Simiao Zuo


pdf bib
Context-Aware Query Rewriting for Improving Users’ Search Experience on E-commerce Websites
Simiao Zuo | Qingyu Yin | Haoming Jiang | Shaohui Xi | Bing Yin | Chao Zhang | Tuo Zhao
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 5: Industry Track)

E-commerce queries are often short and ambiguous. Consequently, query understanding often uses query rewriting to disambiguate user-input queries. While using e-commerce search tools, users tend to enter multiple searches, which we call context, before purchasing. These history searches contain contextual insights about users’ true shopping intents. Therefore, modeling such contextual information is critical to a better query rewriting model. However, existing query rewriting models ignore users’ history behaviors and consider only the instant search query, which is often a short string offering limited information about the true shopping intent. We propose an end-to-end context-aware query rewriting model to bridge this gap, which takes the search context into account. Specifically, our model builds a session graph using the history search queries and their contained words. We then employ a graph attention mechanism that models cross-query relations and computes contextual information of the session. The model subsequently calculates session representations by combining the contextual information with the instant search query using an aggregation network. The session representations are then decoded to generate rewritten queries. Empirically, we demonstrate the superiority of our method to state-of-the-art approaches under various metrics.


pdf bib
MoEBERT: from BERT to Mixture-of-Experts via Importance-Guided Adaptation
Simiao Zuo | Qingru Zhang | Chen Liang | Pengcheng He | Tuo Zhao | Weizhu Chen
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Pre-trained language models have demonstrated superior performance in various natural language processing tasks. However, these models usually contain hundreds of millions of parameters, which limits their practicality because of latency requirements in real-world applications. Existing methods train small compressed models via knowledge distillation. However, performance of these small models drops significantly compared with the pre-trained models due to their reduced model capacity. We propose MoEBERT, which uses a Mixture-of-Experts structure to increase model capacity and inference speed. We initialize MoEBERT by adapting the feed-forward neural networks in a pre-trained model into multiple experts. As such, representation power of the pre-trained model is largely retained. During inference, only one of the experts is activated, such that speed can be improved. We also propose a layer-wise distillation method to train MoEBERT. We validate the efficiency and efficacy of MoEBERT on natural language understanding and question answering tasks. Results show that the proposed method outperforms existing task-specific distillation algorithms. For example, our method outperforms previous approaches by over 2% on the MNLI (mismatched) dataset. Our code is publicly available at

pdf bib
Self-Training with Differentiable Teacher
Simiao Zuo | Yue Yu | Chen Liang | Haoming Jiang | Siawpeng Er | Chao Zhang | Tuo Zhao | Hongyuan Zha
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

Self-training achieves enormous success in various semi-supervised and weakly-supervised learning tasks. The method can be interpreted as a teacher-student framework, where the teacher generates pseudo-labels, and the student makes predictions. The two models are updated alternatingly. However, such a straightforward alternating update rule leads to training instability. This is because a small change in the teacher may result in a significant change in the student. To address this issue, we propose DRIFT, short for differentiable self-training, that treats teacher-student as a Stackelberg game. In this game, a leader is always in a more advantageous position than a follower. In self-training, the student contributes to the prediction performance, and the teacher controls the training process by generating pseudo-labels. Therefore, we treat the student as the leader and the teacher as the follower. The leader procures its advantage by acknowledging the follower’s strategy, which involves differentiable pseudo-labels and differentiable sample weights. Consequently, the leader-follower interaction can be effectively captured via Stackelberg gradient, obtained by differentiating the follower’s strategy. Experimental results on semi- and weakly-supervised classification and named entity recognition tasks show that our model outperforms existing approaches by large margins.


pdf bib
Fine-Tuning Pre-trained Language Model with Weak Supervision: A Contrastive-Regularized Self-Training Approach
Yue Yu | Simiao Zuo | Haoming Jiang | Wendi Ren | Tuo Zhao | Chao Zhang
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Fine-tuned pre-trained language models (LMs) have achieved enormous success in many natural language processing (NLP) tasks, but they still require excessive labeled data in the fine-tuning stage. We study the problem of fine-tuning pre-trained LMs using only weak supervision, without any labeled data. This problem is challenging because the high capacity of LMs makes them prone to overfitting the noisy labels generated by weak supervision. To address this problem, we develop a contrastive self-training framework, COSINE, to enable fine-tuning LMs with weak supervision. Underpinned by contrastive regularization and confidence-based reweighting, our framework gradually improves model fitting while effectively suppressing error propagation. Experiments on sequence, token, and sentence pair classification tasks show that our model outperforms the strongest baseline by large margins and achieves competitive performance with fully-supervised fine-tuning methods. Our implementation is available on

pdf bib
ARCH: Efficient Adversarial Regularized Training with Caching
Simiao Zuo | Chen Liang | Haoming Jiang | Pengcheng He | Xiaodong Liu | Jianfeng Gao | Weizhu Chen | Tuo Zhao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Adversarial regularization can improve model generalization in many natural language processing tasks. However, conventional approaches are computationally expensive since they need to generate a perturbation for each sample in each epoch. We propose a new adversarial regularization method ARCH (adversarial regularization with caching), where perturbations are generated and cached once every several epochs. As caching all the perturbations imposes memory usage concerns, we adopt a K-nearest neighbors-based strategy to tackle this issue. The strategy only requires caching a small amount of perturbations, without introducing additional training time. We evaluate our proposed method on a set of neural machine translation and natural language understanding tasks. We observe that ARCH significantly eases the computational burden (saves up to 70% of computational time in comparison with conventional approaches). More surprisingly, by reducing the variance of stochastic gradients, ARCH produces a notably better (in most of the tasks) or comparable model generalization. Our code is publicly available.

pdf bib
Adversarial Regularization as Stackelberg Game: An Unrolled Optimization Approach
Simiao Zuo | Chen Liang | Haoming Jiang | Xiaodong Liu | Pengcheng He | Jianfeng Gao | Weizhu Chen | Tuo Zhao
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Adversarial regularization has been shown to improve the generalization performance of deep learning models in various natural language processing tasks. Existing works usually formulate the method as a zero-sum game, which is solved by alternating gradient descent/ascent algorithms. Such a formulation treats the adversarial and the defending players equally, which is undesirable because only the defending player contributes to the generalization performance. To address this issue, we propose Stackelberg Adversarial Regularization (SALT), which formulates adversarial regularization as a Stackelberg game. This formulation induces a competition between a leader and a follower, where the follower generates perturbations, and the leader trains the model subject to the perturbations. Different from conventional approaches, in SALT, the leader is in an advantageous position. When the leader moves, it recognizes the strategy of the follower and takes the anticipated follower’s outcomes into consideration. Such a leader’s advantage enables us to improve the model fitting to the unperturbed data. The leader’s strategic information is captured by the Stackelberg gradient, which is obtained using an unrolling algorithm. Our experimental results on a set of machine translation and natural language understanding tasks show that SALT outperforms existing adversarial regularization baselines across all tasks. Our code is publicly available.

pdf bib
Super Tickets in Pre-Trained Language Models: From Model Compression to Improving Generalization
Chen Liang | Simiao Zuo | Minshuo Chen | Haoming Jiang | Xiaodong Liu | Pengcheng He | Tuo Zhao | Weizhu Chen
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 Lottery Ticket Hypothesis suggests that an over-parametrized network consists of ”lottery tickets”, and training a certain collection of them (i.e., a subnetwork) can match the performance of the full model. In this paper, we study such a collection of tickets, which is referred to as ”winning tickets”, in extremely over-parametrized models, e.g., pre-trained language models. We observe that at certain compression ratios, the generalization performance of the winning tickets can not only match but also exceed that of the full model. In particular, we observe a phase transition phenomenon: As the compression ratio increases, generalization performance of the winning tickets first improves then deteriorates after a certain threshold. We refer to the tickets on the threshold as ”super tickets”. We further show that the phase transition is task and model dependent — as the model size becomes larger and the training data set becomes smaller, the transition becomes more pronounced. Our experiments on the GLUE benchmark show that the super tickets improve single task fine-tuning by 0.9 points on BERT-base and 1.0 points on BERT-large, in terms of task-average score. We also demonstrate that adaptively sharing the super tickets across tasks benefits multi-task learning.