Tsendsuren Munkhdalai


2021

pdf bib
Diverse Distributions of Self-Supervised Tasks for Meta-Learning in NLP
Trapit Bansal | Karthick Prasad Gunasekaran | Tong Wang | Tsendsuren Munkhdalai | Andrew McCallum
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

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.

2020

pdf bib
Self-Supervised Meta-Learning for Few-Shot Natural Language Classification Tasks
Trapit Bansal | Rishikesh Jha | Tsendsuren Munkhdalai | Andrew McCallum
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Self-supervised pre-training of transformer models has revolutionized NLP applications. Such pre-training with language modeling objectives provides a useful initial point for parameters that generalize well to new tasks with fine-tuning. However, fine-tuning is still data inefficient — when there are few labeled examples, accuracy can be low. Data efficiency can be improved by optimizing pre-training directly for future fine-tuning with few examples; this can be treated as a meta-learning problem. However, standard meta-learning techniques require many training tasks in order to generalize; unfortunately, finding a diverse set of such supervised tasks is usually difficult. This paper proposes a self-supervised approach to generate a large, rich, meta-learning task distribution from unlabeled text. This is achieved using a cloze-style objective, but creating separate multi-class classification tasks by gathering tokens-to-be blanked from among only a handful of vocabulary terms. This yields as many unique meta-training tasks as the number of subsets of vocabulary terms. We meta-train a transformer model on this distribution of tasks using a recent meta-learning framework. On 17 NLP tasks, we show that this meta-training leads to better few-shot generalization than language-model pre-training followed by finetuning. Furthermore, we show how the self-supervised tasks can be combined with supervised tasks for meta-learning, providing substantial accuracy gains over previous supervised meta-learning.

pdf bib
Exploring and Predicting Transferability across NLP Tasks
Tu Vu | Tong Wang | Tsendsuren Munkhdalai | Alessandro Sordoni | Adam Trischler | Andrew Mattarella-Micke | Subhransu Maji | Mohit Iyyer
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

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.

2018

pdf bib
Sentence Simplification with Memory-Augmented Neural Networks
Tu Vu | Baotian Hu | Tsendsuren Munkhdalai | Hong Yu
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 2 (Short Papers)

Sentence simplification aims to simplify the content and structure of complex sentences, and thus make them easier to interpret for human readers, and easier to process for downstream NLP applications. Recent advances in neural machine translation have paved the way for novel approaches to the task. In this paper, we adapt an architecture with augmented memory capacities called Neural Semantic Encoders (Munkhdalai and Yu, 2017) for sentence simplification. Our experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach on different simplification datasets, both in terms of automatic evaluation measures and human judgments.

pdf bib
Understanding Deep Learning Performance through an Examination of Test Set Difficulty: A Psychometric Case Study
John P. Lalor | Hao Wu | Tsendsuren Munkhdalai | Hong Yu
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Interpreting the performance of deep learning models beyond test set accuracy is challenging. Characteristics of individual data points are often not considered during evaluation, and each data point is treated equally. In this work we examine the impact of a test set question’s difficulty to determine if there is a relationship between difficulty and performance. We model difficulty using well-studied psychometric methods on human response patterns. Experiments on Natural Language Inference (NLI) and Sentiment Analysis (SA) show that the likelihood of answering a question correctly is impacted by the question’s difficulty. In addition, as DNNs are trained on larger datasets easy questions start to have a higher probability of being answered correctly than harder questions.

2017

pdf bib
Neural Tree Indexers for Text Understanding
Tsendsuren Munkhdalai | Hong Yu
Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Volume 1, Long Papers

Recurrent neural networks (RNNs) process input text sequentially and model the conditional transition between word tokens. In contrast, the advantages of recursive networks include that they explicitly model the compositionality and the recursive structure of natural language. However, the current recursive architecture is limited by its dependence on syntactic tree. In this paper, we introduce a robust syntactic parsing-independent tree structured model, Neural Tree Indexers (NTI) that provides a middle ground between the sequential RNNs and the syntactic treebased recursive models. NTI constructs a full n-ary tree by processing the input text with its node function in a bottom-up fashion. Attention mechanism can then be applied to both structure and node function. We implemented and evaluated a binary tree model of NTI, showing the model achieved the state-of-the-art performance on three different NLP tasks: natural language inference, answer sentence selection, and sentence classification, outperforming state-of-the-art recurrent and recursive neural networks.

pdf bib
Neural Semantic Encoders
Tsendsuren Munkhdalai | Hong Yu
Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Volume 1, Long Papers

We present a memory augmented neural network for natural language understanding: Neural Semantic Encoders. NSE is equipped with a novel memory update rule and has a variable sized encoding memory that evolves over time and maintains the understanding of input sequences through read, compose and write operations. NSE can also access 1 multiple and shared memories. In this paper, we demonstrated the effectiveness and the flexibility of NSE on five different natural language tasks: natural language inference, question answering, sentence classification, document sentiment analysis and machine translation where NSE achieved state-of-the-art performance when evaluated on publically available benchmarks. For example, our shared-memory model showed an encouraging result on neural machine translation, improving an attention-based baseline by approximately 1.0 BLEU.

2016

pdf bib
Citation Analysis with Neural Attention Models
Tsendsuren Munkhdalai | John P. Lalor | Hong Yu
Proceedings of the Seventh International Workshop on Health Text Mining and Information Analysis