Weijia Shi


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One Embedder, Any Task: Instruction-Finetuned Text Embeddings
Hongjin Su | Weijia Shi | Jungo Kasai | Yizhong Wang | Yushi Hu | Mari Ostendorf | Wen-tau Yih | Noah A. Smith | Luke Zettlemoyer | Tao Yu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

We introduce INSTRUCTOR, a new method for computing text embeddings given task instructions: every text input is embedded together with instructions explaining the use case (e.g., task and domain descriptions). Unlike encoders from prior work that are more specialized, INSTRUCTOR is a single embedder that can generate text embeddings tailored to different downstream tasks and domains, without any further training. We first annotate instructions for 330 diverse tasks and train INSTRUCTOR on this multitask mixture with a contrastive loss. We evaluate INSTRUCTOR on 70 embedding evaluation tasks (66 of which are unseen during training), ranging from classification and information retrieval to semantic textual similarity and text generation evaluation. INSTRUCTOR, while having an order of magnitude fewer parameters than the previous best model, achieves state-of-the-art performance, with an average improvement of 3.4% compared to the previous best results on the 70 diverse datasets. Our analysis suggests that INSTRUCTOR is robust to changes in instructions, and that instruction finetuning mitigates the challenge of training a single model on diverse datasets. Our model, code, and data are available at https://instructor-embedding.github.io.

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Nonparametric Masked Language Modeling
Sewon Min | Weijia Shi | Mike Lewis | Xilun Chen | Wen-tau Yih | Hannaneh Hajishirzi | Luke Zettlemoyer
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Existing language models (LMs) predict tokens with a softmax over a finite vocabulary, which can make it difficult to predict rare tokens or phrases. We introduce NPM, the first nonparametric masked language model that replaces this softmax with a nonparametric distribution over every phrase in a reference corpus. NPM fills in the [MASK] solely from retrieving a token from a text corpus. We show that NPM can be efficiently trained with a contrastive objective and an in-batch approximation to full corpus retrieval. Zero-shot evaluation on 16 tasks including classification, fact probing and question answering demonstrates that NPM outperforms significantly larger parametric models, either with or without a retrieve-and-generate approach. It is particularly better at dealing with rare patterns (word senses or facts) and predicting rare or nearly unseen words (e.g., non-Latin script). We release the model and code at github.com/facebookresearch/NPM.


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Nearest Neighbor Zero-Shot Inference
Weijia Shi | Julian Michael | Suchin Gururangan | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Retrieval-augmented language models (LMs) use non-parametric memory to substantially outperform their non-retrieval counterparts on perplexity-based evaluations, but it is an open question whether they achieve similar gains in few- and zero-shot end-task accuracy. We extensively study one such model, the k-nearest neighbor LM (kNN-LM), showing that the gains marginally transfer. The main challenge is to achieve coverage of the verbalizer tokens that define the different end-task class labels. To address this challenge, we also introduce kNN-Prompt, a simple and effective kNN-LM with automatically expanded fuzzy verbalizers (e.g. to expand “terrible” to also include “silly” and other task-specific synonyms for sentiment classification). Across nine diverse end-tasks, using kNN-Prompt with GPT-2 large yields significant performance boosts over strong zeroshot baselines (13.4% absolute improvement over the base LM on average). We also show that other advantages of non-parametric augmentation hold for end tasks; kNN-Prompt is effective for domain adaptation with no further training, and gains increase with the size of the retrieval model.


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Cross-lingual Entity Alignment with Incidental Supervision
Muhao Chen | Weijia Shi | Ben Zhou | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Much research effort has been put to multilingual knowledge graph (KG) embedding methods to address the entity alignment task, which seeks to match entities in different languagespecific KGs that refer to the same real-world object. Such methods are often hindered by the insufficiency of seed alignment provided between KGs. Therefore, we propose a new model, JEANS , which jointly represents multilingual KGs and text corpora in a shared embedding scheme, and seeks to improve entity alignment with incidental supervision signals from text. JEANS first deploys an entity grounding process to combine each KG with the monolingual text corpus. Then, two learning processes are conducted: (i) an embedding learning process to encode the KG and text of each language in one embedding space, and (ii) a self-learning based alignment learning process to iteratively induce the correspondence of entities and that of lexemes between embeddings. Experiments on benchmark datasets show that JEANS leads to promising improvement on entity alignment with incidental supervision, and significantly outperforms state-of-the-art methods that solely rely on internal information of KGs.

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DESCGEN: A Distantly Supervised Datasetfor Generating Entity Descriptions
Weijia Shi | Mandar Joshi | Luke Zettlemoyer
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)

Short textual descriptions of entities provide summaries of their key attributes and have been shown to be useful sources of background knowledge for tasks such as entity linking and question answering. However, generating entity descriptions, especially for new and long-tail entities, can be challenging since relevant information is often scattered across multiple sources with varied content and style. We introduce DESCGEN: given mentions spread over multiple documents, the goal is to generate an entity summary description. DESCGEN consists of 37K entity descriptions from Wikipedia and Fandom, each paired with nine evidence documents on average. The documents were collected using a combination of entity linking and hyperlinks into the entity pages, which together provide high-quality distant supervision. Compared to other multi-document summarization tasks, our task is entity-centric, more abstractive, and covers a wide range of domains. We also propose a two-stage extract-then-generate baseline and show that there exists a large gap (19.9% in ROUGE-L) between state-of-art models and human performance, suggesting that the data will support significant future work.


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Design Challenges in Low-resource Cross-lingual Entity Linking
Xingyu Fu | Weijia Shi | Xiaodong Yu | Zian Zhao | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Cross-lingual Entity Linking (XEL), the problem of grounding mentions of entities in a foreign language text into an English knowledge base such as Wikipedia, has seen a lot of research in recent years, with a range of promising techniques. However, current techniques do not rise to the challenges introduced by text in low-resource languages (LRL) and, surprisingly, fail to generalize to text not taken from Wikipedia, on which they are usually trained. This paper provides a thorough analysis of low-resource XEL techniques, focusing on the key step of identifying candidate English Wikipedia titles that correspond to a given foreign language mention. Our analysis indicates that current methods are limited by their reliance on Wikipedia’s interlanguage links and thus suffer when the foreign language’s Wikipedia is small. We conclude that the LRL setting requires the use of outside-Wikipedia cross-lingual resources and present a simple yet effective zero-shot XEL system, QuEL, that utilizes search engines query logs. With experiments on 25 languages, QuEL shows an average increase of 25% in gold candidate recall and of 13% in end-to-end linking accuracy over state-of-the-art baselines.


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Retrofitting Contextualized Word Embeddings with Paraphrases
Weijia Shi | Muhao Chen | Pei Zhou | Kai-Wei Chang
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Contextualized word embeddings, such as ELMo, provide meaningful representations for words and their contexts. They have been shown to have a great impact on downstream applications. However, we observe that the contextualized embeddings of a word might change drastically when its contexts are paraphrased. As these embeddings are over-sensitive to the context, the downstream model may make different predictions when the input sentence is paraphrased. To address this issue, we propose a post-processing approach to retrofit the embedding with paraphrases. Our method learns an orthogonal transformation on the input space of the contextualized word embedding model, which seeks to minimize the variance of word representations on paraphrased contexts. Experiments show that the proposed method significantly improves ELMo on various sentence classification and inference tasks.

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Examining Gender Bias in Languages with Grammatical Gender
Pei Zhou | Weijia Shi | Jieyu Zhao | Kuan-Hao Huang | Muhao Chen | Ryan Cotterell | Kai-Wei Chang
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Recent studies have shown that word embeddings exhibit gender bias inherited from the training corpora. However, most studies to date have focused on quantifying and mitigating such bias only in English. These analyses cannot be directly extended to languages that exhibit morphological agreement on gender, such as Spanish and French. In this paper, we propose new metrics for evaluating gender bias in word embeddings of these languages and further demonstrate evidence of gender bias in bilingual embeddings which align these languages with English. Finally, we extend an existing approach to mitigate gender bias in word embedding of these languages under both monolingual and bilingual settings. Experiments on modified Word Embedding Association Test, word similarity, word translation, and word pair translation tasks show that the proposed approaches can effectively reduce the gender bias while preserving the utility of the original embeddings.

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Learning Bilingual Word Embeddings Using Lexical Definitions
Weijia Shi | Muhao Chen | Yingtao Tian | Kai-Wei Chang
Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP (RepL4NLP-2019)

Bilingual word embeddings, which represent lexicons of different languages in a shared embedding space, are essential for supporting semantic and knowledge transfers in a variety of cross-lingual NLP tasks. Existing approaches to training bilingual word embeddings require either large collections of pre-defined seed lexicons that are expensive to obtain, or parallel sentences that comprise coarse and noisy alignment. In contrast, we propose BiLex that leverages publicly available lexical definitions for bilingual word embedding learning. Without the need of predefined seed lexicons, BiLex comprises a novel word pairing strategy to automatically identify and propagate the precise fine-grain word alignment from lexical definitions. We evaluate BiLex in word-level and sentence-level translation tasks, which seek to find the cross-lingual counterparts of words and sentences respectively. BiLex significantly outperforms previous embedding methods on both tasks.