCk: A Flexible and Efficient Framework for Knowledge Base Question Answering
Shuang Chen | Qian Liu | Zhiwei Yu | Chin-Yew Lin | Jian-Guang Lou | Feng Jiang
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

We present Retriever-Transducer-Checker (ReTraCk), a neural semantic parsing framework for large scale knowledge base question answering (KBQA). ReTraCk is designed as a modular framework to maintain high flexibility. It includes a retriever to retrieve relevant KB items efficiently, a transducer to generate logical form with syntax correctness guarantees and a checker to improve transduction procedure. ReTraCk is ranked at top1 overall performance on the GrailQA leaderboard and obtains highly competitive performance on the typical WebQuestionsSP benchmark. Our system can interact with users timely, demonstrating the efficiency of the proposed framework.


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You Impress Me: Dialogue Generation via Mutual Persona Perception
Qian Liu | Yihong Chen | Bei Chen | Jian-Guang Lou | Zixuan Chen | Bin Zhou | Dongmei Zhang
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Despite the continuing efforts to improve the engagingness and consistency of chit-chat dialogue systems, the majority of current work simply focus on mimicking human-like responses, leaving understudied the aspects of modeling understanding between interlocutors. The research in cognitive science, instead, suggests that understanding is an essential signal for a high-quality chit-chat conversation. Motivated by this, we propose Pˆ2 Bot, a transmitter-receiver based framework with the aim of explicitly modeling understanding. Specifically, Pˆ2 Bot incorporates mutual persona perception to enhance the quality of personalized dialogue generation. Experiments on a large public dataset, Persona-Chat, demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach, with a considerable boost over the state-of-the-art baselines across both automatic metrics and human evaluations.

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Benchmarking Meaning Representations in Neural Semantic Parsing
Jiaqi Guo | Qian Liu | Jian-Guang Lou | Zhenwen Li | Xueqing Liu | Tao Xie | Ting Liu
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Meaning representation is an important component of semantic parsing. Although researchers have designed a lot of meaning representations, recent work focuses on only a few of them. Thus, the impact of meaning representation on semantic parsing is less understood. Furthermore, existing work’s performance is often not comprehensively evaluated due to the lack of readily-available execution engines. Upon identifying these gaps, we propose , a new unified benchmark on meaning representations, by integrating existing semantic parsing datasets, completing the missing logical forms, and implementing the missing execution engines. The resulting unified benchmark contains the complete enumeration of logical forms and execution engines over three datasets × four meaning representations. A thorough experimental study on Unimer reveals that neural semantic parsing approaches exhibit notably different performance when they are trained to generate different meaning representations. Also, program alias and grammar rules heavily impact the performance of different meaning representations. Our benchmark, execution engines and implementation can be found on: https://github.com/JasperGuo/Unimer.

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Incomplete Utterance Rewriting as Semantic Segmentation
Qian Liu | Bei Chen | Jian-Guang Lou | Bin Zhou | Dongmei Zhang
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Recent years the task of incomplete utterance rewriting has raised a large attention. Previous works usually shape it as a machine translation task and employ sequence to sequence based architecture with copy mechanism. In this paper, we present a novel and extensive approach, which formulates it as a semantic segmentation task. Instead of generating from scratch, such a formulation introduces edit operations and shapes the problem as prediction of a word-level edit matrix. Benefiting from being able to capture both local and global information, our approach achieves state-of-the-art performance on several public datasets. Furthermore, our approach is four times faster than the standard approach in inference.

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“What Do You Mean by That?” A Parser-Independent Interactive Approach for Enhancing Text-to-SQL
Yuntao Li | Bei Chen | Qian Liu | Yan Gao | Jian-Guang Lou | Yan Zhang | Dongmei Zhang
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

In Natural Language Interfaces to Databases systems, the text-to-SQL technique allows users to query databases by using natural language questions. Though significant progress in this area has been made recently, most parsers may fall short when they are deployed in real systems. One main reason stems from the difficulty of fully understanding the users’ natural language questions. In this paper, we include human in the loop and present a novel parser-independent interactive approach (PIIA) that interacts with users using multi-choice questions and can easily work with arbitrary parsers. Experiments were conducted on two cross-domain datasets, the WikiSQL and the more complex Spider, with five state-of-the-art parsers. These demonstrated that PIIA is capable of enhancing the text-to-SQL performance with limited interaction turns by using both simulation and human evaluation.


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Leveraging Adjective-Noun Phrasing Knowledge for Comparison Relation Prediction in Text-to-SQL
Haoyan Liu | Lei Fang | Qian Liu | Bei Chen | Jian-Guang Lou | Zhoujun 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)

One key component in text-to-SQL is to predict the comparison relations between columns and their values. To the best of our knowledge, no existing models explicitly introduce external common knowledge to address this problem, thus their capabilities of predicting comparison relations are limited beyond training data. In this paper, we propose to leverage adjective-noun phrasing knowledge mined from the web to predict the comparison relations in text-to-SQL. Experimental results on both the original and the re-split Spider dataset show that our approach achieves significant improvement over state-of-the-art methods on comparison relation prediction.

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A Split-and-Recombine Approach for Follow-up Query Analysis
Qian Liu | Bei Chen | Haoyan Liu | Jian-Guang Lou | Lei Fang | Bin Zhou | Dongmei Zhang
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Context-dependent semantic parsing has proven to be an important yet challenging task. To leverage the advances in context-independent semantic parsing, we propose to perform follow-up query analysis, aiming to restate context-dependent natural language queries with contextual information. To accomplish the task, we propose STAR, a novel approach with a well-designed two-phase process. It is parser-independent and able to handle multifarious follow-up scenarios in different domains. Experiments on the FollowUp dataset show that STAR outperforms the state-of-the-art baseline by a large margin of nearly 8%. The superiority on parsing results verifies the feasibility of follow-up query analysis. We also explore the extensibility of STAR on the SQA dataset, which is very promising.


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Task-oriented Word Embedding for Text Classification
Qian Liu | Heyan Huang | Yang Gao | Xiaochi Wei | Yuxin Tian | Luyang Liu
Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Distributed word representation plays a pivotal role in various natural language processing tasks. In spite of its success, most existing methods only consider contextual information, which is suboptimal when used in various tasks due to a lack of task-specific features. The rational word embeddings should have the ability to capture both the semantic features and task-specific features of words. In this paper, we propose a task-oriented word embedding method and apply it to the text classification task. With the function-aware component, our method regularizes the distribution of words to enable the embedding space to have a clear classification boundary. We evaluate our method using five text classification datasets. The experiment results show that our method significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art methods.


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A Self-learning Template Approach for Recognizing Named Entities from Web Text
Qian Liu | Bingyang Liu | Dayong Wu | Yue Liu | Xueqi Cheng
Proceedings of the Sixth International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing