Zeqi Tan


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DAMO-NLP at SemEval-2023 Task 2: A Unified Retrieval-augmented System for Multilingual Named Entity Recognition
Zeqi Tan | Shen Huang | Zixia Jia | Jiong Cai | Yinghui Li | Weiming Lu | Yueting Zhuang | Kewei Tu | Pengjun Xie | Fei Huang | Yong Jiang
Proceedings of the 17th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2023)

The MultiCoNER II shared task aims to tackle multilingual named entity recognition (NER) in fine-grained and noisy scenarios, and it inherits the semantic ambiguity and low-context setting of the MultiCoNER I task. To cope with these problems, the previous top systems in the MultiCoNER I either incorporate the knowledge bases or gazetteers. However, they still suffer from insufficient knowledge, limited context length, single retrieval strategy. In this paper, our team DAMO-NLP proposes a unified retrieval-augmented system (U-RaNER) for fine-grained multilingual NER. We perform error analysis on the previous top systems and reveal that their performance bottleneck lies in insufficient knowledge. Also, we discover that the limited context length causes the retrieval knowledge to be invisible to the model. To enhance the retrieval context, we incorporate the entity-centric Wikidata knowledge base, while utilizing the infusion approach to broaden the contextual scope of the model. Also, we explore various search strategies and refine the quality of retrieval knowledge. Our system wins 9 out of 13 tracks in the MultiCoNER II shared task. Additionally, we compared our system with ChatGPT, one of the large language models which have unlocked strong capabilities on many tasks. The results show that there is still much room for improvement for ChatGPT on the extraction task.

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An Expression Tree Decoding Strategy for Mathematical Equation Generation
Wenqi Zhang | Yongliang Shen | Qingpeng Nong | Zeqi Tan | Yanna Ma | Weiming Lu
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Generating mathematical equations from natural language requires an accurate understanding of the relations among math expressions. Existing approaches can be broadly categorized into token-level and expression-level generation. The former treats equations as a mathematical language, sequentially generating math tokens. Expression-level methods generate each expression one by one. However, each expression represents a solving step, and there naturally exist parallel or dependent relations between these steps, which are ignored by current sequential methods. Therefore, we integrate tree structure into the expression-level generation and advocate an expression tree decoding strategy. To generate a tree with expression as its node, we employ a layer-wise parallel decoding strategy: we decode multiple independent expressions (leaf nodes) in parallel at each layer and repeat parallel decoding layer by layer to sequentially generate these parent node expressions that depend on others. Besides, a bipartite matching algorithm is adopted to align multiple predictions with annotations for each layer. Experiments show our method outperforms other baselines, especially for these equations with complex structures.

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MProto: Multi-Prototype Network with Denoised Optimal Transport for Distantly Supervised Named Entity Recognition
Shuhui Wu | Yongliang Shen | Zeqi Tan | Wenqi Ren | Jietian Guo | Shiliang Pu | Weiming Lu
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Distantly supervised named entity recognition (DS-NER) aims to locate entity mentions and classify their types with only knowledge bases or gazetteers and unlabeled corpus. However, distant annotations are noisy and degrade the performance of NER models. In this paper, we propose a noise-robust prototype network named MProto for the DS-NER task. Different from previous prototype-based NER methods, MProto represents each entity type with multiple prototypes to characterize the intra-class variance among entity representations. To optimize the classifier, each token should be assigned an appropriate ground-truth prototype and we consider such token-prototype assignment as an optimal transport (OT) problem. Furthermore, to mitigate the noise from incomplete labeling, we propose a novel denoised optimal transport (DOT) algorithm. Specifically, we utilize the assignment result between *Other* class tokens and all prototypes to distinguish unlabeled entity tokens from true negatives. Experiments on several DS-NER benchmarks demonstrate that our MProto achieves state-of-the-art performance. The source code is now available on Github.

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GDA: Generative Data Augmentation Techniques for Relation Extraction Tasks
Xuming Hu | Aiwei Liu | Zeqi Tan | Xin Zhang | Chenwei Zhang | Irwin King | Philip S. Yu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Relation extraction (RE) tasks show promising performance in extracting relations from two entities mentioned in sentences, given sufficient annotations available during training. Such annotations would be labor-intensive to obtain in practice. Existing work adopts data augmentation techniques to generate pseudo-annotated sentences beyond limited annotations. These techniques neither preserve the semantic consistency of the original sentences when rule-based augmentations are adopted, nor preserve the syntax structure of sentences when expressing relations using seq2seq models, resulting in less diverse augmentations. In this work, we propose a dedicated augmentation technique for relational texts, named GDA, which uses two complementary modules to preserve both semantic consistency and syntax structures. We adopt a generative formulation and design a multi-tasking solution to achieve synergies. Furthermore, GDA adopts entity hints as the prior knowledge of the generative model to augment diverse sentences. Experimental results in three datasets under a low-resource setting showed that GDA could bring 2.0% F1 improvements compared with no augmentation technique.

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PromptNER: Prompt Locating and Typing for Named Entity Recognition
Yongliang Shen | Zeqi Tan | Shuhui Wu | Wenqi Zhang | Rongsheng Zhang | Yadong Xi | Weiming Lu | Yueting Zhuang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Prompt learning is a new paradigm for utilizing pre-trained language models and has achieved great success in many tasks. To adopt prompt learning in the NER task, two kinds of methods have been explored from a pair of symmetric perspectives, populating the template by enumerating spans to predict their entity types or constructing type-specific prompts to locate entities. However, these methods not only require a multi-round prompting manner with a high time overhead and computational cost, but also require elaborate prompt templates, that are difficult to apply in practical scenarios. In this paper, we unify entity locating and entity typing into prompt learning, and design a dual-slot multi-prompt template with the position slot and type slot to prompt locating and typing respectively. Multiple prompts can be input to the model simultaneously, and then the model extracts all entities by parallel predictions on the slots. To assign labels for the slots during training, we design a dynamic template filling mechanism that uses the extended bipartite graph matching between prompts and the ground-truth entities. We conduct experiments in various settings, including resource-rich flat and nested NER datasets and low-resource in-domain and cross-domain datasets. Experimental results show that the proposed model achieves a significant performance improvement, especially in the cross-domain few-shot setting, which outperforms the state-of-the-art model by +7.7% on average.

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Graph Propagation based Data Augmentation for Named Entity Recognition
Jiong Cai | Shen Huang | Yong Jiang | Zeqi Tan | Pengjun Xie | Kewei Tu
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Data augmentation is an effective solution to improve model performance and robustness for low-resource named entity recognition (NER). However, synthetic data often suffer from poor diversity, which leads to performance limitations. In this paper, we propose a novel Graph Propagated Data Augmentation (GPDA) framework for Named Entity Recognition (NER), leveraging graph propagation to build relationships between labeled data and unlabeled natural texts. By projecting the annotations from the labeled text to the unlabeled text, the unlabeled texts are partially labeled, which has more diversity rather than synthetic annotated data. To strengthen the propagation precision, a simple search engine built on Wikipedia is utilized to fetch related texts of labeled data and to propagate the entity labels to them in the light of the anchor links. Besides, we construct and perform experiments on a real-world low-resource dataset of the E-commerce domain, which will be publicly available to facilitate the low-resource NER research. Experimental results show that GPDA presents substantial improvements over previous data augmentation methods on multiple low-resource NER datasets.


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De-Bias for Generative Extraction in Unified NER Task
Shuai Zhang | Yongliang Shen | Zeqi Tan | Yiquan Wu | Weiming Lu
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Named entity recognition (NER) is a fundamental task to recognize specific types of entities from a given sentence. Depending on how the entities appear in the sentence, it can be divided into three subtasks, namely, Flat NER, Nested NER, and Discontinuous NER. Among the existing approaches, only the generative model can be uniformly adapted to these three subtasks. However, when the generative model is applied to NER, its optimization objective is not consistent with the task, which makes the model vulnerable to the incorrect biases. In this paper, we analyze the incorrect biases in the generation process from a causality perspective and attribute them to two confounders: pre-context confounder and entity-order confounder. Furthermore, we design Intra- and Inter-entity Deconfounding Data Augmentation methods to eliminate the above confounders according to the theory of backdoor adjustment. Experiments show that our method can improve the performance of the generative NER model in various datasets.

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Parallel Instance Query Network for Named Entity Recognition
Yongliang Shen | Xiaobin Wang | Zeqi Tan | Guangwei Xu | Pengjun Xie | Fei Huang | Weiming Lu | Yueting Zhuang
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Named entity recognition (NER) is a fundamental task in natural language processing. Recent works treat named entity recognition as a reading comprehension task, constructing type-specific queries manually to extract entities. This paradigm suffers from three issues. First, type-specific queries can only extract one type of entities per inference, which is inefficient. Second, the extraction for different types of entities is isolated, ignoring the dependencies between them. Third, query construction relies on external knowledge and is difficult to apply to realistic scenarios with hundreds of entity types. To deal with them, we propose Parallel Instance Query Network (PIQN), which sets up global and learnable instance queries to extract entities from a sentence in a parallel manner. Each instance query predicts one entity, and by feeding all instance queries simultaneously, we can query all entities in parallel. Instead of being constructed from external knowledge, instance queries can learn their different query semantics during training. For training the model, we treat label assignment as a one-to-many Linear Assignment Problem (LAP) and dynamically assign gold entities to instance queries with minimal assignment cost. Experiments on both nested and flat NER datasets demonstrate that our proposed method outperforms previous state-of-the-art models.

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Multi-View Reasoning: Consistent Contrastive Learning for Math Word Problem
Wenqi Zhang | Yongliang Shen | Yanna Ma | Xiaoxia Cheng | Zeqi Tan | Qingpeng Nong | Weiming Lu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Math word problem solver requires both precise relation reasoning about quantities in the text and reliable generation for the diverse equation. Current sequence-to-tree or relation extraction methods regard this only from a fixed view, struggling to simultaneously handle complex semantics and diverse equations. However, human solving naturally involves two consistent reasoning views: top-down and bottom-up, just as math equations also can be expressed in multiple equivalent forms: pre-order and post-order. We propose a multi-view consistent contrastive learning for a more complete semantics-to-equation mapping. The entire process is decoupled into two independent but consistent views: top-down decomposition and bottom-up construction, and the two reasoning views are aligned in multi-granularity for consistency, enhancing global generation and precise reasoning. Experiments on multiple datasets across two languages show our approach significantly outperforms the existing baselines, especially on complex problems. We also show after consistent alignment, multi-view can absorb the merits of both views and generate more diverse results consistent with the mathematical laws.

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Query-based Instance Discrimination Network for Relational Triple Extraction
Zeqi Tan | Yongliang Shen | Xuming Hu | Wenqi Zhang | Xiaoxia Cheng | Weiming Lu | Yueting Zhuang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Joint entity and relation extraction has been a core task in the field of information extraction. Recent approaches usually consider the extraction of relational triples from a stereoscopic perspective, either learning a relation-specific tagger or separate classifiers for each relation type. However, they still suffer from error propagation, relation redundancy and lack of high-level connections between triples. To address these issues, we propose a novel query-based approach to construct instance-level representations for relational triples. By metric-based comparison between query embeddings and token embeddings, we can extract all types of triples in one step, thus eliminating the error propagation problem. In addition, we learn the instance-level representation of relational triples via contrastive learning. In this way, relational triples can not only enclose rich class-level semantics but also access to high-order global connections. Experimental results show that our proposed method achieves the state of the art on five widely used benchmarks.


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N-ary Constituent Tree Parsing with Recursive Semi-Markov Model
Xin Xin | Jinlong Li | Zeqi Tan
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 this paper, we study the task of graph-based constituent parsing in the setting that binarization is not conducted as a pre-processing step, where a constituent tree may consist of nodes with more than two children. Previous graph-based methods on this setting typically generate hidden nodes with the dummy label inside the n-ary nodes, in order to transform the tree into a binary tree for prediction. The limitation is that the hidden nodes break the sibling relations of the n-ary node’s children. Consequently, the dependencies of such sibling constituents might not be accurately modeled and is being ignored. To solve this limitation, we propose a novel graph-based framework, which is called “recursive semi-Markov model”. The main idea is to utilize 1-order semi-Markov model to predict the immediate children sequence of a constituent candidate, which then recursively serves as a child candidate of its parent. In this manner, the dependencies of sibling constituents can be described by 1-order transition features, which solves the above limitation. Through experiments, the proposed framework obtains the F1 of 95.92% and 92.50% on the datasets of PTB and CTB 5.1 respectively. Specially, the recursive semi-Markov model shows advantages in modeling nodes with more than two children, whose average F1 can be improved by 0.3-1.1 points in PTB and 2.3-6.8 points in CTB 5.1.

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Locate and Label: A Two-stage Identifier for Nested Named Entity Recognition
Yongliang Shen | Xinyin Ma | Zeqi Tan | Shuai Zhang | Wen Wang | Weiming Lu
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)

Named entity recognition (NER) is a well-studied task in natural language processing. Traditional NER research only deals with flat entities and ignores nested entities. The span-based methods treat entity recognition as a span classification task. Although these methods have the innate ability to handle nested NER, they suffer from high computational cost, ignorance of boundary information, under-utilization of the spans that partially match with entities, and difficulties in long entity recognition. To tackle these issues, we propose a two-stage entity identifier. First we generate span proposals by filtering and boundary regression on the seed spans to locate the entities, and then label the boundary-adjusted span proposals with the corresponding categories. Our method effectively utilizes the boundary information of entities and partially matched spans during training. Through boundary regression, entities of any length can be covered theoretically, which improves the ability to recognize long entities. In addition, many low-quality seed spans are filtered out in the first stage, which reduces the time complexity of inference. Experiments on nested NER datasets demonstrate that our proposed method outperforms previous state-of-the-art models.