Yifan Gao


2021

pdf bib
Answering Ambiguous Questions through Generative Evidence Fusion and Round-Trip Prediction
Yifan Gao | Henghui Zhu | Patrick Ng | Cicero Nogueira dos Santos | Zhiguo Wang | Feng Nan | Dejiao Zhang | Ramesh Nallapati | Andrew O. Arnold | Bing Xiang
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)

In open-domain question answering, questions are highly likely to be ambiguous because users may not know the scope of relevant topics when formulating them. Therefore, a system needs to find possible interpretations of the question, and predict one or multiple plausible answers. When multiple plausible answers are found, the system should rewrite the question for each answer to resolve the ambiguity. In this paper, we present a model that aggregates and combines evidence from multiple passages to adaptively predict a single answer or a set of question-answer pairs for ambiguous questions. In addition, we propose a novel round-trip prediction approach to iteratively generate additional interpretations that our model fails to find in the first pass, and then verify and filter out the incorrect question-answer pairs to arrive at the final disambiguated output. Our model, named Refuel, achieves a new state-of-the-art performance on the AmbigQA dataset, and shows competitive performance on NQ-Open and TriviaQA. The proposed round-trip prediction is a model-agnostic general approach for answering ambiguous open-domain questions, which improves our Refuel as well as several baseline models. We release source code for our models and experiments at https://github.com/amzn/refuel-open-domain-qa.

2020

pdf bib
Leveraging WordNet Paths for Neural Hypernym Prediction
Yejin Cho | Juan Diego Rodriguez | Yifan Gao | Katrin Erk
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

We formulate the problem of hypernym prediction as a sequence generation task, where the sequences are taxonomy paths in WordNet. Our experiments with encoder-decoder models show that training to generate taxonomy paths can improve the performance of direct hypernym prediction. As a simple but powerful model, the hypo2path model achieves state-of-the-art performance, outperforming the best benchmark by 4.11 points in hit-at-one (H@1).

pdf bib
Explicit Memory Tracker with Coarse-to-Fine Reasoning for Conversational Machine Reading
Yifan Gao | Chien-Sheng Wu | Shafiq Joty | Caiming Xiong | Richard Socher | Irwin King | Michael Lyu | Steven C.H. Hoi
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

The goal of conversational machine reading is to answer user questions given a knowledge base text which may require asking clarification questions. Existing approaches are limited in their decision making due to struggles in extracting question-related rules and reasoning about them. In this paper, we present a new framework of conversational machine reading that comprises a novel Explicit Memory Tracker (EMT) to track whether conditions listed in the rule text have already been satisfied to make a decision. Moreover, our framework generates clarification questions by adopting a coarse-to-fine reasoning strategy, utilizing sentence-level entailment scores to weight token-level distributions. On the ShARC benchmark (blind, held-out) testset, EMT achieves new state-of-the-art results of 74.6% micro-averaged decision accuracy and 49.5 BLEU4. We also show that EMT is more interpretable by visualizing the entailment-oriented reasoning process as the conversation flows. Code and models are released at https://github.com/Yifan-Gao/explicit_memory_tracker.

pdf bib
Discern: Discourse-Aware Entailment Reasoning Network for Conversational Machine Reading
Yifan Gao | Chien-Sheng Wu | Jingjing Li | Shafiq Joty | Steven C.H. Hoi | Caiming Xiong | Irwin King | Michael Lyu
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Document interpretation and dialog understanding are the two major challenges for conversational machine reading. In this work, we propose “Discern”, a discourse-aware entailment reasoning network to strengthen the connection and enhance the understanding of both document and dialog. Specifically, we split the document into clause-like elementary discourse units (EDU) using a pre-trained discourse segmentation model, and we train our model in a weakly-supervised manner to predict whether each EDU is entailed by the user feedback in a conversation. Based on the learned EDU and entailment representations, we either reply to the user our final decision “yes/no/irrelevant” of the initial question, or generate a follow-up question to inquiry more information. Our experiments on the ShARC benchmark (blind, held-out test set) show that Discern achieves state-of-the-art results of 78.3% macro-averaged accuracy on decision making and 64.0 BLEU1 on follow-up question generation. Code and models are released at https://github.com/Yifan-Gao/Discern.

pdf bib
Dialogue Generation on Infrequent Sentence Functions via Structured Meta-Learning
Yifan Gao | Piji Li | Wei Bi | Xiaojiang Liu | Michael Lyu | Irwin King
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Sentence function is an important linguistic feature indicating the communicative purpose in uttering a sentence. Incorporating sentence functions into conversations has shown improvements in the quality of generated responses. However, the number of utterances for different types of fine-grained sentence functions is extremely imbalanced. Besides a small number of high-resource sentence functions, a large portion of sentence functions is infrequent. Consequently, dialogue generation conditioned on these infrequent sentence functions suffers from data deficiency. In this paper, we investigate a structured meta-learning (SML) approach for dialogue generation on infrequent sentence functions. We treat dialogue generation conditioned on different sentence functions as separate tasks, and apply model-agnostic meta-learning to high-resource sentence functions data. Furthermore, SML enhances meta-learning effectiveness by promoting knowledge customization among different sentence functions but simultaneously preserving knowledge generalization for similar sentence functions. Experimental results demonstrate that SML not only improves the informativeness and relevance of generated responses, but also can generate responses consistent with the target sentence functions. Code will be public to facilitate the research along this line.

2019

pdf bib
Improving Question Generation With to the Point Context
Jingjing Li | Yifan Gao | Lidong Bing | Irwin King | Michael R. Lyu
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Question generation (QG) is the task of generating a question from a reference sentence and a specified answer within the sentence. A major challenge in QG is to identify answer-relevant context words to finish the declarative-to-interrogative sentence transformation. Existing sequence-to-sequence neural models achieve this goal by proximity-based answer position encoding under the intuition that neighboring words of answers are of high possibility to be answer-relevant. However, such intuition may not apply to all cases especially for sentences with complex answer-relevant relations. Consequently, the performance of these models drops sharply when the relative distance between the answer fragment and other non-stop sentence words that also appear in the ground truth question increases. To address this issue, we propose a method to jointly model the unstructured sentence and the structured answer-relevant relation (extracted from the sentence in advance) for question generation. Specifically, the structured answer-relevant relation acts as the to the point context and it thus naturally helps keep the generated question to the point, while the unstructured sentence provides the full information. Extensive experiments show that to the point context helps our question generation model achieve significant improvements on several automatic evaluation metrics. Furthermore, our model is capable of generating diverse questions for a sentence which conveys multiple relations of its answer fragment.

pdf bib
Interconnected Question Generation with Coreference Alignment and Conversation Flow Modeling
Yifan Gao | Piji Li | Irwin King | Michael R. Lyu
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We study the problem of generating interconnected questions in question-answering style conversations. Compared with previous works which generate questions based on a single sentence (or paragraph), this setting is different in two major aspects: (1) Questions are highly conversational. Almost half of them refer back to conversation history using coreferences. (2) In a coherent conversation, questions have smooth transitions between turns. We propose an end-to-end neural model with coreference alignment and conversation flow modeling. The coreference alignment modeling explicitly aligns coreferent mentions in conversation history with corresponding pronominal references in generated questions, which makes generated questions interconnected to conversation history. The conversation flow modeling builds a coherent conversation by starting questioning on the first few sentences in a text passage and smoothly shifting the focus to later parts. Extensive experiments show that our system outperforms several baselines and can generate highly conversational questions. The code implementation is released at https://github.com/Evan-Gao/conversaional-QG.