Zeqi Tan


2022

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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.

2021

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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.