Wei Zhu


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Learned Adapters Are Better Than Manually Designed Adapters
Yuming Zhang | Peng Wang | Ming Tan | Wei Zhu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Recently, a series of works have looked into further improving the adapter-based tuning by manually designing better adapter architectures. Understandably, these manually designed solutions are sub-optimal. In this work, we propose the Learned Adapter framework to automatically learn the optimal adapter architectures for better task adaptation of pre-trained models (PTMs). First, we construct a unified search space for adapter architecture designs. In terms of the optimization method on the search space, we propose a simple-yet-effective method, GDNAS for better architecture optimization. Extensive experiments show that our Learned Adapter framework can outperform the previous parameter-efficient tuning (PETuning) baselines while tuning comparable or fewer parameters. Moreover: (a) the learned adapter architectures are explainable and transferable across tasks. (b) We demonstrate that our architecture search space design is valid.

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SPT: Learning to Selectively Insert Prompts for Better Prompt Tuning
Wei Zhu | Ming Tan
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Prompt tuning prepends a soft prompt to the input embeddings or hidden states and only optimizes the prompt to adapt pretrained models (PTMs) to downstream tasks. The previous work manually selects prompt layers which are far from optimal and failed to exploit the potential of prompt tuning. In this work, we propose a novel framework, Selective Prompt Tuning (SPT), that learns to select the proper prompt layers by inserting a prompt controlled by a learnable probabilistic gate at each intermediate layer. We further propose a novel bi-level optimization framework, SPT-DARTS, that can better optimize the learnable gates and improve the final prompt tuning performances of the learned prompt layer settings. We conduct extensive experiments with ten benchmark datasets under the full-data and few-shot scenarios. The results demonstrate that our SPT framework can perform better than the previous state-of-the-art PETuning baselines with comparable or fewer tunable parameters.

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Unified Demonstration Retriever for In-Context Learning
Xiaonan Li | Kai Lv | Hang Yan | Tianyang Lin | Wei Zhu | Yuan Ni | Guotong Xie | Xiaoling Wang | Xipeng Qiu
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In-context learning is a new learning paradigm where a language model conditions on a few input-output pairs (demonstrations) and a test input, and directly outputs the prediction. It has been shown sensitive to the provided demonstrations and thus promotes the research of demonstration retrieval: given a test input, relevant examples are retrieved from the training set to serve as informative demonstrations for in-context learning. While previous works train task-specific retrievers for several tasks separately, these methods are hard to transfer and scale on various tasks, and separately trained retrievers will cause a lot of parameter storage and deployment cost. In this paper, we propose Unified Demonstration Retriever (UDR), a single model to retrieve demonstrations for a wide range of tasks. To train UDR, we cast various tasks’ training signals into a unified list-wise ranking formulation by language model’s feedback. Then we propose a multi-task list-wise ranking training framework with an iterative mining strategy to find high-quality candidates, which can help UDR fully incorporate various tasks’ signals. Experiments on 30+ tasks across 13 task families and multiple data domains show that UDR significantly outperforms baselines. Further analyses show the effectiveness of each proposed component and UDR’s strong ability in various scenarios including different LMs (1.3B 175B), unseen datasets, varying demonstration quantities, etc. We will release the code and model checkpoint after review.

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LECO: Improving Early Exiting via Learned Exits and Comparison-based Exiting Mechanism
Jingfan Zhang | Ming Tan | Pengyu Dai | Wei Zhu
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 4: Student Research Workshop)

Recently, dynamic early exiting has attracted much attention since it can accelerate the inference speed of pre-trained models (PTMs). However, previous work on early exiting has neglected the intermediate exits’ architectural designs. In this work, we propose a novel framework, Learned Exits and COmparison-based early exiting (LECO) to improve PTMs’ early exiting performances. First, to fully uncover the potentials of multi-exit BERT, we design a novel search space for intermediate exits and employ the idea of differentiable neural architecture search (DNAS) to design proper exit architectures for different intermediate layers automatically. Second, we propose a simple-yet-effective comparison-based early exiting mechanism (COBEE), which can help PTMs achieve better performance and speedup tradeoffs. Extensive experiments show that our LECO achieves the SOTA performances for multi-exit BERT training and dynamic early exiting.

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BADGE: Speeding Up BERT Inference after Deployment via Block-wise Bypasses and Divergence-based Early Exiting
Wei Zhu | Peng Wang | Yuan Ni | Guotong Xie | Xiaoling Wang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 5: Industry Track)

Early exiting can reduce the average latency of pre-trained language models (PLMs) via its adaptive inference mechanism and work with other inference speed-up methods like model pruning, thus drawing much attention from the industry. In this work, we propose a novel framework, BADGE, which consists of two off-the-shelf methods for improving PLMs’ early exiting. We first address the issues of training a multi-exit PLM, the backbone model for early exiting. We propose the novel architecture of block-wise bypasses, which can alleviate the conflicts in jointly training multiple intermediate classifiers and thus improve the overall performances of multi-exit PLM while introducing negligible additional flops to the model. Second, we propose a novel divergence-based early exiting (DGE) mechanism, which obtains early exiting signals by comparing the predicted distributions of two adjacent layers’ exits. Extensive experiments on three proprietary datasets and three GLUE benchmark tasks demonstrate that our method can obtain a better speedup-performance trade-off than the existing baseline methods.\footnote{Code will be made publicly available to the research community upon acceptance.}

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NAG-NER: a Unified Non-Autoregressive Generation Framework for Various NER Tasks
Xinpeng Zhang | Ming Tan | Jingfan Zhang | Wei Zhu
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 5: Industry Track)

Recently, the recognition of flat, nested, and discontinuous entities by a unified generative model framework has received increasing attention both in the research field and industry. However, the current generative NER methods force the entities to be generated in a predefined order, suffering from error propagation and inefficient decoding. In this work, we propose a unified non-autoregressive generation (NAG) framework for general NER tasks, referred to as NAG-NER. First, we propose to generate entities as a set instead of a sequence, avoiding error propagation. Second, we propose incorporating NAG in NER tasks for efficient decoding by treating each entity as a target sequence. Third, to enhance the generation performances of the NAG decoder, we employ the NAG encoder to detect potential entity mentions. Extensive experiments show that our NAG-NER model outperforms the state-of-the-art generative NER models on three benchmark NER datasets of different types and two of our proprietary NER tasks.\footnote{Code will be publicly available to the research community upon acceptance.}


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A Simple Hash-Based Early Exiting Approach For Language Understanding and Generation
Tianxiang Sun | Xiangyang Liu | Wei Zhu | Zhichao Geng | Lingling Wu | Yilong He | Yuan Ni | Guotong Xie | Xuanjing Huang | Xipeng Qiu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Early exiting allows instances to exit at different layers according to the estimation of difficulty. Previous works usually adopt heuristic metrics such as the entropy of internal outputs to measure instance difficulty, which suffers from generalization and threshold-tuning. In contrast, learning to exit, or learning to predict instance difficulty is a more appealing way. Though some effort has been devoted to employing such “learn-to-exit” modules, it is still unknown whether and how well the instance difficulty can be learned. As a response, we first conduct experiments on the learnability of instance difficulty, which demonstrates that modern neural models perform poorly on predicting instance difficulty. Based on this observation, we propose a simple-yet-effective Hash-based Early Exiting approach HashEE) that replaces the learn-to-exit modules with hash functions to assign each token to a fixed exiting layer. Different from previous methods, HashEE requires no internal classifiers nor extra parameters, and therefore is more efficient. HashEE can be used in various tasks (including language understanding and generation) and model architectures such as seq2seq models. Experimental results on classification, regression, and generation tasks demonstrate that HashEE can achieve higher performance with fewer FLOPs and inference time compared with previous state-of-the-art early exiting methods.

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PCEE-BERT: Accelerating BERT Inference via Patient and Confident Early Exiting
Zhen Zhang | Wei Zhu | Jinfan Zhang | Peng Wang | Rize Jin | Tae-Sun Chung
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

BERT and other pretrained language models (PLMs) are ubiquitous in modern NLP. Even though PLMs are the state-of-the-art (SOTA) models for almost every NLP task (CITATION), the significant latency during inference prohibits wider industrial usage. In this work, we propose Patient and Confident Early Exiting BERT (PCEE-BERT), an off-the-shelf sample-dependent early exiting method that can work with different PLMs and can also work along with popular model compression methods. With a multi-exit BERT as the backbone model, PCEE-BERT will make the early exiting decision if enough numbers (patience parameter) of consecutive intermediate layers are confident about their predictions. The entropy value measures the confidence level of an intermediate layer’s prediction. Experiments on the GLUE benchmark demonstrate that our method outperforms previous SOTA early exiting methods. Ablation studies show that: (a) our method performs consistently well on other PLMs, such as ALBERT and TinyBERT; (b) PCEE-BERT can achieve different speed-up ratios by adjusting the patience parameter and the confidence threshold. The code for PCEE-BERT can be found at https://github.com/michael-wzhu/PCEE-BERT.

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Candidate Soups: Fusing Candidate Results Improves Translation Quality for Non-Autoregressive Translation
Huanran Zheng | Wei Zhu | Pengfei Wang | Xiaoling Wang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Non-autoregressive translation (NAT) model achieves a much faster inference speed than the autoregressive translation (AT) model because it can simultaneously predict all tokens during inference. However, its translation quality suffers from degradation compared to AT. And existing NAT methods only focus on improving the NAT model’s performance but do not fully utilize it. In this paper, we propose a simple but effective method called “Candidate Soups,” which can obtain high-quality translations while maintaining the inference speed of NAT models. Unlike previous approaches that pick the individual result and discard the remainders, Candidate Soups (CDS) can fully use the valuable information in the different candidate translations through model uncertainty. Extensive experiments on two benchmarks (WMT’14 EN–DE and WMT’16 EN–RO) demonstrate the effectiveness and generality of our proposed method, which can significantly improve the translation quality of various base models. More notably, our best variant outperforms the AT model on three translation tasks with 7.6× speedup.

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Continually Detection, Rapidly React: Unseen Rumors Detection Based on Continual Prompt-Tuning
Yuhui Zuo | Wei Zhu | Guoyong GUET Cai
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Since open social platforms allow for a large and continuous flow of unverified information, rumors can emerge unexpectedly and spread quickly. However, existing rumor detection (RD) models often assume the same training and testing distributions and can not cope with the continuously changing social network environment. This paper proposed a Continual Prompt-Tuning RD (CPT-RD) framework, which avoids catastrophic forgetting (CF) of upstream tasks during sequential task learning and enables bidirectional knowledge transfer between domain tasks. Specifically, we propose the following strategies: (a) Our design explicitly decouples shared and domain-specific knowledge, thus reducing the interference among different domains during optimization; (b) Several technologies aim to transfer knowledge of upstream tasks to deal with emergencies; (c) A task-conditioned prompt-wise hypernetwork (TPHNet) is used to consolidate past domains. In addition, CPT-RD avoids CF without the necessity of a rehearsal buffer. Finally, CPT-RD is evaluated on English and Chinese RD datasets and is effective and efficient compared to prior state-of-the-art methods.


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Discovering Better Model Architectures for Medical Query Understanding
Wei Zhu | Yuan Ni | Xiaoling Wang | Guotong Xie
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies: Industry Papers

In developing an online question-answering system for the medical domains, natural language inference (NLI) models play a central role in question matching and intention detection. However, which models are best for our datasets? Manually selecting or tuning a model is time-consuming. Thus we experiment with automatically optimizing the model architectures on the task at hand via neural architecture search (NAS). First, we formulate a novel architecture search space based on the previous NAS literature, supporting cross-sentence attention (cross-attn) modeling. Second, we propose to modify the ENAS method to accelerate and stabilize the search results. We conduct extensive experiments on our two medical NLI tasks. Results show that our system can easily outperform the classical baseline models. We compare different NAS methods and demonstrate our approach provides the best results.

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GAML-BERT: Improving BERT Early Exiting by Gradient Aligned Mutual Learning
Wei Zhu | Xiaoling Wang | Yuan Ni | Guotong Xie
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

In this work, we propose a novel framework, Gradient Aligned Mutual Learning BERT (GAML-BERT), for improving the early exiting of BERT. GAML-BERT’s contributions are two-fold. We conduct a set of pilot experiments, which shows that mutual knowledge distillation between a shallow exit and a deep exit leads to better performances for both. From this observation, we use mutual learning to improve BERT’s early exiting performances, that is, we ask each exit of a multi-exit BERT to distill knowledge from each other. Second, we propose GA, a novel training method that aligns the gradients from knowledge distillation to cross-entropy losses. Extensive experiments are conducted on the GLUE benchmark, which shows that our GAML-BERT can significantly outperform the state-of-the-art (SOTA) BERT early exiting methods.

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LeeBERT: Learned Early Exit for BERT with cross-level optimization
Wei Zhu
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)

Pre-trained language models like BERT are performant in a wide range of natural language tasks. However, they are resource exhaustive and computationally expensive for industrial scenarios. Thus, early exits are adopted at each layer of BERT to perform adaptive computation by predicting easier samples with the first few layers to speed up the inference. In this work, to improve efficiency without performance drop, we propose a novel training scheme called Learned Early Exit for BERT (LeeBERT). First, we ask each exit to learn from each other, rather than learning only from the last layer. Second, the weights of different loss terms are learned, thus balancing off different objectives. We formulate the optimization of LeeBERT as a bi-level optimization problem, and we propose a novel cross-level optimization (CLO) algorithm to improve the optimization results. Experiments on the GLUE benchmark show that our proposed methods improve the performance of the state-of-the-art (SOTA) early exit methods for pre-trained models.

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AutoRC: Improving BERT Based Relation Classification Models via Architecture Search
Wei Zhu
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing: Student Research Workshop

Although BERT based relation classification (RC) models have achieved significant improvements over the traditional deep learning models, it seems that no consensus can be reached on what is the optimal architecture, since there are many design choices available. In this work, we design a comprehensive search space for BERT based RC models and employ a modified version of efficient neural architecture search (ENAS) method to automatically discover the design choices mentioned above. Experiments on eight benchmark RC tasks show that our method is efficient and effective in finding better architectures than the baseline BERT based RC models. Ablation study demonstrates the necessity of our search space design and the effectiveness of our search method. We also show that our framework can also apply to other entity related tasks like coreference resolution and span based named entity recognition (NER).

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MVP-BERT: Multi-Vocab Pre-training for Chinese BERT
Wei Zhu
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing: Student Research Workshop

Despite the development of pre-trained language models (PLMs) significantly raise the performances of various Chinese natural language processing (NLP) tasks, the vocabulary (vocab) for these Chinese PLMs remains to be the one provided by Google Chinese BERT (CITATION), which is based on Chinese characters (chars). Second, the masked language model pre-training is based on a single vocab, limiting its downstream task performances. In this work, we first experimentally demonstrate that building a vocab via Chinese word segmentation (CWS) guided sub-word tokenization (SGT) can improve the performances of Chinese PLMs. Then we propose two versions of multi-vocab pre-training (MVP), Hi-MVP and AL-MVP, to improve the models’ expressiveness. Experiments show that: (a) MVP training strategies improve PLMs’ downstream performances, especially it can improve the PLM’s performances on span-level tasks; (b) our AL-MVP outperforms the recent AMBERT (CITATION) after large-scale pre-training, and it is more robust against adversarial attacks.

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paht_nlp @ MEDIQA 2021: Multi-grained Query Focused Multi-Answer Summarization
Wei Zhu | Yilong He | Ling Chai | Yunxiao Fan | Yuan Ni | Guotong Xie | Xiaoling Wang
Proceedings of the 20th Workshop on Biomedical Language Processing

In this article, we describe our systems for the MEDIQA 2021 Shared Tasks. First, we will describe our method for the second task, Multi-Answer Summarization (MAS). For extractive summarization, two series of methods are applied. The first one follows (CITATION). First a RoBERTa model is first applied to give a local ranking of the candidate sentences. Then a Markov Chain model is applied to evaluate the sentences globally. The second method applies cross-sentence contextualization to improve the local ranking and discard the global ranking step. Our methods achieve the 1st Place in the MAS task. For the question summarization (QS) and radiology report summarization (RRS) tasks, we explore how end-to-end pre-trained seq2seq model perform. A series of tricks for improving the fine-tuning performances are validated.

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Global Attention Decoder for Chinese Spelling Error Correction
Zhao Guo | Yuan Ni | Keqiang Wang | Wei Zhu | Guotong Xie
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021


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PANLP at MEDIQA 2019: Pre-trained Language Models, Transfer Learning and Knowledge Distillation
Wei Zhu | Xiaofeng Zhou | Keqiang Wang | Xun Luo | Xiepeng Li | Yuan Ni | Guotong Xie
Proceedings of the 18th BioNLP Workshop and Shared Task

This paper describes the models designated for the MEDIQA 2019 shared tasks by the team PANLP. We take advantages of the recent advances in pre-trained bidirectional transformer language models such as BERT (Devlin et al., 2018) and MT-DNN (Liu et al., 2019b). We find that pre-trained language models can significantly outperform traditional deep learning models. Transfer learning from the NLI task to the RQE task is also experimented, which proves to be useful in improving the results of fine-tuning MT-DNN large. A knowledge distillation process is implemented, to distill the knowledge contained in a set of models and transfer it into an single model, whose performance turns out to be comparable with that obtained by the ensemble of that set of models. Finally, for test submissions, model ensemble and a re-ranking process are implemented to boost the performances. Our models participated in all three tasks and ranked the 1st place for the RQE task, and the 2nd place for the NLI task, and also the 2nd place for the QA task.

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Pingan Smart Health and SJTU at COIN - Shared Task: utilizing Pre-trained Language Models and Common-sense Knowledge in Machine Reading Tasks
Xiepeng Li | Zhexi Zhang | Wei Zhu | Zheng Li | Yuan Ni | Peng Gao | Junchi Yan | Guotong Xie
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Commonsense Inference in Natural Language Processing

To solve the shared tasks of COIN: COmmonsense INference in Natural Language Processing) Workshop in , we need explore the impact of knowledge representation in modeling commonsense knowledge to boost performance of machine reading comprehension beyond simple text matching. There are two approaches to represent knowledge in the low-dimensional space. The first is to leverage large-scale unsupervised text corpus to train fixed or contextual language representations. The second approach is to explicitly express knowledge into a knowledge graph (KG), and then fit a model to represent the facts in the KG. We have experimented both (a) improving the fine-tuning of pre-trained language models on a task with a small dataset size, by leveraging datasets of similar tasks; and (b) incorporating the distributional representations of a KG onto the representations of pre-trained language models, via simply concatenation or multi-head attention. We find out that: (a) for task 1, first fine-tuning on larger datasets like RACE (Lai et al., 2017) and SWAG (Zellersetal.,2018), and then fine-tuning on the target task improve the performance significantly; (b) for task 2, we find out the incorporating a KG of commonsense knowledge, WordNet (Miller, 1995) into the Bert model (Devlin et al., 2018) is helpful, however, it will hurts the performace of XLNET (Yangetal.,2019), a more powerful pre-trained model. Our approaches achieve the state-of-the-art results on both shared task’s official test data, outperforming all the other submissions.