Yanzhao Zhang


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Chinese Sequence Labeling with Semi-Supervised Boundary-Aware Language Model Pre-training
Longhui Zhang | Dingkun Long | Meishan Zhang | Yanzhao Zhang | Pengjun Xie | Min Zhang
Proceedings of the 2024 Joint International Conference on Computational Linguistics, Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC-COLING 2024)

Chinese sequence labeling tasks are sensitive to word boundaries. Although pretrained language models (PLM) have achieved considerable success in these tasks, current PLMs rarely consider boundary information explicitly. An exception to this is BABERT, which incorporates unsupervised statistical boundary information into Chinese BERT’s pre-training objectives. Building upon this approach, we input supervised high-quality boundary information to enhance BABERT’s learning, developing a semi-supervised boundary-aware PLM. To assess PLMs’ ability to encode boundaries, we introduce a novel “Boundary Information Metric” that is both simple and effective. This metric allows comparison of different PLMs without task-specific fine-tuning. Experimental results on Chinese sequence labeling datasets demonstrate that the improved BABERT version outperforms the vanilla version, not only in these tasks but also in broader Chinese natural language understanding tasks. Additionally, our proposed metric offers a convenient and accurate means of evaluating PLMs’ boundary awareness.


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Text Representation Distillation via Information Bottleneck Principle
Yanzhao Zhang | Dingkun Long | Zehan Li | Pengjun Xie
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Pre-trained language models (PLMs) have recently shown great success in text representation field. However, the high computational cost and high-dimensional representation of PLMs pose significant challenges for practical applications. To make models more accessible, an effective method is to distill large models into smaller representation models. In order to relieve the issue of performance degradation after distillation, we propose a novel Knowledge Distillation method called IBKD. This approach is motivated by the Information Bottleneck principle and aims to maximize the mutual information between the final representation of the teacher and student model, while simultaneously reducing the mutual information between the student model’s representation and the input data. This enables the student model to preserve important learned information while avoiding unnecessary information, thus reducing the risk of over-fitting. Empirical studies on two main downstream applications of text representation (Semantic Textual Similarity and Dense Retrieval tasks) demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed approach.


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Unsupervised Boundary-Aware Language Model Pretraining for Chinese Sequence Labeling
Peijie Jiang | Dingkun Long | Yanzhao Zhang | Pengjun Xie | Meishan Zhang | Min Zhang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Boundary information is critical for various Chinese language processing tasks, such as word segmentation, part-of-speech tagging, and named entity recognition. Previous studies usually resorted to the use of a high-quality external lexicon, where lexicon items can offer explicit boundary information. However, to ensure the quality of the lexicon, great human effort is always necessary, which has been generally ignored. In this work, we suggest unsupervised statistical boundary information instead, and propose an architecture to encode the information directly into pre-trained language models, resulting in Boundary-Aware BERT (BABERT). We apply BABERT for feature induction of Chinese sequence labeling tasks. Experimental results on ten benchmarks of Chinese sequence labeling demonstrate that BABERT can provide consistent improvements on all datasets. In addition, our method can complement previous supervised lexicon exploration, where further improvements can be achieved when integrated with external lexicon information.