Weizhe Lin


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An Inner Table Retriever for Robust Table Question Answering
Weizhe Lin | Rexhina Blloshmi | Bill Byrne | Adria de Gispert | Gonzalo Iglesias
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Recent years have witnessed the thriving of pretrained Transformer-based language models for understanding semi-structured tables, with several applications, such as Table Question Answering (TableQA).These models are typically trained on joint tables and surrounding natural language text, by linearizing table content into sequences comprising special tokens and cell information. This yields very long sequences which increase system inefficiency, and moreover, simply truncating long sequences results in information loss for downstream tasks. We propose Inner Table Retriever (ITR), a general-purpose approach for handling long tables in TableQA that extracts sub-tables to preserve the most relevant information for a question. We show that ITR can be easily integrated into existing systems to improve their accuracy with up to 1.3-4.8% and achieve state-of-the-art results in two benchmarks, i.e., 63.4% in WikiTableQuestions and 92.1% in WikiSQL. Additionally, we show that ITR makes TableQA systems more robust to reduced model capacity and to different ordering of columns and rows. We make our code available at: https://github.com/amazon-science/robust-tableqa.

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LI-RAGE: Late Interaction Retrieval Augmented Generation with Explicit Signals for Open-Domain Table Question Answering
Weizhe Lin | Rexhina Blloshmi | Bill Byrne | Adria de Gispert | Gonzalo Iglesias
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Recent open-domain TableQA models are typically implemented as retriever-reader pipelines. The retriever component is usually a variant of the Dense Passage Retriever, which computes the similarities between questions and tables based on a single representation of each. These fixed vectors can be insufficient to capture fine-grained features of potentially very big tables with heterogeneous row/column information. We address this limitation by 1) applying late interaction models which enforce a finer-grained interaction between question and table embeddings at retrieval time. In addition, we 2) incorporate a joint training scheme of the retriever and reader with explicit table-level signals, and 3) embed a binary relevance token as a prefix to the answer generated by the reader, so we can determine at inference time whether the table used to answer the question is reliable and filter accordingly. The combined strategies set a new state-to-the-art performance on two public open-domain TableQA datasets.

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FVQA 2.0: Introducing Adversarial Samples into Fact-based Visual Question Answering
Weizhe Lin | Zhilin Wang | Bill Byrne
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EACL 2023

The widely used Fact-based Visual Question Answering (FVQA) dataset contains visually-grounded questions that require information retrieval using common sense knowledge graphs to answer. It has been observed that the original dataset is highly imbalanced and concentrated on a small portion of its associated knowledge graph. We introduce FVQA 2.0 which contains adversarial variants of test questions to address this imbalance. We show that systems trained with the original FVQA train sets can be vulnerable to adversarial samples and we demonstrate an augmentation scheme to reduce this vulnerability without human annotations.

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More Robust Schema-Guided Dialogue State Tracking via Tree-Based Paraphrase Ranking
Alexandru Coca | Bo-Hsiang Tseng | Weizhe Lin | Bill Byrne
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EACL 2023

The schema-guided paradigm overcomes scalability issues inherent in building task-oriented dialogue (TOD) agents with static ontologies. Rather than operating on dialogue context alone, agents have access to hierarchical schemas containing task-relevant natural language descriptions. Fine-tuned language models excel at schema-guided dialogue state tracking (DST) but are sensitive to the writing style of the schemas. We explore methods for improving the robustness of DST models. We propose a framework for generating synthetic schemas which uses tree-based ranking to jointly optimise lexical diversity and semantic faithfulness. The robust generalisation of strong baselines is improved when augmenting their training data with prompts generated by our framework, as demonstrated by marked improvements in average Joint Goal Accuracy (JGA) and schema sensitivity (SS) on the SGD-X benchmark.

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Grounding Description-Driven Dialogue State Trackers with Knowledge-Seeking Turns
Alexandru Coca | Bo-Hsiang Tseng | Jinghong Chen | Weizhe Lin | Weixuan Zhang | Tisha Anders | Bill Byrne
Proceedings of the 24th Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

Schema-guided dialogue state trackers can generalise to new domains without further training, yet they are sensitive to the writing style of the schemata. Augmenting the training set with human or synthetic schema paraphrases improves the model robustness to these variations but can be either costly or difficult to control. We propose to circumvent these issues by grounding the state tracking model in knowledge-seeking turns collected from the dialogue corpus as well as the schema. Including these turns in prompts during finetuning and inference leads to marked improvements in model robustness, as demonstrated by large average joint goal accuracy and schema sensitivity improvements on SGD and SGD-X.


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Retrieval Augmented Visual Question Answering with Outside Knowledge
Weizhe Lin | Bill Byrne
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Outside-Knowledge Visual Question Answering (OK-VQA) is a challenging VQA task that requires retrieval of external knowledge to answer questions about images. Recent OK-VQA systems use Dense Passage Retrieval (DPR) to retrieve documents from external knowledge bases, such as Wikipedia, but with DPR trained separately from answer generation, introducing a potential limit on the overall system performance. Instead, we propose a joint training scheme which includes differentiable DPR integrated with answer generation so that the system can be trained in an end-to-end fashion. Our experiments show that our scheme outperforms recent OK-VQA systems with strong DPR for retrieval. We also introduce new diagnostic metrics to analyze how retrieval and generation interact. The strong retrieval ability of our model significantly reduces the number of retrieved documents needed in training, yielding significant benefits in answer quality and computation required for training.


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Knowledge-Aware Graph-Enhanced GPT-2 for Dialogue State Tracking
Weizhe Lin | Bo-Hsiang Tseng | Bill Byrne
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Dialogue State Tracking is central to multi-domain task-oriented dialogue systems, responsible for extracting information from user utterances. We present a novel hybrid architecture that augments GPT-2 with representations derived from Graph Attention Networks in such a way to allow causal, sequential prediction of slot values. The model architecture captures inter-slot relationships and dependencies across domains that otherwise can be lost in sequential prediction. We report improvements in state tracking performance in MultiWOZ 2.0 against a strong GPT-2 baseline and investigate a simplified sparse training scenario in which DST models are trained only on session-level annotations but evaluated at the turn level. We further report detailed analyses to demonstrate the effectiveness of graph models in DST by showing that the proposed graph modules capture inter-slot dependencies and improve the predictions of values that are common to multiple domains.

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Learning Similarity between Movie Characters and Its Potential Implications on Understanding Human Experiences
Zhilin Wang | Weizhe Lin | Xiaodong Wu
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Narrative Understanding

While many different aspects of human experiences have been studied by the NLP community, none has captured its full richness. We propose a new task to capture this richness based on an unlikely setting: movie characters. We sought to capture theme-level similarities between movie characters that were community-curated into 20,000 themes. By introducing a two-step approach that balances performance and efficiency, we managed to achieve 9-27% improvement over recent paragraph-embedding based methods. Finally, we demonstrate how the thematic information learnt from movie characters can potentially be used to understand themes in the experience of people, as indicated on Reddit posts.


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No, you’re not alone: A better way to find people with similar experiences on Reddit
Zhilin Wang | Elena Rastorgueva | Weizhe Lin | Xiaodong Wu
Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text (W-NUT 2019)

We present a probabilistic clustering algorithm that can help Reddit users to find posts that discuss experiences similar to their own. This model is built upon the BERT Next Sentence Prediction model and reduces the time complexity for clustering all posts in a corpus from O(nˆ2) to O(n) with respect to the number of posts. We demonstrate that such probabilistic clustering can yield a performance better than baseline clustering methods based on Latent Dirichlet Allocation (Blei et al., 2003) and Word2Vec (Mikolov et al., 2013). Furthermore, there is a high degree of coherence between our probabilistic clustering and the exhaustive comparison O(nˆ2) algorithm in which the similarity between every pair of posts is found. This makes the use of the BERT Next Sentence Prediction model more practical for unsupervised clustering tasks due to the high runtime overhead of each BERT computation.