Sicheng Yu


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Interventional Training for Out-Of-Distribution Natural Language Understanding
Sicheng Yu | Jing Jiang | Hao Zhang | Yulei Niu | Qianru Sun | Lidong Bing
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Out-of-distribution (OOD) settings are used to measure a model’s performance when the distribution of the test data is different from that of the training data. NLU models are known to suffer in OOD. We study this issue from the perspective of causality, which sees confounding bias as the reason for models to learn spurious correlations. While a common solution is to perform intervention, existing methods handle only known and single confounder, but in many NLU tasks the confounders can be both unknown and multifactorial. In this paper, we propose a novel interventional training method called Bottom-up Automatic Intervention (BAI) that performs multi-granular intervention with identified multifactorial confounders. Our experiments on three NLU tasks, namely, natural language inference, fact verification and paraphrase identification, show the effectiveness of BAI for tackling OOD settings.

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Translate-Train Embracing Translationese Artifacts
Sicheng Yu | Qianru Sun | Hao Zhang | Jing Jiang
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Translate-train is a general training approach to multilingual tasks. The key idea is to use the translator of the target language to generate training data to mitigate the gap between the source and target languages. However, its performance is often hampered by the artifacts in the translated texts (translationese). We discover that such artifacts have common patterns in different languages and can be modeled by deep learning, and subsequently propose an approach to conduct translate-train using Translationese Embracing the effect of Artifacts (TEA). TEA learns to mitigate such effect on the training data of a source language (whose original and translationese are both available), and applies the learned module to facilitate the inference on the target language. Extensive experiments on the multilingual QA dataset TyDiQA demonstrate that TEA outperforms strong baselines.


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NOAHQA: Numerical Reasoning with Interpretable Graph Question Answering Dataset
Qiyuan Zhang | Lei Wang | Sicheng Yu | Shuohang Wang | Yang Wang | Jing Jiang | Ee-Peng Lim
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

While diverse question answering (QA) datasets have been proposed and contributed significantly to the development of deep learning models for QA tasks, the existing datasets fall short in two aspects. First, we lack QA datasets covering complex questions that involve answers as well as the reasoning processes to get them. As a result, the state-of-the-art QA research on numerical reasoning still focuses on simple calculations and does not provide the mathematical expressions or evidence justifying the answers. Second, the QA community has contributed a lot of effort to improve the interpretability of QA models. However, they fail to explicitly show the reasoning process, such as the evidence order for reasoning and the interactions between different pieces of evidence. To address the above shortcoming, we introduce NOAHQA, a conversational and bilingual QA dataset with questions requiring numerical reasoning with compound mathematical expressions. With NOAHQA, we develop an interpretable reasoning graph as well as the appropriate evaluation metric to measure the answer quality. We evaluate the state-of-the-art QA models trained using existing QA datasets on NOAHQA and show that the best among them can only achieve 55.5 exact match scores, while the human performance is 89.7. We also present a new QA model for generating a reasoning graph where the reasoning graph metric still has a large gap compared with that of humans, eg, 28 scores.

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COSY: COunterfactual SYntax for Cross-Lingual Understanding
Sicheng Yu | Hao Zhang | Yulei Niu | Qianru Sun | Jing Jiang
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)

Pre-trained multilingual language models, e.g., multilingual-BERT, are widely used in cross-lingual tasks, yielding the state-of-the-art performance. However, such models suffer from a large performance gap between source and target languages, especially in the zero-shot setting, where the models are fine-tuned only on English but tested on other languages for the same task. We tackle this issue by incorporating language-agnostic information, specifically, universal syntax such as dependency relations and POS tags, into language models, based on the observation that universal syntax is transferable across different languages. Our approach, called COunterfactual SYntax (COSY), includes the design of SYntax-aware networks as well as a COunterfactual training method to implicitly force the networks to learn not only the semantics but also the syntax. To evaluate COSY, we conduct cross-lingual experiments on natural language inference and question answering using mBERT and XLM-R as network backbones. Our results show that COSY achieves the state-of-the-art performance for both tasks, without using auxiliary training data.