Xiao Chen


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Improving End-to-End Speech Processing by Efficient Text Data Utilization with Latent Synthesis
Jianqiao Lu | Wenyong Huang | Nianzu Zheng | Xingshan Zeng | Yu Yeung | Xiao Chen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Training a high performance end-to-end speech (E2E) processing model requires an enormous amount of labeled speech data, especially in the era of data-centric artificial intelligence. However, labeled speech data are usually scarcer and more expensive for collection, compared to textual data. We propose Latent Synthesis (LaSyn), an efficient textual data utilization framework for E2E speech processing models. We train a latent synthesizer to convert textual data into an intermediate latent representation of a pre-trained speech model. These pseudo acoustic representations of textual data augment acoustic data for model training. We evaluate LaSyn on low-resource automatic speech recognition (ASR) and spoken language understanding (SLU) tasks. For ASR, LaSyn improves an E2E baseline trained on LibriSpeech train-clean-100, with relative word error rate reductions over 22.3% on different test sets. For SLU, LaSyn improves our E2E baseline by absolute 4.1% for intent classification accuracy and 3.8% for slot filling SLU-F1 on SLURP, and absolute 4.49% and 2.25% for exact match (EM) and EM-Tree accuracies on STOP respectively. With fewer parameters, the results of LaSyn are competitive to published state-of-the-art works. The results demonstrate the quality of the augmented training data.


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bert2BERT: Towards Reusable Pretrained Language Models
Cheng Chen | Yichun Yin | Lifeng Shang | Xin Jiang | Yujia Qin | Fengyu Wang | Zhi Wang | Xiao Chen | Zhiyuan Liu | Qun Liu
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In recent years, researchers tend to pre-train ever-larger language models to explore the upper limit of deep models. However, large language model pre-training costs intensive computational resources, and most of the models are trained from scratch without reusing the existing pre-trained models, which is wasteful. In this paper, we propose bert2BERT, which can effectively transfer the knowledge of an existing smaller pre-trained model to a large model through parameter initialization and significantly improve the pre-training efficiency of the large model. Specifically, we extend the previous function-preserving method proposed in computer vision on the Transformer-based language model, and further improve it by proposing a novel method, advanced knowledge for large model’s initialization. In addition, a two-stage learning method is proposed to further accelerate the pre-training. We conduct extensive experiments on representative PLMs (e.g., BERT and GPT) and demonstrate that (1) our method can save a significant amount of training cost compared with baselines including learning from scratch, StackBERT and MSLT; (2) our method is generic and applicable to different types of pre-trained models. In particular, bert2BERT saves about 45% and 47% computational cost of pre-training BERT BASE and GPT BASE by reusing the models of almost their half sizes.


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Automatic Construction of Sememe Knowledge Bases via Dictionaries
Fanchao Qi | Yangyi Chen | Fengyu Wang | Zhiyuan Liu | Xiao Chen | Maosong Sun
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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AutoTinyBERT: Automatic Hyper-parameter Optimization for Efficient Pre-trained Language Models
Yichun Yin | Cheng Chen | Lifeng Shang | Xin Jiang | Xiao Chen | Qun Liu
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)

Pre-trained language models (PLMs) have achieved great success in natural language processing. Most of PLMs follow the default setting of architecture hyper-parameters (e.g., the hidden dimension is a quarter of the intermediate dimension in feed-forward sub-networks) in BERT. Few studies have been conducted to explore the design of architecture hyper-parameters in BERT, especially for the more efficient PLMs with tiny sizes, which are essential for practical deployment on resource-constrained devices. In this paper, we adopt the one-shot Neural Architecture Search (NAS) to automatically search architecture hyper-parameters. Specifically, we carefully design the techniques of one-shot learning and the search space to provide an adaptive and efficient development way of tiny PLMs for various latency constraints. We name our method AutoTinyBERT and evaluate its effectiveness on the GLUE and SQuAD benchmarks. The extensive experiments show that our method outperforms both the SOTA search-based baseline (NAS-BERT) and the SOTA distillation-based methods (such as DistilBERT, TinyBERT, MiniLM, and MobileBERT). In addition, based on the obtained architectures, we propose a more efficient development method that is even faster than the development of a single PLM. The source code and models will be publicly available upon publication.

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GhostBERT: Generate More Features with Cheap Operations for BERT
Zhiqi Huang | Lu Hou | Lifeng Shang | Xin Jiang | Xiao Chen | Qun Liu
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)

Transformer-based pre-trained language models like BERT, though powerful in many tasks, are expensive in both memory and computation, due to their large number of parameters. Previous works show that some parameters in these models can be pruned away without severe accuracy drop. However, these redundant features contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the training data and removing them weakens the model’s representation ability. In this paper, we propose GhostBERT, which generates more features with very cheap operations from the remaining features. In this way, GhostBERT has similar memory and computational cost as the pruned model, but enjoys much larger representation power. The proposed ghost module can also be applied to unpruned BERT models to enhance their performance with negligible additional parameters and computation. Empirical results on the GLUE benchmark on three backbone models (i.e., BERT, RoBERTa and ELECTRA) verify the efficacy of our proposed method.

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DyLex: Incorporating Dynamic Lexicons into BERT for Sequence Labeling
Baojun Wang | Zhao Zhang | Kun Xu | Guang-Yuan Hao | Yuyang Zhang | Lifeng Shang | Linlin Li | Xiao Chen | Xin Jiang | Qun Liu
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Incorporating lexical knowledge into deep learning models has been proved to be very effective for sequence labeling tasks. However, previous works commonly have difficulty dealing with large-scale dynamic lexicons which often cause excessive matching noise and problems of frequent updates. In this paper, we propose DyLex, a plug-in lexicon incorporation approach for BERT based sequence labeling tasks. Instead of leveraging embeddings of words in the lexicon as in conventional methods, we adopt word-agnostic tag embeddings to avoid re-training the representation while updating the lexicon. Moreover, we employ an effective supervised lexical knowledge denoising method to smooth out matching noise. Finally, we introduce a col-wise attention based knowledge fusion mechanism to guarantee the pluggability of the proposed framework. Experiments on ten datasets of three tasks show that the proposed framework achieves new SOTA, even with very large scale lexicons.


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HyperText: Endowing FastText with Hyperbolic Geometry
Yudong Zhu | Di Zhou | Jinghui Xiao | Xin Jiang | Xiao Chen | Qun Liu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Natural language data exhibit tree-like hierarchical structures such as the hypernym-hyponym hierarchy in WordNet. FastText, as the state-of-the-art text classifier based on shallow neural network in Euclidean space, may not represent such hierarchies precisely with limited representation capacity. Considering that hyperbolic space is naturally suitable for modelling tree-like hierarchical data, we propose a new model named HyperText for efficient text classification by endowing FastText with hyperbolic geometry. Empirically, we show that HyperText outperforms FastText on a range of text classification tasks with much reduced parameters.

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TinyBERT: Distilling BERT for Natural Language Understanding
Xiaoqi Jiao | Yichun Yin | Lifeng Shang | Xin Jiang | Xiao Chen | Linlin Li | Fang Wang | Qun Liu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Language model pre-training, such as BERT, has significantly improved the performances of many natural language processing tasks. However, pre-trained language models are usually computationally expensive, so it is difficult to efficiently execute them on resource-restricted devices. To accelerate inference and reduce model size while maintaining accuracy, we first propose a novel Transformer distillation method that is specially designed for knowledge distillation (KD) of the Transformer-based models. By leveraging this new KD method, the plenty of knowledge encoded in a large “teacher” BERT can be effectively transferred to a small “student” TinyBERT. Then, we introduce a new two-stage learning framework for TinyBERT, which performs Transformer distillation at both the pre-training and task-specific learning stages. This framework ensures that TinyBERT can capture the general-domain as well as the task-specific knowledge in BERT. TinyBERT4 with 4 layers is empirically effective and achieves more than 96.8% the performance of its teacher BERT-Base on GLUE benchmark, while being 7.5x smaller and 9.4x faster on inference. TinyBERT4 is also significantly better than 4-layer state-of-the-art baselines on BERT distillation, with only ~28% parameters and ~31% inference time of them. Moreover, TinyBERT6 with 6 layers performs on-par with its teacher BERT-Base.

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A General Framework for Adaptation of Neural Machine Translation to Simultaneous Translation
Yun Chen | Liangyou Li | Xin Jiang | Xiao Chen | Qun Liu
Proceedings of the 1st Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 10th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing

Despite the success of neural machine translation (NMT), simultaneous neural machine translation (SNMT), the task of translating in real time before a full sentence has been observed, remains challenging due to the syntactic structure difference and simultaneity requirements. In this paper, we propose a general framework for adapting neural machine translation to translate simultaneously. Our framework contains two parts: prefix translation that utilizes a consecutive NMT model to translate source prefixes and a stopping criterion that determines when to stop the prefix translation. Experiments on three translation corpora and two language pairs show the efficacy of the proposed framework on balancing the quality and latency in adapting NMT to perform simultaneous translation.

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Aspect Sentiment Classification with Document-level Sentiment Preference Modeling
Xiao Chen | Changlong Sun | Jingjing Wang | Shoushan Li | Luo Si | Min Zhang | Guodong Zhou
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

In the literature, existing studies always consider Aspect Sentiment Classification (ASC) as an independent sentence-level classification problem aspect by aspect, which largely ignore the document-level sentiment preference information, though obviously such information is crucial for alleviating the information deficiency problem in ASC. In this paper, we explore two kinds of sentiment preference information inside a document, i.e., contextual sentiment consistency w.r.t. the same aspect (namely intra-aspect sentiment consistency) and contextual sentiment tendency w.r.t. all the related aspects (namely inter-aspect sentiment tendency). On the basis, we propose a Cooperative Graph Attention Networks (CoGAN) approach for cooperatively learning the aspect-related sentence representation. Specifically, two graph attention networks are leveraged to model above two kinds of document-level sentiment preference information respectively, followed by an interactive mechanism to integrate the two-fold preference. Detailed evaluation demonstrates the great advantage of the proposed approach to ASC over the state-of-the-art baselines. This justifies the importance of the document-level sentiment preference information to ASC and the effectiveness of our approach capturing such information.

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TernaryBERT: Distillation-aware Ultra-low Bit BERT
Wei Zhang | Lu Hou | Yichun Yin | Lifeng Shang | Xiao Chen | Xin Jiang | Qun Liu
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Transformer-based pre-training models like BERT have achieved remarkable performance in many natural language processing tasks. However, these models are both computation and memory expensive, hindering their deployment to resource-constrained devices. In this work, we propose TernaryBERT, which ternarizes the weights in a fine-tuned BERT model. Specifically, we use both approximation-based and loss-aware ternarization methods and empirically investigate the ternarization granularity of different parts of BERT. Moreover, to reduce the accuracy degradation caused by lower capacity of low bits, we leverage the knowledge distillation technique in the training process. Experiments on the GLUE benchmark and SQuAD show that our proposed TernaryBERT outperforms the other BERT quantization methods, and even achieves comparable performance as the full-precision model while being 14.9x smaller.


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End-to-end Speech Translation System Description of LIT for IWSLT 2019
Mei Tu | Wei Liu | Lijie Wang | Xiao Chen | Xue Wen
Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Spoken Language Translation

This paper describes our end-to-end speech translation system for the speech translation task of lectures and TED talks from English to German for IWSLT Evaluation 2019. We propose layer-tied self-attention for end-to-end speech translation. Our method takes advantage of sharing weights of speech encoder and text decoder. The representation of source speech and the representation of target text are coordinated layer by layer, so that the speech and text can learn a better alignment during the training procedure. We also adopt data augmentation to enhance the parallel speech-text corpus. The En-De experimental results show that our best model achieves 17.68 on tst2015. Our ASR achieves WER of 6.6% on TED-LIUM test set. The En-Pt model can achieve about 11.83 on the MuST-C dev set.

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Modeling Semantic Compositionality with Sememe Knowledge
Fanchao Qi | Junjie Huang | Chenghao Yang | Zhiyuan Liu | Xiao Chen | Qun Liu | Maosong Sun
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Semantic compositionality (SC) refers to the phenomenon that the meaning of a complex linguistic unit can be composed of the meanings of its constituents. Most related works focus on using complicated compositionality functions to model SC while few works consider external knowledge in models. In this paper, we verify the effectiveness of sememes, the minimum semantic units of human languages, in modeling SC by a confirmatory experiment. Furthermore, we make the first attempt to incorporate sememe knowledge into SC models, and employ the sememe-incorporated models in learning representations of multiword expressions, a typical task of SC. In experiments, we implement our models by incorporating knowledge from a famous sememe knowledge base HowNet and perform both intrinsic and extrinsic evaluations. Experimental results show that our models achieve significant performance boost as compared to the baseline methods without considering sememe knowledge. We further conduct quantitative analysis and case studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of applying sememe knowledge in modeling SC.All the code and data of this paper can be obtained on https://github.com/thunlp/Sememe-SC.


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Higher-order Constituent Parsing and Parser Combination
Xiao Chen | Chunyu Kit
Proceedings of the 50th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)


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Improving Part-of-speech Tagging for Context-free Parsing
Xiao Chen | Chunyu Kit
Proceedings of 5th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing


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Transliteration of Name Entity via Improved Statistical Translation on Character Sequences
Yan Song | Chunyu Kit | Xiao Chen
Proceedings of the 2009 Named Entities Workshop: Shared Task on Transliteration (NEWS 2009)


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The Fourth International Chinese Language Processing Bakeoff: Chinese Word Segmentation, Named Entity Recognition and Chinese POS Tagging
Guangjin Jin | Xiao Chen
Proceedings of the Sixth SIGHAN Workshop on Chinese Language Processing