Yanan Cao


2023

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Retrieve-and-Sample: Document-level Event Argument Extraction via Hybrid Retrieval Augmentation
Yubing Ren | Yanan Cao | Ping Guo | Fang Fang | Wei Ma | Zheng Lin
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Recent studies have shown the effectiveness of retrieval augmentation in many generative NLP tasks. These retrieval-augmented methods allow models to explicitly acquire prior external knowledge in a non-parametric manner and regard the retrieved reference instances as cues to augment text generation. These methods use similarity-based retrieval, which is based on a simple hypothesis: the more the retrieved demonstration resembles the original input, the more likely the demonstration label resembles the input label. However, due to the complexity of event labels and sparsity of event arguments, this hypothesis does not always hold in document-level EAE. This raises an interesting question: How do we design the retrieval strategy for document-level EAE? We investigate various retrieval settings from the input and label distribution views in this paper. We further augment document-level EAE with pseudo demonstrations sampled from event semantic regions that can cover adequate alternatives in the same context and event schema. Through extensive experiments on RAMS and WikiEvents, we demonstrate the validity of our newly introduced retrieval-augmented methods and analyze why they work.

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Divide, Conquer, and Combine: Mixture of Semantic-Independent Experts for Zero-Shot Dialogue State Tracking
Qingyue Wang | Liang Ding | Yanan Cao | Yibing Zhan | Zheng Lin | Shi Wang | Dacheng Tao | Li Guo
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Zero-shot transfer learning for Dialogue State Tracking (DST) helps to handle a variety of task-oriented dialogue domains without the cost of collecting in-domain data. Existing works mainly study common data- or model-level augmentation methods to enhance the generalization but fail to effectively decouple semantics of samples, limiting the zero-shot performance of DST. In this paper, we present a simple and effective “divide, conquer and combine” solution, which explicitly disentangles the semantics of seen data, and leverages the performance and robustness with the mixture-of-experts mechanism. Specifically, we divide the seen data into semantically independent subsets and train corresponding experts, the newly unseen samples are mapped and inferred with mixture-of-experts with our designed ensemble inference. Extensive experiments on MultiWOZ2.1 upon T5-Adapter show our schema significantly and consistently improves the zero-shot performance, achieving the SOTA on settings without external knowledge, with only 10M trainable parameters.

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DiffusEmp: A Diffusion Model-Based Framework with Multi-Grained Control for Empathetic Response Generation
Guanqun Bi | Lei Shen | Yanan Cao | Meng Chen | Yuqiang Xie | Zheng Lin | Xiaodong He
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Empathy is a crucial factor in open-domain conversations, which naturally shows one’s caring and understanding to others. Though several methods have been proposed to generate empathetic responses, existing works often lead to monotonous empathy that refers to generic and safe expressions. In this paper, we propose to use explicit control to guide the empathy expression and design a framework DiffusEmp based on conditional diffusion language model to unify the utilization of dialogue context and attribute-oriented control signals. Specifically, communication mechanism, intent, and semantic frame are imported as multi-grained signals that control the empathy realization from coarse to fine levels. We then design a specific masking strategy to reflect the relationship between multi-grained signals and response tokens, and integrate it into the diffusion model to influence the generative process. Experimental results on a benchmark dataset EmpatheticDialogue show that our framework outperforms competitive baselines in terms of controllability, informativeness, and diversity without the loss of context-relatedness.

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Towards Better Entity Linking with Multi-View Enhanced Distillation
Yi Liu | Yuan Tian | Jianxun Lian | Xinlong Wang | Yanan Cao | Fang Fang | Wen Zhang | Haizhen Huang | Weiwei Deng | Qi Zhang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Dense retrieval is widely used for entity linking to retrieve entities from large-scale knowledge bases. Mainstream techniques are based on a dual-encoder framework, which encodes mentions and entities independently and calculates their relevances via rough interaction metrics, resulting in difficulty in explicitly modeling multiple mention-relevant parts within entities to match divergent mentions. Aiming at learning entity representations that can match divergent mentions, this paper proposes a Multi-View Enhanced Distillation (MVD) framework, which can effectively transfer knowledge of multiple fine-grained and mention-relevant parts within entities from cross-encoders to dual-encoders. Each entity is split into multiple views to avoid irrelevant information being over-squashed into the mention-relevant view. We further design cross-alignment and self-alignment mechanisms for this framework to facilitate fine-grained knowledge distillation from the teacher model to the student model. Meanwhile, we reserve a global-view that embeds the entity as a whole to prevent dispersal of uniform information. Experiments show our method achieves state-of-the-art performance on several entity linking benchmarks.

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An Empirical Study of Instruction-tuning Large Language Models in Chinese
Qingyi Si | Tong Wang | Zheng Lin | Xu Zhang | Yanan Cao | Weiping Wang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

The success of ChatGPT validates the potential of large language models (LLMs) in artificial general intelligence (AGI). Subsequently, the release of LLMs has sparked the open-source community’s interest in instruction-tuning, which is deemed to accelerate ChatGPT’s replication process. However, research on instruction-tuning LLMs in Chinese, the world’s most spoken language, is still in its early stages. Therefore, this paper makes an in-depth empirical study of instruction-tuning LLMs in Chinese, which can serve as a cookbook that provides valuable findings for effectively customizing LLMs that can better respond to Chinese instructions. Specifically, we systematically explore the impact of LLM bases, parameter-efficient methods, instruction data types, which are the three most important elements for instruction-tuning. Besides, we also conduct experiment to study the impact of other factors, e.g., chain-of-thought data and human-value alignment. We hope that this empirical study can make a modest contribution to the open Chinese version of ChatGPT. This paper will release a powerful Chinese LLM that is comparable to ChatGLM. The code and data are available at https: //github.com/PhoebusSi/Alpaca-CoT.

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Intra-Event and Inter-Event Dependency-Aware Graph Network for Event Argument Extraction
Hao Li | Yanan Cao | Yubing Ren | Fang Fang | Lanxue Zhang | Yingjie Li | Shi Wang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Event argument extraction is critical to various natural language processing tasks for providing structured information. Existing works usually extract the event arguments one by one, and mostly neglect to build dependency information among event argument roles, especially from the perspective of event structure. Such an approach hinders the model from learning the interactions between different roles. In this paper, we raise our research question: How to adequately model dependencies between different roles for better performance? To this end, we propose an intra-event and inter-event dependency-aware graph network, which uses the event structure as the fundamental unit to construct dependencies between roles. Specifically, we first utilize the dense intra-event graph to construct role dependencies within events, and then construct dependencies between events by retrieving similar events of the current event through the retrieval module. To further optimize dependency information and event representation, we propose a dependency interaction module and two auxiliary tasks to improve the extraction ability of the model in different scenarios. Experimental results on the ACE05, RAMS, and WikiEvents datasets show the great advantages of our proposed approach.

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Compressing and Debiasing Vision-Language Pre-Trained Models for Visual Question Answering
Qingyi Si | Yuanxin Liu | Zheng Lin | Peng Fu | Yanan Cao | Weiping Wang
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Despite the excellent performance of vision-language pre-trained models (VLPs) on conventional VQA task, they still suffer from two problems: First, VLPs tend to rely on language biases in datasets and fail to generalize to out-of-distribution (OOD) data. Second, they are inefficient in terms of memory footprint and computation. Although promising progress has been made in both problems, most existing works tackle them independently. To facilitate the application of VLP to VQA tasks, it is imperative to jointly study VLP compression and OOD robustness, which, however, has not yet been explored. This paper investigates whether a VLP can be compressed and debiased simultaneously by searching sparse and robust subnetworks. To this end, we systematically study the design of a training and compression pipeline to search the subnetworks, as well as the assignment of sparsity to different modality-specific modules. Our experiments involve 2 VLPs, 2 compression methods, 4 training methods, 2 datasets and a range of sparsity levels. Our results show that there indeed exist sparse and robust subnetworks, which are competitive with the debiased full VLP and clearly outperform the debiasing SoTAs with fewer parameters on OOD datasets VQA-CP v2 and VQA-VS. The codes can be found at https://github.com/PhoebusSi/Compress-Robust-VQA.

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Multi-level Adaptive Contrastive Learning for Knowledge Internalization in Dialogue Generation
Chenxu Yang | Zheng Lin | Lanrui Wang | Chong Tian | Liang Pang | Jiangnan Li | Qirong Ho | Yanan Cao | Weiping Wang
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Knowledge-grounded dialogue generation aims to mitigate the issue of text degeneration by incorporating external knowledge to supplement the context. However, the model often fails to internalize this information into responses in a human-like manner. Instead, it simply inserts segments of the provided knowledge into generic responses. As a result, the generated responses tend to be tedious, incoherent, and in lack of interactivity which means the degeneration problem is still unsolved. In this work, we first find that such copying-style degeneration is primarily due to the weak likelihood objective, which allows the model to “cheat” the objective by merely duplicating knowledge segments in a superficial pattern matching based on overlap. To overcome this challenge, we then propose a Multi-level Adaptive Contrastive Learning (MACL) framework that dynamically samples negative examples and subsequently penalizes degeneration behaviors at both the token-level and sequence-level. Extensive experiments on the WoW dataset demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach across various pre-trained models and decoding strategies.

2022

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Slot Dependency Modeling for Zero-Shot Cross-Domain Dialogue State Tracking
Qingyue Wang | Yanan Cao | Piji Li | Yanhe Fu | Zheng Lin | Li Guo
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

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CLIO: Role-interactive Multi-event Head Attention Network for Document-level Event Extraction
Yubing Ren | Yanan Cao | Fang Fang | Ping Guo | Zheng Lin | Wei Ma | Yi Liu
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Transforming the large amounts of unstructured text on the Internet into structured event knowledge is a critical, yet unsolved goal of NLP, especially when addressing document-level text. Existing methods struggle in Document-level Event Extraction (DEE) due to its two intrinsic challenges: (a) Nested arguments, which means one argument is the sub-string of another one. (b) Multiple events, which indicates we should identify multiple events and assemble the arguments for them. In this paper, we propose a role-interactive multi-event head attention network (CLIO) to solve these two challenges jointly. The key idea is to map different events to multiple subspaces (i.e. multi-event head). In each event subspace, we draw the semantic representation of each role closer to its corresponding arguments, then we determine whether the current event exists. To further optimize event representation, we propose an event representation enhancing strategy to regularize pre-trained embedding space to be more isotropic. Our experiments on two widely used DEE datasets show that CLIO achieves consistent improvements over previous methods.

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Neural Label Search for Zero-Shot Multi-Lingual Extractive Summarization
Ruipeng Jia | Xingxing Zhang | Yanan Cao | Zheng Lin | Shi Wang | Furu Wei
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In zero-shot multilingual extractive text summarization, a model is typically trained on English summarization dataset and then applied on summarization datasets of other languages. Given English gold summaries and documents, sentence-level labels for extractive summarization are usually generated using heuristics. However, these monolingual labels created on English datasets may not be optimal on datasets of other languages, for that there is the syntactic or semantic discrepancy between different languages. In this way, it is possible to translate the English dataset to other languages and obtain different sets of labels again using heuristics. To fully leverage the information of these different sets of labels, we propose NLSSum (Neural Label Search for Summarization), which jointly learns hierarchical weights for these different sets of labels together with our summarization model. We conduct multilingual zero-shot summarization experiments on MLSUM and WikiLingua datasets, and we achieve state-of-the-art results using both human and automatic evaluations across these two datasets.

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Language Prior Is Not the Only Shortcut: A Benchmark for Shortcut Learning in VQA
Qingyi Si | Fandong Meng | Mingyu Zheng | Zheng Lin | Yuanxin Liu | Peng Fu | Yanan Cao | Weiping Wang | Jie Zhou
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Visual Question Answering (VQA) models are prone to learn the shortcut solution formed by dataset biases rather than the intended solution. To evaluate the VQA models’ reasoning ability beyond shortcut learning, the VQA-CP v2 dataset introduces a distribution shift between the training and test set given a question type. In this way, the model cannot use the training set shortcut (from question type to answer) to perform well on the test set. However, VQA-CP v2 only considers one type of shortcut and thus still cannot guarantee that the model relies on the intended solution rather than a solution specific to this shortcut. To overcome this limitation, we propose a new dataset that considers varying types of shortcuts by constructing different distribution shifts in multiple OOD test sets. In addition, we overcome the three troubling practices in the use of VQA-CP v2, e.g., selecting models using OOD test sets, and further standardize OOD evaluation procedure. Our benchmark provides a more rigorous and comprehensive testbed for shortcut learning in VQA. We benchmark recent methods and find that methods specifically designed for particular shortcuts fail to simultaneously generalize to our varying OOD test sets. We also systematically study the varying shortcuts and provide several valuable findings, which may promote the exploration of shortcut learning in VQA.

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Towards Robust Visual Question Answering: Making the Most of Biased Samples via Contrastive Learning
Qingyi Si | Yuanxin Liu | Fandong Meng | Zheng Lin | Peng Fu | Yanan Cao | Weiping Wang | Jie Zhou
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Models for Visual Question Answering (VQA) often rely on the spurious correlations, i.e., the language priors, that appear in the biased samples of training set, which make them brittle against the out-of-distribution (OOD) test data. Recent methods have achieved promising progress in overcoming this problem by reducing the impact of biased samples on model training. However, these models reveal a trade-off that the improvements on OOD data severely sacrifice the performance on the in-distribution (ID) data (which is dominated by the biased samples). Therefore, we propose a novel contrastive learning approach, MMBS, for building robust VQA models by Making the Most of Biased Samples. Specifically, we construct positive samples for contrastive learning by eliminating the information related to spurious correlation from the original training samples and explore several strategies to use the constructed positive samples for training. Instead of undermining the importance of biased samples in model training, our approach precisely exploits the biased samples for unbiased information that contributes to reasoning. The proposed method is compatible with various VQA backbones. We validate our contributions by achieving competitive performance on the OOD dataset VQA-CP v2 while preserving robust performance on the ID dataset VQA v2.

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Learning to Win Lottery Tickets in BERT Transfer via Task-agnostic Mask Training
Yuanxin Liu | Fandong Meng | Zheng Lin | Peng Fu | Yanan Cao | Weiping Wang | Jie Zhou
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Recent studies on the lottery ticket hypothesis (LTH) show that pre-trained language models (PLMs) like BERT contain matching subnetworks that have similar transfer learning performance as the original PLM. These subnetworks are found using magnitude-based pruning. In this paper, we find that the BERT subnetworks have even more potential than these studies have shown. Firstly, we discover that the success of magnitude pruning can be attributed to the preserved pre-training performance, which correlates with the downstream transferability. Inspired by this, we propose to directly optimize the subnetwork structure towards the pre-training objectives, which can better preserve the pre-training performance. Specifically, we train binary masks over model weights on the pre-training tasks, with the aim of preserving the universal transferability of the subnetwork, which is agnostic to any specific downstream tasks. We then fine-tune the subnetworks on the GLUE benchmark and the SQuAD dataset. The results show that, compared with magnitude pruning, mask training can effectively find BERT subnetworks with improved overall performance on downstream tasks. Moreover, our method is also more efficient in searching subnetworks and more advantageous when fine-tuning within a certain range of data scarcity. Our code is available at https://github.com/llyx97/TAMT.

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Non-Autoregressive Chinese ASR Error Correction with Phonological Training
Zheng Fang | Ruiqing Zhang | Zhongjun He | Hua Wu | Yanan Cao
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) is an efficient and widely used input method that transcribes speech signals into text. As the errors introduced by ASR systems will impair the performance of downstream tasks, we introduce a post-processing error correction method, PhVEC, to correct errors in text space. For the errors in ASR result, existing works mainly focus on fixed-length corrections, modifying each wrong token to a correct one (one-to-one correction), but rarely consider the variable-length correction (one-to-many or many-to-one correction). In this paper, we propose an efficient non-autoregressive (NAR) method for Chinese ASR error correction for both cases. Instead of conventionally predicting the sentence length in NAR methods, we propose a novel approach that uses phonological tokens to extend the source sentence for variable-length correction, enabling our model to generate phonetically similar corrections. Experimental results on datasets of different domains show that our method achieves significant improvement in word error rate reduction and speeds up the inference by 6.2 times compared with the autoregressive model.

2021

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Deep Differential Amplifier for Extractive Summarization
Ruipeng Jia | Yanan Cao | Fang Fang | Yuchen Zhou | Zheng Fang | Yanbing Liu | Shi Wang
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)

For sentence-level extractive summarization, there is a disproportionate ratio of selected and unselected sentences, leading to flatting the summary features when maximizing the accuracy. The imbalanced classification of summarization is inherent, which can’t be addressed by common algorithms easily. In this paper, we conceptualize the single-document extractive summarization as a rebalance problem and present a deep differential amplifier framework. Specifically, we first calculate and amplify the semantic difference between each sentence and all other sentences, and then apply the residual unit as the second item of the differential amplifier to deepen the architecture. Finally, to compensate for the imbalance, the corresponding objective loss of minority class is boosted by a weighted cross-entropy. In contrast to previous approaches, this model pays more attention to the pivotal information of one sentence, instead of all the informative context modeling by recurrent or Transformer architecture. We demonstrate experimentally on two benchmark datasets that our summarizer performs competitively against state-of-the-art methods. Our source code will be available on Github.

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TEBNER: Domain Specific Named Entity Recognition with Type Expanded Boundary-aware Network
Zheng Fang | Yanan Cao | Tai Li | Ruipeng Jia | Fang Fang | Yanmin Shang | Yuhai Lu
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

To alleviate label scarcity in Named Entity Recognition (NER) task, distantly supervised NER methods are widely applied to automatically label data and identify entities. Although the human effort is reduced, the generated incomplete and noisy annotations pose new challenges for learning effective neural models. In this paper, we propose a novel dictionary extension method which extracts new entities through the type expanded model. Moreover, we design a multi-granularity boundary-aware network which detects entity boundaries from both local and global perspectives. We conduct experiments on different types of datasets, the results show that our model outperforms previous state-of-the-art distantly supervised systems and even surpasses the supervised models.

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SOM-NCSCM : An Efficient Neural Chinese Sentence Compression Model Enhanced with Self-Organizing Map
Kangli Zi | Shi Wang | Yu Liu | Jicun Li | Yanan Cao | Cungen Cao
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Sentence Compression (SC), which aims to shorten sentences while retaining important words that express the essential meanings, has been studied for many years in many languages, especially in English. However, improvements on Chinese SC task are still quite few due to several difficulties: scarce of parallel corpora, different segmentation granularity of Chinese sentences, and imperfect performance of syntactic analyses. Furthermore, entire neural Chinese SC models have been under-investigated so far. In this work, we construct an SC dataset of Chinese colloquial sentences from a real-life question answering system in the telecommunication domain, and then, we propose a neural Chinese SC model enhanced with a Self-Organizing Map (SOM-NCSCM), to gain a valuable insight from the data and improve the performance of the whole neural Chinese SC model in a valid manner. Experimental results show that our SOM-NCSCM can significantly benefit from the deep investigation of similarity among data, and achieve a promising F1 score of 89.655 and BLEU4 score of 70.116, which also provides a baseline for further research on Chinese SC task.

2020

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Neural Extractive Summarization with Hierarchical Attentive Heterogeneous Graph Network
Ruipeng Jia | Yanan Cao | Hengzhu Tang | Fang Fang | Cong Cao | Shi Wang
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Sentence-level extractive text summarization is substantially a node classification task of network mining, adhering to the informative components and concise representations. There are lots of redundant phrases between extracted sentences, but it is difficult to model them exactly by the general supervised methods. Previous sentence encoders, especially BERT, specialize in modeling the relationship between source sentences. While, they have no ability to consider the overlaps of the target selected summary, and there are inherent dependencies among target labels of sentences. In this paper, we propose HAHSum (as shorthand for Hierarchical Attentive Heterogeneous Graph for Text Summarization), which well models different levels of information, including words and sentences, and spotlights redundancy dependencies between sentences. Our approach iteratively refines the sentence representations with redundancy-aware graph and delivers the label dependencies by message passing. Experiments on large scale benchmark corpus (CNN/DM, NYT, and NEWSROOM) demonstrate that HAHSum yields ground-breaking performance and outperforms previous extractive summarizers.