Tianyi Zhou


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Token Dropping for Efficient BERT Pretraining
Le Hou | Richard Yuanzhe Pang | Tianyi Zhou | Yuexin Wu | Xinying Song | Xiaodan Song | Denny Zhou
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Transformer-based models generally allocate the same amount of computation for each token in a given sequence. We develop a simple but effective “token dropping” method to accelerate the pretraining of transformer models, such as BERT, without degrading its performance on downstream tasks. In particular, we drop unimportant tokens starting from an intermediate layer in the model to make the model focus on important tokens more efficiently if with limited computational resource. The dropped tokens are later picked up by the last layer of the model so that the model still produces full-length sequences. We leverage the already built-in masked language modeling (MLM) loss to identify unimportant tokens with practically no computational overhead. In our experiments, this simple approach reduces the pretraining cost of BERT by 25% while achieving similar overall fine-tuning performance on standard downstream tasks.

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Phrase-level Textual Adversarial Attack with Label Preservation
Yibin Lei | Yu Cao | Dianqi Li | Tianyi Zhou | Meng Fang | Mykola Pechenizkiy
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

Generating high-quality textual adversarial examples is critical for investigating the pitfalls of natural language processing (NLP) models and further promoting their robustness. Existing attacks are usually realized through word-level or sentence-level perturbations, which either limit the perturbation space or sacrifice fluency and textual quality, both affecting the attack effectiveness. In this paper, we propose Phrase-Level Textual Adversarial ATtack (PLAT) that generates adversarial samples through phrase-level perturbations. PLAT first extracts the vulnerable phrases as attack targets by a syntactic parser, and then perturbs them by a pre-trained blank-infilling model. Such flexible perturbation design substantially expands the search space for more effective attacks without introducing too many modifications, and meanwhile maintaining the textual fluency and grammaticality via contextualized generation using surrounding texts. Moreover, we develop a label preservation filter leveraging the likelihoods of language models fine-tuned on each class, rather than textual similarity, to rule out those perturbations that potentially alter the original class label for humans. Extensive experiments and human evaluation demonstrate that PLAT has a superior attack effectiveness as well as a better label consistency than strong baselines.

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TASA: Deceiving Question Answering Models by Twin Answer Sentences Attack
Yu Cao | Dianqi Li | Meng Fang | Tianyi Zhou | Jun Gao | Yibing Zhan | Dacheng Tao
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We present Twin Answer Sentences Attack (TASA), an adversarial attack method for question answering (QA) models that produces fluent and grammatical adversarial contexts while maintaining gold answers. Despite phenomenal progress on general adversarial attacks, few works have investigated the vulnerability and attack specifically for QA models. In this work, we first explore the biases in the existing models and discover that they mainly rely on keyword matching between the question and context, and ignore the relevant contextual relations for answer prediction. Based on two biases above, TASA attacks the target model in two folds: (1) lowering the model’s confidence on the gold answer with a perturbed answer sentence; (2) misguiding the model towards a wrong answer with a distracting answer sentence. Equipped with designed beam search and filtering methods, TASA can generate more effective attacks than existing textual attack methods while sustaining the quality of contexts, in extensive experiments on five QA datasets and human evaluations.


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Eliminating Sentiment Bias for Aspect-Level Sentiment Classification with Unsupervised Opinion Extraction
Bo Wang | Tao Shen | Guodong Long | Tianyi Zhou | Yi Chang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Aspect-level sentiment classification (ALSC) aims at identifying the sentiment polarity of a specified aspect in a sentence. ALSC is a practical setting in aspect-based sentiment analysis due to no opinion term labeling needed, but it fails to interpret why a sentiment polarity is derived for the aspect. To address this problem, recent works fine-tune pre-trained Transformer encoders for ALSC to extract an aspect-centric dependency tree that can locate the opinion words. However, the induced opinion words only provide an intuitive cue far below human-level interpretability. Besides, the pre-trained encoder tends to internalize an aspect’s intrinsic sentiment, causing sentiment bias and thus affecting model performance. In this paper, we propose a span-based anti-bias aspect representation learning framework. It first eliminates the sentiment bias in the aspect embedding by adversarial learning against aspects’ prior sentiment. Then, it aligns the distilled opinion candidates with the aspect by span-based dependency modeling to highlight the interpretable opinion terms. Our method achieves new state-of-the-art performance on five benchmarks, with the capability of unsupervised opinion extraction.


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Improving Long-Tail Relation Extraction with Collaborating Relation-Augmented Attention
Yang Li | Tao Shen | Guodong Long | Jing Jiang | Tianyi Zhou | Chengqi Zhang
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Wrong labeling problem and long-tail relations are two main challenges caused by distant supervision in relation extraction. Recent works alleviate the wrong labeling by selective attention via multi-instance learning, but cannot well handle long-tail relations even if hierarchies of the relations are introduced to share knowledge. In this work, we propose a novel neural network, Collaborating Relation-augmented Attention (CoRA), to handle both the wrong labeling and long-tail relations. Particularly, we first propose relation-augmented attention network as base model. It operates on sentence bag with a sentence-to-relation attention to minimize the effect of wrong labeling. Then, facilitated by the proposed base model, we introduce collaborating relation features shared among relations in the hierarchies to promote the relation-augmenting process and balance the training data for long-tail relations. Besides the main training objective to predict the relation of a sentence bag, an auxiliary objective is utilized to guide the relation-augmenting process for a more accurate bag-level representation. In the experiments on the popular benchmark dataset NYT, the proposed CoRA improves the prior state-of-the-art performance by a large margin in terms of Precision@N, AUC and Hits@K. Further analyses verify its superior capability in handling long-tail relations in contrast to the competitors.


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Tensorized Self-Attention: Efficiently Modeling Pairwise and Global Dependencies Together
Tao Shen | Tianyi Zhou | Guodong Long | Jing Jiang | Chengqi Zhang
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers)

Neural networks equipped with self-attention have parallelizable computation, light-weight structure, and the ability to capture both long-range and local dependencies. Further, their expressive power and performance can be boosted by using a vector to measure pairwise dependency, but this requires to expand the alignment matrix to a tensor, which results in memory and computation bottlenecks. In this paper, we propose a novel attention mechanism called “Multi-mask Tensorized Self-Attention” (MTSA), which is as fast and as memory-efficient as a CNN, but significantly outperforms previous CNN-/RNN-/attention-based models. MTSA 1) captures both pairwise (token2token) and global (source2token) dependencies by a novel compatibility function composed of dot-product and additive attentions, 2) uses a tensor to represent the feature-wise alignment scores for better expressive power but only requires parallelizable matrix multiplications, and 3) combines multi-head with multi-dimensional attentions, and applies a distinct positional mask to each head (subspace), so the memory and computation can be distributed to multiple heads, each with sequential information encoded independently. The experiments show that a CNN/RNN-free model based on MTSA achieves state-of-the-art or competitive performance on nine NLP benchmarks with compelling memory- and time-efficiency.