Ramesh Nallapati


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DQ-BART: Efficient Sequence-to-Sequence Model via Joint Distillation and Quantization
Zheng Li | Zijian Wang | Ming Tan | Ramesh Nallapati | Parminder Bhatia | Andrew Arnold | Bing Xiang | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Large-scale pre-trained sequence-to-sequence models like BART and T5 achieve state-of-the-art performance on many generative NLP tasks. However, such models pose a great challenge in resource-constrained scenarios owing to their large memory requirements and high latency. To alleviate this issue, we propose to jointly distill and quantize the model, where knowledge is transferred from the full-precision teacher model to the quantized and distilled low-precision student model. Empirical analyses show that, despite the challenging nature of generative tasks, we were able to achieve a 16.5x model footprint compression ratio with little performance drop relative to the full-precision counterparts on multiple summarization and QA datasets. We further pushed the limit of compression ratio to 27.7x and presented the performance-efficiency trade-off for generative tasks using pre-trained models. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work aiming to effectively distill and quantize sequence-to-sequence pre-trained models for language generation tasks.


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Pairwise Supervised Contrastive Learning of Sentence Representations
Dejiao Zhang | Shang-Wen Li | Wei Xiao | Henghui Zhu | Ramesh Nallapati | Andrew O. Arnold | Bing Xiang
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Many recent successes in sentence representation learning have been achieved by simply fine-tuning on the Natural Language Inference (NLI) datasets with triplet loss or siamese loss. Nevertheless, they share a common weakness: sentences in a contradiction pair are not necessarily from different semantic categories. Therefore, optimizing the semantic entailment and contradiction reasoning objective alone is inadequate to capture the high-level semantic structure. The drawback is compounded by the fact that the vanilla siamese or triplet losses only learn from individual sentence pairs or triplets, which often suffer from bad local optima. In this paper, we propose PairSupCon, an instance discrimination based approach aiming to bridge semantic entailment and contradiction understanding with high-level categorical concept encoding. We evaluate PairSupCon on various downstream tasks that involve understanding sentence semantics at different granularities. We outperform the previous state-of-the-art method with 10%–13% averaged improvement on eight clustering tasks, and 5%–6% averaged improvement on seven semantic textual similarity (STS) tasks.

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Supporting Clustering with Contrastive Learning
Dejiao Zhang | Feng Nan | Xiaokai Wei | Shang-Wen Li | Henghui Zhu | Kathleen McKeown | Ramesh Nallapati | Andrew O. Arnold | Bing Xiang
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Unsupervised clustering aims at discovering the semantic categories of data according to some distance measured in the representation space. However, different categories often overlap with each other in the representation space at the beginning of the learning process, which poses a significant challenge for distance-based clustering in achieving good separation between different categories. To this end, we propose Supporting Clustering with Contrastive Learning (SCCL) – a novel framework to leverage contrastive learning to promote better separation. We assess the performance of SCCL on short text clustering and show that SCCL significantly advances the state-of-the-art results on most benchmark datasets with 3%-11% improvement on Accuracy and 4%-15% improvement on Normalized Mutual Information. Furthermore, our quantitative analysis demonstrates the effectiveness of SCCL in leveraging the strengths of both bottom-up instance discrimination and top-down clustering to achieve better intra-cluster and inter-cluster distances when evaluated with the ground truth cluster labels.

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Retrieval, Re-ranking and Multi-task Learning for Knowledge-Base Question Answering
Zhiguo Wang | Patrick Ng | Ramesh Nallapati | Bing Xiang
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Question answering over knowledge bases (KBQA) usually involves three sub-tasks, namely topic entity detection, entity linking and relation detection. Due to the large number of entities and relations inside knowledge bases (KB), previous work usually utilized sophisticated rules to narrow down the search space and managed only a subset of KBs in memory. In this work, we leverage a retrieve-and-rerank framework to access KBs via traditional information retrieval (IR) method, and re-rank retrieved candidates with more powerful neural networks such as the pre-trained BERT model. Considering the fact that directly assigning a different BERT model for each sub-task may incur prohibitive costs, we propose to share a BERT encoder across all three sub-tasks and define task-specific layers on top of the shared layer. The unified model is then trained under a multi-task learning framework. Experiments show that: (1) Our IR-based retrieval method is able to collect high-quality candidates efficiently, thus enables our method adapt to large-scale KBs easily; (2) the BERT model improves the accuracy across all three sub-tasks; and (3) benefiting from multi-task learning, the unified model obtains further improvements with only 1/3 of the original parameters. Our final model achieves competitive results on the SimpleQuestions dataset and superior performance on the FreebaseQA dataset.

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Entity-level Factual Consistency of Abstractive Text Summarization
Feng Nan | Ramesh Nallapati | Zhiguo Wang | Cicero Nogueira dos Santos | Henghui Zhu | Dejiao Zhang | Kathleen McKeown | Bing Xiang
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

A key challenge for abstractive summarization is ensuring factual consistency of the generated summary with respect to the original document. For example, state-of-the-art models trained on existing datasets exhibit entity hallucination, generating names of entities that are not present in the source document. We propose a set of new metrics to quantify the entity-level factual consistency of generated summaries and we show that the entity hallucination problem can be alleviated by simply filtering the training data. In addition, we propose a summary-worthy entity classification task to the training process as well as a joint entity and summary generation approach, which yield further improvements in entity level metrics.

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Answering Ambiguous Questions through Generative Evidence Fusion and Round-Trip Prediction
Yifan Gao | Henghui Zhu | Patrick Ng | Cicero Nogueira dos Santos | Zhiguo Wang | Feng Nan | Dejiao Zhang | Ramesh Nallapati | Andrew O. Arnold | Bing Xiang
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)

In open-domain question answering, questions are highly likely to be ambiguous because users may not know the scope of relevant topics when formulating them. Therefore, a system needs to find possible interpretations of the question, and predict one or multiple plausible answers. When multiple plausible answers are found, the system should rewrite the question for each answer to resolve the ambiguity. In this paper, we present a model that aggregates and combines evidence from multiple passages to adaptively predict a single answer or a set of question-answer pairs for ambiguous questions. In addition, we propose a novel round-trip prediction approach to iteratively generate additional interpretations that our model fails to find in the first pass, and then verify and filter out the incorrect question-answer pairs to arrive at the final disambiguated output. Our model, named Refuel, achieves a new state-of-the-art performance on the AmbigQA dataset, and shows competitive performance on NQ-Open and TriviaQA. The proposed round-trip prediction is a model-agnostic general approach for answering ambiguous open-domain questions, which improves our Refuel as well as several baseline models. We release source code for our models and experiments at https://github.com/amzn/refuel-open-domain-qa.

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Improving Factual Consistency of Abstractive Summarization via Question Answering
Feng Nan | Cicero Nogueira dos Santos | Henghui Zhu | Patrick Ng | Kathleen McKeown | Ramesh Nallapati | Dejiao Zhang | Zhiguo Wang | Andrew O. Arnold | Bing Xiang
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)

A commonly observed problem with the state-of-the art abstractive summarization models is that the generated summaries can be factually inconsistent with the input documents. The fact that automatic summarization may produce plausible-sounding yet inaccurate summaries is a major concern that limits its wide application. In this paper we present an approach to address factual consistency in summarization. We first propose an efficient automatic evaluation metric to measure factual consistency; next, we propose a novel learning algorithm that maximizes the proposed metric during model training. Through extensive experiments, we confirm that our method is effective in improving factual consistency and even overall quality of the summaries, as judged by both automatic metrics and human evaluation.


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Template-Based Question Generation from Retrieved Sentences for Improved Unsupervised Question Answering
Alexander Fabbri | Patrick Ng | Zhiguo Wang | Ramesh Nallapati | Bing Xiang
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Question Answering (QA) is in increasing demand as the amount of information available online and the desire for quick access to this content grows. A common approach to QA has been to fine-tune a pretrained language model on a task-specific labeled dataset. This paradigm, however, relies on scarce, and costly to obtain, large-scale human-labeled data. We propose an unsupervised approach to training QA models with generated pseudo-training data. We show that generating questions for QA training by applying a simple template on a related, retrieved sentence rather than the original context sentence improves downstream QA performance by allowing the model to learn more complex context-question relationships. Training a QA model on this data gives a relative improvement over a previous unsupervised model in F1 score on the SQuAD dataset by about 14%, and 20% when the answer is a named entity, achieving state-of-the-art performance on SQuAD for unsupervised QA.

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Beyond [CLS] through Ranking by Generation
Cicero Nogueira dos Santos | Xiaofei Ma | Ramesh Nallapati | Zhiheng Huang | Bing Xiang
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Generative models for Information Retrieval, where ranking of documents is viewed as the task of generating a query from a document’s language model, were very successful in various IR tasks in the past. However, with the advent of modern deep neural networks, attention has shifted to discriminative ranking functions that model the semantic similarity of documents and queries instead. Recently, deep generative models such as GPT2 and BART have been shown to be excellent text generators, but their effectiveness as rankers have not been demonstrated yet. In this work, we revisit the generative framework for information retrieval and show that our generative approaches are as effective as state-of-the-art semantic similarity-based discriminative models for the answer selection task. Additionally, we demonstrate the effectiveness of unlikelihood losses for IR.

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End-to-End Synthetic Data Generation for Domain Adaptation of Question Answering Systems
Siamak Shakeri | Cicero Nogueira dos Santos | Henghui Zhu | Patrick Ng | Feng Nan | Zhiguo Wang | Ramesh Nallapati | Bing Xiang
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

We propose an end-to-end approach for synthetic QA data generation. Our model comprises a single transformer-based encoder-decoder network that is trained end-to-end to generate both answers and questions. In a nutshell, we feed a passage to the encoder and ask the decoder to generate a question and an answer token-by-token. The likelihood produced in the generation process is used as a filtering score, which avoids the need for a separate filtering model. Our generator is trained by fine-tuning a pretrained LM using maximum likelihood estimation. The experimental results indicate significant improvements in the domain adaptation of QA models outperforming current state-of-the-art methods.

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Margin-aware Unsupervised Domain Adaptation for Cross-lingual Text Labeling
Dejiao Zhang | Ramesh Nallapati | Henghui Zhu | Feng Nan | Cicero Nogueira dos Santos | Kathleen McKeown | Bing Xiang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Unsupervised domain adaptation addresses the problem of leveraging labeled data in a source domain to learn a well-performing model in a target domain where labels are unavailable. In this paper, we improve upon a recent theoretical work (Zhang et al., 2019b) and adopt the Margin Disparity Discrepancy (MDD) unsupervised domain adaptation algorithm to solve the cross-lingual text labeling problems. Experiments on cross-lingual document classification and NER demonstrate the proposed domain adaptation approach advances the state-of-the-art results by a large margin. Specifically, we improve MDD by efficiently optimizing the margin loss on the source domain via Virtual Adversarial Training (VAT). This bridges the gap between theory and the loss function used in the original work Zhang et al.(2019b), and thereby significantly boosts the performance. Our numerical results also indicate that VAT can remarkably improve the generalization performance of both domains for various domain adaptation approaches.


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Multi Sense Embeddings from Topic Models
Shobhit Jain | Sravan Babu Bodapati | Ramesh Nallapati | Anima Anandkumar
Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Natural Language and Speech Processing

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Multi-passage BERT: A Globally Normalized BERT Model for Open-domain Question Answering
Zhiguo Wang | Patrick Ng | Xiaofei Ma | Ramesh Nallapati | Bing Xiang
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

BERT model has been successfully applied to open-domain QA tasks. However, previous work trains BERT by viewing passages corresponding to the same question as independent training instances, which may cause incomparable scores for answers from different passages. To tackle this issue, we propose a multi-passage BERT model to globally normalize answer scores across all passages of the same question, and this change enables our QA model find better answers by utilizing more passages. In addition, we find that splitting articles into passages with the length of 100 words by sliding window improves performance by 4%. By leveraging a passage ranker to select high-quality passages, multi-passage BERT gains additional 2%. Experiments on four standard benchmarks showed that our multi-passage BERT outperforms all state-of-the-art models on all benchmarks. In particular, on the OpenSQuAD dataset, our model gains 21.4% EM and 21.5% F1 over all non-BERT models, and 5.8% EM and 6.5% F1 over BERT-based models.

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Domain Adaptation with BERT-based Domain Classification and Data Selection
Xiaofei Ma | Peng Xu | Zhiguo Wang | Ramesh Nallapati | Bing Xiang
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Deep Learning Approaches for Low-Resource NLP (DeepLo 2019)

The performance of deep neural models can deteriorate substantially when there is a domain shift between training and test data. For example, the pre-trained BERT model can be easily fine-tuned with just one additional output layer to create a state-of-the-art model for a wide range of tasks. However, the fine-tuned BERT model suffers considerably at zero-shot when applied to a different domain. In this paper, we present a novel two-step domain adaptation framework based on curriculum learning and domain-discriminative data selection. The domain adaptation is conducted in a mostly unsupervised manner using a small target domain validation set for hyper-parameter tuning. We tested the framework on four large public datasets with different domain similarities and task types. Our framework outperforms a popular discrepancy-based domain adaptation method on most transfer tasks while consuming only a fraction of the training budget.

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Topic Modeling with Wasserstein Autoencoders
Feng Nan | Ran Ding | Ramesh Nallapati | Bing Xiang
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We propose a novel neural topic model in the Wasserstein autoencoders (WAE) framework. Unlike existing variational autoencoder based models, we directly enforce Dirichlet prior on the latent document-topic vectors. We exploit the structure of the latent space and apply a suitable kernel in minimizing the Maximum Mean Discrepancy (MMD) to perform distribution matching. We discover that MMD performs much better than the Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) in matching high dimensional Dirichlet distribution. We further discover that incorporating randomness in the encoder output during training leads to significantly more coherent topics. To measure the diversity of the produced topics, we propose a simple topic uniqueness metric. Together with the widely used coherence measure NPMI, we offer a more wholistic evaluation of topic quality. Experiments on several real datasets show that our model produces significantly better topics than existing topic models.


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Coherence-Aware Neural Topic Modeling
Ran Ding | Ramesh Nallapati | Bing Xiang
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Topic models are evaluated based on their ability to describe documents well (i.e. low perplexity) and to produce topics that carry coherent semantic meaning. In topic modeling so far, perplexity is a direct optimization target. However, topic coherence, owing to its challenging computation, is not optimized for and is only evaluated after training. In this work, under a neural variational inference framework, we propose methods to incorporate a topic coherence objective into the training process. We demonstrate that such a coherence-aware topic model exhibits a similar level of perplexity as baseline models but achieves substantially higher topic coherence.


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Pointing the Unknown Words
Caglar Gulcehre | Sungjin Ahn | Ramesh Nallapati | Bowen Zhou | Yoshua Bengio
Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

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Abstractive Text Summarization using Sequence-to-sequence RNNs and Beyond
Ramesh Nallapati | Bowen Zhou | Cicero dos Santos | Çağlar Gu̇lçehre | Bing Xiang
Proceedings of The 20th SIGNLL Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning


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Shallow Training is cheap but is it good enough? Experiments with Medical Fact Coding
Ramesh Nallapati | Radu Florian
Proceedings of BioNLP 15


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Multi-instance Multi-label Learning for Relation Extraction
Mihai Surdeanu | Julie Tibshirani | Ramesh Nallapati | Christopher D. Manning
Proceedings of the 2012 Joint Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and Computational Natural Language Learning


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Labeled LDA: A supervised topic model for credit attribution in multi-labeled corpora
Daniel Ramage | David Hall | Ramesh Nallapati | Christopher D. Manning
Proceedings of the 2009 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing


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Exploiting Feature Hierarchy for Transfer Learning in Named Entity Recognition
Andrew Arnold | Ramesh Nallapati | William W. Cohen
Proceedings of ACL-08: HLT

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Legal Docket Classification: Where Machine Learning Stumbles
Ramesh Nallapati | Christopher D. Manning
Proceedings of the 2008 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing


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Semantic Language Models for Topic Detection and Tracking
Ramesh Nallapati
Proceedings of the HLT-NAACL 2003 Student Research Workshop