Yulei Niu


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Weakly-Supervised Temporal Article Grounding
Long Chen | Yulei Niu | Brian Chen | Xudong Lin | Guangxing Han | Christopher Thomas | Hammad Ayyubi | Heng Ji | Shih-Fu Chang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Given a long untrimmed video and natural language queries, video grounding (VG) aims to temporally localize the semantically-aligned video segments. Almost all existing VG work holds two simple but unrealistic assumptions: 1) All query sentences can be grounded in the corresponding video. 2) All query sentences for the same video are always at the same semantic scale. Unfortunately, both assumptions make today’s VG models fail to work in practice. For example, in real-world multimodal assets (eg, news articles), most of the sentences in the article can not be grounded in their affiliated videos, and they typically have rich hierarchical relations (ie, at different semantic scales). To this end, we propose a new challenging grounding task: Weakly-Supervised temporal Article Grounding (WSAG). Specifically, given an article and a relevant video, WSAG aims to localize all “groundable” sentences to the video, and these sentences are possibly at different semantic scales. Accordingly, we collect the first WSAG dataset to facilitate this task: YouwikiHow, which borrows the inherent multi-scale descriptions in wikiHow articles and plentiful YouTube videos. In addition, we propose a simple but effective method DualMIL for WSAG, which consists of a two-level MIL loss and a single-/cross- sentence constraint loss. These training objectives are carefully designed for these relaxed assumptions. Extensive ablations have verified the effectiveness of DualMIL.

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Interventional Training for Out-Of-Distribution Natural Language Understanding
Sicheng Yu | Jing Jiang | Hao Zhang | Yulei Niu | Qianru Sun | Lidong Bing
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Out-of-distribution (OOD) settings are used to measure a model’s performance when the distribution of the test data is different from that of the training data. NLU models are known to suffer in OOD. We study this issue from the perspective of causality, which sees confounding bias as the reason for models to learn spurious correlations. While a common solution is to perform intervention, existing methods handle only known and single confounder, but in many NLU tasks the confounders can be both unknown and multifactorial. In this paper, we propose a novel interventional training method called Bottom-up Automatic Intervention (BAI) that performs multi-granular intervention with identified multifactorial confounders. Our experiments on three NLU tasks, namely, natural language inference, fact verification and paraphrase identification, show the effectiveness of BAI for tackling OOD settings.


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COSY: COunterfactual SYntax for Cross-Lingual Understanding
Sicheng Yu | Hao Zhang | Yulei Niu | Qianru Sun | Jing Jiang
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)

Pre-trained multilingual language models, e.g., multilingual-BERT, are widely used in cross-lingual tasks, yielding the state-of-the-art performance. However, such models suffer from a large performance gap between source and target languages, especially in the zero-shot setting, where the models are fine-tuned only on English but tested on other languages for the same task. We tackle this issue by incorporating language-agnostic information, specifically, universal syntax such as dependency relations and POS tags, into language models, based on the observation that universal syntax is transferable across different languages. Our approach, called COunterfactual SYntax (COSY), includes the design of SYntax-aware networks as well as a COunterfactual training method to implicitly force the networks to learn not only the semantics but also the syntax. To evaluate COSY, we conduct cross-lingual experiments on natural language inference and question answering using mBERT and XLM-R as network backbones. Our results show that COSY achieves the state-of-the-art performance for both tasks, without using auxiliary training data.