Class-based language models (LMs) have been long devised to address context sparsity in n-gram LMs. In this study, we revisit this approach in the context of neural LMs. We hypothesize that class-based prediction leads to an implicit context aggregation for similar words and thus can improve generalization for rare words. We map words that have a common WordNet hypernym to the same class and train large neural LMs by gradually annealing from predicting the class to token prediction during training. Empirically, this curriculum learning strategy consistently improves perplexity over various large, highly-performant state-of-the-art Transformer-based models on two datasets, WikiText-103 and ARXIV. Our analysis shows that the performance improvement is achieved without sacrificing performance on rare words. Finally, we document other attempts that failed to yield empirical gains, and discuss future directions for the adoption of class-based LMs on a larger scale.
Meta-learning considers the problem of learning an efficient learning process that can leverage its past experience to accurately solve new tasks. However, the efficacy of meta-learning crucially depends on the distribution of tasks available for training, and this is often assumed to be known a priori or constructed from limited supervised datasets. In this work, we aim to provide task distributions for meta-learning by considering self-supervised tasks automatically proposed from unlabeled text, to enable large-scale meta-learning in NLP. We design multiple distributions of self-supervised tasks by considering important aspects of task diversity, difficulty, type, domain, and curriculum, and investigate how they affect meta-learning performance. Our analysis shows that all these factors meaningfully alter the task distribution, some inducing significant improvements in downstream few-shot accuracy of the meta-learned models. Empirically, results on 20 downstream tasks show significant improvements in few-shot learning – adding up to +4.2% absolute accuracy (on average) to the previous unsupervised meta-learning method, and perform comparably to supervised methods on the FewRel 2.0 benchmark.
The growing popularity of Virtual Assistants poses new challenges for Entity Resolution, the task of linking mentions in text to their referent entities in a knowledge base. Specifically, in the shopping domain, customers tend to mention the entities implicitly (e.g., “organic milk”) rather than use the entity names explicitly, leading to a large number of candidate products. Meanwhile, for the same query, different customers may expect different results. For example, with “add milk to my cart”, a customer may refer to a certain product from his/her favorite brand, while some customers may want to re-order products they regularly purchase. Moreover, new customers may lack persistent shopping history, which requires us to enrich the connections between customers through products and their attributes. To address these issues, we propose a new framework that leverages personalized features to improve the accuracy of product ranking. We first build a cross-source heterogeneous knowledge graph from customer purchase history and product knowledge graph to jointly learn customer and product embeddings. After that, we incorporate product, customer, and history representations into a neural reranking model to predict which candidate is most likely to be purchased by a specific customer. Experiment results show that our model substantially improves the accuracy of the top ranked candidates by 24.6% compared to the state-of-the-art product search model.
Faceted summarization provides briefings of a document from different perspectives. Readers can quickly comprehend the main points of a long document with the help of a structured outline. However, little research has been conducted on this subject, partially due to the lack of large-scale faceted summarization datasets. In this study, we present FacetSum, a faceted summarization benchmark built on Emerald journal articles, covering a diverse range of domains. Different from traditional document-summary pairs, FacetSum provides multiple summaries, each targeted at specific sections of a long document, including the purpose, method, findings, and value. Analyses and empirical results on our dataset reveal the importance of bringing structure into summaries. We believe FacetSum will spur further advances in summarization research and foster the development of NLP systems that can leverage the structured information in both long texts and summaries.
Recent years have seen a flourishing of neural keyphrase generation (KPG) works, including the release of several large-scale datasets and a host of new models to tackle them. Model performance on KPG tasks has increased significantly with evolving deep learning research. However, there lacks a comprehensive comparison among different model designs, and a thorough investigation on related factors that may affect a KPG system’s generalization performance. In this empirical study, we aim to fill this gap by providing extensive experimental results and analyzing the most crucial factors impacting the generalizability of KPG models. We hope this study can help clarify some of the uncertainties surrounding the KPG task and facilitate future research on this topic.
In dialog systems, the Natural Language Understanding (NLU) component typically makes the interpretation decision (including domain, intent and slots) for an utterance before the mentioned entities are resolved. This may result in intent classification and slot tagging errors. In this work, we propose to leverage Entity Resolution (ER) features in NLU reranking and introduce a novel loss term based on ER signals to better learn model weights in the reranking framework. In addition, for a multi-domain dialog scenario, we propose a score distribution matching method to ensure scores generated by the NLU reranking models for different domains are properly calibrated. In offline experiments, we demonstrate our proposed approach significantly outperforms the baseline model on both single-domain and cross-domain evaluations.
In recent years, incorporating external knowledge for response generation in open-domain conversation systems has attracted great interest. To improve the relevancy of retrieved knowledge, we propose a neural entity linking (NEL) approach. Different from formal documents, such as news, conversational utterances are informal and multi-turn, which makes it more challenging to disambiguate the entities. Therefore, we present a context-aware named entity recognition model (NER) and entity resolution (ER) model to utilize dialogue context information. We conduct NEL experiments on three open-domain conversation datasets and validate that incorporating context information improves the performance of NER and ER models. The end-to-end NEL approach outperforms the baseline by 62.8% relatively in F1 metric. Furthermore, we verify that using external knowledge based on NEL benefits the neural response generation model.
Different texts shall by nature correspond to different number of keyphrases. This desideratum is largely missing from existing neural keyphrase generation models. In this study, we address this problem from both modeling and evaluation perspectives. We first propose a recurrent generative model that generates multiple keyphrases as delimiter-separated sequences. Generation diversity is further enhanced with two novel techniques by manipulating decoder hidden states. In contrast to previous approaches, our model is capable of generating diverse keyphrases and controlling number of outputs. We further propose two evaluation metrics tailored towards the variable-number generation. We also introduce a new dataset StackEx that expands beyond the only existing genre (i.e., academic writing) in keyphrase generation tasks. With both previous and new evaluation metrics, our model outperforms strong baselines on all datasets.
Recent advances in NLP demonstrate the effectiveness of training large-scale language models and transferring them to downstream tasks. Can fine-tuning these models on tasks other than language modeling further improve performance? In this paper, we conduct an extensive study of the transferability between 33 NLP tasks across three broad classes of problems (text classification, question answering, and sequence labeling). Our results show that transfer learning is more beneficial than previously thought, especially when target task data is scarce, and can improve performance even with low-data source tasks that differ substantially from the target task (e.g., part-of-speech tagging transfers well to the DROP QA dataset). We also develop task embeddings that can be used to predict the most transferable source tasks for a given target task, and we validate their effectiveness in experiments controlled for source and target data size. Overall, our experiments reveal that factors such as data size, task and domain similarity, and task complexity all play a role in determining transferability.
We propose a two-stage neural model to tackle question generation from documents. First, our model estimates the probability that word sequences in a document are ones that a human would pick when selecting candidate answers by training a neural key-phrase extractor on the answers in a question-answering corpus. Predicted key phrases then act as target answers and condition a sequence-to-sequence question-generation model with a copy mechanism. Empirically, our key-phrase extraction model significantly outperforms an entity-tagging baseline and existing rule-based approaches. We further demonstrate that our question generation system formulates fluent, answerable questions from key phrases. This two-stage system could be used to augment or generate reading comprehension datasets, which may be leveraged to improve machine reading systems or in educational settings.
We propose a recurrent neural model that generates natural-language questions from documents, conditioned on answers. We show how to train the model using a combination of supervised and reinforcement learning. After teacher forcing for standard maximum likelihood training, we fine-tune the model using policy gradient techniques to maximize several rewards that measure question quality. Most notably, one of these rewards is the performance of a question-answering system. We motivate question generation as a means to improve the performance of question answering systems. Our model is trained and evaluated on the recent question-answering dataset SQuAD.
We present NewsQA, a challenging machine comprehension dataset of over 100,000 human-generated question-answer pairs. Crowdworkers supply questions and answers based on a set of over 10,000 news articles from CNN, with answers consisting of spans of text in the articles. We collect this dataset through a four-stage process designed to solicit exploratory questions that require reasoning. Analysis confirms that NewsQA demands abilities beyond simple word matching and recognizing textual entailment. We measure human performance on the dataset and compare it to several strong neural models. The performance gap between humans and machines (13.3% F1) indicates that significant progress can be made on NewsQA through future research. The dataset is freely available online.