Yichi Zhang

Also published as: YiChi Zhang


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Bridge the Gap Between CV and NLP! A Gradient-based Textual Adversarial Attack Framework
Lifan Yuan | YiChi Zhang | Yangyi Chen | Wei Wei
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Despite recent success on various tasks, deep learning techniques still perform poorly on adversarial examples with small perturbations. While optimization-based methods for adversarial attacks are well-explored in the field of computer vision, it is impractical to directly apply them in natural language processing due to the discrete nature of the text. To address the problem, we propose a unified framework to extend the existing optimization-based adversarial attack methods in the vision domain to craft textual adversarial samples. In this framework, continuously optimized perturbations are added to the embedding layer and amplified in the forward propagation process. Then the final perturbed latent representations are decoded with a masked language model head to obtain potential adversarial samples. In this paper, we instantiate our framework with an attack algorithm named Textual Projected Gradient Descent (T-PGD). We find our algorithm effective even using proxy gradient information. Therefore, we perform the more challenging transfer black-box attack and conduct comprehensive experiments to evaluate our attack algorithm with several models on three benchmark datasets. Experimental results demonstrate that our method achieves overall better performance and produces more fluent and grammatical adversarial samples compared to strong baseline methods. The code and data are available at https://github.com/Phantivia/T-PGD.

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Can Foundation Models Watch, Talk and Guide You Step by Step to Make a Cake?
Yuwei Bao | Keunwoo Yu | Yichi Zhang | Shane Storks | Itamar Bar-Yossef | Alex de la Iglesia | Megan Su | Xiao Zheng | Joyce Chai
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Despite tremendous advances in AI, it remains a significant challenge to develop interactive task guidance systems that can offer situated, personalized guidance and assist humans in various tasks. These systems need to have a sophisticated understanding of the user as well as the environment, and make timely accurate decisions on when and what to say. To address this issue, we created a new multimodal benchmark dataset, Watch, Talk and Guide (WTaG) based on natural interaction between a human user and a human instructor. We further proposed two tasks: User and Environment Understanding, and Instructor Decision Making. We leveraged several foundation models to study to what extent these models can be quickly adapted to perceptually enabled task guidance. Our quantitative, qualitative, and human evaluation results show that these models can demonstrate fair performances in some cases with no task-specific training, but a fast and reliable adaptation remains a significant challenge. Our benchmark and baselines will provide a stepping stone for future work on situated task guidance.

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Grounding Visual Illusions in Language: Do Vision-Language Models Perceive Illusions Like Humans?
Yichi Zhang | Jiayi Pan | Yuchen Zhou | Rui Pan | Joyce Chai
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Vision-Language Models (VLMs) are trained on vast amounts of data captured by humans emulating our understanding of the world. However, known as visual illusions, human’s perception of reality isn’t always faithful to the physical world. This raises a key question: do VLMs have the similar kind of illusions as humans do, or do they faithfully learn to represent reality? To investigate this question, we build a dataset containing five types of visual illusions and formulate four tasks to examine visual illusions in state-of-the-art VLMs. Our findings have shown that although the overall alignment is low, larger models are closer to human perception and more susceptible to visual illusions. Our dataset and initial findings will promote a better understanding of visual illusions in humans and machines and provide a stepping stone for future computational models that can better align humans and machines in perceiving and communicating about the shared visual world. The code and data are available at [github.com/vl-illusion/dataset](https://github.com/vl-illusion/dataset).


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DANLI: Deliberative Agent for Following Natural Language Instructions
Yichi Zhang | Jianing Yang | Jiayi Pan | Shane Storks | Nikhil Devraj | Ziqiao Ma | Keunwoo Yu | Yuwei Bao | Joyce Chai
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Recent years have seen an increasing amount of work on embodied AI agents that can perform tasks by following human language instructions. However, most of these agents are reactive, meaning that they simply learn and imitate behaviors encountered in the training data. These reactive agents are insufficient for long-horizon complex tasks. To address this limitation, we propose a neuro-symbolic deliberative agent that, while following language instructions, proactively applies reasoning and planning based on its neural and symbolic representations acquired from past experience (e.g., natural language and egocentric vision). We show that our deliberative agent achieves greater than 70% improvement over reactive baselines on the challenging TEACh benchmark. Moreover, the underlying reasoning and planning processes, together with our modular framework, offer impressive transparency and explainability to the behaviors of the agent. This enables an in-depth understanding of the agent’s capabilities, which shed light on challenges and opportunities for future embodied agents for instruction following. The code is available at https://github.com/sled-group/DANLI.


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Hierarchical Task Learning from Language Instructions with Unified Transformers and Self-Monitoring
Yichi Zhang | Joyce Chai
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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Tiered Reasoning for Intuitive Physics: Toward Verifiable Commonsense Language Understanding
Shane Storks | Qiaozi Gao | Yichi Zhang | Joyce Chai
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Large-scale, pre-trained language models (LMs) have achieved human-level performance on a breadth of language understanding tasks. However, evaluations only based on end task performance shed little light on machines’ true ability in language understanding and reasoning. In this paper, we highlight the importance of evaluating the underlying reasoning process in addition to end performance. Toward this goal, we introduce Tiered Reasoning for Intuitive Physics (TRIP), a novel commonsense reasoning dataset with dense annotations that enable multi-tiered evaluation of machines’ reasoning process. Our empirical results show that while large LMs can achieve high end performance, they struggle to support their predictions with valid supporting evidence. The TRIP dataset and our baseline results will motivate verifiable evaluation of commonsense reasoning and facilitate future research toward developing better language understanding and reasoning models.

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Alternating Recurrent Dialog Model with Large-scale Pre-trained Language Models
Qingyang Wu | Yichi Zhang | Yu Li | Zhou Yu
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Existing dialog system models require extensive human annotations and are difficult to generalize to different tasks. The recent success of large pre-trained language models such as BERT and GPT-2 (Devlin et al., 2019; Radford et al., 2019) have suggested the effectiveness of incorporating language priors in down-stream NLP tasks. However, how much pre-trained language models can help dialog response generation is still under exploration. In this paper, we propose a simple, general, and effective framework: Alternating Recurrent Dialog Model (ARDM). ARDM models each speaker separately and takes advantage of the large pre-trained language model. It requires no supervision from human annotations such as belief states or dialog acts to achieve effective conversations. ARDM outperforms or is on par with state-of-the-art methods on two popular task-oriented dialog datasets: CamRest676 and MultiWOZ. Moreover, we can generalize ARDM to more challenging, non-collaborative tasks such as persuasion. In persuasion tasks, ARDM is capable of generating human-like responses to persuade people to donate to a charity.

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Interpretable and Low-Resource Entity Matching via Decoupling Feature Learning from Decision Making
Zijun Yao | Chengjiang Li | Tiansi Dong | Xin Lv | Jifan Yu | Lei Hou | Juanzi Li | Yichi Zhang | Zelin Dai
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)

Entity Matching (EM) aims at recognizing entity records that denote the same real-world object. Neural EM models learn vector representation of entity descriptions and match entities end-to-end. Though robust, these methods require many annotated resources for training, and lack of interpretability. In this paper, we propose a novel EM framework that consists of Heterogeneous Information Fusion (HIF) and Key Attribute Tree (KAT) Induction to decouple feature representation from matching decision. Using self-supervised learning and mask mechanism in pre-trained language modeling, HIF learns the embeddings of noisy attribute values by inter-attribute attention with unlabeled data. Using a set of comparison features and a limited amount of annotated data, KAT Induction learns an efficient decision tree that can be interpreted by generating entity matching rules whose structure is advocated by domain experts. Experiments on 6 public datasets and 3 industrial datasets show that our method is highly efficient and outperforms SOTA EM models in most cases. We will release the codes upon acceptance.

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Is Multi-Hop Reasoning Really Explainable? Towards Benchmarking Reasoning Interpretability
Xin Lv | Yixin Cao | Lei Hou | Juanzi Li | Zhiyuan Liu | Yichi Zhang | Zelin Dai
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Multi-hop reasoning has been widely studied in recent years to obtain more interpretable link prediction. However, we find in experiments that many paths given by these models are actually unreasonable, while little work has been done on interpretability evaluation for them. In this paper, we propose a unified framework to quantitatively evaluate the interpretability of multi-hop reasoning models so as to advance their development. In specific, we define three metrics, including path recall, local interpretability, and global interpretability for evaluation, and design an approximate strategy to calculate these metrics using the interpretability scores of rules. We manually annotate all possible rules and establish a benchmark. In experiments, we verify the effectiveness of our benchmark. Besides, we run nine representative baselines on our benchmark, and the experimental results show that the interpretability of current multi-hop reasoning models is less satisfactory and is 51.7% lower than the upper bound given by our benchmark. Moreover, the rule-based models outperform the multi-hop reasoning models in terms of performance and interpretability, which points to a direction for future research, i.e., how to better incorporate rule information into the multi-hop reasoning model. We will publish our codes and datasets upon acceptance.


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Paraphrase Augmented Task-Oriented Dialog Generation
Silin Gao | Yichi Zhang | Zhijian Ou | Zhou Yu
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Neural generative models have achieved promising performance on dialog generation tasks if given a huge data set. However, the lack of high-quality dialog data and the expensive data annotation process greatly limit their application in real world settings. We propose a paraphrase augmented response generation (PARG) framework that jointly trains a paraphrase model and a response generation model to improve the dialog generation performance. We also design a method to automatically construct paraphrase training data set based on dialog state and dialog act labels. PARG is applicable to various dialog generation models, such as TSCP (Lei et al., 2018) and DAMD (Zhang et al., 2019). Experimental results show that the proposed framework improves these state-of-the-art dialog models further on CamRest676 and MultiWOZ. PARG also outperforms other data augmentation methods significantly in dialog generation tasks, especially under low resource settings.

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Dynamic Anticipation and Completion for Multi-Hop Reasoning over Sparse Knowledge Graph
Xin Lv | Xu Han | Lei Hou | Juanzi Li | Zhiyuan Liu | Wei Zhang | Yichi Zhang | Hao Kong | Suhui Wu
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Multi-hop reasoning has been widely studied in recent years to seek an effective and interpretable method for knowledge graph (KG) completion. Most previous reasoning methods are designed for dense KGs with enough paths between entities, but cannot work well on those sparse KGs that only contain sparse paths for reasoning. On the one hand, sparse KGs contain less information, which makes it difficult for the model to choose correct paths. On the other hand, the lack of evidential paths to target entities also makes the reasoning process difficult. To solve these problems, we propose a multi-hop reasoning model over sparse KGs, by applying novel dynamic anticipation and completion strategies: (1) The anticipation strategy utilizes the latent prediction of embedding-based models to make our model perform more potential path search over sparse KGs. (2) Based on the anticipation information, the completion strategy dynamically adds edges as additional actions during the path search, which further alleviates the sparseness problem of KGs. The experimental results on five datasets sampled from Freebase, NELL and Wikidata show that our method outperforms state-of-the-art baselines. Our codes and datasets can be obtained from https://github.com/THU-KEG/DacKGR.

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A Probabilistic End-To-End Task-Oriented Dialog Model with Latent Belief States towards Semi-Supervised Learning
Yichi Zhang | Zhijian Ou | Min Hu | Junlan Feng
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Structured belief states are crucial for user goal tracking and database query in task-oriented dialog systems. However, training belief trackers often requires expensive turn-level annotations of every user utterance. In this paper we aim at alleviating the reliance on belief state labels in building end-to-end dialog systems, by leveraging unlabeled dialog data towards semi-supervised learning. We propose a probabilistic dialog model, called the LAtent BElief State (LABES) model, where belief states are represented as discrete latent variables and jointly modeled with system responses given user inputs. Such latent variable modeling enables us to develop semi-supervised learning under the principled variational learning framework. Furthermore, we introduce LABES-S2S, which is a copy-augmented Seq2Seq model instantiation of LABES. In supervised experiments, LABES-S2S obtains strong results on three benchmark datasets of different scales. In utilizing unlabeled dialog data, semi-supervised LABES-S2S significantly outperforms both supervised-only and semi-supervised baselines. Remarkably, we can reduce the annotation demands to 50% without performance loss on MultiWOZ.