Yong Zhang


2024

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Towards Human-aligned Evaluation for Linear Programming Word Problems
Linzi Xing | Xinglu Wang | Yuxi Feng | Zhenan Fan | Jing Xiong | Zhijiang Guo | Xiaojin Fu | Rindra Ramamonjison | Mahdi Mostajabdaveh | Xiongwei Han | Zirui Zhou | Yong Zhang
Proceedings of the 2024 Joint International Conference on Computational Linguistics, Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC-COLING 2024)

Math Word Problem (MWP) is a crucial NLP task aimed at providing solutions for given mathematical descriptions. A notable sub-category of MWP is the Linear Programming Word Problem (LPWP), which holds significant relevance in real-world decision-making and operations research. While the recent rise of generative large language models (LLMs) has brought more advanced solutions to LPWPs, existing evaluation methodologies for this task still diverge from human judgment and face challenges in recognizing mathematically equivalent answers. In this paper, we introduce a novel evaluation metric rooted in graph edit distance, featuring benefits such as permutation invariance and more accurate program equivalence identification. Human evaluations empirically validate the superior efficacy of our proposed metric when particularly assessing LLM-based solutions for LPWP.

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From Quantity to Quality: Boosting LLM Performance with Self-Guided Data Selection for Instruction Tuning
Ming Li | Yong Zhang | Zhitao Li | Jiuhai Chen | Lichang Chen | Ning Cheng | Jianzong Wang | Tianyi Zhou | Jing Xiao
Proceedings of the 2024 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In the realm of Large Language Models (LLMs), the balance between instruction data quality and quantity is a focal point. Recognizing this, we introduce a self-guided methodology for LLMs to autonomously discern and select cherry samples from open-source datasets, effectively minimizing manual curation and potential cost for instruction tuning an LLM. Our key innovation, the Instruction-Following Difficulty (IFD) metric, emerges as a pivotal metric to identify discrepancies between a model’s expected responses and its intrinsic generation capability. Through the application of IFD, cherry samples can be pinpointed, leading to a marked uptick in model training efficiency. Empirical validations on datasets like Alpaca and WizardLM underpin our findings; with a mere 10% of original data input, our strategy showcases improved results. This synthesis of self-guided cherry-picking and the IFD metric signifies a transformative leap in the instruction tuning of LLMs, promising both efficiency and resource-conscious advancements. Codes, data, and models are available.

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Hierarchical Attention Graph for Scientific Document Summarization in Global and Local Level
Chenlong Zhao | Xiwen Zhou | Xiaopeng Xie | Yong Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2024

Scientific document summarization has been a challenging task due to the long structure of the input text. The long input hinders the simultaneous effective modeling of both global high-order relations between sentences and local intra-sentence relations which is the most critical step in extractive summarization. However, existing methods mostly focus on one type of relation, neglecting the simultaneous effective modeling of both relations, which can lead to insufficient learning of semantic representations. In this paper, we propose HAESum, a novel approach utilizing graph neural networks to locally and globally model documents based on their hierarchical discourse structure. First, intra-sentence relations are learned using a local heterogeneous graph. Subsequently, a novel hypergraph self-attention layer is introduced to further enhance the characterization of high-order inter-sentence relations. We validate our approach on two benchmark datasets, and the experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of HAESum and the importance of considering hierarchical structures in modeling long scientific documents.

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GOLD: Generalized Knowledge Distillation via Out-of-Distribution-Guided Language Data Generation
Mohsen Gholami | Mohammad Akbari | Tianxi Hu | Vaden Masrani | Z. Wang | Yong Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2024

Knowledge distillation from LLMs is essential for the efficient deployment of language models. Prior works have proposed data generation using LLMs for preparing distilled models. We argue that generating data with LLMs is prone to sampling mainly from the center of original content distribution. This limitation hinders the distilled model from learning the true underlying data distribution and to forget the tails of the distributions (samples with lower probability). To this end, we propose GOLD, a task-agnostic data generation and knowledge distillation framework, which employs an iterative out-of-distribution-guided feedback mechanism for the LLM. As a result, the generated data improves the generalizability of distilled models. An energy-based OOD evaluation approach is also introduced to deal with noisy generated data. Our extensive experiments on 10 different classification and sequence-to-sequence tasks in NLP show that GOLD respectively outperforms prior arts and the LLM with an average improvement of 5% and 14%. We will also show that the proposed method is applicable to less explored and novel tasks. Code is available in the Appendix.

2023

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ArchBERT: Bi-Modal Understanding of Neural Architectures and Natural Languages
Mohammad Akbari | Saeed Ranjbar Alvar | Behnam Kamranian | Amin Banitalebi-Dehkordi | Yong Zhang
Proceedings of the 27th Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL)

Building multi-modal language models has been a trend in the recent years, where additional modalities such as image, video, speech, etc. are jointly learned along with natural languages (i.e., textual information). Despite the success of these multi-modal language models with different modalities, there is no existing solution for neural network architectures and natural languages. Providing neural architectural information as a new modality allows us to provide fast architecture-2-text and text-2-architecture retrieval/generation services on the cloud with a single inference. Such solution is valuable in terms of helping beginner and intermediate ML users to come up with better neural architectures or AutoML approaches with a simple text query. In this paper, we propose ArchBERT, a bi-modal model for joint learning and understanding of neural architectures and natural languages, which opens up new avenues for research in this area. We also introduce a pre-training strategy named Masked Architecture Modeling (MAM) for a more generalized joint learning. Moreover, we introduce and publicly release two new bi-modal datasets for training and validating our methods. The ArchBERT’s performance is verified through a set of numerical experiments on different downstream tasks such as architecture-oriented reasoning, question answering, and captioning (summarization). Datasets, codes, and demos are available as supplementary materials.

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PRCA: Fitting Black-Box Large Language Models for Retrieval Question Answering via Pluggable Reward-Driven Contextual Adapter
Haoyan Yang | Zhitao Li | Yong Zhang | Jianzong Wang | Ning Cheng | Ming Li | Jing Xiao
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The Retrieval Question Answering (ReQA) task employs the retrieval-augmented framework, composed of a retriever and generator. The generators formulate the answer based on the documents retrieved by the retriever. Incorporating Large Language Models (LLMs) as generators is beneficial due to their advanced QA capabilities, but they are typically too large to be fine-tuned with budget constraints while some of them are only accessible via APIs. To tackle this issue and further improve ReQA performance, we propose a trainable Pluggable Reward-Driven Contextual Adapter (PRCA), keeping the generator as a black box. Positioned between the retriever and generator in a Pluggable manner, PRCA refines the retrieved information by operating in a token-autoregressive strategy via maximizing rewards of the reinforcement learning phase. Our experiments validate PRCA’s effectiveness in enhancing ReQA performance on three datasets by up to 20% improvement to fit black-box LLMs into existing frameworks, demonstrating its considerable potential in the LLMs era.

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LaTeX2Solver: a Hierarchical Semantic Parsing of LaTeX Document into Code for an Assistive Optimization Modeling Application
Rindra Ramamonjison | Timothy Yu | Linzi Xing | Mahdi Mostajabdaveh | Xiaorui Li | Xiaojin Fu | Xiongwei Han | Yuanzhe Chen | Ren Li | Kun Mao | Yong Zhang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 3: System Demonstrations)

We demonstrate an interactive system to help operations research (OR) practitioners convert the mathematical formulation of optimization problems from TeX document format into the solver modeling language. In practice, a manual translation is cumbersome and time-consuming. Moreover, it requires an in-depth understanding of the problem description and a technical expertise to produce the modeling code. Thus, our proposed system TeX2Solver helps partially automate this conversion and help the users build optimization models more efficiently. In this paper, we describe its interface and the components of the hierarchical parsing system. A video demo walk-through is available online at http://bit.ly/3kuOm3x

2022

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E-LANG: Energy-Based Joint Inferencing of Super and Swift Language Models
Mohammad Akbari | Amin Banitalebi-Dehkordi | Yong Zhang
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Building huge and highly capable language models has been a trend in the past years. Despite their great performance, they incur high computational cost. A common solution is to apply model compression or choose light-weight architectures, which often need a separate fixed-size model for each desirable computational budget, and may lose performance in case of heavy compression. This paper proposes an effective dynamic inference approach, called E-LANG, which distributes the inference between large accurate Super-models and light-weight Swift models. To this end, a decision making module routes the inputs to Super or Swift models based on the energy characteristics of the representations in the latent space. This method is easily adoptable and architecture agnostic. As such, it can be applied to black-box pre-trained models without a need for architectural manipulations, reassembling of modules, or re-training. Unlike existing methods that are only applicable to encoder-only backbones and classification tasks, our method also works for encoder-decoder structures and sequence-to-sequence tasks such as translation. The E-LANG performance is verified through a set of experiments with T5 and BERT backbones on GLUE, SuperGLUE, and WMT. In particular, we outperform T5-11B with an average computations speed-up of 3.3X on GLUE and 2.9X on SuperGLUE. We also achieve BERT-based SOTA on GLUE with 3.2X less computations. Code and demo are available in supplementary materials.

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Augmenting Operations Research with Auto-Formulation of Optimization Models From Problem Descriptions
Rindra Ramamonjison | Haley Li | Timothy Yu | Shiqi He | Vishnu Rengan | Amin Banitalebi-dehkordi | Zirui Zhou | Yong Zhang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: Industry Track

We describe an augmented intelligence system for simplifying and enhancing the modeling experience for operations research. Using this system, the user receives a suggested formulation of an optimization problem based on its description. To facilitate this process, we build an intuitive user interface system that enables the users to validate and edit the suggestions. We investigate controlled generation techniques to obtain an automatic suggestion of formulation. Then, we evaluate their effectiveness with a newly created dataset of linear programming problems drawn from various application domains.

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Unsupervised Sentence Textual Similarity with Compositional Phrase Semantics
Zihao Wang | Jiaheng Dou | Yong Zhang
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Measuring Sentence Textual Similarity (STS) is a classic task that can be applied to many downstream NLP applications such as text generation and retrieval. In this paper, we focus on unsupervised STS that works on various domains but only requires minimal data and computational resources. Theoretically, we propose a light-weighted Expectation-Correction (EC) formulation for STS computation. EC formulation unifies unsupervised STS approaches including the cosine similarity of Additively Composed (AC) sentence embeddings, Optimal Transport (OT), and Tree Kernels (TK). Moreover, we propose the Recursive Optimal Transport Similarity (ROTS) algorithm to capture the compositional phrase semantics by composing multiple recursive EC formulations. ROTS finishes in linear time and is faster than its predecessors. ROTS is empirically more effective and scalable than previous approaches. Extensive experiments on 29 STS tasks under various settings show the clear advantage of ROTS over existing approaches. Detailed ablation studies prove the effectiveness of our approaches.

2021

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Generating Self-Contained and Summary-Centric Question Answer Pairs via Differentiable Reward Imitation Learning
Li Zhou | Kevin Small | Yong Zhang | Sandeep Atluri
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Motivated by suggested question generation in conversational news recommendation systems, we propose a model for generating question-answer pairs (QA pairs) with self-contained, summary-centric questions and length-constrained, article-summarizing answers. We begin by collecting a new dataset of news articles with questions as titles and pairing them with summaries of varying length. This dataset is used to learn a QA pair generation model producing summaries as answers that balance brevity with sufficiency jointly with their corresponding questions. We then reinforce the QA pair generation process with a differentiable reward function to mitigate exposure bias, a common problem in natural language generation. Both automatic metrics and human evaluation demonstrate these QA pairs successfully capture the central gists of the articles and achieve high answer accuracy.

2020

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A Relaxed Matching Procedure for Unsupervised BLI
Xu Zhao | Zihao Wang | Yong Zhang | Hao Wu
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Recently unsupervised Bilingual Lexicon Induction(BLI) without any parallel corpus has attracted much research interest. One of the crucial parts in methods for the BLI task is the matching procedure. Previous works impose a too strong constraint on the matching and lead to many counterintuitive translation pairings. Thus We propose a relaxed matching procedure to find a more precise matching between two languages. We also find that aligning source and target language embedding space bidirectionally will bring significant improvement. We follow the previous iterative framework to conduct experiments. Results on standard benchmark demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed method, which substantially outperforms previous unsupervised methods.

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Semi-Supervised Bilingual Lexicon Induction with Two-way Interaction
Xu Zhao | Zihao Wang | Hao Wu | Yong Zhang
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Semi-supervision is a promising paradigm for Bilingual Lexicon Induction (BLI) with limited annotations. However, previous semisupervised methods do not fully utilize the knowledge hidden in annotated and nonannotated data, which hinders further improvement of their performance. In this paper, we propose a new semi-supervised BLI framework to encourage the interaction between the supervised signal and unsupervised alignment. We design two message-passing mechanisms to transfer knowledge between annotated and non-annotated data, named prior optimal transport and bi-directional lexicon update respectively. Then, we perform semi-supervised learning based on a cyclic or a parallel parameter feeding routine to update our models. Our framework is a general framework that can incorporate any supervised and unsupervised BLI methods based on optimal transport. Experimental results on MUSE and VecMap datasets show significant improvement of our models. Ablation study also proves that the two-way interaction between the supervised signal and unsupervised alignment accounts for the gain of the overall performance. Results on distant language pairs further illustrate the advantage and robustness of our proposed method.

2017

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The Sentimental Value of Chinese Sub-Character Components
Yassine Benajiba | Or Biran | Zhiliang Weng | Yong Zhang | Jin Sun
Proceedings of the 9th SIGHAN Workshop on Chinese Language Processing

Sub-character components of Chinese characters carry important semantic information, and recent studies have shown that utilizing this information can improve performance on core semantic tasks. In this paper, we hypothesize that in addition to semantic information, sub-character components may also carry emotional information, and that utilizing it should improve performance on sentiment analysis tasks. We conduct a series of experiments on four Chinese sentiment data sets and show that we can significantly improve the performance in various tasks over that of a character-level embeddings baseline. We then focus on qualitatively assessing multiple examples and trying to explain how the sub-character components affect the results in each case.

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MainiwayAI at IJCNLP-2017 Task 2: Ensembles of Deep Architectures for Valence-Arousal Prediction
Yassine Benajiba | Jin Sun | Yong Zhang | Zhiliang Weng | Or Biran
Proceedings of the IJCNLP 2017, Shared Tasks

This paper introduces Mainiway AI Labs submitted system for the IJCNLP 2017 shared task on Dimensional Sentiment Analysis of Chinese Phrases (DSAP), and related experiments. Our approach consists of deep neural networks with various architectures, and our best system is a voted ensemble of networks. We achieve a Mean Absolute Error of 0.64 in valence prediction and 0.68 in arousal prediction on the test set, both placing us as the 5th ranked team in the competition.