Xingyao Wang


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Making Pre-trained Language Models both Task-solvers and Self-calibrators
Yangyi Chen | Xingyao Wang | Heng Ji
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Pre-trained language models (PLMs) serve as backbones for various real-world systems. For high-stake applications, it’s equally essential to have reasonable confidence estimations in predictions. While the vanilla confidence scores of PLMs can already be effectively utilized, PLMs consistently become overconfident in their wrong predictions, which is not desirable in practice. Previous work shows that introducing an extra calibration task can mitigate this issue. The basic idea involves acquiring additional data to train models in predicting the confidence of their initial predictions. However, it only demonstrates the feasibility of this kind of method, assuming that there are abundant extra available samples for the introduced calibration task. In this work, we consider the practical scenario that we need to effectively utilize training samples to make PLMs both task-solvers and self-calibrators. Three challenges are presented, including limited training samples, data imbalance, and distribution shifts. We first conduct pilot experiments to quantify various decisive factors in the calibration task. Based on the empirical analysis results, we propose a training algorithm LM-TOAST to tackle the challenges. Experimental results show that LM-TOAST can effectively utilize the training data to make PLMs have reasonable confidence estimations while maintaining the original task performance. Further, we consider three downstream applications, namely selective classification, adversarial defense, and model cascading, to show the practical usefulness of LM-TOAST.

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Defining a New NLP Playground
Sha Li | Chi Han | Pengfei Yu | Carl Edwards | Manling Li | Xingyao Wang | Yi Fung | Charles Yu | Joel Tetreault | Eduard Hovy | Heng Ji
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

The recent explosion of performance of large language models (LLMs) has changed the field of Natural Language Processing (NLP) more abruptly and seismically than any other shift in the field’s 80 year history. This has resulted in concerns that the field will become homogenized and resource-intensive. This new status quo has put many academic researchers, especially PhD students, at a disadvantage. This paper aims to define a new NLP playground by proposing 20+ PhD-dissertation-worthy research directions, covering theoretical analysis, new and challenging problems, learning paradigms and interdisciplinary applications.

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ViStruct: Visual Structural Knowledge Extraction via Curriculum Guided Code-Vision Representation
Yangyi Chen | Xingyao Wang | Manling Li | Derek Hoiem | Heng Ji
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

State-of-the-art vision-language models (VLMs) still have limited performance in structural knowledge extraction, such as relations between objects. In this work, we present ViStruct, a training framework to learn VLMs for effective visual structural knowledge extraction. Two novel designs are incorporated. First, we propose to leverage the inherent structure of programming language to depict visual structural information. This approach enables explicit and consistent representation of visual structural information of multiple granularities, such as concepts, relations, and events, in a well-organized structured format. Second, we introduce curriculum-based learning for VLMs to progressively comprehend visual structures, from fundamental visual concepts to intricate event structures. Our intuition is that lower-level knowledge may contribute to complex visual structure understanding. Furthermore, we compile and release a collection of datasets tailored for visual structural knowledge extraction. We adopt a weakly-supervised approach to directly generate visual event structures from captions for ViStruct training, capitalizing on abundant image-caption pairs from the web. In experiments, we evaluate ViStruct on visual structure prediction tasks, demonstrating its effectiveness in improving the understanding of visual structures. The code will be made public to facilitate future research.

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Code4Struct: Code Generation for Few-Shot Event Structure Prediction
Xingyao Wang | Sha Li | Heng Ji
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Large Language Model (LLM) trained on a mixture of text and code has demonstrated impressive capability in translating natural language (NL) into structured code. We observe that semantic structures can be conveniently translated into code and propose Code4Struct to leverage such text-to-structure translation capability to tackle structured prediction tasks. As a case study, we formulate Event Argument Extraction (EAE) as converting text into event-argument structures that can be represented as a class object using code. This alignment between structures and code enables us to take advantage of Programming Language (PL) features such as inheritance and type annotation to introduce external knowledge or add constraints. We show that, with sufficient in-context examples, formulating EAE as a code generation problem is advantageous over using variants of text-based prompts. Despite only using 20 training event instances for each event type, Code4Struct is comparable to supervised models trained on 4,202 instances and outperforms current state-of-the-art (SOTA) trained on 20-shot data by 29.5% absolute F1. Code4Struct can use 10-shot training data from a sibling event type to predict arguments for zero-resource event types and outperforms the zero-shot baseline by 12% absolute F1.


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POTATO: The Portable Text Annotation Tool
Jiaxin Pei | Aparna Ananthasubramaniam | Xingyao Wang | Naitian Zhou | Apostolos Dedeloudis | Jackson Sargent | David Jurgens
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

We present POTATO, the Portable text annotation tool, a free, fully open-sourced annotation system that 1) supports labeling many types of text and multimodal data; 2) offers easy-to-configure features to maximize the productivity of both deployers and annotators (convenient templates for common ML/NLP tasks, active learning, keypress shortcuts, keyword highlights, tooltips); and 3) supports a high degree of customization (editable UI, inserting pre-screening questions, attention and qualification tests). Experiments over two annotation tasks suggest that POTATO improves labeling speed through its specially-designed productivity features, especially for long documents and complex tasks. POTATO is available at and will continue to be updated.


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An animated picture says at least a thousand words: Selecting Gif-based Replies in Multimodal Dialog
Xingyao Wang | David Jurgens
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Online conversations include more than just text. Increasingly, image-based responses such as memes and animated gifs serve as culturally recognized and often humorous responses in conversation. However, while NLP has broadened to multimodal models, conversational dialog systems have largely focused only on generating text replies. Here, we introduce a new dataset of 1.56M text-gif conversation turns and introduce a new multimodal conversational model Pepe the King Prawn for selecting gif-based replies. We demonstrate that our model produces relevant and high-quality gif responses and, in a large randomized control trial of multiple models replying to real users, we show that our model replies with gifs that are significantly better received by the community.