Xiaocheng Feng


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Towards Higher Pareto Frontier in Multilingual Machine Translation
Yichong Huang | Xiaocheng Feng | Xinwei Geng | Baohang Li | Bing Qin
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Multilingual neural machine translation has witnessed remarkable progress in recent years. However, the long-tailed distribution of multilingual corpora poses a challenge of Pareto optimization, i.e., optimizing for some languages may come at the cost of degrading the performance of others. Existing balancing training strategies are equivalent to a series of Pareto optimal solutions, which trade off on a Pareto frontierIn Pareto optimization, Pareto optimal solutions refer to solutions in which none of the objectives can be improved without sacrificing at least one of the other objectives. The set of all Pareto optimal solutions forms a Pareto frontier..In this work, we propose a new training framework, Pareto Mutual Distillation (Pareto-MD), towards pushing the Pareto frontier outwards rather than making trade-offs. Specifically, Pareto-MD collaboratively trains two Pareto optimal solutions that favor different languages and allows them to learn from the strengths of each other via knowledge distillation. Furthermore, we introduce a novel strategy to enable stronger communication between Pareto optimal solutions and broaden the applicability of our approach. Experimental results on the widely-used WMT and TED datasets show that our method significantly pushes the Pareto frontier and outperforms baselines by up to +2.46 BLEUOur code will be released upon acceptance..

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Controllable Text Generation via Probability Density Estimation in the Latent Space
Yuxuan Gu | Xiaocheng Feng | Sicheng Ma | Lingyuan Zhang | Heng Gong | Weihong Zhong | Bing Qin
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Previous work on controllable text generation has explored the idea of control from the latent space, such as optimizing a representation with attribute-specific classifiers or sampling one from relevant discrete samples. However, they cannot effectively model a complex space with diverse attributes, high dimensionality, and asymmetric structure, leaving subsequent controls unsatisfying. In this work, we propose a novel control framework using probability density estimation in the latent space. Our method utilizes an invertible transformation function, the Normalizing Flow, that maps the complex distributions in the latent space to simple Gaussian distributions in the prior space. Thus, we can perform sophisticated and flexible controls in the prior space and feed the control effects back into the latent space owing to the bijection property of invertible transformations. Experiments on single-attribute and multi-attribute control reveal that our method outperforms several strong baselines on attribute relevance and text quality, achieving a new SOTA. Further analysis of control strength adjustment demonstrates the flexibility of our control strategy.

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Improved Visual Story Generation with Adaptive Context Modeling
Zhangyin Feng | Yuchen Ren | Xinmiao Yu | Xiaocheng Feng | Duyu Tang | Shuming Shi | Bing Qin
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Diffusion models developed on top of powerful text-to-image generation models like Stable Diffusion achieve remarkable success in visual story generation. However, the best-performing approach considers historically generated results as flattened memory cells, ignoring the fact that not all preceding images contribute equally to the generation of the characters and scenes at the current stage. To address this, we present a simple method that improves the leading system with adaptive context modeling, which is not only incorporated in the encoder but also adopted as additional guidance in the sampling stage to boost the global consistency of the generated story. We evaluate our model on PororoSV and FlintstonesSV datasets and show that our approach achieves state-of-the-art FID scores on both story visualization and continuation scenarios. We conduct detailed model analysis and show that our model excels at generating semantically consistent images for stories.

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Hierarchical Catalogue Generation for Literature Review: A Benchmark
Kun Zhu | Xiaocheng Feng | Xiachong Feng | Yingsheng Wu | Bing Qin
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Scientific literature review generation aims to extract and organize important information from an abundant collection of reference papers and produces corresponding reviews while lacking a clear and logical hierarchy. We observe that a high-quality catalogue-guided generation process can effectively alleviate this problem. Therefore, we present an atomic and challenging task named Hierarchical Catalogue Generation for Literature Review as the first step for review generation, which aims to produce a hierarchical catalogue of a review paper given various references. We construct a novel English Hierarchical Catalogues of Literature Reviews Dataset with 7.6k literature review catalogues and 389k reference papers. To accurately assess the model performance, we design two evaluation metrics for informativeness and similarity to ground truth from semantics and structure. Our extensive analyses verify the high quality of our dataset and the effectiveness of our evaluation metrics. We further benchmark diverse experiments on state-of-the-art summarization models like BART and large language models like ChatGPT to evaluate their capabilities. We further discuss potential directions for this task to motivate future research.

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Enabling Unsupervised Neural Machine Translation with Word-level Visual Representations
Chengpeng Fu | Xiaocheng Feng | Yichong Huang | Wenshuai Huo | Hui Wang | Bing Qin | Ting Liu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Unsupervised neural machine translation has recently made remarkable strides, achieving impressive results with the exclusive use of monolingual corpora. Nonetheless, these methods still exhibit fundamental flaws, such as confusing similar words. A straightforward remedy to rectify this drawback is to employ bilingual dictionaries, however, high-quality bilingual dictionaries can be costly to obtain. To overcome this limitation, we propose a method that incorporates images at the word level to augment the lexical mappings. Specifically, our method inserts visual representations into the model, modifying the corresponding embedding layer information. Besides, a visible matrix is adopted to isolate the impact of images on other unrelated words. Experiments on the Multi30k dataset with over 300,000 self-collected images validate the effectiveness in generating more accurate word translation, achieving an improvement of up to +2.81 BLEU score, which is comparable or even superior to using bilingual dictionaries.


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A Distributional Lens for Multi-Aspect Controllable Text Generation
Yuxuan Gu | Xiaocheng Feng | Sicheng Ma | Lingyuan Zhang | Heng Gong | Bing Qin
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Multi-aspect controllable text generation is a more challenging and practical task than single-aspect control. Existing methods achieve complex multi-aspect control by fusing multiple controllers learned from single-aspect, but suffer from attribute degeneration caused by the mutual interference of these controllers. To address this, we provide observations on attribute fusion from a distributional perspective and propose to directly search for the intersection areas of multiple attribute distributions as their combination for generation. Our method first estimates the attribute space with an autoencoder structure. Afterward, we iteratively approach the intersections by jointly minimizing distances to points representing different attributes. Finally, we map them to attribute-relevant sentences with a prefix-tuning-based decoder. Experiments on the three-aspect control task, including sentiment, topic, and detoxification aspects, reveal that our method outperforms several strong baselines on attribute relevance and text quality and achieves the SOTA. Further analysis also supplies some explanatory support for the effectiveness of our approach.

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Unifying the Convergences in Multilingual Neural Machine Translation
Yichong Huang | Xiaocheng Feng | Xinwei Geng | Bing Qin
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Although all-in-one-model multilingual neural machine translation (MNMT) has achieved remarkable progress, the convergence inconsistency in the joint training is ignored, i.e., different language pairs reaching convergence in different epochs. This leads to the trained MNMT model over-fitting low-resource language translations while under-fitting high-resource ones. In this paper, we propose a novel training strategy named LSSD (LanguageSpecific Self-Distillation), which can alleviate the convergence inconsistency and help MNMT models achieve the best performance on each language pair simultaneously. Specifically, LSSD picks up language-specific best checkpoints for each language pair to teach the current model on the fly. Furthermore, we systematically explore three sample-level manipulations of knowledge transferring. Experimental results on three datasets show that LSSD obtains consistent improvements towards all language pairs and achieves the state-of-the-art.

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Improving Controllable Text Generation with Position-Aware Weighted Decoding
Yuxuan Gu | Xiaocheng Feng | Sicheng Ma | Jiaming Wu | Heng Gong | Bing Qin
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Weighted decoding methods composed of the pretrained language model (LM) and the controller have achieved promising results for controllable text generation. However, these models often suffer from a control strength/fluency trade-off problem as higher control strength is more likely to generate incoherent and repetitive text. In this paper, we illustrate this trade-off is arisen by the controller imposing the target attribute on the LM at improper positions. And we propose a novel framework based on existing weighted decoding methods called CAT-PAW, which introduces a lightweight regulator to adjust bias signals from the controller at different decoding positions. Experiments on positive sentiment control, topic control, and language detoxification show the effectiveness of our CAT-PAW upon 4 SOTA models.

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MSAMSum: Towards Benchmarking Multi-lingual Dialogue Summarization
Xiachong Feng | Xiaocheng Feng | Bing Qin
Proceedings of the Second DialDoc Workshop on Document-grounded Dialogue and Conversational Question Answering

Dialogue summarization helps users capture salient information from various types of dialogues has received much attention recently. However, current works mainly focus on English dialogue summarization, leaving other languages less well explored. Therefore, we present a multi-lingual dialogue summarization dataset, namely MSAMSum, which covers dialogue-summary pairs in six languages. Specifically, we derive MSAMSum from the standard SAMSum using sophisticated translation techniques and further employ two methods to ensure the integral translation quality and summary factual consistency. Given the proposed MSAMum, we systematically set up five multi-lingual settings for this task, including a novel mix-lingual dialogue summarization setting. To illustrate the utility of our dataset, we benchmark various experiments with pre-trained models under different settings and report results in both supervised and zero-shot manners. We also discuss some future works towards this task to motivate future researches.


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Language Model as an Annotator: Exploring DialoGPT for Dialogue Summarization
Xiachong Feng | Xiaocheng Feng | Libo Qin | Bing Qin | Ting 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)

Current dialogue summarization systems usually encode the text with a number of general semantic features (e.g., keywords and topics) to gain more powerful dialogue modeling capabilities. However, these features are obtained via open-domain toolkits that are dialog-agnostic or heavily relied on human annotations. In this paper, we show how DialoGPT, a pre-trained model for conversational response generation, can be developed as an unsupervised dialogue annotator, which takes advantage of dialogue background knowledge encoded in DialoGPT. We apply DialoGPT to label three types of features on two dialogue summarization datasets, SAMSum and AMI, and employ pre-trained and non pre-trained models as our summarizers. Experimental results show that our proposed method can obtain remarkable improvements on both datasets and achieves new state-of-the-art performance on the SAMSum dataset.

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Learning to Rewrite for Non-Autoregressive Neural Machine Translation
Xinwei Geng | Xiaocheng Feng | Bing Qin
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Non-autoregressive neural machine translation, which decomposes the dependence on previous target tokens from the inputs of the decoder, has achieved impressive inference speedup but at the cost of inferior accuracy. Previous works employ iterative decoding to improve the translation by applying multiple refinement iterations. However, a serious drawback is that these approaches expose the serious weakness in recognizing the erroneous translation pieces. In this paper, we propose an architecture named RewriteNAT to explicitly learn to rewrite the erroneous translation pieces. Specifically, RewriteNAT utilizes a locator module to locate the erroneous ones, which are then revised into the correct ones by a revisor module. Towards keeping the consistency of data distribution with iterative decoding, an iterative training strategy is employed to further improve the capacity of rewriting. Extensive experiments conducted on several widely-used benchmarks show that RewriteNAT can achieve better performance while significantly reducing decoding time, compared with previous iterative decoding strategies. In particular, RewriteNAT can obtain competitive results with autoregressive translation on WMT14 En-De, En-Fr and WMT16 Ro-En translation benchmarks.


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CodeBERT: A Pre-Trained Model for Programming and Natural Languages
Zhangyin Feng | Daya Guo | Duyu Tang | Nan Duan | Xiaocheng Feng | Ming Gong | Linjun Shou | Bing Qin | Ting Liu | Daxin Jiang | Ming Zhou
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

We present CodeBERT, a bimodal pre-trained model for programming language (PL) and natural language (NL). CodeBERT learns general-purpose representations that support downstream NL-PL applications such as natural language code search, code documentation generation, etc. We develop CodeBERT with Transformer-based neural architecture, and train it with a hybrid objective function that incorporates the pre-training task of replaced token detection, which is to detect plausible alternatives sampled from generators. This enables us to utilize both “bimodal” data of NL-PL pairs and “unimodal data, where the former provides input tokens for model training while the latter helps to learn better generators. We evaluate CodeBERT on two NL-PL applications by fine-tuning model parameters. Results show that CodeBERT achieves state-of-the-art performance on both natural language code search and code documentation generation. Furthermore, to investigate what type of knowledge is learned in CodeBERT, we construct a dataset for NL-PL probing, and evaluate in a zero-shot setting where parameters of pre-trained models are fixed. Results show that CodeBERT performs better than previous pre-trained models on NLPL probing.

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Enhancing Content Planning for Table-to-Text Generation with Data Understanding and Verification
Heng Gong | Wei Bi | Xiaocheng Feng | Bing Qin | Xiaojiang Liu | Ting Liu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Neural table-to-text models, which select and order salient data, as well as verbalizing them fluently via surface realization, have achieved promising progress. Based on results from previous work, the performance bottleneck of current models lies in the stage of content planing (selecting and ordering salient content from the input). That is, performance drops drastically when an oracle content plan is replaced by a model-inferred one during surface realization. In this paper, we propose to enhance neural content planning by (1) understanding data values with contextual numerical value representations that bring the sense of value comparison into content planning; (2) verifying the importance and ordering of the selected sequence of records with policy gradient. We evaluated our model on ROTOWIRE and MLB, two datasets on this task, and results show that our model outperforms existing systems with respect to content planning metrics.

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TableGPT: Few-shot Table-to-Text Generation with Table Structure Reconstruction and Content Matching
Heng Gong | Yawei Sun | Xiaocheng Feng | Bing Qin | Wei Bi | Xiaojiang Liu | Ting Liu
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Although neural table-to-text models have achieved remarkable progress with the help of large-scale datasets, they suffer insufficient learning problem with limited training data. Recently, pre-trained language models show potential in few-shot learning with linguistic knowledge learnt from pretraining on large-scale corpus. However, benefiting table-to-text generation in few-shot setting with the powerful pretrained language model faces three challenges, including (1) the gap between the task’s structured input and the natural language input for pretraining language model. (2) The lack of modeling for table structure and (3) improving text fidelity with less incorrect expressions that are contradicting to the table. To address aforementioned problems, we propose TableGPT for table-to-text generation. At first, we utilize table transformation module with template to rewrite structured table in natural language as input for GPT-2. In addition, we exploit multi-task learning with two auxiliary tasks that preserve table’s structural information by reconstructing the structure from GPT-2’s representation and improving the text’s fidelity with content matching task aligning the table and information in the generated text. By experimenting on Humans, Songs and Books, three few-shot table-to-text datasets in different domains, our model outperforms existing systems on most few-shot settings.


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Enhancing Neural Data-To-Text Generation Models with External Background Knowledge
Shuang Chen | Jinpeng Wang | Xiaocheng Feng | Feng Jiang | Bing Qin | Chin-Yew Lin
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Recent neural models for data-to-text generation rely on massive parallel pairs of data and text to learn the writing knowledge. They often assume that writing knowledge can be acquired from the training data alone. However, when people are writing, they not only rely on the data but also consider related knowledge. In this paper, we enhance neural data-to-text models with external knowledge in a simple but effective way to improve the fidelity of generated text. Besides relying on parallel data and text as in previous work, our model attends to relevant external knowledge, encoded as a temporary memory, and combines this knowledge with the context representation of data before generating words. This allows the model to infer relevant facts which are not explicitly stated in the data table from an external knowledge source. Experimental results on twenty-one Wikipedia infobox-to-text datasets show our model, KBAtt, consistently improves a state-of-the-art model on most of the datasets. In addition, to quantify when and why external knowledge is effective, we design a metric, KBGain, which shows a strong correlation with the observed performance boost. This result demonstrates the relevance of external knowledge and sparseness of original data are the main factors affecting system performance.

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Table-to-Text Generation with Effective Hierarchical Encoder on Three Dimensions (Row, Column and Time)
Heng Gong | Xiaocheng Feng | Bing Qin | Ting Liu
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Although Seq2Seq models for table-to-text generation have achieved remarkable progress, modeling table representation in one dimension is inadequate. This is because (1) the table consists of multiple rows and columns, which means that encoding a table should not depend only on one dimensional sequence or set of records and (2) most of the tables are time series data (e.g. NBA game data, stock market data), which means that the description of the current table may be affected by its historical data. To address aforementioned problems, not only do we model each table cell considering other records in the same row, we also enrich table’s representation by modeling each table cell in context of other cells in the same column or with historical (time dimension) data respectively. In addition, we develop a table cell fusion gate to combine representations from row, column and time dimension into one dense vector according to the saliency of each dimension’s representation. We evaluated our methods on ROTOWIRE, a benchmark dataset of NBA basketball games. Both automatic and human evaluation results demonstrate the effectiveness of our model with improvement of 2.66 in BLEU over the strong baseline and outperformance of state-of-the-art model.


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Adaptive Multi-pass Decoder for Neural Machine Translation
Xinwei Geng | Xiaocheng Feng | Bing Qin | Ting Liu
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Although end-to-end neural machine translation (NMT) has achieved remarkable progress in the recent years, the idea of adopting multi-pass decoding mechanism into conventional NMT is not well explored. In this paper, we propose a novel architecture called adaptive multi-pass decoder, which introduces a flexible multi-pass polishing mechanism to extend the capacity of NMT via reinforcement learning. More specifically, we adopt an extra policy network to automatically choose a suitable and effective number of decoding passes, according to the complexity of source sentences and the quality of the generated translations. Extensive experiments on Chinese-English translation demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed adaptive multi-pass decoder upon the conventional NMT with a significant improvement about 1.55 BLEU.

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Semantic Parsing with Syntax- and Table-Aware SQL Generation
Yibo Sun | Duyu Tang | Nan Duan | Jianshu Ji | Guihong Cao | Xiaocheng Feng | Bing Qin | Ting Liu | Ming Zhou
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We present a generative model to map natural language questions into SQL queries. Existing neural network based approaches typically generate a SQL query word-by-word, however, a large portion of the generated results is incorrect or not executable due to the mismatch between question words and table contents. Our approach addresses this problem by considering the structure of table and the syntax of SQL language. The quality of the generated SQL query is significantly improved through (1) learning to replicate content from column names, cells or SQL keywords; and (2) improving the generation of WHERE clause by leveraging the column-cell relation. Experiments are conducted on WikiSQL, a recently released dataset with the largest question- SQL pairs. Our approach significantly improves the state-of-the-art execution accuracy from 69.0% to 74.4%.


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Bitext Name Tagging for Cross-lingual Entity Annotation Projection
Dongxu Zhang | Boliang Zhang | Xiaoman Pan | Xiaocheng Feng | Heng Ji | Weiran Xu
Proceedings of COLING 2016, the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Technical Papers

Annotation projection is a practical method to deal with the low resource problem in incident languages (IL) processing. Previous methods on annotation projection mainly relied on word alignment results without any training process, which led to noise propagation caused by word alignment errors. In this paper, we focus on the named entity recognition (NER) task and propose a weakly-supervised framework to project entity annotations from English to IL through bitexts. Instead of directly relying on word alignment results, this framework combines advantages of rule-based methods and deep learning methods by implementing two steps: First, generates a high-confidence entity annotation set on IL side with strict searching methods; Second, uses this high-confidence set to weakly supervise the model training. The model is finally used to accomplish the projecting process. Experimental results on two low-resource ILs show that the proposed method can generate better annotations projected from English-IL parallel corpora. The performance of IL name tagger can also be improved significantly by training on the newly projected IL annotation set.

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English-Chinese Knowledge Base Translation with Neural Network
Xiaocheng Feng | Duyu Tang | Bing Qin | Ting Liu
Proceedings of COLING 2016, the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Technical Papers

Knowledge base (KB) such as Freebase plays an important role for many natural language processing tasks. English knowledge base is obviously larger and of higher quality than low resource language like Chinese. To expand Chinese KB by leveraging English KB resources, an effective way is to translate English KB (source) into Chinese (target). In this direction, two major challenges are to model triple semantics and to build a robust KB translator. We address these challenges by presenting a neural network approach, which learns continuous triple representation with a gated neural network. Accordingly, source triples and target triples are mapped in the same semantic vector space. We build a new dataset for English-Chinese KB translation from Freebase, and compare with several baselines on it. Experimental results show that the proposed method improves translation accuracy compared with baseline methods. We show that adaptive composition model improves standard solution such as neural tensor network in terms of translation accuracy.

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Effective LSTMs for Target-Dependent Sentiment Classification
Duyu Tang | Bing Qin | Xiaocheng Feng | Ting Liu
Proceedings of COLING 2016, the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Technical Papers

Target-dependent sentiment classification remains a challenge: modeling the semantic relatedness of a target with its context words in a sentence. Different context words have different influences on determining the sentiment polarity of a sentence towards the target. Therefore, it is desirable to integrate the connections between target word and context words when building a learning system. In this paper, we develop two target dependent long short-term memory (LSTM) models, where target information is automatically taken into account. We evaluate our methods on a benchmark dataset from Twitter. Empirical results show that modeling sentence representation with standard LSTM does not perform well. Incorporating target information into LSTM can significantly boost the classification accuracy. The target-dependent LSTM models achieve state-of-the-art performances without using syntactic parser or external sentiment lexicons.

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Liberal Event Extraction and Event Schema Induction
Lifu Huang | Taylor Cassidy | Xiaocheng Feng | Heng Ji | Clare R. Voss | Jiawei Han | Avirup Sil
Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

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A Language-Independent Neural Network for Event Detection
Xiaocheng Feng | Lifu Huang | Duyu Tang | Heng Ji | Bing Qin | Ting Liu
Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)