Xiang Ren


2022

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Proceedings of the First Workshop on Commonsense Representation and Reasoning (CSRR 2022)
Antoine Bosselut | Xiang Li | Bill Yuchen Lin | Vered Shwartz | Bodhisattwa Prasad Majumder | Yash Kumar Lal | Rachel Rudinger | Xiang Ren | Niket Tandon | Vilém Zouhar
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Commonsense Representation and Reasoning (CSRR 2022)

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NewsEdits: A News Article Revision Dataset and a Novel Document-Level Reasoning Challenge
Alexander Spangher | Xiang Ren | Jonathan May | Nanyun Peng
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

News article revision histories provide clues to narrative and factual evolution in news articles. To facilitate analysis of this evolution, we present the first publicly available dataset of news revision histories, NewsEdits. Our dataset is large-scale and multilingual; it contains 1.2 million articles with 4.6 million versions from over 22 English- and French-language newspaper sources based in three countries, spanning 15 years of coverage (2006-2021).We define article-level edit actions: Addition, Deletion, Edit and Refactor, and develop a high-accuracy extraction algorithm to identify these actions. To underscore the factual nature of many edit actions, we conduct analyses showing that added and deleted sentences are more likely to contain updating events, main content and quotes than unchanged sentences. Finally, to explore whether edit actions are predictable, we introduce three novel tasks aimed at predicting actions performed during version updates. We show that these tasks are possible for expert humans but are challenging for large NLP models. We hope this can spur research in narrative framing and help provide predictive tools for journalists chasing breaking news.

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On the Robustness of Reading Comprehension Models to Entity Renaming
Jun Yan | Yang Xiao | Sagnik Mukherjee | Bill Yuchen Lin | Robin Jia | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

We study the robustness of machine reading comprehension (MRC) models to entity renaming—do models make more wrong predictions when the same questions are asked about an entity whose name has been changed? Such failures imply that models overly rely on entity information to answer questions, and thus may generalize poorly when facts about the world change or questions are asked about novel entities. To systematically audit this issue, we present a pipeline to automatically generate test examples at scale, by replacing entity names in the original test sample with names from a variety of sources, ranging from names in the same test set, to common names in life, to arbitrary strings. Across five datasets and three pretrained model architectures, MRC models consistently perform worse when entities are renamed, with particularly large accuracy drops on datasets constructed via distant supervision. We also find large differences between models: SpanBERT, which is pretrained with span-level masking, is more robust than RoBERTa, despite having similar accuracy on unperturbed test data. We further experiment with different masking strategies as the continual pretraining objective and find that entity-based masking can improve the robustness of MRC models.

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Sparse Distillation: Speeding Up Text Classification by Using Bigger Student Models
Qinyuan Ye | Madian Khabsa | Mike Lewis | Sinong Wang | Xiang Ren | Aaron Jaech
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Distilling state-of-the-art transformer models into lightweight student models is an effective way to reduce computation cost at inference time. The student models are typically compact transformers with fewer parameters, while expensive operations such as self-attention persist. Therefore, the improved inference speed may still be unsatisfactory for real-time or high-volume use cases. In this paper, we aim to further push the limit of inference speed by distilling teacher models into bigger, sparser student models – bigger in that they scale up to billions of parameters; sparser in that most of the model parameters are n-gram embeddings. Our experiments on six single-sentence text classification tasks show that these student models retain 97% of the RoBERTa-Large teacher performance on average, and meanwhile achieve up to 600x speed-up on both GPUs and CPUs at inference time. Further investigation reveals that our pipeline is also helpful for sentence-pair classification tasks, and in domain generalization settings.

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Lifelong Pretraining: Continually Adapting Language Models to Emerging Corpora
Xisen Jin | Dejiao Zhang | Henghui Zhu | Wei Xiao | Shang-Wen Li | Xiaokai Wei | Andrew Arnold | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Pretrained language models (PTLMs) are typically learned over a large, static corpus and further fine-tuned for various downstream tasks. However, when deployed in the real world, a PTLM-based model must deal with data distributions that deviates from what the PTLM was initially trained on. In this paper, we study a lifelong language model pretraining challenge where a PTLM is continually updated so as to adapt to emerging data. Over a domain-incremental research paper stream and a chronologically-ordered tweet stream, we incrementally pretrain a PTLM with different continual learning algorithms, and keep track of the downstream task performance (after fine-tuning). We evaluate PTLM’s ability to adapt to new corpora while retaining learned knowledge in earlier corpora. Our experiments show distillation-based approaches to be most effective in retaining downstream performance in earlier domains. The algorithms also improve knowledge transfer, allowing models to achieve better downstream performance over latest data, and improve temporal generalization when distribution gaps exist between training and evaluation because of time. We believe our problem formulation, methods, and analysis will inspire future studies towards continual pretraining of language models.

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Proceedings of the First Workshop on Federated Learning for Natural Language Processing (FL4NLP 2022)
Bill Yuchen Lin | Chaoyang He | Chulin Xie | Fatemehsadat Mireshghallah | Ninareh Mehrabi | Tian Li | Mahdi Soltanolkotabi | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Federated Learning for Natural Language Processing (FL4NLP 2022)

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FaiRR: Faithful and Robust Deductive Reasoning over Natural Language
Soumya Sanyal | Harman Singh | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Transformers have been shown to be able to perform deductive reasoning on a logical rulebase containing rules and statements written in natural language. Recent works show that such models can also produce the reasoning steps (i.e., the proof graph) that emulate the model’s logical reasoning process. Currently, these black-box models generate both the proof graph and intermediate inferences within the same model and thus may be unfaithful. In this work, we frame the deductive logical reasoning task by defining three modular components: rule selection, fact selection, and knowledge composition. The rule and fact selection steps select the candidate rule and facts to be used and then the knowledge composition combines them to generate new inferences. This ensures model faithfulness by assured causal relation from the proof step to the inference reasoning. To test our framework, we propose FaiRR (Faithful and Robust Reasoner) where the above three components are independently modeled by transformers. We observe that FaiRR is robust to novel language perturbations, and is faster at inference than previous works on existing reasoning datasets. Additionally, in contrast to black-box generative models, the errors made by FaiRR are more interpretable due to the modular approach.

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Think Before You Speak: Explicitly Generating Implicit Commonsense Knowledge for Response Generation
Pei Zhou | Karthik Gopalakrishnan | Behnam Hedayatnia | Seokhwan Kim | Jay Pujara | Xiang Ren | Yang Liu | Dilek Hakkani-Tur
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Implicit knowledge, such as common sense, is key to fluid human conversations. Current neural response generation (RG) models are trained to generate responses directly, omitting unstated implicit knowledge. In this paper, we present Think-Before-Speaking (TBS), a generative approach to first externalize implicit commonsense knowledge (think) and use this knowledge to generate responses (speak). We argue that externalizing implicit knowledge allows more efficient learning, produces more informative responses, and enables more explainable models. We analyze different choices to collect knowledge-aligned dialogues, represent implicit knowledge, and transition between knowledge and dialogues. Empirical results show TBS models outperform end-to-end and knowledge-augmented RG baselines on most automatic metrics and generate more informative, specific, and commonsense-following responses, as evaluated by human annotators. TBS also generates knowledge that makes sense and is relevant to the dialogue around 85% of the time

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Good Examples Make A Faster Learner: Simple Demonstration-based Learning for Low-resource NER
Dong-Ho Lee | Akshen Kadakia | Kangmin Tan | Mahak Agarwal | Xinyu Feng | Takashi Shibuya | Ryosuke Mitani | Toshiyuki Sekiya | Jay Pujara | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Recent advances in prompt-based learning have shown strong results on few-shot text classification by using cloze-style templates.Similar attempts have been made on named entity recognition (NER) which manually design templates to predict entity types for every text span in a sentence. However, such methods may suffer from error propagation induced by entity span detection, high cost due to enumeration of all possible text spans, and omission of inter-dependencies among token labels in a sentence. Here we present a simple demonstration-based learning method for NER, which lets the input be prefaced by task demonstrations for in-context learning. We perform a systematic study on demonstration strategy regarding what to include (entity examples, with or without surrounding context), how to select the examples, and what templates to use. Results on in-domain learning and domain adaptation show that the model’s performance in low-resource settings can be largely improved with a suitable demonstration strategy (e.g., a 4-17% improvement on 25 train instances). We also find that good demonstration can save many labeled examples and consistency in demonstration contributes to better performance.

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Leveraging Visual Knowledge in Language Tasks: An Empirical Study on Intermediate Pre-training for Cross-Modal Knowledge Transfer
Woojeong Jin | Dong-Ho Lee | Chenguang Zhu | Jay Pujara | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Pre-trained language models are still far from human performance in tasks that need understanding of properties (e.g. appearance, measurable quantity) and affordances of everyday objects in the real world since the text lacks such information due to reporting bias.In this work, we study whether integrating visual knowledge into a language model can fill the gap.We investigate two types of knowledge transfer: (1) text knowledge transfer using image captions that may contain enriched visual knowledge and (2) cross-modal knowledge transfer using both images and captions with vision-language training objectives.On 5 downstream tasks that may need visual knowledge to solve the problem, we perform extensive empirical comparisons over the presented objectives.Our experiments show that visual knowledge transfer can improve performance in both low-resource and fully supervised settings.

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A Good Prompt Is Worth Millions of Parameters: Low-resource Prompt-based Learning for Vision-Language Models
Woojeong Jin | Yu Cheng | Yelong Shen | Weizhu Chen | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Large pre-trained vision-language (VL) models can learn a new task with a handful of examples and generalize to a new task without fine-tuning.However, these VL models are hard to deploy for real-world applications due to their impractically huge sizes and slow inference speed.To solve this limitation, we study prompt-based low-resource learning of VL tasks with our proposed method, FewVLM, relatively smaller than recent few-shot learners.For FewVLM, we pre-train a sequence-to-sequence transformer model with prefix language modeling (PrefixLM) and masked language modeling (MaskedLM).Furthermore, we analyze the effect of diverse prompts for few-shot tasks.Experimental results on VQA show that FewVLM with prompt-based learning outperforms Frozen which is 31x larger than FewVLM by 18.2% point and achieves comparable results to a 246x larger model, PICa.In our analysis, we observe that (1) prompts significantly affect zero-shot performance but marginally affect few-shot performance, (2) models with noisy prompts learn as quickly as hand-crafted prompts given larger training data, and (3) MaskedLM helps VQA tasks while PrefixLM boosts captioning performance. Our code is publicly available at https://github.com/woojeongjin/FewVLM

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On Continual Model Refinement in Out-of-Distribution Data Streams
Bill Yuchen Lin | Sida Wang | Xi Lin | Robin Jia | Lin Xiao | Xiang Ren | Scott Yih
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Real-world natural language processing (NLP) models need to be continually updated to fix the prediction errors in out-of-distribution (OOD) data streams while overcoming catastrophic forgetting. However, existing continual learning (CL) problem setups cannot cover such a realistic and complex scenario. In response to this, we propose a new CL problem formulation dubbed continual model refinement (CMR). Compared to prior CL settings, CMR is more practical and introduces unique challenges (boundary-agnostic and non-stationary distribution shift, diverse mixtures of multiple OOD data clusters, error-centric streams, etc.). We extend several existing CL approaches to the CMR setting and evaluate them extensively. For benchmarking and analysis, we propose a general sampling algorithm to obtain dynamic OOD data streams with controllable non-stationarity, as well as a suite of metrics measuring various aspects of online performance. Our experiments and detailed analysis reveal the promise and challenges of the CMR problem, supporting that studying CMR in dynamic OOD streams can benefit the longevity of deployed NLP models in production.

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KG-FiD: Infusing Knowledge Graph in Fusion-in-Decoder for Open-Domain Question Answering
Donghan Yu | Chenguang Zhu | Yuwei Fang | Wenhao Yu | Shuohang Wang | Yichong Xu | Xiang Ren | Yiming Yang | Michael Zeng
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Current Open-Domain Question Answering (ODQA) models typically include a retrieving module and a reading module, where the retriever selects potentially relevant passages from open-source documents for a given question, and the reader produces an answer based on the retrieved passages. The recently proposed Fusion-in-Decoder (FiD) framework is a representative example, which is built on top of a dense passage retriever and a generative reader, achieving the state-of-the-art performance. In this paper we further improve the FiD approach by introducing a knowledge-enhanced version, namely KG-FiD. Our new model uses a knowledge graph to establish the structural relationship among the retrieved passages, and a graph neural network (GNN) to re-rank the passages and select only a top few for further processing. Our experiments on common ODQA benchmark datasets (Natural Questions and TriviaQA) demonstrate that KG-FiD can achieve comparable or better performance in answer prediction than FiD, with less than 40% of the computation cost.

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Knowledge-Augmented Methods for Natural Language Processing
Chenguang Zhu | Yichong Xu | Xiang Ren | Bill Yuchen Lin | Meng Jiang | Wenhao Yu
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Tutorial Abstracts

Knowledge in natural language processing (NLP) has been a rising trend especially after the advent of large scale pre-trained models. NLP models with attention to knowledge can i) access unlimited amount of external information; ii) delegate the task of storing knowledge from its parameter space to knowledge sources; iii) obtain up-to-date information; iv) make prediction results more explainable via selected knowledge. In this tutorial, we will introduce the key steps in integrating knowledge into NLP, including knowledge grounding from text, knowledge representation and fusing. In addition, we will introduce recent state-of-the-art applications in fusing knowledge into language understanding, language generation and commonsense reasoning.

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Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Deep Learning for Low-Resource Natural Language Processing
Colin Cherry | Angela Fan | George Foster | Gholamreza (Reza) Haffari | Shahram Khadivi | Nanyun (Violet) Peng | Xiang Ren | Ehsan Shareghi | Swabha Swayamdipta
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Deep Learning for Low-Resource Natural Language Processing

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Lifelong Pretraining: Continually Adapting Language Models to Emerging Corpora
Xisen Jin | Dejiao Zhang | Henghui Zhu | Wei Xiao | Shang-Wen Li | Xiaokai Wei | Andrew Arnold | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of BigScience Episode #5 -- Workshop on Challenges & Perspectives in Creating Large Language Models

Pretrained language models (PTLMs) are typically learned over a large, static corpus and further fine-tuned for various downstream tasks. However, when deployed in the real world, a PTLM-based model must deal with data distributions that deviates from what the PTLM was initially trained on. In this paper, we study a lifelong language model pretraining challenge where a PTLM is continually updated so as to adapt to emerging data. Over a domain-incremental research paper stream and a chronologically-ordered tweet stream, we incrementally pretrain a PTLM with different continual learning algorithms, and keep track of the downstream task performance (after fine-tuning). We evaluate PTLM’s ability to adapt to new corpora while retaining learned knowledge in earlier corpora. Our experiments show distillation-based approaches to be most effective in retaining downstream performance in earlier domains. The algorithms also improve knowledge transfer, allowing models to achieve better downstream performance over latest data, and improve temporal generalization when distribution gaps exist between training and evaluation because of time. We believe our problem formulation, methods, and analysis will inspire future studies towards continual pretraining of language models.

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UNIREX: A Unified Learning Framework for Language Model Rationale Extraction
Aaron Chan | Maziar Sanjabi | Lambert Mathias | Liang Tan | Shaoliang Nie | Xiaochang Peng | Xiang Ren | Hamed Firooz
Proceedings of BigScience Episode #5 -- Workshop on Challenges & Perspectives in Creating Large Language Models

An extractive rationale explains a language model’s (LM’s) prediction on a given task instance by highlighting the text inputs that most influenced the prediction. Ideally, rationale extraction should be faithful (reflective of LM’s actual behavior) and plausible (convincing to humans), without compromising the LM’s (i.e., task model’s) task performance. Although attribution algorithms and select-predict pipelines are commonly used in rationale extraction, they both rely on certain heuristics that hinder them from satisfying all three desiderata. In light of this, we propose UNIREX, a flexible learning framework which generalizes rationale extractor optimization as follows: (1) specify architecture for a learned rationale extractor; (2) select explainability objectives (i.e., faithfulness and plausibility criteria); and (3) jointly the train task model and rationale extractor on the task using selected objectives. UNIREX enables replacing prior works’ heuristic design choices with a generic learned rationale extractor in (1) and optimizing it for all three desiderata in (2)-(3). To facilitate comparison between methods w.r.t. multiple desiderata, we introduce the Normalized Relative Gain (NRG) metric. Across five English text classification datasets, our best UNIREX configuration outperforms the strongest baselines by an average of 32.9% NRG. Plus, we find that UNIREX-trained rationale extractors’ faithfulness can even generalize to unseen datasets and tasks.

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FedNLP: Benchmarking Federated Learning Methods for Natural Language Processing Tasks
Bill Yuchen Lin | Chaoyang He | Zihang Ze | Hulin Wang | Yufen Hua | Christophe Dupuy | Rahul Gupta | Mahdi Soltanolkotabi | Xiang Ren | Salman Avestimehr
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

Increasing concerns and regulations about data privacy and sparsity necessitate the study of privacy-preserving, decentralized learning methods for natural language processing (NLP) tasks. Federated learning (FL) provides promising approaches for a large number of clients (e.g., personal devices or organizations) to collaboratively learn a shared global model to benefit all clients while allowing users to keep their data locally. Despite interest in studying FL methods for NLP tasks, a systematic comparison and analysis is lacking in the literature. Herein, we present the FedNLP, a benchmarking framework for evaluating federated learning methods on four different task formulations: text classification, sequence tagging, question answering, and seq2seq. We propose a universal interface between Transformer-based language models (e.g., BERT, BART) and FL methods (e.g., FedAvg, FedOPT, etc.) under various non-IID partitioning strategies. Our extensive experiments with FedNLP provide empirical comparisons between FL methods and help us better understand the inherent challenges of this direction. The comprehensive analysis points to intriguing and exciting future research aimed at developing FL methods for NLP tasks.

2021

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Common Sense Beyond English: Evaluating and Improving Multilingual Language Models for Commonsense Reasoning
Bill Yuchen Lin | Seyeon Lee | Xiaoyang Qiao | Xiang Ren
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)

Commonsense reasoning research has so far been limited to English. We aim to evaluate and improve popular multilingual language models (ML-LMs) to help advance commonsense reasoning (CSR) beyond English. We collect the Mickey corpus, consisting of 561k sentences in 11 different languages, which can be used for analyzing and improving ML-LMs. We propose Mickey Probe, a language-general probing task for fairly evaluating the common sense of popular ML-LMs across different languages. In addition, we also create two new datasets, X-CSQA and X-CODAH, by translating their English versions to 14 other languages, so that we can evaluate popular ML-LMs for cross-lingual commonsense reasoning. To improve the performance beyond English, we propose a simple yet effective method — multilingual contrastive pretraining (MCP). It significantly enhances sentence representations, yielding a large performance gain on both benchmarks (e.g., +2.7% accuracy for X-CSQA over XLM-R_L).

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ForecastQA: A Question Answering Challenge for Event Forecasting with Temporal Text Data
Woojeong Jin | Rahul Khanna | Suji Kim | Dong-Ho Lee | Fred Morstatter | Aram Galstyan | Xiang Ren
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)

Event forecasting is a challenging, yet important task, as humans seek to constantly plan for the future. Existing automated forecasting studies rely mostly on structured data, such as time-series or event-based knowledge graphs, to help predict future events. In this work, we aim to formulate a task, construct a dataset, and provide benchmarks for developing methods for event forecasting with large volumes of unstructured text data. To simulate the forecasting scenario on temporal news documents, we formulate the problem as a restricted-domain, multiple-choice, question-answering (QA) task. Unlike existing QA tasks, our task limits accessible information, and thus a model has to make a forecasting judgement. To showcase the usefulness of this task formulation, we introduce ForecastQA, a question-answering dataset consisting of 10,392 event forecasting questions, which have been collected and verified via crowdsourcing efforts. We present our experiments on ForecastQA using BERTbased models and find that our best model achieves 61.0% accuracy on the dataset, which still lags behind human performance by about 19%. We hope ForecastQA will support future research efforts in bridging this gap.

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AdaTag: Multi-Attribute Value Extraction from Product Profiles with Adaptive Decoding
Jun Yan | Nasser Zalmout | Yan Liang | Christan Grant | Xiang Ren | Xin Luna Dong
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)

Automatic extraction of product attribute values is an important enabling technology in e-Commerce platforms. This task is usually modeled using sequence labeling architectures, with several extensions to handle multi-attribute extraction. One line of previous work constructs attribute-specific models, through separate decoders or entirely separate models. However, this approach constrains knowledge sharing across different attributes. Other contributions use a single multi-attribute model, with different techniques to embed attribute information. But sharing the entire network parameters across all attributes can limit the model’s capacity to capture attribute-specific characteristics. In this paper we present AdaTag, which uses adaptive decoding to handle extraction. We parameterize the decoder with pretrained attribute embeddings, through a hypernetwork and a Mixture-of-Experts (MoE) module. This allows for separate, but semantically correlated, decoders to be generated on the fly for different attributes. This approach facilitates knowledge sharing, while maintaining the specificity of each attribute. Our experiments on a real-world e-Commerce dataset show marked improvements over previous methods.

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Learning to Generate Task-Specific Adapters from Task Description
Qinyuan Ye | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Pre-trained text-to-text transformers such as BART have achieved impressive performance across a range of NLP tasks. Recent study further shows that they can learn to generalize to novel tasks, by including task descriptions as part of the source sequence and training the model with (source, target) examples. At test time, these fine-tuned models can make inferences on new tasks using the new task descriptions as part of the input. However, this approach has potential limitations, as the model learns to solve individual (source, target) examples (i.e., at the instance level), instead of learning to solve tasks by taking all examples within a task as a whole (i.e., at the task level). To this end, we introduce Hypter, a framework that improves text-to-text transformer’s generalization ability to unseen tasks by training a hypernetwork to generate task-specific, light-weight adapters from task descriptions. Experiments on ZEST dataset and a synthetic SQuAD dataset demonstrate that Hypter improves upon fine-tuning baselines. Notably, when using BART-Large as the main network, Hypter brings 11.3% comparative improvement on ZEST dataset.

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Modality-specific Distillation
Woojeong Jin | Maziar Sanjabi | Shaoliang Nie | Liang Tan | Xiang Ren | Hamed Firooz
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Multimodal Artificial Intelligence

Large neural networks are impractical to deploy on mobile devices due to their heavy computational cost and slow inference. Knowledge distillation (KD) is a technique to reduce the model size while retaining performance by transferring knowledge from a large “teacher” model to a smaller “student” model. However, KD on multimodal datasets such as vision-language datasets is relatively unexplored and digesting such multimodal information is challenging since different modalities present different types of information. In this paper, we propose modality-specific distillation (MSD) to effectively transfer knowledge from a teacher on multimodal datasets. Existing KD approaches can be applied to multimodal setup, but a student doesn’t have access to modality-specific predictions. Our idea aims at mimicking a teacher’s modality-specific predictions by introducing an auxiliary loss term for each modality. Because each modality has different importance for predictions, we also propose weighting approaches for the auxiliary losses; a meta-learning approach to learn the optimal weights on these loss terms. In our experiments, we demonstrate the effectiveness of our MSD and the weighting scheme and show that it achieves better performance than KD.

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Proceedings of the First Workshop on Trustworthy Natural Language Processing
Yada Pruksachatkun | Anil Ramakrishna | Kai-Wei Chang | Satyapriya Krishna | Jwala Dhamala | Tanaya Guha | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Trustworthy Natural Language Processing

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RiddleSense: Reasoning about Riddle Questions Featuring Linguistic Creativity and Commonsense Knowledge
Bill Yuchen Lin | Ziyi Wu | Yichi Yang | Dong-Ho Lee | Xiang Ren
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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Do Language Models Perform Generalizable Commonsense Inference?
Peifeng Wang | Filip Ilievski | Muhao Chen | Xiang Ren
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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Learning Contextualized Knowledge Structures for Commonsense Reasoning
Jun Yan | Mrigank Raman | Aaron Chan | Tianyu Zhang | Ryan Rossi | Handong Zhao | Sungchul Kim | Nedim Lipka | Xiang Ren
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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Learn Continually, Generalize Rapidly: Lifelong Knowledge Accumulation for Few-shot Learning
Xisen Jin | Bill Yuchen Lin | Mohammad Rostami | Xiang Ren
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

The ability to continuously expand knowledge over time and utilize it to rapidly generalize to new tasks is a key feature of human linguistic intelligence. Existing models that pursue rapid generalization to new tasks (e.g., few-shot learning methods), however, are mostly trained in a single shot on fixed datasets, unable to dynamically expand their knowledge; while continual learning algorithms are not specifically designed for rapid generalization. We present a new learning setup, Continual Learning of Few-Shot Learners (CLIF), to address challenges of both learning settings in a unified setup. CLIF assumes a model learns from a sequence of diverse NLP tasks arriving sequentially, accumulating knowledge for improved generalization to new tasks, while also retaining performance on the tasks learned earlier. We examine how the generalization ability is affected in the continual learning setup, evaluate a number of continual learning algorithms, and propose a novel regularized adapter generation approach. We find that catastrophic forgetting affects generalization ability to a lesser degree than performance on seen tasks; while continual learning algorithms can still bring considerable benefit to the generalization ability.

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MSD: Saliency-aware Knowledge Distillation for Multimodal Understanding
Woojeong Jin | Maziar Sanjabi | Shaoliang Nie | Liang Tan | Xiang Ren | Hamed Firooz
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

To reduce a model size but retain performance, we often rely on knowledge distillation (KD) which transfers knowledge from a large “teacher” model to a smaller “student” model. However, KD on multimodal datasets such as vision-language tasks is relatively unexplored, and digesting multimodal information is challenging since different modalities present different types of information. In this paper, we perform a large-scale empirical study to investigate the importance and effects of each modality in knowledge distillation. Furthermore, we introduce a multimodal knowledge distillation framework, modality-specific distillation (MSD), to transfer knowledge from a teacher on multimodal tasks by learning the teacher’s behavior within each modality. The idea aims at mimicking a teacher’s modality-specific predictions by introducing auxiliary loss terms for each modality. Furthermore, because each modality has different saliency for predictions, we define saliency scores for each modality and investigate saliency-based weighting schemes for the auxiliary losses. We further study a weight learning approach to learn the optimal weights on these loss terms. In our empirical analysis, we examine the saliency of each modality in KD, demonstrate the effectiveness of the weighting scheme in MSD, and show that it achieves better performance than KD on four multimodal datasets.

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Probing Commonsense Explanation in Dialogue Response Generation
Pei Zhou | Pegah Jandaghi | Hyundong Cho | Bill Yuchen Lin | Jay Pujara | Xiang Ren
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Humans use commonsense reasoning (CSR) implicitly to produce natural and coherent responses in conversations. Aiming to close the gap between current response generation (RG) models and human communication abilities, we want to understand why RG models respond as they do by probing RG model’s understanding of commonsense reasoning that elicits proper responses. We formalize the problem by framing commonsense as a latent variable in the RG task and using explanations for responses as textual form of commonsense. We collect 6k annotated explanations justifying responses from four dialogue datasets and ask humans to verify them and propose two probing settings to evaluate RG models’ CSR capabilities. Probing results show that models fail to capture the logical relations between commonsense explanations and responses and fine-tuning on in-domain data and increasing model sizes do not lead to understanding of CSR for RG. We hope our study motivates more research in making RG models emulate the human reasoning process in pursuit of smooth human-AI communication.

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Commonsense-Focused Dialogues for Response Generation: An Empirical Study
Pei Zhou | Karthik Gopalakrishnan | Behnam Hedayatnia | Seokhwan Kim | Jay Pujara | Xiang Ren | Yang Liu | Dilek Hakkani-Tur
Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

Smooth and effective communication requires the ability to perform latent or explicit commonsense inference. Prior commonsense reasoning benchmarks (such as SocialIQA and CommonsenseQA) mainly focus on the discriminative task of choosing the right answer from a set of candidates, and do not involve interactive language generation as in dialogue. Moreover, existing dialogue datasets do not explicitly focus on exhibiting commonsense as a facet. In this paper, we present an empirical study of commonsense in dialogue response generation. We first auto-extract commonsensical dialogues from existing dialogue datasets by leveraging ConceptNet, a commonsense knowledge graph. Furthermore, building on social contexts/situations in SocialIQA, we collect a new dialogue dataset with 25K dialogues aimed at exhibiting social commonsense in an interactive setting. We evaluate response generation models trained using these datasets and find that models trained on both extracted and our collected data produce responses that consistently exhibit more commonsense than baselines. Finally we propose an approach for automatic evaluation of commonsense that relies on features derived from ConceptNet and pre-trained language and dialog models, and show reasonable correlation with human evaluation of responses’ commonsense quality.

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Improving Counterfactual Generation for Fair Hate Speech Detection
Aida Mostafazadeh Davani | Ali Omrani | Brendan Kennedy | Mohammad Atari | Xiang Ren | Morteza Dehghani
Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Online Abuse and Harms (WOAH 2021)

Bias mitigation approaches reduce models’ dependence on sensitive features of data, such as social group tokens (SGTs), resulting in equal predictions across the sensitive features. In hate speech detection, however, equalizing model predictions may ignore important differences among targeted social groups, as hate speech can contain stereotypical language specific to each SGT. Here, to take the specific language about each SGT into account, we rely on counterfactual fairness and equalize predictions among counterfactuals, generated by changing the SGTs. Our method evaluates the similarity in sentence likelihoods (via pre-trained language models) among counterfactuals, to treat SGTs equally only within interchangeable contexts. By applying logit pairing to equalize outcomes on the restricted set of counterfactuals for each instance, we improve fairness metrics while preserving model performance on hate speech detection.

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Think Before You Speak: Learning to Generate Implicit Knowledge for Response Generation by Self-Talk
Pei Zhou | Behnam Hedayatnia | Karthik Gopalakrishnan | Seokhwan Kim | Jay Pujara | Xiang Ren | Yang Liu | Dilek Hakkani-Tur
Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Conversational AI

Humans make appropriate responses not only based on previous dialogue utterances but also on implicit background knowledge such as common sense. Although neural response generation models seem to produce human-like responses, they are mostly end-to-end and not generating intermediate grounds between a dialogue history and responses. This work aims to study if and how we can train an RG model that talks with itself to generate implicit knowledge before making responses. We further investigate can such models identify when to generate implicit background knowledge and when it is not necessary. Experimental results show that compared with models that directly generate responses given a dialogue history, self-talk models produce better-quality responses according to human evaluation on grammaticality, coherence, and engagingness. And models that are trained to identify when to self-talk further improves the response quality. Analysis on generated implicit knowledge shows that models mostly use the knowledge appropriately in the responses.

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Using Word Embedding to Reveal Monetary Policy Explanation Changes
Akira Matsui | Xiang Ren | Emilio Ferrara
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Economics and Natural Language Processing

Documents have been an essential tool of communication for governments to announce their policy operations. Most policy announcements have taken the form of text to inform their new policies or changes to the public. To understand such policymakers’ communication, many researchers exploit published policy documents. However, the methods well-used in other research domains such as sentiment analysis or topic modeling are not suitable for studying policy communications. Their training corpora and methods are not for policy documents where technical terminologies are used, and sentiment expressions are refrained. We leverage word embedding techniques to extract semantic changes in the monetary policy documents. Our empirical study shows that the policymaker uses different semantics according to the type of documents when they change their policy.

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X-METRA-ADA: Cross-lingual Meta-Transfer learning Adaptation to Natural Language Understanding and Question Answering
Meryem M’hamdi | Doo Soon Kim | Franck Dernoncourt | Trung Bui | Xiang Ren | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Multilingual models, such as M-BERT and XLM-R, have gained increasing popularity, due to their zero-shot cross-lingual transfer learning capabilities. However, their generalization ability is still inconsistent for typologically diverse languages and across different benchmarks. Recently, meta-learning has garnered attention as a promising technique for enhancing transfer learning under low-resource scenarios: particularly for cross-lingual transfer in Natural Language Understanding (NLU). In this work, we propose X-METRA-ADA, a cross-lingual MEta-TRAnsfer learning ADAptation approach for NLU. Our approach adapts MAML, an optimization-based meta-learning approach, to learn to adapt to new languages. We extensively evaluate our framework on two challenging cross-lingual NLU tasks: multilingual task-oriented dialog and typologically diverse question answering. We show that our approach outperforms naive fine-tuning, reaching competitive performance on both tasks for most languages. Our analysis reveals that X-METRA-ADA can leverage limited data for faster adaptation.

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On Transferability of Bias Mitigation Effects in Language Model Fine-Tuning
Xisen Jin | Francesco Barbieri | Brendan Kennedy | Aida Mostafazadeh Davani | Leonardo Neves | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Fine-tuned language models have been shown to exhibit biases against protected groups in a host of modeling tasks such as text classification and coreference resolution. Previous works focus on detecting these biases, reducing bias in data representations, and using auxiliary training objectives to mitigate bias during fine-tuning. Although these techniques achieve bias reduction for the task and domain at hand, the effects of bias mitigation may not directly transfer to new tasks, requiring additional data collection and customized annotation of sensitive attributes, and re-evaluation of appropriate fairness metrics. We explore the feasibility and benefits of upstream bias mitigation (UBM) for reducing bias on downstream tasks, by first applying bias mitigation to an upstream model through fine-tuning and subsequently using it for downstream fine-tuning. We find, in extensive experiments across hate speech detection, toxicity detection and coreference resolution tasks over various bias factors, that the effects of UBM are indeed transferable to new downstream tasks or domains via fine-tuning, creating less biased downstream models than directly fine-tuning on the downstream task or transferring from a vanilla upstream model. Though challenges remain, we show that UBM promises more efficient and accessible bias mitigation in LM fine-tuning.

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TaxoClass: Hierarchical Multi-Label Text Classification Using Only Class Names
Jiaming Shen | Wenda Qiu | Yu Meng | Jingbo Shang | Xiang Ren | Jiawei Han
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Hierarchical multi-label text classification (HMTC) aims to tag each document with a set of classes from a taxonomic class hierarchy. Most existing HMTC methods train classifiers using massive human-labeled documents, which are often too costly to obtain in real-world applications. In this paper, we explore to conduct HMTC based on only class surface names as supervision signals. We observe that to perform HMTC, human experts typically first pinpoint a few most essential classes for the document as its “core classes”, and then check core classes’ ancestor classes to ensure the coverage. To mimic human experts, we propose a novel HMTC framework, named TaxoClass. Specifically, TaxoClass (1) calculates document-class similarities using a textual entailment model, (2) identifies a document’s core classes and utilizes confident core classes to train a taxonomy-enhanced classifier, and (3) generalizes the classifier via multi-label self-training. Our experiments on two challenging datasets show TaxoClass can achieve around 0.71 Example-F1 using only class names, outperforming the best previous method by 25%.

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Differentiable Open-Ended Commonsense Reasoning
Bill Yuchen Lin | Haitian Sun | Bhuwan Dhingra | Manzil Zaheer | Xiang Ren | William Cohen
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Current commonsense reasoning research focuses on developing models that use commonsense knowledge to answer multiple-choice questions. However, systems designed to answer multiple-choice questions may not be useful in applications that do not provide a small list of candidate answers to choose from. As a step towards making commonsense reasoning research more realistic, we propose to study open-ended commonsense reasoning (OpenCSR) — the task of answering a commonsense question without any pre-defined choices — using as a resource only a corpus of commonsense facts written in natural language. OpenCSR is challenging due to a large decision space, and because many questions require implicit multi-hop reasoning. As an approach to OpenCSR, we propose DrFact, an efficient Differentiable model for multi-hop Reasoning over knowledge Facts. To evaluate OpenCSR methods, we adapt several popular commonsense reasoning benchmarks, and collect multiple new answers for each test question via crowd-sourcing. Experiments show that DrFact outperforms strong baseline methods by a large margin.

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Cross-Attention is All You Need: Adapting Pretrained Transformers for Machine Translation
Mozhdeh Gheini | Xiang Ren | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We study the power of cross-attention in the Transformer architecture within the context of transfer learning for machine translation, and extend the findings of studies into cross-attention when training from scratch. We conduct a series of experiments through fine-tuning a translation model on data where either the source or target language has changed. These experiments reveal that fine-tuning only the cross-attention parameters is nearly as effective as fine-tuning all parameters (i.e., the entire translation model). We provide insights into why this is the case and observe that limiting fine-tuning in this manner yields cross-lingually aligned embeddings. The implications of this finding for researchers and practitioners include a mitigation of catastrophic forgetting, the potential for zero-shot translation, and the ability to extend machine translation models to several new language pairs with reduced parameter storage overhead.

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RockNER: A Simple Method to Create Adversarial Examples for Evaluating the Robustness of Named Entity Recognition Models
Bill Yuchen Lin | Wenyang Gao | Jun Yan | Ryan Moreno | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

To audit the robustness of named entity recognition (NER) models, we propose RockNER, a simple yet effective method to create natural adversarial examples. Specifically, at the entity level, we replace target entities with other entities of the same semantic class in Wikidata; at the context level, we use pre-trained language models (e.g., BERT) to generate word substitutions. Together, the two levels of at- tack produce natural adversarial examples that result in a shifted distribution from the training data on which our target models have been trained. We apply the proposed method to the OntoNotes dataset and create a new benchmark named OntoRock for evaluating the robustness of existing NER models via a systematic evaluation protocol. Our experiments and analysis reveal that even the best model has a significant performance drop, and these models seem to memorize in-domain entity patterns instead of reasoning from the context. Our work also studies the effects of a few simple data augmentation methods to improve the robustness of NER models.

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Lawyers are Dishonest? Quantifying Representational Harms in Commonsense Knowledge Resources
Ninareh Mehrabi | Pei Zhou | Fred Morstatter | Jay Pujara | Xiang Ren | Aram Galstyan
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Warning: this paper contains content that may be offensive or upsetting. Commonsense knowledge bases (CSKB) are increasingly used for various natural language processing tasks. Since CSKBs are mostly human-generated and may reflect societal biases, it is important to ensure that such biases are not conflated with the notion of commonsense. Here we focus on two widely used CSKBs, ConceptNet and GenericsKB, and establish the presence of bias in the form of two types of representational harms, overgeneralization of polarized perceptions and representation disparity across different demographic groups in both CSKBs. Next, we find similar representational harms for downstream models that use ConceptNet. Finally, we propose a filtering-based approach for mitigating such harms, and observe that our filtered-based approach can reduce the issues in both resources and models but leads to a performance drop, leaving room for future work to build fairer and stronger commonsense models.

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Extract, Denoise and Enforce: Evaluating and Improving Concept Preservation for Text-to-Text Generation
Yuning Mao | Wenchang Ma | Deren Lei | Jiawei Han | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Prior studies on text-to-text generation typically assume that the model could figure out what to attend to in the input and what to include in the output via seq2seq learning, with only the parallel training data and no additional guidance. However, it remains unclear whether current models can preserve important concepts in the source input, as seq2seq learning does not have explicit focus on the concepts and commonly used evaluation metrics also treat them equally important as other tokens. In this paper, we present a systematic analysis that studies whether current seq2seq models, especially pre-trained language models, are good enough for preserving important input concepts and to what extent explicitly guiding generation with the concepts as lexical constraints is beneficial. We answer the above questions by conducting extensive analytical experiments on four representative text-to-text generation tasks. Based on the observations, we then propose a simple yet effective framework to automatically extract, denoise, and enforce important input concepts as lexical constraints. This new method performs comparably or better than its unconstrained counterpart on automatic metrics, demonstrates higher coverage for concept preservation, and receives better ratings in the human evaluation. Our code is available at https://github.com/morningmoni/EDE.

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ECONET: Effective Continual Pretraining of Language Models for Event Temporal Reasoning
Rujun Han | Xiang Ren | Nanyun Peng
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

While pre-trained language models (PTLMs) have achieved noticeable success on many NLP tasks, they still struggle for tasks that require event temporal reasoning, which is essential for event-centric applications. We present a continual pre-training approach that equips PTLMs with targeted knowledge about event temporal relations. We design self-supervised learning objectives to recover masked-out event and temporal indicators and to discriminate sentences from their corrupted counterparts (where event or temporal indicators got replaced). By further pre-training a PTLM with these objectives jointly, we reinforce its attention to event and temporal information, yielding enhanced capability on event temporal reasoning. This **E**ffective **CON**tinual pre-training framework for **E**vent **T**emporal reasoning (ECONET) improves the PTLMs’ fine-tuning performances across five relation extraction and question answering tasks and achieves new or on-par state-of-the-art performances in most of our downstream tasks.

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CrossFit: A Few-shot Learning Challenge for Cross-task Generalization in NLP
Qinyuan Ye | Bill Yuchen Lin | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Humans can learn a new language task efficiently with only few examples, by leveraging their knowledge obtained when learning prior tasks. In this paper, we explore whether and how such cross-task generalization ability can be acquired, and further applied to build better few-shot learners across diverse NLP tasks. We introduce CrossFit, a problem setup for studying cross-task generalization ability, which standardizes seen/unseen task partitions, data access during different learning stages, and the evaluation protocols. To instantiate different seen/unseen task partitions in CrossFit and facilitate in-depth analysis, we present the NLP Few-shot Gym, a repository of 160 diverse few-shot NLP tasks created from open-access NLP datasets and converted to a unified text-to-text format. Our analysis reveals that the few-shot learning ability on unseen tasks can be improved via an upstream learning stage using a set of seen tasks. We also observe that the selection of upstream learning tasks can significantly influence few-shot performance on unseen tasks, asking further analysis on task similarity and transferability.

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On the Influence of Masking Policies in Intermediate Pre-training
Qinyuan Ye | Belinda Z. Li | Sinong Wang | Benjamin Bolte | Hao Ma | Wen-tau Yih | Xiang Ren | Madian Khabsa
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Current NLP models are predominantly trained through a two-stage “pre-train then fine-tune” pipeline. Prior work has shown that inserting an intermediate pre-training stage, using heuristic masking policies for masked language modeling (MLM), can significantly improve final performance. However, it is still unclear (1) in what cases such intermediate pre-training is helpful, (2) whether hand-crafted heuristic objectives are optimal for a given task, and (3) whether a masking policy designed for one task is generalizable beyond that task. In this paper, we perform a large-scale empirical study to investigate the effect of various masking policies in intermediate pre-training with nine selected tasks across three categories. Crucially, we introduce methods to automate the discovery of optimal masking policies via direct supervision or meta-learning. We conclude that the success of intermediate pre-training is dependent on appropriate pre-train corpus, selection of output format (i.e., masked spans or full sentence), and clear understanding of the role that MLM plays for the downstream task. In addition, we find our learned masking policies outperform the heuristic of masking named entities on TriviaQA, and policies learned from one task can positively transfer to other tasks in certain cases, inviting future research in this direction.

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RICA: Evaluating Robust Inference Capabilities Based on Commonsense Axioms
Pei Zhou | Rahul Khanna | Seyeon Lee | Bill Yuchen Lin | Daniel Ho | Jay Pujara | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Pre-trained language models (PTLMs) have achieved impressive performance on commonsense inference benchmarks, but their ability to employ commonsense to make robust inferences, which is crucial for effective communications with humans, is debated. In the pursuit of advancing fluid human-AI communication, we propose a new challenge, RICA: Robust Inference using Commonsense Axioms, that evaluates robust commonsense inference despite textual perturbations. To generate data for this challenge, we develop a systematic and scalable procedure using commonsense knowledge bases and probe PTLMs across two different evaluation settings. Extensive experiments on our generated probe sets with more than 10k statements show that PTLMs perform no better than random guessing on the zero-shot setting, are heavily impacted by statistical biases, and are not robust to perturbation attacks. We also find that fine-tuning on similar statements offer limited gains, as PTLMs still fail to generalize to unseen inferences. Our new large-scale benchmark exposes a significant gap between PTLMs and human-level language understanding and offers a new challenge for PTLMs to demonstrate commonsense.

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Discretized Integrated Gradients for Explaining Language Models
Soumya Sanyal | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

As a prominent attribution-based explanation algorithm, Integrated Gradients (IG) is widely adopted due to its desirable explanation axioms and the ease of gradient computation. It measures feature importance by averaging the model’s output gradient interpolated along a straight-line path in the input data space. However, such straight-line interpolated points are not representative of text data due to the inherent discreteness of the word embedding space. This questions the faithfulness of the gradients computed at the interpolated points and consequently, the quality of the generated explanations. Here we propose Discretized Integrated Gradients (DIG), which allows effective attribution along non-linear interpolation paths. We develop two interpolation strategies for the discrete word embedding space that generates interpolation points that lie close to actual words in the embedding space, yielding more faithful gradient computation. We demonstrate the effectiveness of DIG over IG through experimental and human evaluations on multiple sentiment classification datasets. We provide the source code of DIG to encourage reproducible research.

2020

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Scalable Multi-Hop Relational Reasoning for Knowledge-Aware Question Answering
Yanlin Feng | Xinyue Chen | Bill Yuchen Lin | Peifeng Wang | Jun Yan | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Existing work on augmenting question answering (QA) models with external knowledge (e.g., knowledge graphs) either struggle to model multi-hop relations efficiently, or lack transparency into the model’s prediction rationale. In this paper, we propose a novel knowledge-aware approach that equips pre-trained language models (PTLMs) has with a multi-hop relational reasoning module, named multi-hop graph relation network (MHGRN). It performs multi-hop, multi-relational reasoning over subgraphs extracted from external knowledge graphs. The proposed reasoning module unifies path-based reasoning methods and graph neural networks to achieve better interpretability and scalability. We also empirically show its effectiveness and scalability on CommonsenseQA and OpenbookQA datasets, and interpret its behaviors with case studies, with the code for experiments released.

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Multi-document Summarization with Maximal Marginal Relevance-guided Reinforcement Learning
Yuning Mao | Yanru Qu | Yiqing Xie | Xiang Ren | Jiawei Han
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

While neural sequence learning methods have made significant progress in single-document summarization (SDS), they produce unsatisfactory results on multi-document summarization (MDS). We observe two major challenges when adapting SDS advances to MDS: (1) MDS involves larger search space and yet more limited training data, setting obstacles for neural methods to learn adequate representations; (2) MDS needs to resolve higher information redundancy among the source documents, which SDS methods are less effective to handle. To close the gap, we present RL-MMR, Maximal Margin Relevance-guided Reinforcement Learning for MDS, which unifies advanced neural SDS methods and statistical measures used in classical MDS. RL-MMR casts MMR guidance on fewer promising candidates, which restrains the search space and thus leads to better representation learning. Additionally, the explicit redundancy measure in MMR helps the neural representation of the summary to better capture redundancy. Extensive experiments demonstrate that RL-MMR achieves state-of-the-art performance on benchmark MDS datasets. In particular, we show the benefits of incorporating MMR into end-to-end learning when adapting SDS to MDS in terms of both learning effectiveness and efficiency.

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Visually Grounded Continual Learning of Compositional Phrases
Xisen Jin | Junyi Du | Arka Sadhu | Ram Nevatia | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Humans acquire language continually with much more limited access to data samples at a time, as compared to contemporary NLP systems. To study this human-like language acquisition ability, we present VisCOLL, a visually grounded language learning task, which simulates the continual acquisition of compositional phrases from streaming visual scenes. In the task, models are trained on a paired image-caption stream which has shifting object distribution; while being constantly evaluated by a visually-grounded masked language prediction task on held-out test sets. VisCOLL compounds the challenges of continual learning (i.e., learning from continuously shifting data distribution) and compositional generalization (i.e., generalizing to novel compositions). To facilitate research on VisCOLL, we construct two datasets, COCO-shift and Flickr-shift, and benchmark them using different continual learning methods. Results reveal that SoTA continual learning approaches provide little to no improvements on VisCOLL, since storing examples of all possible compositions is infeasible. We conduct further ablations and analysis to guide future work.

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Recurrent Event Network: Autoregressive Structure Inferenceover Temporal Knowledge Graphs
Woojeong Jin | Meng Qu | Xisen Jin | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Knowledge graph reasoning is a critical task in natural language processing. The task becomes more challenging on temporal knowledge graphs, where each fact is associated with a timestamp. Most existing methods focus on reasoning at past timestamps and they are not able to predict facts happening in the future. This paper proposes Recurrent Event Network (RE-Net), a novel autoregressive architecture for predicting future interactions. The occurrence of a fact (event) is modeled as a probability distribution conditioned on temporal sequences of past knowledge graphs. Specifically, our RE-Net employs a recurrent event encoder to encode past facts, and uses a neighborhood aggregator to model the connection of facts at the same timestamp. Future facts can then be inferred in a sequential manner based on the two modules. We evaluate our proposed method via link prediction at future times on five public datasets. Through extensive experiments, we demonstrate the strength of RE-Net, especially on multi-step inference over future timestamps, and achieve state-of-the-art performance on all five datasets.

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Birds have four legs?! NumerSense: Probing Numerical Commonsense Knowledge of Pre-Trained Language Models
Bill Yuchen Lin | Seyeon Lee | Rahul Khanna | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Recent works show that pre-trained language models (PTLMs), such as BERT, possess certain commonsense and factual knowledge. They suggest that it is promising to use PTLMs as “neural knowledge bases” via predicting masked words. Surprisingly, we find that this may not work for numerical commonsense knowledge (e.g., a bird usually has two legs). In this paper, we investigate whether and to what extent we can induce numerical commonsense knowledge from PTLMs as well as the robustness of this process. In this paper, we investigate whether and to what extent we can induce numerical commonsense knowledge from PTLMs as well as the robustness of this process. To study this, we introduce a novel probing task with a diagnostic dataset, NumerSense, containing 13.6k masked-word-prediction probes (10.5k for fine-tuning and 3.1k for testing). Our analysis reveals that: (1) BERT and its stronger variant RoBERTa perform poorly on the diagnostic dataset prior to any fine-tuning; (2) fine-tuning with distant supervision brings some improvement; (3) the best supervised model still performs poorly as compared to human performance (54.06% vs. 96.3% in accuracy).

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SynSetExpan: An Iterative Framework for Joint Entity Set Expansion and Synonym Discovery
Jiaming Shen | Wenda Qiu | Jingbo Shang | Michelle Vanni | Xiang Ren | Jiawei Han
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Entity set expansion and synonym discovery are two critical NLP tasks. Previous studies accomplish them separately, without exploring their interdependencies. In this work, we hypothesize that these two tasks are tightly coupled because two synonymous entities tend to have a similar likelihood of belonging to various semantic classes. This motivates us to design SynSetExpan, a novel framework that enables two tasks to mutually enhance each other. SynSetExpan uses a synonym discovery model to include popular entities’ infrequent synonyms into the set, which boosts the set expansion recall. Meanwhile, the set expansion model, being able to determine whether an entity belongs to a semantic class, can generate pseudo training data to fine-tune the synonym discovery model towards better accuracy. To facilitate the research on studying the interplays of these two tasks, we create the first large-scale Synonym-Enhanced Set Expansion (SE2) dataset via crowdsourcing. Extensive experiments on the SE2 dataset and previous benchmarks demonstrate the effectiveness of SynSetExpan for both entity set expansion and synonym discovery tasks.

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Learning Collaborative Agents with Rule Guidance for Knowledge Graph Reasoning
Deren Lei | Gangrong Jiang | Xiaotao Gu | Kexuan Sun | Yuning Mao | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Walk-based models have shown their advantages in knowledge graph (KG) reasoning by achieving decent performance while providing interpretable decisions. However, the sparse reward signals offered by the KG during a traversal are often insufficient to guide a sophisticated walk-based reinforcement learning (RL) model. An alternate approach is to use traditional symbolic methods (e.g., rule induction), which achieve good performance but can be hard to generalize due to the limitation of symbolic representation. In this paper, we propose RuleGuider, which leverages high-quality rules generated by symbolic-based methods to provide reward supervision for walk-based agents. Experiments on benchmark datasets shows that RuleGuider clearly improves the performance of walk-based models without losing interpretability.

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Learning to Contextually Aggregate Multi-Source Supervision for Sequence Labeling
Ouyu Lan | Xiao Huang | Bill Yuchen Lin | He Jiang | Liyuan Liu | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Sequence labeling is a fundamental task for a range of natural language processing problems. When used in practice, its performance is largely influenced by the annotation quality and quantity, and meanwhile, obtaining ground truth labels is often costly. In many cases, ground truth labels do not exist, but noisy annotations or annotations from different domains are accessible. In this paper, we propose a novel framework Consensus Network (ConNet) that can be trained on annotations from multiple sources (e.g., crowd annotation, cross-domain data). It learns individual representation for every source and dynamically aggregates source-specific knowledge by a context-aware attention module. Finally, it leads to a model reflecting the agreement (consensus) among multiple sources. We evaluate the proposed framework in two practical settings of multi-source learning: learning with crowd annotations and unsupervised cross-domain model adaptation. Extensive experimental results show that our model achieves significant improvements over existing methods in both settings. We also demonstrate that the method can apply to various tasks and cope with different encoders.

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Facet-Aware Evaluation for Extractive Summarization
Yuning Mao | Liyuan Liu | Qi Zhu | Xiang Ren | Jiawei Han
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Commonly adopted metrics for extractive summarization focus on lexical overlap at the token level. In this paper, we present a facet-aware evaluation setup for better assessment of the information coverage in extracted summaries. Specifically, we treat each sentence in the reference summary as a facet, identify the sentences in the document that express the semantics of each facet as support sentences of the facet, and automatically evaluate extractive summarization methods by comparing the indices of extracted sentences and support sentences of all the facets in the reference summary. To facilitate this new evaluation setup, we construct an extractive version of the CNN/Daily Mail dataset and perform a thorough quantitative investigation, through which we demonstrate that facet-aware evaluation manifests better correlation with human judgment than ROUGE, enables fine-grained evaluation as well as comparative analysis, and reveals valuable insights of state-of-the-art summarization methods. Data can be found at https://github.com/morningmoni/FAR.

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Contextualizing Hate Speech Classifiers with Post-hoc Explanation
Brendan Kennedy | Xisen Jin | Aida Mostafazadeh Davani | Morteza Dehghani | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Hate speech classifiers trained on imbalanced datasets struggle to determine if group identifiers like “gay” or “black” are used in offensive or prejudiced ways. Such biases manifest in false positives when these identifiers are present, due to models’ inability to learn the contexts which constitute a hateful usage of identifiers. We extract post-hoc explanations from fine-tuned BERT classifiers to detect bias towards identity terms. Then, we propose a novel regularization technique based on these explanations that encourages models to learn from the context of group identifiers in addition to the identifiers themselves. Our approach improved over baselines in limiting false positives on out-of-domain data while maintaining and in cases improving in-domain performance.

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TriggerNER: Learning with Entity Triggers as Explanations for Named Entity Recognition
Bill Yuchen Lin | Dong-Ho Lee | Ming Shen | Ryan Moreno | Xiao Huang | Prashant Shiralkar | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Training neural models for named entity recognition (NER) in a new domain often requires additional human annotations (e.g., tens of thousands of labeled instances) that are usually expensive and time-consuming to collect. Thus, a crucial research question is how to obtain supervision in a cost-effective way. In this paper, we introduce “entity triggers,” an effective proxy of human explanations for facilitating label-efficient learning of NER models. An entity trigger is defined as a group of words in a sentence that helps to explain why humans would recognize an entity in the sentence. We crowd-sourced 14k entity triggers for two well-studied NER datasets. Our proposed model, Trigger Matching Network, jointly learns trigger representations and soft matching module with self-attention such that can generalize to unseen sentences easily for tagging. Our framework is significantly more cost-effective than the traditional neural NER frameworks. Experiments show that using only 20% of the trigger-annotated sentences results in a comparable performance as using 70% of conventional annotated sentences.

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LEAN-LIFE: A Label-Efficient Annotation Framework Towards Learning from Explanation
Dong-Ho Lee | Rahul Khanna | Bill Yuchen Lin | Seyeon Lee | Qinyuan Ye | Elizabeth Boschee | Leonardo Neves | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

Successfully training a deep neural network demands a huge corpus of labeled data. However, each label only provides limited information to learn from, and collecting the requisite number of labels involves massive human effort. In this work, we introduce LEAN-LIFE, a web-based, Label-Efficient AnnotatioN framework for sequence labeling and classification tasks, with an easy-to-use UI that not only allows an annotator to provide the needed labels for a task but also enables LearnIng From Explanations for each labeling decision. Such explanations enable us to generate useful additional labeled data from unlabeled instances, bolstering the pool of available training data. On three popular NLP tasks (named entity recognition, relation extraction, sentiment analysis), we find that using this enhanced supervision allows our models to surpass competitive baseline F1 scores by more than 5-10 percentage points, while using 2X times fewer labeled instances. Our framework is the first to utilize this enhanced supervision technique and does so for three important tasks – thus providing improved annotation recommendations to users and an ability to build datasets of (data, label, explanation) triples instead of the regular (data, label) pair.

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Screenplay Quality Assessment: Can We Predict Who Gets Nominated?
Ming-Chang Chiu | Tiantian Feng | Xiang Ren | Shrikanth Narayanan
Proceedings of the First Joint Workshop on Narrative Understanding, Storylines, and Events

Deciding which scripts to turn into movies is a costly and time-consuming process for filmmakers. Thus, building a tool to aid script selection, an initial phase in movie production, can be very beneficial. Toward that goal, in this work, we present a method to evaluate the quality of a screenplay based on linguistic cues. We address this in a two-fold approach: (1) we define the task as predicting nominations of scripts at major film awards with the hypothesis that the peer-recognized scripts should have a greater chance to succeed. (2) based on industry opinions and narratology, we extract and integrate domain-specific features into common classification techniques. We face two challenges (1) scripts are much longer than other document datasets (2) nominated scripts are limited and thus difficult to collect. However, with narratology-inspired modeling and domain features, our approach offers clear improvements over strong baselines. Our work provides a new approach for future work in screenplay analysis.

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Teaching Machine Comprehension with Compositional Explanations
Qinyuan Ye | Xiao Huang | Elizabeth Boschee | Xiang Ren
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Advances in machine reading comprehension (MRC) rely heavily on the collection of large scale human-annotated examples in the form of (question, paragraph, answer) triples. In contrast, humans are typically able to generalize with only a few examples, relying on deeper underlying world knowledge, linguistic sophistication, and/or simply superior deductive powers. In this paper, we focus on “teaching” machines reading comprehension, using a small number of semi-structured explanations that explicitly inform machines why answer spans are correct. We extract structured variables and rules from explanations and compose neural module teachers that annotate instances for training downstream MRC models. We use learnable neural modules and soft logic to handle linguistic variation and overcome sparse coverage; the modules are jointly optimized with the MRC model to improve final performance. On the SQuAD dataset, our proposed method achieves 70.14% F1 score with supervision from 26 explanations, comparable to plain supervised learning using 1,100 labeled instances, yielding a 12x speed up.

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Will This Idea Spread Beyond Academia? Understanding Knowledge Transfer of Scientific Concepts across Text Corpora
Hancheng Cao | Mengjie Cheng | Zhepeng Cen | Daniel McFarland | Xiang Ren
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

What kind of basic research ideas are more likely to get applied in practice? There is a long line of research investigating patterns of knowledge transfer, but it generally focuses on documents as the unit of analysis and follow their transfer into practice for a specific scientific domain. Here we study translational research at the level of scientific concepts for all scientific fields. We do this through text mining and predictive modeling using three corpora: 38.6 million paper abstracts, 4 million patent documents, and 0.28 million clinical trials. We extract scientific concepts (i.e., phrases) from corpora as instantiations of “research ideas”, create concept-level features as motivated by literature, and then follow the trajectories of over 450,000 new concepts (emerged from 1995-2014) to identify factors that lead only a small proportion of these ideas to be used in inventions and drug trials. Results from our analysis suggest several mechanisms that distinguish which scientific concept will be adopted in practice, and which will not. We also demonstrate that our derived features can be used to explain and predict knowledge transfer with high accuracy. Our work provides greater understanding of knowledge transfer for researchers, practitioners, and government agencies interested in encouraging translational research.

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CommonGen: A Constrained Text Generation Challenge for Generative Commonsense Reasoning
Bill Yuchen Lin | Wangchunshu Zhou | Ming Shen | Pei Zhou | Chandra Bhagavatula | Yejin Choi | Xiang Ren
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Recently, large-scale pre-trained language models have demonstrated impressive performance on several commonsense-reasoning benchmark datasets. However, building machines with commonsense to compose realistically plausible sentences remains challenging. In this paper, we present a constrained text generation task, CommonGen associated with a benchmark dataset, to explicitly test machines for the ability of generative commonsense reasoning. Given a set of common concepts (e.g., dog, frisbee, catch, throw); the task is to generate a coherent sentence describing an everyday scenario using these concepts (e.g., “a man throws a frisbee and his dog catches it”). The CommonGen task is challenging because it inherently requires 1) relational reasoning with background commonsense knowledge and 2) compositional generalization ability to work on unseen concept combinations. Our dataset, constructed through a combination of crowdsourced and existing caption corpora, consists of 77k commonsense descriptions over 35k unique concept-sets. Experiments show that there is a large gap between state-of-the-art text generation models (e.g., T5) and human performance (31.6% v.s. 63.5% in SPICE metric). Furthermore, we demonstrate that the learned generative commonsense reasoning capability can be transferred to improve downstream tasks such as CommonsenseQA (76.9% to 78.4 in dev accuracy) by generating additional context.

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Connecting the Dots: A Knowledgeable Path Generator for Commonsense Question Answering
Peifeng Wang | Nanyun Peng | Filip Ilievski | Pedro Szekely | Xiang Ren
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Commonsense question answering (QA) requires background knowledge which is not explicitly stated in a given context. Prior works use commonsense knowledge graphs (KGs) to obtain this knowledge for reasoning. However, relying entirely on these KGs may not suffice, considering their limited coverage and the contextual dependence of their knowledge. In this paper, we augment a general commonsense QA framework with a knowledgeable path generator. By extrapolating over existing paths in a KG with a state-of-the-art language model, our generator learns to connect a pair of entities in text with a dynamic, and potentially novel, multi-hop relational path. Such paths can provide structured evidence for solving commonsense questions without fine-tuning the path generator. Experiments on two datasets show the superiority of our method over previous works which fully rely on knowledge from KGs (with up to 6% improvement in accuracy), across various amounts of training data. Further evaluation suggests that the generated paths are typically interpretable, novel, and relevant to the task.

2019

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Posterior-regularized REINFORCE for Instance Selection in Distant Supervision
Qi Zhang | Siliang Tang | Xiang Ren | Fei Wu | Shiliang Pu | Yueting Zhuang
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)

This paper provides a new way to improve the efficiency of the REINFORCE training process. We apply it to the task of instance selection in distant supervision. Modeling the instance selection in one bag as a sequential decision process, a reinforcement learning agent is trained to determine whether an instance is valuable or not and construct a new bag with less noisy instances. However unbiased methods, such as REINFORCE, could usually take much time to train. This paper adopts posterior regularization (PR) to integrate some domain-specific rules in instance selection using REINFORCE. As the experiment results show, this method remarkably improves the performance of the relation classifier trained on cleaned distant supervision dataset as well as the efficiency of the REINFORCE training.

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Improving Distantly-supervised Entity Typing with Compact Latent Space Clustering
Bo Chen | Xiaotao Gu | Yufeng Hu | Siliang Tang | Guoping Hu | Yueting Zhuang | Xiang Ren
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)

Recently, distant supervision has gained great success on Fine-grained Entity Typing (FET). Despite its efficiency in reducing manual labeling efforts, it also brings the challenge of dealing with false entity type labels, as distant supervision assigns labels in a context-agnostic manner. Existing works alleviated this issue with partial-label loss, but usually suffer from confirmation bias, which means the classifier fit a pseudo data distribution given by itself. In this work, we propose to regularize distantly supervised models with Compact Latent Space Clustering (CLSC) to bypass this problem and effectively utilize noisy data yet. Our proposed method first dynamically constructs a similarity graph of different entity mentions; infer the labels of noisy instances via label propagation. Based on the inferred labels, mention embeddings are updated accordingly to encourage entity mentions with close semantics to form a compact cluster in the embedding space, thus leading to better classification performance. Extensive experiments on standard benchmarks show that our CLSC model consistently outperforms state-of-the-art distantly supervised entity typing systems by a significant margin.

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Learning Dynamic Context Augmentation for Global Entity Linking
Xiyuan Yang | Xiaotao Gu | Sheng Lin | Siliang Tang | Yueting Zhuang | Fei Wu | Zhigang Chen | Guoping Hu | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Despite of the recent success of collective entity linking (EL) methods, these “global” inference methods may yield sub-optimal results when the “all-mention coherence” assumption breaks, and often suffer from high computational cost at the inference stage, due to the complex search space. In this paper, we propose a simple yet effective solution, called Dynamic Context Augmentation (DCA), for collective EL, which requires only one pass through the mentions in a document. DCA sequentially accumulates context information to make efficient, collective inference, and can cope with different local EL models as a plug-and-enhance module. We explore both supervised and reinforcement learning strategies for learning the DCA model. Extensive experiments show the effectiveness of our model with different learning settings, base models, decision orders and attention mechanisms.

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Hierarchical Text Classification with Reinforced Label Assignment
Yuning Mao | Jingjing Tian | Jiawei Han | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

While existing hierarchical text classification (HTC) methods attempt to capture label hierarchies for model training, they either make local decisions regarding each label or completely ignore the hierarchy information during inference. To solve the mismatch between training and inference as well as modeling label dependencies in a more principled way, we formulate HTC as a Markov decision process and propose to learn a Label Assignment Policy via deep reinforcement learning to determine where to place an object and when to stop the assignment process. The proposed method, HiLAP, explores the hierarchy during both training and inference time in a consistent manner and makes inter-dependent decisions. As a general framework, HiLAP can incorporate different neural encoders as base models for end-to-end training. Experiments on five public datasets and four base models show that HiLAP yields an average improvement of 33.4% in Macro-F1 over flat classifiers and outperforms state-of-the-art HTC methods by a large margin. Data and code can be found at https://github.com/morningmoni/HiLAP.

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Collaborative Policy Learning for Open Knowledge Graph Reasoning
Cong Fu | Tong Chen | Meng Qu | Woojeong Jin | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

In recent years, there has been a surge of interests in interpretable graph reasoning methods. However, these models often suffer from limited performance when working on sparse and incomplete graphs, due to the lack of evidential paths that can reach target entities. Here we study open knowledge graph reasoning—a task that aims to reason for missing facts over a graph augmented by a background text corpus. A key challenge of the task is to filter out “irrelevant” facts extracted from corpus, in order to maintain an effective search space during path inference. We propose a novel reinforcement learning framework to train two collaborative agents jointly, i.e., a multi-hop graph reasoner and a fact extractor. The fact extraction agent generates fact triples from corpora to enrich the graph on the fly; while the reasoning agent provides feedback to the fact extractor and guides it towards promoting facts that are helpful for the interpretable reasoning. Experiments on two public datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach.

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KagNet: Knowledge-Aware Graph Networks for Commonsense Reasoning
Bill Yuchen Lin | Xinyue Chen | Jamin Chen | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Commonsense reasoning aims to empower machines with the human ability to make presumptions about ordinary situations in our daily life. In this paper, we propose a textual inference framework for answering commonsense questions, which effectively utilizes external, structured commonsense knowledge graphs to perform explainable inferences. The framework first grounds a question-answer pair from the semantic space to the knowledge-based symbolic space as a schema graph, a related sub-graph of external knowledge graphs. It represents schema graphs with a novel knowledge-aware graph network module named KagNet, and finally scores answers with graph representations. Our model is based on graph convolutional networks and LSTMs, with a hierarchical path-based attention mechanism. The intermediate attention scores make it transparent and interpretable, which thus produce trustworthy inferences. Using ConceptNet as the only external resource for Bert-based models, we achieved state-of-the-art performance on the CommonsenseQA, a large-scale dataset for commonsense reasoning.

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Looking Beyond Label Noise: Shifted Label Distribution Matters in Distantly Supervised Relation Extraction
Qinyuan Ye | Liyuan Liu | Maosen Zhang | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

In recent years there is a surge of interest in applying distant supervision (DS) to automatically generate training data for relation extraction (RE). In this paper, we study the problem what limits the performance of DS-trained neural models, conduct thorough analyses, and identify a factor that can influence the performance greatly, shifted label distribution. Specifically, we found this problem commonly exists in real-world DS datasets, and without special handing, typical DS-RE models cannot automatically adapt to this shift, thus achieving deteriorated performance. To further validate our intuition, we develop a simple yet effective adaptation method for DS-trained models, bias adjustment, which updates models learned over the source domain (i.e., DS training set) with a label distribution estimated on the target domain (i.e., test set). Experiments demonstrate that bias adjustment achieves consistent performance gains on DS-trained models, especially on neural models, with an up to 23% relative F1 improvement, which verifies our assumptions. Our code and data can be found at https://github.com/INK-USC/shifted-label-distribution.

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Reporting the Unreported: Event Extraction for Analyzing the Local Representation of Hate Crimes
Aida Mostafazadeh Davani | Leigh Yeh | Mohammad Atari | Brendan Kennedy | Gwenyth Portillo Wightman | Elaine Gonzalez | Natalie Delong | Rhea Bhatia | Arineh Mirinjian | Xiang Ren | Morteza Dehghani
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Official reports of hate crimes in the US are under-reported relative to the actual number of such incidents. Further, despite statistical approximations, there are no official reports from a large number of US cities regarding incidents of hate. Here, we first demonstrate that event extraction and multi-instance learning, applied to a corpus of local news articles, can be used to predict instances of hate crime. We then use the trained model to detect incidents of hate in cities for which the FBI lacks statistics. Lastly, we train models on predicting homicide and kidnapping, compare the predictions to FBI reports, and establish that incidents of hate are indeed under-reported, compared to other types of crimes, in local press.

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HMEAE: Hierarchical Modular Event Argument Extraction
Xiaozhi Wang | Ziqi Wang | Xu Han | Zhiyuan Liu | Juanzi Li | Peng Li | Maosong Sun | Jie Zhou | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Existing event extraction methods classify each argument role independently, ignoring the conceptual correlations between different argument roles. In this paper, we propose a Hierarchical Modular Event Argument Extraction (HMEAE) model, to provide effective inductive bias from the concept hierarchy of event argument roles. Specifically, we design a neural module network for each basic unit of the concept hierarchy, and then hierarchically compose relevant unit modules with logical operations into a role-oriented modular network to classify a specific argument role. As many argument roles share the same high-level unit module, their correlation can be utilized to extract specific event arguments better. Experiments on real-world datasets show that HMEAE can effectively leverage useful knowledge from the concept hierarchy and significantly outperform the state-of-the-art baselines. The source code can be obtained from https://github.com/thunlp/HMEAE.

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Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Deep Learning Approaches for Low-Resource NLP (DeepLo 2019)
Colin Cherry | Greg Durrett | George Foster | Reza Haffari | Shahram Khadivi | Nanyun Peng | Xiang Ren | Swabha Swayamdipta
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Deep Learning Approaches for Low-Resource NLP (DeepLo 2019)

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Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP (RepL4NLP-2019)
Isabelle Augenstein | Spandana Gella | Sebastian Ruder | Katharina Kann | Burcu Can | Johannes Welbl | Alexis Conneau | Xiang Ren | Marek Rei
Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP (RepL4NLP-2019)

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Eliciting Knowledge from Experts: Automatic Transcript Parsing for Cognitive Task Analysis
Junyi Du | He Jiang | Jiaming Shen | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Cognitive task analysis (CTA) is a type of analysis in applied psychology aimed at eliciting and representing the knowledge and thought processes of domain experts. In CTA, often heavy human labor is involved to parse the interview transcript into structured knowledge (e.g., flowchart for different actions). To reduce human efforts and scale the process, automated CTA transcript parsing is desirable. However, this task has unique challenges as (1) it requires the understanding of long-range context information in conversational text; and (2) the amount of labeled data is limited and indirect—i.e., context-aware, noisy, and low-resource. In this paper, we propose a weakly-supervised information extraction framework for automated CTA transcript parsing. We partition the parsing process into a sequence labeling task and a text span-pair relation extraction task, with distant supervision from human-curated protocol files. To model long-range context information for extracting sentence relations, neighbor sentences are involved as a part of input. Different types of models for capturing context dependency are then applied. We manually annotate real-world CTA transcripts to facilitate the evaluation of the parsing tasks.

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AlpacaTag: An Active Learning-based Crowd Annotation Framework for Sequence Tagging
Bill Yuchen Lin | Dong-Ho Lee | Frank F. Xu | Ouyu Lan | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

We introduce an open-source web-based data annotation framework (AlpacaTag) for sequence tagging tasks such as named-entity recognition (NER). The distinctive advantages of AlpacaTag are three-fold. 1) Active intelligent recommendation: dynamically suggesting annotations and sampling the most informative unlabeled instances with a back-end active learned model; 2) Automatic crowd consolidation: enhancing real-time inter-annotator agreement by merging inconsistent labels from multiple annotators; 3) Real-time model deployment: users can deploy their models in downstream systems while new annotations are being made. AlpacaTag is a comprehensive solution for sequence labeling tasks, ranging from rapid tagging with recommendations powered by active learning and auto-consolidation of crowd annotations to real-time model deployment.

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KCAT: A Knowledge-Constraint Typing Annotation Tool
Sheng Lin | Luye Zheng | Bo Chen | Siliang Tang | Zhigang Chen | Guoping Hu | Yueting Zhuang | Fei Wu | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

In this paper, we propose an efficient Knowledge Constraint Fine-grained Entity Typing Annotation Tool, which further improves the entity typing process through entity linking together with some practical functions.

2018

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End-to-End Reinforcement Learning for Automatic Taxonomy Induction
Yuning Mao | Xiang Ren | Jiaming Shen | Xiaotao Gu | Jiawei Han
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We present a novel end-to-end reinforcement learning approach to automatic taxonomy induction from a set of terms. While prior methods treat the problem as a two-phase task (i.e.,, detecting hypernymy pairs followed by organizing these pairs into a tree-structured hierarchy), we argue that such two-phase methods may suffer from error propagation, and cannot effectively optimize metrics that capture the holistic structure of a taxonomy. In our approach, the representations of term pairs are learned using multiple sources of information and used to determine which term to select and where to place it on the taxonomy via a policy network. All components are trained in an end-to-end manner with cumulative rewards, measured by a holistic tree metric over the training taxonomies. Experiments on two public datasets of different domains show that our approach outperforms prior state-of-the-art taxonomy induction methods up to 19.6% on ancestor F1.

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Scalable Construction and Reasoning of Massive Knowledge Bases
Xiang Ren | Nanyun Peng | William Yang Wang
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Tutorial Abstracts

In today’s information-based society, there is abundant knowledge out there carried in the form of natural language texts (e.g., news articles, social media posts, scientific publications), which spans across various domains (e.g., corporate documents, advertisements, legal acts, medical reports), which grows at an astonishing rate. Yet this knowledge is mostly inaccessible to computers and overwhelming for human experts to absorb. How to turn such massive and unstructured text data into structured, actionable knowledge, and furthermore, how to teach machines learn to reason and complete the extracted knowledge is a grand challenge to the research community. Traditional IE systems assume abundant human annotations for training high quality machine learning models, which is impractical when trying to deploy IE systems to a broad range of domains, settings and languages. In the first part of the tutorial, we introduce how to extract structured facts (i.e., entities and their relations for types of interest) from text corpora to construct knowledge bases, with a focus on methods that are weakly-supervised and domain-independent for timely knowledge base construction across various application domains. In the second part, we introduce how to leverage other knowledge, such as the distributional statistics of characters and words, the annotations for other tasks and other domains, and the linguistics and problem structures, to combat the problem of inadequate supervision, and conduct low-resource information extraction. In the third part, we describe recent advances in knowledge base reasoning. We start with the gentle introduction to the literature, focusing on path-based and embedding based methods. We then describe DeepPath, a recent attempt of using deep reinforcement learning to combine the best of both worlds for knowledge base reasoning.

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Efficient Contextualized Representation: Language Model Pruning for Sequence Labeling
Liyuan Liu | Xiang Ren | Jingbo Shang | Xiaotao Gu | Jian Peng | Jiawei Han
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Many efforts have been made to facilitate natural language processing tasks with pre-trained language models (LMs), and brought significant improvements to various applications. To fully leverage the nearly unlimited corpora and capture linguistic information of multifarious levels, large-size LMs are required; but for a specific task, only parts of these information are useful. Such large-sized LMs, even in the inference stage, may cause heavy computation workloads, making them too time-consuming for large-scale applications. Here we propose to compress bulky LMs while preserving useful information with regard to a specific task. As different layers of the model keep different information, we develop a layer selection method for model pruning using sparsity-inducing regularization. By introducing the dense connectivity, we can detach any layer without affecting others, and stretch shallow and wide LMs to be deep and narrow. In model training, LMs are learned with layer-wise dropouts for better robustness. Experiments on two benchmark datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our method.

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Learning Named Entity Tagger using Domain-Specific Dictionary
Jingbo Shang | Liyuan Liu | Xiaotao Gu | Xiang Ren | Teng Ren | Jiawei Han
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Recent advances in deep neural models allow us to build reliable named entity recognition (NER) systems without handcrafting features. However, such methods require large amounts of manually-labeled training data. There have been efforts on replacing human annotations with distant supervision (in conjunction with external dictionaries), but the generated noisy labels pose significant challenges on learning effective neural models. Here we propose two neural models to suit noisy distant supervision from the dictionary. First, under the traditional sequence labeling framework, we propose a revised fuzzy CRF layer to handle tokens with multiple possible labels. After identifying the nature of noisy labels in distant supervision, we go beyond the traditional framework and propose a novel, more effective neural model AutoNER with a new Tie or Break scheme. In addition, we discuss how to refine distant supervision for better NER performance. Extensive experiments on three benchmark datasets demonstrate that AutoNER achieves the best performance when only using dictionaries with no additional human effort, and delivers competitive results with state-of-the-art supervised benchmarks.

2017

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Heterogeneous Supervision for Relation Extraction: A Representation Learning Approach
Liyuan Liu | Xiang Ren | Qi Zhu | Shi Zhi | Huan Gui | Heng Ji | Jiawei Han
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Relation extraction is a fundamental task in information extraction. Most existing methods have heavy reliance on annotations labeled by human experts, which are costly and time-consuming. To overcome this drawback, we propose a novel framework, REHession, to conduct relation extractor learning using annotations from heterogeneous information source, e.g., knowledge base and domain heuristics. These annotations, referred as heterogeneous supervision, often conflict with each other, which brings a new challenge to the original relation extraction task: how to infer the true label from noisy labels for a given instance. Identifying context information as the backbone of both relation extraction and true label discovery, we adopt embedding techniques to learn the distributed representations of context, which bridges all components with mutual enhancement in an iterative fashion. Extensive experimental results demonstrate the superiority of REHession over the state-of-the-art.

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Life-iNet: A Structured Network-Based Knowledge Exploration and Analytics System for Life Sciences
Xiang Ren | Jiaming Shen | Meng Qu | Xuan Wang | Zeqiu Wu | Qi Zhu | Meng Jiang | Fangbo Tao | Saurabh Sinha | David Liem | Peipei Ping | Richard Weinshilboum | Jiawei Han
Proceedings of ACL 2017, System Demonstrations

2016

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AFET: Automatic Fine-Grained Entity Typing by Hierarchical Partial-Label Embedding
Xiang Ren | Wenqi He | Meng Qu | Lifu Huang | Heng Ji | Jiawei Han
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

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Cross-media Event Extraction and Recommendation
Di Lu | Clare Voss | Fangbo Tao | Xiang Ren | Rachel Guan | Rostyslav Korolov | Tongtao Zhang | Dongang Wang | Hongzhi Li | Taylor Cassidy | Heng Ji | Shih-fu Chang | Jiawei Han | William Wallace | James Hendler | Mei Si | Lance Kaplan
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Demonstrations

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