Xiang Kong


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Fully Non-autoregressive Neural Machine Translation: Tricks of the Trade
Jiatao Gu | Xiang Kong
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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Multilingual Neural Machine Translation with Deep Encoder and Multiple Shallow Decoders
Xiang Kong | Adithya Renduchintala | James Cross | Yuqing Tang | Jiatao Gu | Xian Li
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Recent work in multilingual translation advances translation quality surpassing bilingual baselines using deep transformer models with increased capacity. However, the extra latency and memory costs introduced by this approach may make it unacceptable for efficiency-constrained applications. It has recently been shown for bilingual translation that using a deep encoder and shallow decoder (DESD) can reduce inference latency while maintaining translation quality, so we study similar speed-accuracy trade-offs for multilingual translation. We find that for many-to-one translation we can indeed increase decoder speed without sacrificing quality using this approach, but for one-to-many translation, shallow decoders cause a clear quality drop. To ameliorate this drop, we propose a deep encoder with multiple shallow decoders (DEMSD) where each shallow decoder is responsible for a disjoint subset of target languages. Specifically, the DEMSD model with 2-layer decoders is able to obtain a 1.8x speedup on average compared to a standard transformer model with no drop in translation quality.


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SCDE: Sentence Cloze Dataset with High Quality Distractors From Examinations
Xiang Kong | Varun Gangal | Eduard Hovy
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We introduce SCDE, a dataset to evaluate the performance of computational models through sentence prediction. SCDE is a human created sentence cloze dataset, collected from public school English examinations. Our task requires a model to fill up multiple blanks in a passage from a shared candidate set with distractors designed by English teachers. Experimental results demonstrate that this task requires the use of non-local, discourse-level context beyond the immediate sentence neighborhood. The blanks require joint solving and significantly impair each other’s context. Furthermore, through ablations, we show that the distractors are of high quality and make the task more challenging. Our experiments show that there is a significant performance gap between advanced models (72%) and humans (87%), encouraging future models to bridge this gap.

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A Two-Step Approach for Implicit Event Argument Detection
Zhisong Zhang | Xiang Kong | Zhengzhong Liu | Xuezhe Ma | Eduard Hovy
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

In this work, we explore the implicit event argument detection task, which studies event arguments beyond sentence boundaries. The addition of cross-sentence argument candidates imposes great challenges for modeling. To reduce the number of candidates, we adopt a two-step approach, decomposing the problem into two sub-problems: argument head-word detection and head-to-span expansion. Evaluated on the recent RAMS dataset (Ebner et al., 2020), our model achieves overall better performance than a strong sequence labeling baseline. We further provide detailed error analysis, presenting where the model mainly makes errors and indicating directions for future improvements. It remains a challenge to detect implicit arguments, calling for more future work of document-level modeling for this task.

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An Empirical Exploration of Local Ordering Pre-training for Structured Prediction
Zhisong Zhang | Xiang Kong | Lori Levin | Eduard Hovy
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Recently, pre-training contextualized encoders with language model (LM) objectives has been shown an effective semi-supervised method for structured prediction. In this work, we empirically explore an alternative pre-training method for contextualized encoders. Instead of predicting words in LMs, we “mask out” and predict word order information, with a local ordering strategy and word-selecting objectives. With evaluations on three typical structured prediction tasks (dependency parsing, POS tagging, and NER) over four languages (English, Finnish, Czech, and Italian), we show that our method is consistently beneficial. We further conduct detailed error analysis, including one that examines a specific type of parsing error where the head is misidentified. The results show that pre-trained contextual encoders can bring improvements in a structured way, suggesting that they may be able to capture higher-order patterns and feature combinations from unlabeled data.

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Incorporating a Local Translation Mechanism into Non-autoregressive Translation
Xiang Kong | Zhisong Zhang | Eduard Hovy
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

In this work, we introduce a novel local autoregressive translation (LAT) mechanism into non-autoregressive translation (NAT) models so as to capture local dependencies among target outputs. Specifically, for each target decoding position, instead of only one token, we predict a short sequence of tokens in an autoregressive way. We further design an efficient merging algorithm to align and merge the output pieces into one final output sequence. We integrate LAT into the conditional masked language model (CMLM) (Ghazvininejad et al.,2019) and similarly adopt iterative decoding. Empirical results on five translation tasks show that compared with CMLM, our method achieves comparable or better performance with fewer decoding iterations, bringing a 2.5x speedup. Further analysis indicates that our method reduces repeated translations and performs better at longer sentences. Our code will be released to the public.


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Generalized Data Augmentation for Low-Resource Translation
Mengzhou Xia | Xiang Kong | Antonios Anastasopoulos | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Low-resource language pairs with a paucity of parallel data pose challenges for machine translation in terms of both adequacy and fluency. Data augmentation utilizing a large amount of monolingual data is regarded as an effective way to alleviate the problem. In this paper, we propose a general framework of data augmentation for low-resource machine translation not only using target-side monolingual data, but also by pivoting through a related high-resource language. Specifically, we experiment with a two-step pivoting method to convert high-resource data to the low-resource language, making best use of available resources to better approximate the true distribution of the low-resource language. First, we inject low-resource words into high-resource sentences through an induced bilingual dictionary. Second, we further edit the high-resource data injected with low-resource words using a modified unsupervised machine translation framework. Extensive experiments on four low-resource datasets show that under extreme low-resource settings, our data augmentation techniques improve translation quality by up to 1.5 to 8 BLEU points compared to supervised back-translation baselines.