Xiaofei Sun


2022

pdf bib
Fast Nearest Neighbor Machine Translation
Yuxian Meng | Xiaoya Li | Xiayu Zheng | Fei Wu | Xiaofei Sun | Tianwei Zhang | Jiwei Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Though nearest neighbor Machine Translation (kNN-MT) (CITATION) has proved to introduce significant performance boosts over standard neural MT systems, it is prohibitively slow since it uses the entire reference corpus as the datastore for the nearest neighbor search. This means each step for each beam in the beam search has to search over the entire reference corpus. kNN-MT is thus two-orders slower than vanilla MT models, making it hard to be applied to real-world applications, especially online services. In this work, we propose Fast kNN-MT to address this issue. Fast kNN-MT constructs a significantly smaller datastore for the nearest neighbor search: for each word in a source sentence, Fast kNN-MT first selects its nearest token-level neighbors, which is limited to tokens that are the same as the query token. Then at each decoding step, in contrast to using the entire corpus as the datastore, the search space is limited to target tokens corresponding to the previously selected reference source tokens. This strategy avoids search through the whole datastore for nearest neighbors and drastically improves decoding efficiency. Without loss of performance, Fast kNN-MT is two-orders faster than kNN-MT, and is only two times slower than the standard NMT model. Fast kNN-MT enables the practical use of kNN-MT systems in real-world MT applications. The code is available at https://github.com/ShannonAI/fast-knn-nmt.

pdf bib
An MRC Framework for Semantic Role Labeling
Nan Wang | Jiwei Li | Yuxian Meng | Xiaofei Sun | Han Qiu | Ziyao Wang | Guoyin Wang | Jun He
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Semantic Role Labeling (SRL) aims at recognizing the predicate-argument structure of a sentence and can be decomposed into two subtasks: predicate disambiguation and argument labeling. Prior work deals with these two tasks independently, which ignores the semantic connection between the two tasks. In this paper, we propose to use the machine reading comprehension (MRC) framework to bridge this gap. We formalize predicate disambiguation as multiple-choice machine reading comprehension, where the descriptions of candidate senses of a given predicate are used as options to select the correct sense. The chosen predicate sense is then used to determine the semantic roles for that predicate, and these semantic roles are used to construct the query for another MRC model for argument labeling. In this way, we are able to leverage both the predicate semantics and the semantic role semantics for argument labeling. We also propose to select a subset of all the possible semantic roles for computational efficiency. Experiments show that the proposed framework achieves state-of-the-art or comparable results to previous work.

pdf bib
Paraphrase Generation as Unsupervised Machine Translation
Xiaofei Sun | Yufei Tian | Yuxian Meng | Nanyun Peng | Fei Wu | Jiwei Li | Chun Fan
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

In this paper, we propose a new paradigm for paraphrase generation by treating the task as unsupervised machine translation (UMT) based on the assumption that there must be pairs of sentences expressing the same meaning in a large-scale unlabeled monolingual corpus. The proposed paradigm first splits a large unlabeled corpus into multiple clusters, and trains multiple UMT models using pairs of these clusters. Then based on the paraphrase pairs produced by these UMT models, a unified surrogate model can be trained to serve as the final model to generate paraphrases, which can be directly used for test in the unsupervised setup, or be finetuned on labeled datasets in the supervised setup. The proposed method offers merits over machine-translation-based paraphrase generation methods, as it avoids reliance on bilingual sentence pairs. It also allows human intervene with the model so that more diverse paraphrases can be generated using different filtering criteria. Extensive experiments on existing paraphrase dataset for both the supervised and unsupervised setups demonstrate the effectiveness the proposed paradigm.

pdf bib
Summarize, Outline, and Elaborate: Long-Text Generation via Hierarchical Supervision from Extractive Summaries
Xiaofei Sun | Zijun Sun | Yuxian Meng | Jiwei Li | Chun Fan
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

The difficulty of generating coherent long texts lies in the fact that existing models overwhelmingly focus on the tasks of local word prediction, and cannot make high level plans on what to generate or capture the high-level discourse dependencies between chunks of texts. Inspired by how humans write, where a list of bullet points or a catalog is first outlined, and then each bullet point is expanded to form the whole article, we propose SOE, a pipelined system that involves of summarizing, outlining and elaborating for long text generation: the model first outlines the summaries for different segments of long texts, and then elaborates on each bullet point to generate the corresponding segment. To avoid the labor-intensive process of summary soliciting, we propose the reconstruction strategy, which extracts segment summaries in an unsupervised manner by selecting its most informative part to reconstruct the segment. The proposed generation system comes with the following merits: (1) the summary provides high-level guidance for text generation and avoids the local minimum of individual word predictions; (2) the high-level discourse dependencies are captured in the conditional dependencies between summaries and are preserved during the summary expansion process and (3) additionally, we are able to consider significantly more contexts by representing contexts as concise summaries. Extensive experiments demonstrate that SOE produces long texts with significantly better quality, along with faster convergence speed.

pdf bib
Sentence Similarity Based on Contexts
Xiaofei Sun | Yuxian Meng | Xiang Ao | Fei Wu | Tianwei Zhang | Jiwei Li | Chun Fan
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 10

Existing methods to measure sentence similarity are faced with two challenges: (1) labeled datasets are usually limited in size, making them insufficient to train supervised neural models; and (2) there is a training-test gap for unsupervised language modeling (LM) based models to compute semantic scores between sentences, since sentence-level semantics are not explicitly modeled at training. This results in inferior performances in this task. In this work, we propose a new framework to address these two issues. The proposed framework is based on the core idea that the meaning of a sentence should be defined by its contexts, and that sentence similarity can be measured by comparing the probabilities of generating two sentences given the same context. The proposed framework is able to generate high-quality, large-scale dataset with semantic similarity scores between two sentences in an unsupervised manner, with which the train-test gap can be largely bridged. Extensive experiments show that the proposed framework achieves significant performance boosts over existing baselines under both the supervised and unsupervised settings across different datasets.

pdf bib
Dependency Parsing as MRC-based Span-Span Prediction
Leilei Gan | Yuxian Meng | Kun Kuang | Xiaofei Sun | Chun Fan | Fei Wu | Jiwei Li
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Higher-order methods for dependency parsing can partially but not fully address the issue that edges in dependency trees should be constructed at the text span/subtree level rather than word level. In this paper, we propose a new method for dependency parsing to address this issue. The proposed method constructs dependency trees by directly modeling span-span (in other words, subtree-subtree) relations. It consists of two modules: the text span proposal module which proposes candidate text spans, each of which represents a subtree in the dependency tree denoted by (root, start, end); and the span linking module, which constructs links between proposed spans. We use the machine reading comprehension (MRC) framework as the backbone to formalize the span linking module, where one span is used as query to extract the text span/subtree it should be linked to. The proposed method has the following merits: (1) it addresses the fundamental problem that edges in a dependency tree should be constructed between subtrees; (2) the MRC framework allows the method to retrieve missing spans in the span proposal stage, which leads to higher recall for eligible spans. Extensive experiments on the PTB, CTB and Universal Dependencies (UD) benchmarks demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method. The code is available at https://github.com/ShannonAI/mrc-for-dependency-parsing

2021

pdf bib
ConRPG: Paraphrase Generation using Contexts as Regularizer
Yuxian Meng | Xiang Ao | Qing He | Xiaofei Sun | Qinghong Han | Fei Wu | Chun Fan | Jiwei Li
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

A long-standing issue with paraphrase generation is the lack of reliable supervision signals. In this paper, we propose a new unsupervised paradigm for paraphrase generation based on the assumption that the probabilities of generating two sentences with the same meaning given the same context should be the same. Inspired by this fundamental idea, we propose a pipelined system which consists of paraphrase candidate generation based on contextual language models, candidate filtering using scoring functions, and paraphrase model training based on the selected candidates. The proposed paradigm offers merits over existing paraphrase generation methods: (1) using the context regularizer on meanings, the model is able to generate massive amounts of high-quality paraphrase pairs; (2) the combination of the huge amount of paraphrase candidates and further diversity-promoting filtering yields paraphrases with more lexical and syntactic diversity; and (3) using human-interpretable scoring functions to select paraphrase pairs from candidates, the proposed framework provides a channel for developers to intervene with the data generation process, leading to a more controllable model. Experimental results across different tasks and datasets demonstrate that the proposed paradigm significantly outperforms existing paraphrase approaches in both supervised and unsupervised setups.

pdf bib
Layer-wise Model Pruning based on Mutual Information
Chun Fan | Jiwei Li | Tianwei Zhang | Xiang Ao | Fei Wu | Yuxian Meng | Xiaofei Sun
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Inspired by mutual information (MI) based feature selection in SVMs and logistic regression, in this paper, we propose MI-based layer-wise pruning: for each layer of a multi-layer neural network, neurons with higher values of MI with respect to preserved neurons in the upper layer are preserved. Starting from the top softmax layer, layer-wise pruning proceeds in a top-down fashion until reaching the bottom word embedding layer. The proposed pruning strategy offers merits over weight-based pruning techniques: (1) it avoids irregular memory access since representations and matrices can be squeezed into their smaller but dense counterparts, leading to greater speedup; (2) in a manner of top-down pruning, the proposed method operates from a more global perspective based on training signals in the top layer, and prunes each layer by propagating the effect of global signals through layers, leading to better performances at the same sparsity level. Extensive experiments show that at the same sparsity level, the proposed strategy offers both greater speedup and higher performances than weight-based pruning methods (e.g., magnitude pruning, movement pruning).

pdf bib
kFolden: k-Fold Ensemble for Out-Of-Distribution Detection
Xiaoya Li | Jiwei Li | Xiaofei Sun | Chun Fan | Tianwei Zhang | Fei Wu | Yuxian Meng | Jun Zhang
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Out-of-Distribution (OOD) detection is an important problem in natural language processing (NLP). In this work, we propose a simple yet effective framework kFolden, which mimics the behaviors of OOD detection during training without the use of any external data. For a task with k training labels, kFolden induces k sub-models, each of which is trained on a subset with k-1 categories with the left category masked unknown to the sub-model. Exposing an unknown label to the sub-model during training, the model is encouraged to learn to equally attribute the probability to the seen k-1 labels for the unknown label, enabling this framework to simultaneously resolve in- and out-distribution examples in a natural way via OOD simulations. Taking text classification as an archetype, we develop benchmarks for OOD detection using existing text classification datasets. By conducting comprehensive comparisons and analyses on the developed benchmarks, we demonstrate the superiority of kFolden against current methods in terms of improving OOD detection performances while maintaining improved in-domain classification accuracy.

pdf bib
BertGCN: Transductive Text Classification by Combining GNN and BERT
Yuxiao Lin | Yuxian Meng | Xiaofei Sun | Qinghong Han | Kun Kuang | Jiwei Li | Fei Wu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

pdf bib
Making Flexible Use of Subtasks: A Multiplex Interaction Network for Unified Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis
Guoxin Yu | Xiang Ao | Ling Luo | Min Yang | Xiaofei Sun | Jiwei Li | Qing He
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

pdf bib
ChineseBERT: Chinese Pretraining Enhanced by Glyph and Pinyin Information
Zijun Sun | Xiaoya Li | Xiaofei Sun | Yuxian Meng | Xiang Ao | Qing He | Fei Wu | Jiwei Li
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)

Recent pretraining models in Chinese neglect two important aspects specific to the Chinese language: glyph and pinyin, which carry significant syntax and semantic information for language understanding. In this work, we propose ChineseBERT, which incorporates both the glyph and pinyin information of Chinese characters into language model pretraining. The glyph embedding is obtained based on different fonts of a Chinese character, being able to capture character semantics from the visual features, and the pinyin embedding characterizes the pronunciation of Chinese characters, which handles the highly prevalent heteronym phenomenon in Chinese (the same character has different pronunciations with different meanings). Pretrained on large-scale unlabeled Chinese corpus, the proposed ChineseBERT model yields significant performance boost over baseline models with fewer training steps. The proposed model achieves new SOTA performances on a wide range of Chinese NLP tasks, including machine reading comprehension, natural language inference, text classification, sentence pair matching, and competitive performances in named entity recognition and word segmentation.

2020

pdf bib
Dice Loss for Data-imbalanced NLP Tasks
Xiaoya Li | Xiaofei Sun | Yuxian Meng | Junjun Liang | Fei Wu | Jiwei Li
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Many NLP tasks such as tagging and machine reading comprehension are faced with the severe data imbalance issue: negative examples significantly outnumber positive examples, and the huge number of easy-negative examples overwhelms the training. The most commonly used cross entropy (CE) criteria is actually an accuracy-oriented objective, and thus creates a discrepancy between training and test: at training time, each training instance contributes equally to the objective function, while at test time F1 score concerns more about positive examples. In this paper, we propose to use dice loss in replacement of the standard cross-entropy objective for data-imbalanced NLP tasks. Dice loss is based on the Sørensen--Dice coefficient or Tversky index , which attaches similar importance to false positives and false negatives, and is more immune to the data-imbalance issue. To further alleviate the dominating influence from easy-negative examples in training, we propose to associate training examples with dynamically adjusted weights to deemphasize easy-negative examples. Theoretical analysis shows that this strategy narrows down the gap between the F1 score in evaluation and the dice loss in training. With the proposed training objective, we observe significant performance boost on a wide range of data imbalanced NLP tasks. Notably, we are able to achieve SOTA results on CTB5, CTB6 and UD1.4 for the part of speech tagging task; SOTA results on CoNLL03, OntoNotes5.0, MSRA and OntoNotes4.0 for the named entity recognition task; along with competitive results on the tasks of machine reading comprehension and paraphrase identification.

2019

pdf bib
Is Word Segmentation Necessary for Deep Learning of Chinese Representations?
Xiaoya Li | Yuxian Meng | Xiaofei Sun | Qinghong Han | Arianna Yuan | Jiwei Li
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Segmenting a chunk of text into words is usually the first step of processing Chinese text, but its necessity has rarely been explored. In this paper, we ask the fundamental question of whether Chinese word segmentation (CWS) is necessary for deep learning-based Chinese Natural Language Processing. We benchmark neural word-based models which rely on word segmentation against neural char-based models which do not involve word segmentation in four end-to-end NLP benchmark tasks: language modeling, machine translation, sentence matching/paraphrase and text classification. Through direct comparisons between these two types of models, we find that char-based models consistently outperform word-based models. Based on these observations, we conduct comprehensive experiments to study why word-based models underperform char-based models in these deep learning-based NLP tasks. We show that it is because word-based models are more vulnerable to data sparsity and the presence of out-of-vocabulary (OOV) words, and thus more prone to overfitting. We hope this paper could encourage researchers in the community to rethink the necessity of word segmentation in deep learning-based Chinese Natural Language Processing.