Xiang Deng


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Iteratively Prompt Pre-trained Language Models for Chain of Thought
Boshi Wang | Xiang Deng | Huan Sun
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

While Pre-trained Language Models (PLMs) internalize a great amount of world knowledge, they have been shown incapable of recalling these knowledge to solve tasks requiring complex & multi-step reasoning. Similar to how humans develop a “chain of thought” for these tasks, how can we equip PLMs with such abilities? In this work, we explore an iterative prompting framework, a new prompting paradigm which progressively elicits relevant knowledge from PLMs for multi-step inference. We identify key limitations of existing prompting methods, namely they are either restricted to queries with a single identifiable relation/predicate, or being agnostic to input contexts, which makes it difficult to capture variabilities across different inference steps. We propose an iterative context-aware prompter, which addresses these limitations by learning to dynamically synthesize prompts conditioned on the current step’s contexts. Experiments on three datasets involving multi-step reasoning show the effectiveness of the iterative scheme and the context-aware prompter design.


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ReasonBERT: Pre-trained to Reason with Distant Supervision
Xiang Deng | Yu Su | Alyssa Lees | You Wu | Cong Yu | Huan Sun
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We present ReasonBert, a pre-training method that augments language models with the ability to reason over long-range relations and multiple, possibly hybrid contexts. Unlike existing pre-training methods that only harvest learning signals from local contexts of naturally occurring texts, we propose a generalized notion of distant supervision to automatically connect multiple pieces of text and tables to create pre-training examples that require long-range reasoning. Different types of reasoning are simulated, including intersecting multiple pieces of evidence, bridging from one piece of evidence to another, and detecting unanswerable cases. We conduct a comprehensive evaluation on a variety of extractive question answering datasets ranging from single-hop to multi-hop and from text-only to table-only to hybrid that require various reasoning capabilities and show that ReasonBert achieves remarkable improvement over an array of strong baselines. Few-shot experiments further demonstrate that our pre-training method substantially improves sample efficiency.

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Structure-Grounded Pretraining for Text-to-SQL
Xiang Deng | Ahmed Hassan Awadallah | Christopher Meek | Oleksandr Polozov | Huan Sun | Matthew Richardson
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Learning to capture text-table alignment is essential for tasks like text-to-SQL. A model needs to correctly recognize natural language references to columns and values and to ground them in the given database schema. In this paper, we present a novel weakly supervised Structure-Grounded pretraining framework (STRUG) for text-to-SQL that can effectively learn to capture text-table alignment based on a parallel text-table corpus. We identify a set of novel pretraining tasks: column grounding, value grounding and column-value mapping, and leverage them to pretrain a text-table encoder. Additionally, to evaluate different methods under more realistic text-table alignment settings, we create a new evaluation set Spider-Realistic based on Spider dev set with explicit mentions of column names removed, and adopt eight existing text-to-SQL datasets for cross-database evaluation. STRUG brings significant improvement over BERTLARGE in all settings. Compared with existing pretraining methods such as GRAPPA, STRUG achieves similar performance on Spider, and outperforms all baselines on more realistic sets. All the code and data used in this work will be open-sourced to facilitate future research.


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Leveraging 2-hop Distant Supervision from Table Entity Pairs for Relation Extraction
Xiang Deng | Huan Sun
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Distant supervision (DS) has been widely used to automatically construct (noisy) labeled data for relation extraction (RE). Given two entities, distant supervision exploits sentences that directly mention them for predicting their semantic relation. We refer to this strategy as 1-hop DS, which unfortunately may not work well for long-tail entities with few supporting sentences. In this paper, we introduce a new strategy named 2-hop DS to enhance distantly supervised RE, based on the observation that there exist a large number of relational tables on the Web which contain entity pairs that share common relations. We refer to such entity pairs as anchors for each other, and collect all sentences that mention the anchor entity pairs of a given target entity pair to help relation prediction. We develop a new neural RE method REDS2 in the multi-instance learning paradigm, which adopts a hierarchical model structure to fuse information respectively from 1-hop DS and 2-hop DS. Extensive experimental results on a benchmark dataset show that REDS2 can consistently outperform various baselines across different settings by a substantial margin.