Weizhu Chen


2021

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Reader-Guided Passage Reranking for Open-Domain Question Answering
Yuning Mao | Pengcheng He | Xiaodong Liu | Yelong Shen | Jianfeng Gao | Jiawei Han | Weizhu Chen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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GLGE: A New General Language Generation Evaluation Benchmark
Dayiheng Liu | Yu Yan | Yeyun Gong | Weizhen Qi | Hang Zhang | Jian Jiao | Weizhu Chen | Jie Fu | Linjun Shou | Ming Gong | Pengcheng Wang | Jiusheng Chen | Daxin Jiang | Jiancheng Lv | Ruofei Zhang | Winnie Wu | Ming Zhou | Nan Duan
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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Memory-Efficient Differentiable Transformer Architecture Search
Yuekai Zhao | Li Dong | Yelong Shen | Zhihua Zhang | Furu Wei | Weizhu Chen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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Token-wise Curriculum Learning for Neural Machine Translation
Chen Liang | Haoming Jiang | Xiaodong Liu | Pengcheng He | Weizhu Chen | Jianfeng Gao | Tuo Zhao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Existing curriculum learning approaches to Neural Machine Translation (NMT) require sampling sufficient amounts of “easy” samples from training data at the early training stage. This is not always achievable for low-resource languages where the amount of training data is limited. To address such a limitation, we propose a novel token-wise curriculum learning approach that creates sufficient amounts of easy samples. Specifically, the model learns to predict a short sub-sequence from the beginning part of each target sentence at the early stage of training. Then the sub-sequence is gradually expanded as the training progresses. Such a new curriculum design is inspired by the cumulative effect of translation errors, which makes the latter tokens more challenging to predict than the beginning ones. Extensive experiments show that our approach can consistently outperform baselines on five language pairs, especially for low-resource languages. Combining our approach with sentence-level methods further improves the performance of high-resource languages.

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ARCH: Efficient Adversarial Regularized Training with Caching
Simiao Zuo | Chen Liang | Haoming Jiang | Pengcheng He | Xiaodong Liu | Jianfeng Gao | Weizhu Chen | Tuo Zhao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Adversarial regularization can improve model generalization in many natural language processing tasks. However, conventional approaches are computationally expensive since they need to generate a perturbation for each sample in each epoch. We propose a new adversarial regularization method ARCH (adversarial regularization with caching), where perturbations are generated and cached once every several epochs. As caching all the perturbations imposes memory usage concerns, we adopt a K-nearest neighbors-based strategy to tackle this issue. The strategy only requires caching a small amount of perturbations, without introducing additional training time. We evaluate our proposed method on a set of neural machine translation and natural language understanding tasks. We observe that ARCH significantly eases the computational burden (saves up to 70% of computational time in comparison with conventional approaches). More surprisingly, by reducing the variance of stochastic gradients, ARCH produces a notably better (in most of the tasks) or comparable model generalization. Our code is publicly available.

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UnitedQA: A Hybrid Approach for Open Domain Question Answering
Hao Cheng | Yelong Shen | Xiaodong Liu | Pengcheng He | Weizhu Chen | Jianfeng Gao
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)

To date, most of recent work under the retrieval-reader framework for open-domain QA focuses on either extractive or generative reader exclusively. In this paper, we study a hybrid approach for leveraging the strengths of both models. We apply novel techniques to enhance both extractive and generative readers built upon recent pretrained neural language models, and find that proper training methods can provide large improvement over previous state-of-the-art models. We demonstrate that a simple hybrid approach by combining answers from both readers can efficiently take advantages of extractive and generative answer inference strategies and outperforms single models as well as homogeneous ensembles. Our approach outperforms previous state-of-the-art models by 3.3 and 2.7 points in exact match on NaturalQuestions and TriviaQA respectively.

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Generation-Augmented Retrieval for Open-Domain Question Answering
Yuning Mao | Pengcheng He | Xiaodong Liu | Yelong Shen | Jianfeng Gao | Jiawei Han | Weizhu Chen
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)

We propose Generation-Augmented Retrieval (GAR) for answering open-domain questions, which augments a query through text generation of heuristically discovered relevant contexts without external resources as supervision. We demonstrate that the generated contexts substantially enrich the semantics of the queries and GAR with sparse representations (BM25) achieves comparable or better performance than state-of-the-art dense retrieval methods such as DPR. We show that generating diverse contexts for a query is beneficial as fusing their results consistently yields better retrieval accuracy. Moreover, as sparse and dense representations are often complementary, GAR can be easily combined with DPR to achieve even better performance. GAR achieves state-of-the-art performance on Natural Questions and TriviaQA datasets under the extractive QA setup when equipped with an extractive reader, and consistently outperforms other retrieval methods when the same generative reader is used.

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HiddenCut: Simple Data Augmentation for Natural Language Understanding with Better Generalizability
Jiaao Chen | Dinghan Shen | Weizhu Chen | Diyi Yang
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)

Fine-tuning large pre-trained models with task-specific data has achieved great success in NLP. However, it has been demonstrated that the majority of information within the self-attention networks is redundant and not utilized effectively during the fine-tuning stage. This leads to inferior results when generalizing the obtained models to out-of-domain distributions. To this end, we propose a simple yet effective data augmentation technique, HiddenCut, to better regularize the model and encourage it to learn more generalizable features. Specifically, contiguous spans within the hidden space are dynamically and strategically dropped during training. Experiments show that our HiddenCut method outperforms the state-of-the-art augmentation methods on the GLUE benchmark, and consistently exhibits superior generalization performances on out-of-distribution and challenging counterexamples. We have publicly released our code at https://github.com/GT-SALT/HiddenCut.

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Super Tickets in Pre-Trained Language Models: From Model Compression to Improving Generalization
Chen Liang | Simiao Zuo | Minshuo Chen | Haoming Jiang | Xiaodong Liu | Pengcheng He | Tuo Zhao | Weizhu Chen
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)

The Lottery Ticket Hypothesis suggests that an over-parametrized network consists of ”lottery tickets”, and training a certain collection of them (i.e., a subnetwork) can match the performance of the full model. In this paper, we study such a collection of tickets, which is referred to as ”winning tickets”, in extremely over-parametrized models, e.g., pre-trained language models. We observe that at certain compression ratios, the generalization performance of the winning tickets can not only match but also exceed that of the full model. In particular, we observe a phase transition phenomenon: As the compression ratio increases, generalization performance of the winning tickets first improves then deteriorates after a certain threshold. We refer to the tickets on the threshold as ”super tickets”. We further show that the phase transition is task and model dependent — as the model size becomes larger and the training data set becomes smaller, the transition becomes more pronounced. Our experiments on the GLUE benchmark show that the super tickets improve single task fine-tuning by 0.9 points on BERT-base and 1.0 points on BERT-large, in terms of task-average score. We also demonstrate that adaptively sharing the super tickets across tasks benefits multi-task learning.

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Adversarial Regularization as Stackelberg Game: An Unrolled Optimization Approach
Simiao Zuo | Chen Liang | Haoming Jiang | Xiaodong Liu | Pengcheng He | Jianfeng Gao | Weizhu Chen | Tuo Zhao
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Adversarial regularization has been shown to improve the generalization performance of deep learning models in various natural language processing tasks. Existing works usually formulate the method as a zero-sum game, which is solved by alternating gradient descent/ascent algorithms. Such a formulation treats the adversarial and the defending players equally, which is undesirable because only the defending player contributes to the generalization performance. To address this issue, we propose Stackelberg Adversarial Regularization (SALT), which formulates adversarial regularization as a Stackelberg game. This formulation induces a competition between a leader and a follower, where the follower generates perturbations, and the leader trains the model subject to the perturbations. Different from conventional approaches, in SALT, the leader is in an advantageous position. When the leader moves, it recognizes the strategy of the follower and takes the anticipated follower’s outcomes into consideration. Such a leader’s advantage enables us to improve the model fitting to the unperturbed data. The leader’s strategic information is captured by the Stackelberg gradient, which is obtained using an unrolling algorithm. Our experimental results on a set of machine translation and natural language understanding tasks show that SALT outperforms existing adversarial regularization baselines across all tasks. Our code is publicly available.

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Few-Shot Named Entity Recognition: An Empirical Baseline Study
Jiaxin Huang | Chunyuan Li | Krishan Subudhi | Damien Jose | Shobana Balakrishnan | Weizhu Chen | Baolin Peng | Jianfeng Gao | Jiawei Han
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

This paper presents an empirical study to efficiently build named entity recognition (NER) systems when a small amount of in-domain labeled data is available. Based upon recent Transformer-based self-supervised pre-trained language models (PLMs), we investigate three orthogonal schemes to improve model generalization ability in few-shot settings: (1) meta-learning to construct prototypes for different entity types, (2) task-specific supervised pre-training on noisy web data to extract entity-related representations and (3) self-training to leverage unlabeled in-domain data. On 10 public NER datasets, we perform extensive empirical comparisons over the proposed schemes and their combinations with various proportions of labeled data, our experiments show that (i)in the few-shot learning setting, the proposed NER schemes significantly improve or outperform the commonly used baseline, a PLM-based linear classifier fine-tuned using domain labels. (ii) We create new state-of-the-art results on both few-shot and training-free settings compared with existing methods.

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Finetuning Pretrained Transformers into RNNs
Jungo Kasai | Hao Peng | Yizhe Zhang | Dani Yogatama | Gabriel Ilharco | Nikolaos Pappas | Yi Mao | Weizhu Chen | Noah A. Smith
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Transformers have outperformed recurrent neural networks (RNNs) in natural language generation. But this comes with a signifi- cant computational cost, as the attention mechanism’s complexity scales quadratically with sequence length. Efficient transformer variants have received increasing interest in recent works. Among them, a linear-complexity recurrent variant has proven well suited for autoregressive generation. It approximates the softmax attention with randomized or heuristic feature maps, but can be difficult to train and may yield suboptimal accuracy. This work aims to convert a pretrained transformer into its efficient recurrent counterpart, improving efficiency while maintaining accuracy. Specifically, we propose a swap-then-finetune procedure: in an off-the-shelf pretrained transformer, we replace the softmax attention with its linear-complexity recurrent alternative and then finetune. With a learned feature map, our approach provides an improved tradeoff between efficiency and accuracy over the standard transformer and other recurrent variants. We also show that the finetuning process has lower training cost relative to training these recurrent variants from scratch. As many models for natural language tasks are increasingly dependent on large-scale pretrained transformers, this work presents a viable approach to improving inference efficiency without repeating the expensive pretraining process.

2020

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Understanding the Difficulty of Training Transformers
Liyuan Liu | Xiaodong Liu | Jianfeng Gao | Weizhu Chen | Jiawei Han
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Transformers have proved effective in many NLP tasks. However, their training requires non-trivial efforts regarding carefully designing cutting-edge optimizers and learning rate schedulers (e.g., conventional SGD fails to train Transformers effectively). Our objective here is to understand __what complicates Transformer training__ from both empirical and theoretical perspectives. Our analysis reveals that unbalanced gradients are not the root cause of the instability of training. Instead, we identify an amplification effect that influences training substantially—for each layer in a multi-layer Transformer model, heavy dependency on its residual branch makes training unstable, since it amplifies small parameter perturbations (e.g., parameter updates) and results in significant disturbances in the model output. Yet we observe that a light dependency limits the model potential and leads to inferior trained models. Inspired by our analysis, we propose Admin (Adaptive model initialization) to stabilize the early stage’s training and unleash its full potential in the late stage. Extensive experiments show that Admin is more stable, converges faster, and leads to better performance

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Exploiting Structured Knowledge in Text via Graph-Guided Representation Learning
Tao Shen | Yi Mao | Pengcheng He | Guodong Long | Adam Trischler | Weizhu Chen
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

In this work, we aim at equipping pre-trained language models with structured knowledge. We present two self-supervised tasks learning over raw text with the guidance from knowledge graphs. Building upon entity-level masked language models, our first contribution is an entity masking scheme that exploits relational knowledge underlying the text. This is fulfilled by using a linked knowledge graph to select informative entities and then masking their mentions. In addition, we use knowledge graphs to obtain distractors for the masked entities, and propose a novel distractor-suppressed ranking objective that is optimized jointly with masked language model. In contrast to existing paradigms, our approach uses knowledge graphs implicitly, only during pre-training, to inject language models with structured knowledge via learning from raw text. It is more efficient than retrieval-based methods that perform entity linking and integration during finetuning and inference, and generalizes more effectively than the methods that directly learn from concatenated graph triples. Experiments show that our proposed model achieves improved performance on five benchmarks, including question answering and knowledge base completion.

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SMART: Robust and Efficient Fine-Tuning for Pre-trained Natural Language Models through Principled Regularized Optimization
Haoming Jiang | Pengcheng He | Weizhu Chen | Xiaodong Liu | Jianfeng Gao | Tuo Zhao
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Transfer learning has fundamentally changed the landscape of natural language processing (NLP). Many state-of-the-art models are first pre-trained on a large text corpus and then fine-tuned on downstream tasks. However, due to limited data resources from downstream tasks and the extremely high complexity of pre-trained models, aggressive fine-tuning often causes the fine-tuned model to overfit the training data of downstream tasks and fail to generalize to unseen data. To address such an issue in a principled manner, we propose a new learning framework for robust and efficient fine-tuning for pre-trained models to attain better generalization performance. The proposed framework contains two important ingredients: 1. Smoothness-inducing regularization, which effectively manages the complexity of the model; 2. Bregman proximal point optimization, which is an instance of trust-region methods and can prevent aggressive updating. Our experiments show that the proposed framework achieves new state-of-the-art performance on a number of NLP tasks including GLUE, SNLI, SciTail and ANLI. Moreover, it also outperforms the state-of-the-art T5 model, which is the largest pre-trained model containing 11 billion parameters, on GLUE.

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The Microsoft Toolkit of Multi-Task Deep Neural Networks for Natural Language Understanding
Xiaodong Liu | Yu Wang | Jianshu Ji | Hao Cheng | Xueyun Zhu | Emmanuel Awa | Pengcheng He | Weizhu Chen | Hoifung Poon | Guihong Cao | Jianfeng Gao
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

We present MT-DNN, an open-source natural language understanding (NLU) toolkit that makes it easy for researchers and developers to train customized deep learning models. Built upon PyTorch and Transformers, MT-DNN is designed to facilitate rapid customization for a broad spectrum of NLU tasks, using a variety of objectives (classification, regression, structured prediction) and text encoders (e.g., RNNs, BERT, RoBERTa, UniLM). A unique feature of MT-DNN is its built-in support for robust and transferable learning using the adversarial multi-task learning paradigm. To enable efficient production deployment, MT-DNN supports multi-task knowledge distillation, which can substantially compress a deep neural model without significant performance drop. We demonstrate the effectiveness of MT-DNN on a wide range of NLU applications across general and biomedical domains. The software and pre-trained models will be publicly available at https://github.com/namisan/mt-dnn.

2019

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Learning to Attend On Essential Terms: An Enhanced Retriever-Reader Model for Open-domain Question Answering
Jianmo Ni | Chenguang Zhu | Weizhu Chen | Julian McAuley
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers)

Open-domain question answering remains a challenging task as it requires models that are capable of understanding questions and answers, collecting useful information, and reasoning over evidence. Previous work typically formulates this task as a reading comprehension or entailment problem given evidence retrieved from search engines. However, existing techniques struggle to retrieve indirectly related evidence when no directly related evidence is provided, especially for complex questions where it is hard to parse precisely what the question asks. In this paper we propose a retriever-reader model that learns to attend on essential terms during the question answering process. We build (1) an essential term selector which first identifies the most important words in a question, then reformulates the query and searches for related evidence; and (2) an enhanced reader that distinguishes between essential terms and distracting words to predict the answer. We evaluate our model on multiple open-domain QA datasets, notably achieving the level of the state-of-the-art on the AI2 Reasoning Challenge (ARC) dataset.

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Multi-Task Deep Neural Networks for Natural Language Understanding
Xiaodong Liu | Pengcheng He | Weizhu Chen | Jianfeng Gao
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

In this paper, we present a Multi-Task Deep Neural Network (MT-DNN) for learning representations across multiple natural language understanding (NLU) tasks. MT-DNN not only leverages large amounts of cross-task data, but also benefits from a regularization effect that leads to more general representations to help adapt to new tasks and domains. MT-DNN extends the model proposed in Liu et al. (2015) by incorporating a pre-trained bidirectional transformer language model, known as BERT (Devlin et al., 2018). MT-DNN obtains new state-of-the-art results on ten NLU tasks, including SNLI, SciTail, and eight out of nine GLUE tasks, pushing the GLUE benchmark to 82.7% (2.2% absolute improvement) as of February 25, 2019 on the latest GLUE test set. We also demonstrate using the SNLI and SciTail datasets that the representations learned by MT-DNN allow domain adaptation with substantially fewer in-domain labels than the pre-trained BERT representations. Our code and pre-trained models will be made publicly available.

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Parameter-free Sentence Embedding via Orthogonal Basis
Ziyi Yang | Chenguang Zhu | Weizhu Chen
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

We propose a simple and robust non-parameterized approach for building sentence representations. Inspired by the Gram-Schmidt Process in geometric theory, we build an orthogonal basis of the subspace spanned by a word and its surrounding context in a sentence. We model the semantic meaning of a word in a sentence based on two aspects. One is its relatedness to the word vector subspace already spanned by its contextual words. The other is the word’s novel semantic meaning which shall be introduced as a new basis vector perpendicular to this existing subspace. Following this motivation, we develop an innovative method based on orthogonal basis to combine pre-trained word embeddings into sentence representations. This approach requires zero parameters, along with efficient inference performance. We evaluate our approach on 11 downstream NLP tasks. Our model shows superior performance compared with non-parameterized alternatives and it is competitive to other approaches relying on either large amounts of labelled data or prolonged training time.

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A Hybrid Neural Network Model for Commonsense Reasoning
Pengcheng He | Xiaodong Liu | Weizhu Chen | Jianfeng Gao
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Commonsense Inference in Natural Language Processing

This paper proposes a hybrid neural network(HNN) model for commonsense reasoning. An HNN consists of two component models, a masked language model and a semantic similarity model, which share a BERTbased contextual encoder but use different model-specific input and output layers. HNN obtains new state-of-the-art results on three classic commonsense reasoning tasks, pushing the WNLI benchmark to 89%, the Winograd Schema Challenge (WSC) benchmark to 75.1%, and the PDP60 benchmark to 90.0%. An ablation study shows that language models and semantic similarity models are complementary approaches to commonsense reasoning, and HNN effectively combines the strengths of both. The code and pre-trained models will be publicly available at https: //github.com/namisan/mt-dnn.