Qihuang Zhong


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Self-Evolution Learning for Discriminative Language Model Pretraining
Qihuang Zhong | Liang Ding | Juhua Liu | Bo Du | Dacheng Tao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Masked language modeling, widely used in discriminative language model (e.g., BERT) pretraining, commonly adopts a random masking strategy. However, random masking does not consider the importance of the different words in the sentence meaning, where some of them are more worthy to be predicted. Therefore, various masking strategies (e.g., entity-level masking) are proposed, but most of them require expensive prior knowledge and generally train from scratch without reusing existing model weights. In this paper, we present Self-Evolution learning (SE), a simple and effective token masking and learning method to fully and wisely exploit the knowledge from data. SE focuses on learning the informative yet under-explored tokens and adaptively regularizes the training by introducing a novel Token-specific Label Smoothing approach. Experiments on 10 tasks show that our SE brings consistent and significant improvements (+1.43 2.12 average scores) upon different PLMs. In-depth analyses demonstrate that SE improves linguistic knowledge learning and generalization.

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Towards Making the Most of ChatGPT for Machine Translation
Keqin Peng | Liang Ding | Qihuang Zhong | Li Shen | Xuebo Liu | Min Zhang | Yuanxin Ouyang | Dacheng Tao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

ChatGPT shows remarkable capabilities for machine translation (MT). Several prior studies have shown that it achieves comparable results to commercial systems for high-resource languages, but lags behind in complex tasks, e.g, low-resource and distant-language-pairs translation. However, they usually adopt simple prompts which can not fully elicit the capability of ChatGPT. In this report, we aim to further mine ChatGPT’s translation ability by revisiting several aspects: temperature, task information, and domain information, and correspondingly propose two (simple but effective) prompts: Task-Specific Prompts (TSP) and Domain-Specific Prompts (DSP). We show that: 1) The performance of ChatGPT depends largely on temperature, and a lower temperature usually can achieve better performance; 2) Emphasizing the task information further improves ChatGPT’s performance, particularly in complex MT tasks; 3) Introducing domain information can elicit ChatGPT’s generalization ability and improve its performance in the specific domain; 4) ChatGPT tends to generate hallucinations for non-English-centric MT tasks, which can be partially addressed by our proposed prompts but still need to be highlighted for the MT/NLP community. We also explore the effects of advanced in-context learning strategies and find a (negative but interesting) observation: the powerful chain-of-thought prompt leads to word-by-word translation behavior, thus bringing significant translation degradation.

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Self-Evolution Learning for Mixup: Enhance Data Augmentation on Few-Shot Text Classification Tasks
Haoqi Zheng | Qihuang Zhong | Liang Ding | Zhiliang Tian | Xin Niu | Changjian Wang | Dongsheng Li | Dacheng Tao
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Text classification tasks often encounter few-shot scenarios with limited labeled data, and addressing data scarcity is crucial. Data augmentation with mixup merges sample pairs to generate new pseudos, which can relieve the data deficiency issue in text classification. However, the quality of pseudo-samples generated by mixup exhibits significant variations. Most of the mixup methods fail to consider the varying degree of learning difficulty in different stages of training. And mixup generates new samples with one-hot labels, which encourages the model to produce a high prediction score for the correct class that is much larger than other classes, resulting in the model’s over-confidence. In this paper, we propose a self-evolution learning (SE) based mixup approach for data augmentation in text classification, which can generate more adaptive and model-friendly pseudo samples for the model training. SE caters to the growth of the model learning ability and adapts to the ability when generating training samples. To alleviate the model over-confidence, we introduce an instance-specific label smoothing regularization approach, which linearly interpolates the model’s output and one-hot labels of the original samples to generate new soft labels for label mixing up. Through experimental analysis, experiments show that our SE brings consistent and significant improvements upon different mixup methods. In-depth analyses demonstrate that SE enhances the model’s generalization ability.

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Zero-shot Sharpness-Aware Quantization for Pre-trained Language Models
Miaoxi Zhu | Qihuang Zhong | Li Shen | Liang Ding | Juhua Liu | Bo Du | Dacheng Tao
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Quantization is a promising approach for reducing memory overhead and accelerating inference, especially in large pre-trained language model (PLM) scenarios. While having no access to original training data due to security and privacy concerns has emerged the demand for zero-shot quantization. Most of the cutting-edge zero-shot quantization methods primarily 1) apply to computer vision tasks, and 2) neglect of overfitting problem in the generative adversarial learning process, leading to sub-optimal performance. Motivated by this, we propose a novel zero-shot sharpness-aware quantization (ZSAQ) framework for the zero-shot quantization of various PLMs. The key algorithm in solving ZSAQ is the SAM-SGA optimization, which aims to improve the quantization accuracy and model generalization via optimizing a minimax problem. We theoretically prove the convergence rate for the minimax optimization problem and this result can be applied to other nonconvex-PL minimax optimization frameworks. Extensive experiments on 11 tasks demonstrate that our method brings consistent and significant performance gains on both discriminative and generative PLMs, i.e., up to +6.98 average score. Furthermore, we empirically validate that our method can effectively improve the model generalization.

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Revisiting Token Dropping Strategy in Efficient BERT Pretraining
Qihuang Zhong | Liang Ding | Juhua Liu | Xuebo Liu | Min Zhang | Bo Du | Dacheng Tao
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Token dropping is a recently-proposed strategy to speed up the pretraining of masked language models, such as BERT, by skipping the computation of a subset of the input tokens at several middle layers. It can effectively reduce the training time without degrading much performance on downstream tasks. However, we empirically find that token dropping is prone to a semantic loss problem and falls short in handling semantic-intense tasks. Motivated by this, we propose a simple yet effective semantic-consistent learning method (ScTD) to improve the token dropping. ScTD aims to encourage the model to learn how to preserve the semantic information in the representation space. Extensive experiments on 12 tasks show that, with the help of our ScTD, token dropping can achieve consistent and significant performance gains across all task types and model sizes. More encouragingly, ScTD saves up to 57% of pretraining time and brings up to +1.56% average improvement over the vanilla token dropping.

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Token-Level Self-Evolution Training for Sequence-to-Sequence Learning
Keqin Peng | Liang Ding | Qihuang Zhong | Yuanxin Ouyang | Wenge Rong | Zhang Xiong | Dacheng Tao
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Adaptive training approaches, widely used in sequence-to-sequence models, commonly reweigh the losses of different target tokens based on priors, e.g. word frequency. However, most of them do not consider the variation of learning difficulty in different training steps, and overly emphasize the learning of difficult one-hot labels, making the learning deterministic and sub-optimal. In response, we present Token-Level Self-Evolution Training (SE), a simple and effective dynamic training method to fully and wisely exploit the knowledge from data. SE focuses on dynamically learning the under-explored tokens for each forward pass and adaptively regularizes the training by introducing a novel token-specific label smoothing approach. Empirically, SE yields consistent and significant improvements in three tasks, i.e. machine translation, summarization, and grammatical error correction. Encouragingly, we achieve averaging +0.93 BLEU improvement on three machine translation tasks. Analyses confirm that, besides improving lexical accuracy, SE enhances generation diversity and model generalization.


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Improving Sharpness-Aware Minimization with Fisher Mask for Better Generalization on Language Models
Qihuang Zhong | Liang Ding | Li Shen | Peng Mi | Juhua Liu | Bo Du | Dacheng Tao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Fine-tuning large pretrained language models on a limited training corpus usually suffers from poor generalization. Prior works show that the recently-proposed sharpness-aware minimization (SAM) optimization method can improve the model generalization. However, SAM adds a perturbation to each model parameter equally (but not all parameters contribute equally to the optimization of training), which we argue is sub-optimal and will lead to excessive computation. In this paper, we propose a novel optimization procedure, namely FSAM, which introduces a Fisher mask to improve the efficiency and performance of SAM. In short, instead of adding perturbation to all parameters, FSAM uses the Fisher information to identity the important parameters and formulates a Fisher mask to obtain the sparse perturbation, i.e., making the optimizer focus on these important parameters. Experiments on various tasks in GLUE and SuperGLUE benchmarks show that FSAM consistently outperforms the vanilla SAM by 0.67 1.98 average score among four different pretrained models. We also empirically show that FSAM works well in other complex scenarios, e.g., fine-tuning on generation tasks or limited training data. Encouragingly, when training data is limited, FSAM improves the SAM by a large margin, i.e., up to 15.1.

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A Contrastive Cross-Channel Data Augmentation Framework for Aspect-Based Sentiment Analysis
Bing Wang | Liang Ding | Qihuang Zhong | Ximing Li | Dacheng Tao
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Aspect-based sentiment analysis (ABSA) is a fine-grained sentiment analysis task, which focuses on detecting the sentiment polarity towards the aspect in a sentence. However, it is always sensitive to the multi-aspect challenge, where features of multiple aspects in a sentence will affect each other. To mitigate this issue, we design a novel training framework, called Contrastive Cross-Channel Data Augmentation (C3 DA), which leverages an in-domain generator to construct more multi-aspect samples and then boosts the robustness of ABSA models via contrastive learning on these generated data. In practice, given a generative pretrained language model and some limited ABSA labeled data, we first employ some parameter-efficient approaches to perform the in-domain fine-tuning. Then, the obtained in-domain generator is used to generate the synthetic sentences from two channels, i.e., Aspect Augmentation Channel and Polarity Augmentation Channel, which generate the sentence condition on a given aspect and polarity respectively. Specifically, our C3 DA performs the sentence generation in a cross-channel manner to obtain more sentences, and proposes an Entropy-Minimization Filter to filter low-quality generated samples. Extensive experiments show that our C3 DA can outperform those baselines without any augmentations by about 1% on accuracy and Macro- F1. Code and data are released in https://github.com/wangbing1416/C3DA.