Yuchen Zhai


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Continual Few-shot Intent Detection
Guodun Li | Yuchen Zhai | Qianglong Chen | Xing Gao | Ji Zhang | Yin Zhang
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Intent detection is at the core of task-oriented dialogue systems. Existing intent detection systems are typically trained with a large amount of data over a predefined set of intent classes. However, newly emerged intents in multiple domains are commonplace in the real world. And it is time-consuming and impractical for dialogue systems to re-collect enough annotated data and re-train the model. These limitations call for an intent detection system that could continually recognize new intents with very few labeled examples. In this work, we study the Continual Few-shot Intent Detection (CFID) problem and construct a benchmark consisting of nine tasks with multiple domains and imbalanced classes. To address the key challenges of (a) catastrophic forgetting during continuous learning and (b) negative knowledge transfer across tasks, we propose the Prefix-guided Lightweight Encoder (PLE) with three auxiliary strategies, namely Pseudo Samples Replay (PSR), Teacher Knowledge Transfer (TKT) and Dynamic Weighting Replay (DWR). Extensive experiments demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of our method in preventing catastrophic forgetting and encouraging positive knowledge transfer across tasks.


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UnClE: Explicitly Leveraging Semantic Similarity to Reduce the Parameters of Word Embeddings
Zhi Li | Yuchen Zhai | Chengyu Wang | Minghui Qiu | Kailiang Li | Yin Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Natural language processing (NLP) models often require a massive number of parameters for word embeddings, which limits their application on mobile devices. Researchers have employed many approaches, e.g. adaptive inputs, to reduce the parameters of word embeddings. However, existing methods rarely pay attention to semantic information. In this paper, we propose a novel method called Unique and Class Embeddings (UnClE), which explicitly leverages semantic similarity with weight sharing to reduce the dimensionality of word embeddings. Inspired by the fact that words with similar semantic can share a part of weights, we divide the embeddings of words into two parts: unique embedding and class embedding. The former is one-to-one mapping like traditional embedding, while the latter is many-to-one mapping and learn the representation of class information. Our method is suitable for both word-level and sub-word level models and can be used to reduce both input and output embeddings. Experimental results on the standard WMT 2014 English-German dataset show that our method is able to reduce the parameters of word embeddings by more than 11x, with about 93% performance retaining in BLEU metrics. For language modeling task, our model can reduce word embeddings by 6x or 11x on PTB/WT2 dataset at the cost of a certain degree of performance degradation.


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Counterfactual Generator: A Weakly-Supervised Method for Named Entity Recognition
Xiangji Zeng | Yunliang Li | Yuchen Zhai | Yin Zhang
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Past progress on neural models has proven that named entity recognition is no longer a problem if we have enough labeled data. However, collecting enough data and annotating them are labor-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive. In this paper, we decompose the sentence into two parts: entity and context, and rethink the relationship between them and model performance from a causal perspective. Based on this, we propose the Counterfactual Generator, which generates counterfactual examples by the interventions on the existing observational examples to enhance the original dataset. Experiments across three datasets show that our method improves the generalization ability of models under limited observational examples. Besides, we provide a theoretical foundation by using a structural causal model to explore the spurious correlations between input features and output labels. We investigate the causal effects of entity or context on model performance under both conditions: the non-augmented and the augmented. Interestingly, we find that the non-spurious correlations are more located in entity representation rather than context representation. As a result, our method eliminates part of the spurious correlations between context representation and output labels. The code is available at https://github.com/xijiz/cfgen.