Ruisheng Cao


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Exploring Schema Generalizability of Text-to-SQL
Jieyu Li | Lu Chen | Ruisheng Cao | Su Zhu | Hongshen Xu | Zhi Chen | Hanchong Zhang | Kai Yu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Exploring the generalizability of a text-to-SQL parser is essential for a system to automatically adapt the real-world databases. Previous investigation works mostly focus on lexical diversity, including the influence of the synonym and perturbations in both natural language questions and databases. However, the structural variability of database schema (DS), as a widely seen real-world scenario, is yet underexplored. Specifically, confronted with the same input question, the target SQL may be represented in different ways when the DS comes to a different structure. In this work, we provide in-depth discussions about the schema generalizability challenge of text-to-SQL tasks. We observe that current datasets are too templated to study schema generalization. To collect suitable test data, we propose a framework to generate novel text-to-SQL data via automatic and synchronous (DS, SQL) pair altering. When evaluating state-of-the-art text-to-SQL models on the synthetic samples, performance is significantly degraded, which demonstrates the limitation of current research regarding schema generalization.

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CSS: A Large-scale Cross-schema Chinese Text-to-SQL Medical Dataset
Hanchong Zhang | Jieyu Li | Lu Chen | Ruisheng Cao | Yunyan Zhang | Yu Huang | Yefeng Zheng | Kai Yu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

The cross-domain text-to-SQL task aims to build a system that can parse user questions into SQL on complete unseen databases, and the single-domain text-to-SQL task evaluates the performance on identical databases. Both of these setups confront unavoidable difficulties in real-world applications. To this end, we introduce the cross-schema text-to-SQL task, where the databases of evaluation data are different from that in the training data but come from the same domain. Furthermore, we present CSS, a large-scale CrosS-Schema Chinese text-to-SQL dataset, to carry on corresponding studies. CSS originally consisted of 4,340 question/SQL pairs across 2 databases. In order to generalize models to different medical systems, we extend CSS and create 19 new databases along with 29,280 corresponding dataset examples. Moreover, CSS is also a large corpus for single-domain Chinese text-to-SQL studies. We present the data collection approach and a series of analyses of the data statistics. To show the potential and usefulness of CSS, benchmarking baselines have been conducted and reported. Our dataset is publicly available at

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ACT-SQL: In-Context Learning for Text-to-SQL with Automatically-Generated Chain-of-Thought
Hanchong Zhang | Ruisheng Cao | Lu Chen | Hongshen Xu | Kai Yu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Recently Large Language Models (LLMs) have been proven to have strong abilities in various domains and tasks. We study the problem of prompt designing in the text-to-SQL task and attempt to improve the LLMs’ reasoning ability when generating SQL queries. Besides the trivial few-shot in-context learning setting, we design our chain-of-thought (CoT) prompt with a similar method to schema linking. We provide a method named ACT-SQL to automatically generate auto-CoT exemplars and thus the whole process doesn’t need manual labeling. Our approach is cost-saving since we only use the LLMs’ API call once when generating one SQL query. Furthermore, we extend our in-context learning method to the multi-turn text-to-SQL task. The experiment results show that the LLMs’ performance can benefit from our ACT-SQL approach. Our approach achieves SOTA performance on the Spider dev set among existing in-context learning approaches.

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SPM: A Split-Parsing Method for Joint Multi-Intent Detection and Slot Filling
Sheng Jiang | Su Zhu | Ruisheng Cao | Qingliang Miao | Kai Yu
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 5: Industry Track)

In a task-oriented dialogue system, joint intent detection and slot filling for multi-intent utterances become meaningful since users tend to query more. The current state-of-the-art studies choose to process multi-intent utterances through a single joint model of sequence labelling and multi-label classification, which cannot generalize to utterances with more intents than training samples. Meanwhile, it lacks the ability to assign slots to each corresponding intent. To overcome these problems, we propose a Split-Parsing Method (SPM) for joint multiple intent detection and slot filling, which is a two-stage method. It first splits an input sentence into multiple sub-sentences which contain a single-intent, and then a joint single intent detection and slot filling model is applied to parse each sub-sentence recurrently. Finally, we integrate the parsed results. The sub-sentence split task is also treated as a sequence labelling problem with only one entity-label, which can effectively generalize to a sentence with more intents unseen in the training set. Experimental results on three multi-intent datasets show that our method obtains substantial improvements over different baselines.


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TIE: Topological Information Enhanced Structural Reading Comprehension on Web Pages
Zihan Zhao | Lu Chen | Ruisheng Cao | Hongshen Xu | Xingyu Chen | Kai Yu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Recently, the structural reading comprehension (SRC) task on web pages has attracted increasing research interests. Although previous SRC work has leveraged extra information such as HTML tags or XPaths, the informative topology of web pages is not effectively exploited. In this work, we propose a Topological Information Enhanced model (TIE), which transforms the token-level task into a tag-level task by introducing a two-stage process (i.e. node locating and answer refining). Based on that, TIE integrates Graph Attention Network (GAT) and Pre-trained Language Model (PLM) to leverage the topological information of both logical structures and spatial structures. Experimental results demonstrate that our model outperforms strong baselines and achieves state-of-the-art performances on the web-based SRC benchmark WebSRC at the time of writing. The code of TIE will be publicly available at


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ShadowGNN: Graph Projection Neural Network for Text-to-SQL Parser
Zhi Chen | Lu Chen | Yanbin Zhao | Ruisheng Cao | Zihan Xu | Su Zhu | Kai Yu
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Given a database schema, Text-to-SQL aims to translate a natural language question into the corresponding SQL query. Under the setup of cross-domain, traditional semantic parsing models struggle to adapt to unseen database schemas. To improve the model generalization capability for rare and unseen schemas, we propose a new architecture, ShadowGNN, which processes schemas at abstract and semantic levels. By ignoring names of semantic items in databases, abstract schemas are exploited in a well-designed graph projection neural network to obtain delexicalized representation of question and schema. Based on the domain-independent representations, a relation-aware transformer is utilized to further extract logical linking between question and schema. Finally, a SQL decoder with context-free grammar is applied. On the challenging Text-to-SQL benchmark Spider, empirical results show that ShadowGNN outperforms state-of-the-art models. When the annotated data is extremely limited (only 10% training set), ShadowGNN gets over absolute 5% performance gain, which shows its powerful generalization ability. Our implementation will be open-sourced at

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LGESQL: Line Graph Enhanced Text-to-SQL Model with Mixed Local and Non-Local Relations
Ruisheng Cao | Lu Chen | Zhi Chen | Yanbin Zhao | Su Zhu | Kai Yu
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)

This work aims to tackle the challenging heterogeneous graph encoding problem in the text-to-SQL task. Previous methods are typically node-centric and merely utilize different weight matrices to parameterize edge types, which 1) ignore the rich semantics embedded in the topological structure of edges, and 2) fail to distinguish local and non-local relations for each node. To this end, we propose a Line Graph Enhanced Text-to-SQL (LGESQL) model to mine the underlying relational features without constructing meta-paths. By virtue of the line graph, messages propagate more efficiently through not only connections between nodes, but also the topology of directed edges. Furthermore, both local and non-local relations are integrated distinctively during the graph iteration. We also design an auxiliary task called graph pruning to improve the discriminative capability of the encoder. Our framework achieves state-of-the-art results (62.8% with Glove, 72.0% with Electra) on the cross-domain text-to-SQL benchmark Spider at the time of writing.

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Decoupled Dialogue Modeling and Semantic Parsing for Multi-Turn Text-to-SQL
Zhi Chen | Lu Chen | Hanqi Li | Ruisheng Cao | Da Ma | Mengyue Wu | Kai Yu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021


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Line Graph Enhanced AMR-to-Text Generation with Mix-Order Graph Attention Networks
Yanbin Zhao | Lu Chen | Zhi Chen | Ruisheng Cao | Su Zhu | Kai Yu
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Efficient structure encoding for graphs with labeled edges is an important yet challenging point in many graph-based models. This work focuses on AMR-to-text generation – A graph-to-sequence task aiming to recover natural language from Abstract Meaning Representations (AMR). Existing graph-to-sequence approaches generally utilize graph neural networks as their encoders, which have two limitations: 1) The message propagation process in AMR graphs is only guided by the first-order adjacency information. 2) The relationships between labeled edges are not fully considered. In this work, we propose a novel graph encoding framework which can effectively explore the edge relations. We also adopt graph attention networks with higher-order neighborhood information to encode the rich structure in AMR graphs. Experiment results show that our approach obtains new state-of-the-art performance on English AMR benchmark datasets. The ablation analyses also demonstrate that both edge relations and higher-order information are beneficial to graph-to-sequence modeling.

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Unsupervised Dual Paraphrasing for Two-stage Semantic Parsing
Ruisheng Cao | Su Zhu | Chenyu Yang | Chen Liu | Rao Ma | Yanbin Zhao | Lu Chen | Kai Yu
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

One daunting problem for semantic parsing is the scarcity of annotation. Aiming to reduce nontrivial human labor, we propose a two-stage semantic parsing framework, where the first stage utilizes an unsupervised paraphrase model to convert an unlabeled natural language utterance into the canonical utterance. The downstream naive semantic parser accepts the intermediate output and returns the target logical form. Furthermore, the entire training process is split into two phases: pre-training and cycle learning. Three tailored self-supervised tasks are introduced throughout training to activate the unsupervised paraphrase model. Experimental results on benchmarks Overnight and GeoGranno demonstrate that our framework is effective and compatible with supervised training.


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Semantic Parsing with Dual Learning
Ruisheng Cao | Su Zhu | Chen Liu | Jieyu Li | Kai Yu
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Semantic parsing converts natural language queries into structured logical forms. The lack of training data is still one of the most serious problems in this area. In this work, we develop a semantic parsing framework with the dual learning algorithm, which enables a semantic parser to make full use of data (labeled and even unlabeled) through a dual-learning game. This game between a primal model (semantic parsing) and a dual model (logical form to query) forces them to regularize each other, and can achieve feedback signals from some prior-knowledge. By utilizing the prior-knowledge of logical form structures, we propose a novel reward signal at the surface and semantic levels which tends to generate complete and reasonable logical forms. Experimental results show that our approach achieves new state-of-the-art performance on ATIS dataset and gets competitive performance on OVERNIGHT dataset.