Wanrong Zhu


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Visualize Before You Write: Imagination-Guided Open-Ended Text Generation
Wanrong Zhu | An Yan | Yujie Lu | Wenda Xu | Xin Wang | Miguel Eckstein | William Yang Wang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EACL 2023

Recent advances in text-to-image synthesis make it possible to visualize machine imaginations for a given context. On the other hand, when generating text, human writers are gifted at creative visualization, which enhances their writings by forming imaginations as blueprints before putting down the stories in words. Inspired by such a cognitive process, we ask the natural question of whether we can endow machines with the same ability to utilize visual information and construct a general picture of the context to guide text generation. In this work, we propose iNLG that uses machine-generated images to guide language models (LM) in open-ended text generation. The experiments and analyses demonstrate the effectiveness of iNLG on open-ended text generation tasks, including text completion, story generation, and concept-to-text generation in both few-shot and full-data scenarios. Both automatic metrics and human evaluations verify that the text snippets generated by our iNLG are coherent and informative while displaying minor degeneration.

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ImaginE: An Imagination-Based Automatic Evaluation Metric for Natural Language Generation
Wanrong Zhu | Xin Wang | An Yan | Miguel Eckstein | William Yang Wang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EACL 2023

Automatic evaluations for natural language generation (NLG) conventionally rely on token-level or embedding-level comparisons with text references. This differs from human language processing, for which visual imagination often improves comprehension. In this work, we propose ImaginE, an imagination-based automatic evaluation metric for natural language generation. With the help of StableDiffusion, a state-of-the-art text-to-image generator, we automatically generate an image as the embodied imagination for the text snippet and compute the imagination similarity using contextual embeddings. Experiments spanning several text generation tasks demonstrate that adding machine-generated images with our ImaginE displays great potential in introducing multi-modal information into NLG evaluation, and improves existing automatic metrics’ correlations with human similarity judgments in both reference-based and reference-free evaluation scenarios.

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Collaborative Generative AI: Integrating GPT-k for Efficient Editing in Text-to-Image Generation
Wanrong Zhu | Xinyi Wang | Yujie Lu | Tsu-Jui Fu | Xin Wang | Miguel Eckstein | William Wang
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The field of text-to-image (T2I) generation has garnered significant attention both within the research community and among everyday users. Despite the advancements of T2I models, a common issue encountered by users is the need for repetitive editing of input prompts in order to receive a satisfactory image, which is time-consuming and labor-intensive. Given the demonstrated text generation power of large-scale language models, such as GPT-k, we investigate the potential of utilizing such models to improve the prompt editing process for T2I generation. We conduct a series of experiments to compare the common edits made by humans and GPT-k, evaluate the performance of GPT-k in prompting T2I, and examine factors that may influence this process. We found that GPT-k models focus more on inserting modifiers while humans tend to replace words and phrases, which includes changes to the subject matter. Experimental results show that GPT-k are more effective in adjusting modifiers rather than predicting spontaneous changes in the primary subject matters. Adopting the edit suggested by GPT-k models may reduce the percentage of remaining edits by 20-30%.


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End-to-end Dense Video Captioning as Sequence Generation
Wanrong Zhu | Bo Pang | Ashish V. Thapliyal | William Yang Wang | Radu Soricut
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Dense video captioning aims to identify the events of interest in an input video, and generate descriptive captions for each event. Previous approaches usually follow a two-stage generative process, which first proposes a segment for each event, then renders a caption for each identified segment. Recent advances in large-scale sequence generation pretraining have seen great success in unifying task formulation for a great variety of tasks, but so far, more complex tasks such as dense video captioning are not able to fully utilize this powerful paradigm. In this work, we show how to model the two subtasks of dense video captioning jointly as one sequence generation task, and simultaneously predict the events and the corresponding descriptions. Experiments on YouCook2 and ViTT show encouraging results and indicate the feasibility of training complex tasks such as end-to-end dense video captioning integrated into large-scale pretrained models.

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Imagination-Augmented Natural Language Understanding
Yujie Lu | Wanrong Zhu | Xin Wang | Miguel Eckstein | William Yang Wang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Human brains integrate linguistic and perceptual information simultaneously to understand natural language, and hold the critical ability to render imaginations. Such abilities enable us to construct new abstract concepts or concrete objects, and are essential in involving practical knowledge to solve problems in low-resource scenarios. However, most existing methods for Natural Language Understanding (NLU) are mainly focused on textual signals. They do not simulate human visual imagination ability, which hinders models from inferring and learning efficiently from limited data samples. Therefore, we introduce an Imagination-Augmented Cross-modal Encoder (iACE) to solve natural language understanding tasks from a novel learning perspective—imagination-augmented cross-modal understanding. iACE enables visual imagination with external knowledge transferred from the powerful generative and pre-trained vision-and-language models. Extensive experiments on GLUE and SWAG show that iACE achieves consistent improvement over visually-supervised pre-trained models. More importantly, results in extreme and normal few-shot settings validate the effectiveness of iACE in low-resource natural language understanding circumstances.

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Diagnosing Vision-and-Language Navigation: What Really Matters
Wanrong Zhu | Yuankai Qi | Pradyumna Narayana | Kazoo Sone | Sugato Basu | Xin Wang | Qi Wu | Miguel Eckstein | William Yang Wang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Vision-and-language navigation (VLN) is a multimodal task where an agent follows natural language instructions and navigates in visual environments. Multiple setups have been proposed, and researchers apply new model architectures or training techniques to boost navigation performance. However, there still exist non-negligible gaps between machines’ performance and human benchmarks. Moreover, the agents’ inner mechanisms for navigation decisions remain unclear. To the best of our knowledge, how the agents perceive the multimodal input is under-studied and needs investigation. In this work, we conduct a series of diagnostic experiments to unveil agents’ focus during navigation. Results show that indoor navigation agents refer to both object and direction tokens when making decisions. In contrast, outdoor navigation agents heavily rely on direction tokens and poorly understand the object tokens. Transformer-based agents acquire a better cross-modal understanding of objects and display strong numerical reasoning ability than non-Transformer-based agents. When it comes to vision-and-language alignments, many models claim that they can align object tokens with specific visual targets. We find unbalanced attention on the vision and text input and doubt the reliability of such cross-modal alignments.


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Multimodal Text Style Transfer for Outdoor Vision-and-Language Navigation
Wanrong Zhu | Xin Wang | Tsu-Jui Fu | An Yan | Pradyumna Narayana | Kazoo Sone | Sugato Basu | William Yang Wang
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

One of the most challenging topics in Natural Language Processing (NLP) is visually-grounded language understanding and reasoning. Outdoor vision-and-language navigation (VLN) is such a task where an agent follows natural language instructions and navigates in real-life urban environments. With the lack of human-annotated instructions that illustrate the intricate urban scenes, outdoor VLN remains a challenging task to solve. In this paper, we introduce a Multimodal Text Style Transfer (MTST) learning approach and leverage external multimodal resources to mitigate data scarcity in outdoor navigation tasks. We first enrich the navigation data by transferring the style of the instructions generated by Google Maps API, then pre-train the navigator with the augmented external outdoor navigation dataset. Experimental results show that our MTST learning approach is model-agnostic, and our MTST approach significantly outperforms the baseline models on the outdoor VLN task, improving task completion rate by 8.7% relatively on the test set.


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Towards Understanding Sample Variance in Visually Grounded Language Generation: Evaluations and Observations
Wanrong Zhu | Xin Wang | Pradyumna Narayana | Kazoo Sone | Sugato Basu | William Yang Wang
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

A major challenge in visually grounded language generation is to build robust benchmark datasets and models that can generalize well in real-world settings. To do this, it is critical to ensure that our evaluation protocols are correct, and benchmarks are reliable. In this work, we set forth to design a set of experiments to understand an important but often ignored problem in visually grounded language generation: given that humans have different utilities and visual attention, how will the sample variance in multi-reference datasets affect the models’ performance? Empirically, we study several multi-reference datasets and corresponding vision-and-language tasks. We show that it is of paramount importance to report variance in experiments; that human-generated references could vary drastically in different datasets/tasks, revealing the nature of each task; that metric-wise, CIDEr has shown systematically larger variances than others. Our evaluations on reference-per-instance shed light on the design of reliable datasets in the future.


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Texar: A Modularized, Versatile, and Extensible Toolkit for Text Generation
Zhiting Hu | Haoran Shi | Bowen Tan | Wentao Wang | Zichao Yang | Tiancheng Zhao | Junxian He | Lianhui Qin | Di Wang | Xuezhe Ma | Zhengzhong Liu | Xiaodan Liang | Wanrong Zhu | Devendra Sachan | Eric Xing
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

We introduce Texar, an open-source toolkit aiming to support the broad set of text generation tasks that transform any inputs into natural language, such as machine translation, summarization, dialog, content manipulation, and so forth. With the design goals of modularity, versatility, and extensibility in mind, Texar extracts common patterns underlying the diverse tasks and methodologies, creates a library of highly reusable modules and functionalities, and allows arbitrary model architectures and algorithmic paradigms. In Texar, model architecture, inference, and learning processes are properly decomposed. Modules at a high concept level can be freely assembled or plugged in/swapped out. Texar is thus particularly suitable for researchers and practitioners to do fast prototyping and experimentation. The versatile toolkit also fosters technique sharing across different text generation tasks. Texar supports both TensorFlow and PyTorch, and is released under Apache License 2.0 at https://www.texar.io.