Yu Lu


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AUGUST: an Automatic Generation Understudy for Synthesizing Conversational Recommendation Datasets
Yu Lu | Junwei Bao | Zichen Ma | Xiaoguang Han | Youzheng Wu | Shuguang Cui | Xiaodong He
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

High-quality data is essential for conversational recommendation systems and serves as the cornerstone of the network architecture development and training strategy design. Existing works contribute heavy human efforts to manually labeling or designing and extending recommender dialogue templates. However, they suffer from: (i) the limited number of human annotators results in datasets can hardly capture rich and large-scale cases in the real world, (ii) the limited experience and knowledge of annotators accounts for the uninformative corpus and inappropriate recommendations. In this paper, we propose a novel automatic dataset synthesis approach that can generate large-scale and high-quality recommendation dialogues through a data2text generation process, where unstructured recommendation conversations are generated from structured graphs based on user-item information from the real world. In doing so, we comprehensively exploit: (i) rich personalized user profiles from traditional recommendation datasets, (ii) rich external knowledge from knowledge graphs, and (iii) the conversation ability contained in human-to-human conversational recommendation datasets. Extensive experiments validate the benefit brought by the automatically synthesized data under low-resource scenarios, and demonstrate the promising potential to facilitate developing a more effective conversational recommendation system.

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Take a Closer Look at Multilinguality! Improve Multilingual Pre-Training Using Monolingual Corpora Only
Jinliang Lu | Yu Lu | Jiajun Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Recent studies have revealed the remarkable cross-lingual capability of multilingual pre-trained language models (mPLMs), even when pre-trained without parallel corpora (mono-mPLMs). Intuitively, semantic alignments may be the reason behind such capability but remain under-explored. In this work, we investigate the alignment properties from the token perspective in mono-mPLMs and find that the alignments correspond to the geometric similarity of embedding space across different languages. Nevertheless, mono-mPLMs tend to damage this geometric similarity at the higher layers due to the lack of cross-lingual interactions, thus limiting their cross-lingual transfer capabilities. To address this issue, we introduce token-level and semantic-level code-switched masked language modeling, employing the self-induced token alignments to explicitly improve cross-lingual interactions over layers of mono-mPLMs without relying on parallel sentences. We evaluate our method on various natural language understanding tasks and unsupervised machine translation tasks. The results demonstrate that our methods outperform the strong baselines and achieve comparable performance with mPLMs trained with parallel corpora.


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Learning Confidence for Transformer-based Neural Machine Translation
Yu Lu | Jiali Zeng | Jiajun Zhang | Shuangzhi Wu | Mu Li
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Confidence estimation aims to quantify the confidence of the model prediction, providing an expectation of success. A well-calibrated confidence estimate enables accurate failure prediction and proper risk measurement when given noisy samples and out-of-distribution data in real-world settings. However, this task remains a severe challenge for neural machine translation (NMT), where probabilities from softmax distribution fail to describe when the model is probably mistaken. To address this problem, we propose an unsupervised confidence estimate learning jointly with the training of the NMT model. We explain confidence as how many hints the NMT model needs to make a correct prediction, and more hints indicate low confidence. Specifically, the NMT model is given the option to ask for hints to improve translation accuracy at the cost of some slight penalty. Then, we approximate their level of confidence by counting the number of hints the model uses. We demonstrate that our learned confidence estimate achieves high accuracy on extensive sentence/word-level quality estimation tasks. Analytical results verify that our confidence estimate can correctly assess underlying risk in two real-world scenarios: (1) discovering noisy samples and (2) detecting out-of-domain data. We further propose a novel confidence-based instance-specific label smoothing approach based on our learned confidence estimate, which outperforms standard label smoothing.

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Norm-based Noisy Corpora Filtering and Refurbishing in Neural Machine Translation
Yu Lu | Jiajun Zhang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Recent advances in neural machine translation depend on massive parallel corpora, which are collected from any open source without much guarantee of quality. It stresses the need for noisy corpora filtering, but existing methods are insufficient to solve this issue. They spend much time ensembling multiple scorers trained on clean bitexts, unavailable for low-resource languages in practice. In this paper, we propose a norm-based noisy corpora filtering and refurbishing method with no external data and costly scorers. The noisy and clean samples are separated based on how much information from the source and target sides the model requires to fit the given translation. For the unparallel sentence, the target-side history translation is much more important than the source context, contrary to the parallel ones. The amount of these two information flows can be measured by norms of source-/target-side context vectors. Moreover, we propose to reuse the discovered noisy data by generating pseudo labels via online knowledge distillation. Extensive experiments show that our proposed filtering method performs comparably with state-of-the-art noisy corpora filtering techniques but is more efficient and easier to operate. Noisy sample refurbishing further enhances the performance by making the most of the given data.


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RevCore: Review-Augmented Conversational Recommendation
Yu Lu | Junwei Bao | Yan Song | Zichen Ma | Shuguang Cui | Youzheng Wu | Xiaodong He
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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Attention Calibration for Transformer in Neural Machine Translation
Yu Lu | Jiali Zeng | Jiajun Zhang | Shuangzhi Wu | Mu Li
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)

Attention mechanisms have achieved substantial improvements in neural machine translation by dynamically selecting relevant inputs for different predictions. However, recent studies have questioned the attention mechanisms’ capability for discovering decisive inputs. In this paper, we propose to calibrate the attention weights by introducing a mask perturbation model that automatically evaluates each input’s contribution to the model outputs. We increase the attention weights assigned to the indispensable tokens, whose removal leads to a dramatic performance decrease. The extensive experiments on the Transformer-based translation have demonstrated the effectiveness of our model. We further find that the calibrated attention weights are more uniform at lower layers to collect multiple information while more concentrated on the specific inputs at higher layers. Detailed analyses also show a great need for calibration in the attention weights with high entropy where the model is unconfident about its decision.


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CASIA’s System for IWSLT 2020 Open Domain Translation
Qian Wang | Yuchen Liu | Cong Ma | Yu Lu | Yining Wang | Long Zhou | Yang Zhao | Jiajun Zhang | Chengqing Zong
Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Spoken Language Translation

This paper describes the CASIA’s system for the IWSLT 2020 open domain translation task. This year we participate in both Chinese→Japanese and Japanese→Chinese translation tasks. Our system is neural machine translation system based on Transformer model. We augment the training data with knowledge distillation and back translation to improve the translation performance. Domain data classification and weighted domain model ensemble are introduced to generate the final translation result. We compare and analyze the performance on development data with different model settings and different data processing techniques.