Zheng Zhang


2023

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Distributed Marker Representation for Ambiguous Discourse Markers and Entangled Relations
Dongyu Ru | Lin Qiu | Xipeng Qiu | Yue Zhang | Zheng Zhang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Discourse analysis is an important task because it models intrinsic semantic structures between sentences in a document. Discourse markers are natural representations of discourse in our daily language. One challenge is that the markers as well as pre-defined and human-labeled discourse relations can be ambiguous when describing the semantics between sentences. We believe that a better approach is to use a contextual-dependent distribution over the markers to express discourse information. In this work, we propose to learn a Distributed Marker Representation (DMR) by utilizing the (potentially) unlimited discourse marker data with a latent discourse sense, thereby bridging markers with sentence pairs. Such representations can be learned automatically from data without supervision, and in turn provide insights into the data itself. Experiments show the SOTA performance of our DMR on the implicit discourse relation recognition task and strong interpretability. Our method also offers a valuable tool to understand complex ambiguity and entanglement among discourse markers and manually defined discourse relations.

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CASE: Aligning Coarse-to-Fine Cognition and Affection for Empathetic Response Generation
Jinfeng Zhou | Chujie Zheng | Bo Wang | Zheng Zhang | Minlie Huang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Empathetic conversation is psychologically supposed to be the result of conscious alignment and interaction between the cognition and affection of empathy. However, existing empathetic dialogue models usually consider only the affective aspect or treat cognition and affection in isolation, which limits the capability of empathetic response generation. In this work, we propose the CASE model for empathetic dialogue generation. It first builds upon a commonsense cognition graph and an emotional concept graph and then aligns the user’s cognition and affection at both the coarse-grained and fine-grained levels. Through automatic and manual evaluation, we demonstrate that CASE outperforms state-of-the-art baselines of empathetic dialogues and can generate more empathetic and informative responses.

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An AMR-based Link Prediction Approach for Document-level Event Argument Extraction
Yuqing Yang | Qipeng Guo | Xiangkun Hu | Yue Zhang | Xipeng Qiu | Zheng Zhang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Recent works have introduced Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) for Document-level Event Argument Extraction (Doc-level EAE), since AMR provides a useful interpretation of complex semantic structures and helps to capture long-distance dependency. However, in these works AMR is used only implicitly, for instance, as additional features or training signals. Motivated by the fact that all event structures can be inferred from AMR, this work reformulates EAE as a link prediction problem on AMR graphs. Since AMR is a generic structure and does not perfectly suit EAE, we propose a novel graph structure, Tailored AMR Graph (TAG), which compresses less informative subgraphs and edge types, integrates span information, and highlights surrounding events in the same document. With TAG, we further propose a novel method using graph neural networks as a link prediction model to find event arguments. Our extensive experiments on WikiEvents and RAMS show that this simpler approach outperforms the state-of-the-art models by 3.63pt and 2.33pt F1, respectively, and do so with reduced 56% inference time.

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Dual Cache for Long Document Neural Coreference Resolution
Qipeng Guo | Xiangkun Hu | Yue Zhang | Xipeng Qiu | Zheng Zhang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Recent works show the effectiveness of cache-based neural coreference resolution models on long documents. These models incrementally process a long document from left to right and extract relations between mentions and entities in a cache, resulting in much lower memory and computation cost compared to computing all mentions in parallel. However, they do not handle cache misses when high-quality entities are purged from the cache, which causes wrong assignments and leads to prediction errors. We propose a new hybrid cache that integrates two eviction policies to capture global and local entities separately, and effectively reduces the aggregated cache misses up to half as before, while improving F1 score of coreference by 0.7 5.7pt. As such, the hybrid policy can accelerate existing cache-based models and offer a new long document coreference resolution solution. Results show that our method outperforms existing methods on four benchmarks while saving up to 83% of inference time against non-cache-based models. Further, we achieve a new state-of-the-art on a long document coreference benchmark, LitBank.

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Click: Controllable Text Generation with Sequence Likelihood Contrastive Learning
Chujie Zheng | Pei Ke | Zheng Zhang | Minlie Huang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

It has always been an important yet challenging problem to control language models to avoid generating texts with undesirable attributes, such as toxic language and unnatural repetition. We introduce Leo for controllable text generation, which needs no modification to the model architecture and facilitates out-of-the-box use of trained models. It employs a contrastive loss on sequence likelihood, which fundamentally decreases the generation probability of negative samples (i.e., generations with undesirable attributes). It also adopts a novel likelihood ranking-based strategy to construct contrastive samples from model generations. On the tasks of language detoxification, sentiment steering, and repetition reduction, we show that Leo outperforms strong baselines of controllable text generation and demonstrate the superiority of Leo’s sample construction strategy.

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AugESC: Dialogue Augmentation with Large Language Models for Emotional Support Conversation
Chujie Zheng | Sahand Sabour | Jiaxin Wen | Zheng Zhang | Minlie Huang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Crowdsourced dialogue corpora are usually limited in scale and topic coverage due to the expensive cost of data curation. This would hinder the generalization of downstream dialogue models to open-domain topics. In this work, we leverage large language models for dialogue augmentation in the task of emotional support conversation (ESC). By treating dialogue augmentation as a dialogue completion task, we prompt a fine-tuned language model to complete full dialogues from available dialogue posts of various topics, which are then postprocessed based on heuristics. Applying this approach, we construct AugESC, an augmented dataset for the ESC task, which largely extends the scale and topic coverage of the crowdsourced ESConv corpus. Through comprehensive human evaluation, we demonstrate that our approach is superior to strong baselines of dialogue augmentation and that AugESC has comparable dialogue quality to the crowdsourced corpus. We also conduct human interactive evaluation and prove that post-training on AugESC improves downstream dialogue models’ generalization ability to open-domain topics. These results suggest the utility of AugESC and highlight the potential of large language models in improving data-scarce dialogue generation tasks.

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Exploiting Abstract Meaning Representation for Open-Domain Question Answering
Cunxiang Wang | Zhikun Xu | Qipeng Guo | Xiangkun Hu | Xuefeng Bai | Zheng Zhang | Yue Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

The Open-Domain Question Answering (ODQA) task involves retrieving and subsequently generating answers from fine-grained relevant passages within a database. Current systems leverage Pretrained Language Models (PLMs) to model the relationship between questions and passages. However, the diversity in surface form expressions can hinder the model’s ability to capture accurate correlations, especially within complex contexts. Therefore, we utilize Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) graphs to assist the model in understanding complex semantic information. We introduce a method known as Graph-as-Token (GST) to incorporate AMRs into PLMs. Results from Natural Questions (NQ) and TriviaQA (TQ) demonstrate that our GST method can significantly improve performance, resulting in up to 2.44/3.17 Exact Match score improvements on NQ/TQ respectively. Furthermore, our method enhances robustness and outperforms alternative Graph Neural Network (GNN) methods for integrating AMRs. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to employ semantic graphs in ODQA.

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Enhancing Uncertainty-Based Hallucination Detection with Stronger Focus
Tianhang Zhang | Lin Qiu | Qipeng Guo | Cheng Deng | Yue Zhang | Zheng Zhang | Chenghu Zhou | Xinbing Wang | Luoyi Fu
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Large Language Models (LLMs) have gained significant popularity for their impressive performance across diverse fields. However, LLMs are prone to hallucinate untruthful or nonsensical outputs that fail to meet user expectations in many real-world applications. Existing works for detecting hallucinations in LLMs either rely on external knowledge for reference retrieval or require sampling multiple responses from the LLM for consistency verification, making these methods costly and inefficient. In this paper, we propose a novel reference-free, uncertainty-based method for detecting hallucinations in LLMs. Our approach imitates human focus in factuality checking from three aspects: 1) focus on the most informative and important keywords in the given text; 2) focus on the unreliable tokens in historical context which may lead to a cascade of hallucinations; and 3) focus on the token properties such as token type and token frequency. Experimental results on relevant datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed method, which achieves state-of-the-art performance across all the evaluation metrics and eliminates the need for additional information.

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Plan, Verify and Switch: Integrated Reasoning with Diverse X-of-Thoughts
Tengxiao Liu | Qipeng Guo | Yuqing Yang | Xiangkun Hu | Yue Zhang | Xipeng Qiu | Zheng Zhang
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

As large language models (LLMs) have shown effectiveness with different prompting methods, such as Chain of Thought, Program of Thought, we find that these methods have formed a great complementarity to each other on math reasoning tasks. In this work, we propose XoT, an integrated problem solving framework by prompting LLMs with diverse reasoning thoughts. For each question, XoT always begins with selecting the most suitable method then executes each method iteratively. Within each iteration, XoT actively checks the validity of the generated answer and incorporates the feedback from external executors, allowing it to dynamically switch among different prompting methods. Through extensive experiments on 10 popular math reasoning datasets, we demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed approach and thoroughly analyze the strengths of each module. Moreover, empirical results suggest that our framework is orthogonal to recent work that makes improvements on single reasoning methods and can further generalise to logical reasoning domain. By allowing method switching, XoT provides a fresh perspective on the collaborative integration of diverse reasoning thoughts in a unified framework.

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StoryAnalogy: Deriving Story-level Analogies from Large Language Models to Unlock Analogical Understanding
Cheng Jiayang | Lin Qiu | Tsz Chan | Tianqing Fang | Weiqi Wang | Chunkit Chan | Dongyu Ru | Qipeng Guo | Hongming Zhang | Yangqiu Song | Yue Zhang | Zheng Zhang
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Analogy-making between narratives is crucial for human reasoning. In this paper, we evaluate the ability to identify and generate analogies by constructing a first-of-its-kind large-scale story-level analogy corpus, StoryAnalogy, which contains 24K story pairs from diverse domains with human annotations on two similarities from the extended Structure-Mapping Theory. We design a set of tests on StoryAnalogy, presenting the first evaluation of story-level analogy identification and generation. Interestingly, we find that the analogy identification tasks are incredibly difficult not only for sentence embedding models but also for the recent large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT and LLaMa. ChatGPT, for example, only achieved around 30% accuracy in multiple-choice questions (compared to over 85% accuracy for humans). Furthermore, we observe that the data in StoryAnalogy can improve the quality of analogy generation in LLMs, where a fine-tuned FlanT5-xxl model achieves comparable performance to zero-shot ChatGPT.

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Building Multi-domain Dialog State Trackers from Single-domain Dialogs
Qi Zhu | Zheng Zhang | Xiaoyan Zhu | Minlie Huang
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Existing multi-domain dialog state tracking (DST) models are developed based on multi-domain dialogs, which require significant manual effort to define domain relations and collect data. This process can be challenging and expensive, particularly when numerous domains are involved. In this paper, we propose a divide-and-conquer (DAC) DST paradigm and a multi-domain dialog synthesis framework, which makes building multi-domain DST models from single-domain dialogs possible. The DAC paradigm segments a multi-domain dialog into multiple single-domain dialogs for DST, which makes models generalize better on dialogs involving unseen domain combinations. The multi-domain dialog synthesis framework merges several potentially related single-domain dialogs into one multi-domain dialog and modifies the dialog to simulate domain relations. The synthesized dialogs can help DST models capture the value transfer between domains. Experiments with three representative DST models on two datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed DAC paradigm and data synthesis framework.

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Interactive Text-to-SQL Generation via Editable Step-by-Step Explanations
Yuan Tian | Zheng Zhang | Zheng Ning | Toby Li | Jonathan K. Kummerfeld | Tianyi Zhang
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Relational databases play an important role in business, science, and more. However, many users cannot fully unleash the analytical power of relational databases, because they are not familiar with database languages such as SQL. Many techniques have been proposed to automatically generate SQL from natural language, but they suffer from two issues: (1) they still make many mistakes, particularly for complex queries, and (2) they do not provide a flexible way for non-expert users to validate and refine incorrect queries. To address these issues, we introduce a new interaction mechanism that allows users to directly edit a step-by-step explanation of a query to fix errors. Our experiments on multiple datasets, as well as a user study with 24 participants, demonstrate that our approach can achieve better performance than multiple SOTA approaches. Our code and datasets are available at https://github.com/magic-YuanTian/STEPS.

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ConvLab-3: A Flexible Dialogue System Toolkit Based on a Unified Data Format
Qi Zhu | Christian Geishauser | Hsien-chin Lin | Carel van Niekerk | Baolin Peng | Zheng Zhang | Shutong Feng | Michael Heck | Nurul Lubis | Dazhen Wan | Xiaochen Zhu | Jianfeng Gao | Milica Gasic | Minlie Huang
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

Task-oriented dialogue (TOD) systems function as digital assistants, guiding users through various tasks such as booking flights or finding restaurants. Existing toolkits for building TOD systems often fall short in delivering comprehensive arrays of data, model, and experimental environments with a user-friendly experience. We introduce ConvLab-3: a multifaceted dialogue system toolkit crafted to bridge this gap. Our unified data format simplifies the integration of diverse datasets and models, significantly reducing complexity and cost for studying generalization and transfer. Enhanced with robust reinforcement learning (RL) tools, featuring a streamlined training process, in-depth evaluation tools, and a selection of user simulators, ConvLab-3 supports the rapid development and evaluation of robust dialogue policies. Through an extensive study, we demonstrate the efficacy of transfer learning and RL and showcase that ConvLab-3 is not only a powerful tool for seasoned researchers but also an accessible platform for newcomers.

2022

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Vega-MT: The JD Explore Academy Machine Translation System for WMT22
Changtong Zan | Keqin Peng | Liang Ding | Baopu Qiu | Boan Liu | Shwai He | Qingyu Lu | Zheng Zhang | Chuang Liu | Weifeng Liu | Yibing Zhan | Dacheng Tao
Proceedings of the Seventh Conference on Machine Translation (WMT)

We describe the JD Explore Academy’s submission of the WMT 2022 shared general translation task. We participated in all high-resource tracks and one medium-resource track, including Chinese-English, German-English, Czech-English, Russian-English, and Japanese-English. We push the limit of our previous work – bidirectional training for translation by scaling up two main factors, i.e. language pairs and model sizes, namely the Vega-MT system. As for language pairs, we scale the “bidirectional” up to the “multidirectional” settings, covering all participating languages, to exploit the common knowledge across languages, and transfer them to the downstream bilingual tasks. As for model sizes, we scale the Transformer-Big up to the extremely large model that owns nearly 4.7 Billion parameters, to fully enhance the model capacity for our Vega-MT. Also, we adopt the data augmentation strategies, e.g. cycle translation for monolingual data, and bidirectional self-training for bilingual and monolingual data, to comprehensively exploit the bilingual and monolingual data. To adapt our Vega-MT to the general domain test set, generalization tuning is designed. Based on the official automatic scores of constrained systems, in terms of the sacreBLEU shown in Figure-1, we got the 1st place on Zh-En (33.5), En-Zh (49.7), De-En (33.7), En-De (37.8), Cs-En (54.9), En-Cs (41.4) and En-Ru (32.7), 2nd place on Ru-En (45.1) and Ja-En (25.6), and 3rd place on En-Ja(41.5), respectively; W.R.T the COMET, we got the 1st place on Zh-En (45.1), En-Zh (61.7), De-En (58.0), En-De (63.2), Cs-En (74.7), Ru-En (64.9), En-Ru (69.6) and En-Ja (65.1), 2nd place on En-Cs (95.3) and Ja-En (40.6), respectively. Models will be released to facilitate the MT community through GitHub and OmniForce Platform.

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Fantastic Questions and Where to Find Them: FairytaleQA – An Authentic Dataset for Narrative Comprehension
Ying Xu | Dakuo Wang | Mo Yu | Daniel Ritchie | Bingsheng Yao | Tongshuang Wu | Zheng Zhang | Toby Li | Nora Bradford | Branda Sun | Tran Hoang | Yisi Sang | Yufang Hou | Xiaojuan Ma | Diyi Yang | Nanyun Peng | Zhou Yu | Mark Warschauer
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Question answering (QA) is a fundamental means to facilitate assessment and training of narrative comprehension skills for both machines and young children, yet there is scarcity of high-quality QA datasets carefully designed to serve this purpose. In particular, existing datasets rarely distinguish fine-grained reading skills, such as the understanding of varying narrative elements. Drawing on the reading education research, we introduce FairytaleQA, a dataset focusing on narrative comprehension of kindergarten to eighth-grade students. Generated by educational experts based on an evidence-based theoretical framework, FairytaleQA consists of 10,580 explicit and implicit questions derived from 278 children-friendly stories, covering seven types of narrative elements or relations. Our dataset is valuable in two folds: First, we ran existing QA models on our dataset and confirmed that this annotation helps assess models’ fine-grained learning skills. Second, the dataset supports question generation (QG) task in the education domain. Through benchmarking with QG models, we show that the QG model trained on FairytaleQA is capable of asking high-quality and more diverse questions.

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It is AI’s Turn to Ask Humans a Question: Question-Answer Pair Generation for Children’s Story Books
Bingsheng Yao | Dakuo Wang | Tongshuang Wu | Zheng Zhang | Toby Li | Mo Yu | Ying Xu
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Existing question answering (QA) techniques are created mainly to answer questions asked by humans. But in educational applications, teachers often need to decide what questions they should ask, in order to help students to improve their narrative understanding capabilities. We design an automated question-answer generation (QAG) system for this education scenario: given a story book at the kindergarten to eighth-grade level as input, our system can automatically generate QA pairs that are capable of testing a variety of dimensions of a student’s comprehension skills. Our proposed QAG model architecture is demonstrated using a new expert-annotated FairytaleQA dataset, which has 278 child-friendly storybooks with 10,580 QA pairs. Automatic and human evaluations show that our model outperforms state-of-the-art QAG baseline systems. On top of our QAG system, we also start to build an interactive story-telling application for the future real-world deployment in this educational scenario.

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RLET: A Reinforcement Learning Based Approach for Explainable QA with Entailment Trees
Tengxiao Liu | Qipeng Guo | Xiangkun Hu | Yue Zhang | Xipeng Qiu | Zheng Zhang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Interpreting the reasoning process from questions to answers poses a challenge in approaching explainable QA. A recently proposed structured reasoning format, entailment tree, manages to offer explicit logical deductions with entailment steps in a tree structure. To generate entailment trees, prior single pass sequence-to-sequence models lack visible internal decision probability, while stepwise approaches are supervised with extracted single step data and cannot model the tree as a whole. In this work, we propose RLET, a Reinforcement Learning based Entailment Tree generation framework, which is trained utilising the cumulative signals across the whole tree. RLET iteratively performs single step reasoning with sentence selection and deduction generation modules, from which the training signal is accumulated across the tree with elaborately designed aligned reward function that is consistent with the evaluation. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to introduce RL into the entailment tree generation task. Experiments on three settings of the EntailmentBank dataset demonstrate the strength of using RL framework.

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Label Sleuth: From Unlabeled Text to a Classifier in a Few Hours
Eyal Shnarch | Alon Halfon | Ariel Gera | Marina Danilevsky | Yannis Katsis | Leshem Choshen | Martin Santillan Cooper | Dina Epelboim | Zheng Zhang | Dakuo Wang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

Label Sleuth is an open source platform for building text classifiers which does not require coding skills nor machine learning knowledge.- Project website: [https://www.label-sleuth.org/](https://www.label-sleuth.org/)- Link to screencast video: [https://vimeo.com/735675461](https://vimeo.com/735675461)### AbstractText classification can be useful in many real-world scenarios, saving a lot of time for end users. However, building a classifier generally requires coding skills and ML knowledge, which poses a significant barrier for many potential users. To lift this barrier we introduce *Label Sleuth*, a free open source system for labeling and creating text classifiers. This system is unique for: - being a no-code system, making NLP accessible for non-experts. - guiding its users throughout the entire labeling process until they obtain their desired classifier, making the process efficient - from cold start to a classifier in a few hours. - being open for configuration and extension by developers. By open sourcing Label Sleuth we hope to build a community of users and developers that will widen the utilization of NLP models.

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Dialogue Meaning Representation for Task-Oriented Dialogue Systems
Xiangkun Hu | Junqi Dai | Hang Yan | Yi Zhang | Qipeng Guo | Xipeng Qiu | Zheng Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Dialogue meaning representation formulates natural language utterance semantics in their conversational context in an explicit and machine-readable form. Previous work typically follows the intent-slot framework, which is easy for annotation yet limited in scalability for complex linguistic expressions. A line of works alleviates the representation issue by introducing hierarchical structures but challenging to express complex compositional semantics, such as negation and coreference. We propose Dialogue Meaning Representation (DMR), a pliable and easily extendable representation for task-oriented dialogue. Our representation contains a set of nodes and edges to represent rich compositional semantics. Moreover, we propose an inheritance hierarchy mechanism focusing on domain extensibility. Additionally, we annotated DMR-FastFood, a multi-turn dialogue dataset with more than 70k utterances, with DMR. We propose two evaluation tasks to evaluate different dialogue models and a novel coreference resolution model GNNCoref for the graph-based coreference resolution task. Experiments show that DMR can be parsed well with pre-trained Seq2Seq models, and GNNCoref outperforms the baseline models by a large margin. The dataset and code are available at https://github.com/amazon-research/dialogue-meaning-representation

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Conversation Disentanglement with Bi-Level Contrastive Learning
Chengyu Huang | Zheng Zhang | Hao Fei | Lizi Liao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Conversation disentanglement aims to group utterances into detached sessions, which is a fundamental task in processing multi-party conversations. Existing methods have two main drawbacks. First, they overemphasize pairwise utterance relations but pay inadequate attention to the utterance-to-context relation modeling. Second, huge amount of human annotated data is required for training, which is expensive to obtain in practice. To address these issues, we propose a general disentangle model based on bi-level contrastive learning. It brings closer utterances in the same session while encourages each utterance to be near its clustered session prototypes in the representation space. Unlike existing approaches, our disentangle model works in both supervised setting with labeled data and unsupervised setting when no such data is available. The proposed method achieves new state-of-the-art performance on both settings across several public datasets.

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DORE: Document Ordered Relation Extraction based on Generative Framework
Qipeng Guo | Yuqing Yang | Hang Yan | Xipeng Qiu | Zheng Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

In recent years, there is a surge of generation-based information extraction work, which allows a more direct use of pre-trained language models and efficiently captures output dependencies. However, previous generative methods using lexical representation do not naturally fit document-level relation extraction (DocRE) where there are multiple entities and relational facts. In this paper, we investigate the root cause of the underwhelming performance of the existing generative DocRE models and discover that the culprit is the inadequacy of the training paradigm, instead of the capacities of the models. We propose to generate a symbolic and ordered sequence from the relation matrix which is deterministic and easier for model to learn. Moreover, we design a parallel row generation method to process overlong target sequences. Besides, we introduce several negative sampling strategies to improve the performance with balanced signals. Experimental results on four datasets show that our proposed method can improve the performance of the generative DocRE models.

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A Unified Dialogue User Simulator for Few-shot Data Augmentation
Dazhen Wan | Zheng Zhang | Qi Zhu | Lizi Liao | Minlie Huang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Pre-trained language models have shown superior performance in task-oriented dialogues. However, existing datasets are on limited scales, which cannot support large-scale pre-training. Fortunately, various data augmentation methods have been developed to augment large-scale task-oriented dialogue corpora. However, they heavily rely on annotated data in the target domain, which require a tremendous amount of data collection and human labeling work. In this paper, we build a unified dialogue user simulation model by pre-training on several publicly available datasets. The model can then be tuned on a target domain with few-shot data. The experiments on a target dataset across multiple domains show that our proposed model brings remarkable performance increases through data augmentation.

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SSEGCN: Syntactic and Semantic Enhanced Graph Convolutional Network for Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis
Zheng Zhang | Zili Zhou | Yanna Wang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis (ABSA) aims to predict the sentiment polarity towards a particular aspect in a sentence. Recently, graph neural networks based on dependency tree convey rich structural information which is proven to be utility for ABSA. However, how to effectively harness the semantic and syntactic structure information from the dependency tree remains a challenging research question. In this paper, we propose a novel Syntactic and Semantic Enhanced Graph Convolutional Network (SSEGCN) model for ABSA task. Specifically, we propose an aspect-aware attention mechanism combined with self-attention to obtain attention score matrices of a sentence, which can not only learn the aspect-related semantic correlations, but also learn the global semantics of the sentence. In order to obtain comprehensive syntactic structure information, we construct syntactic mask matrices of the sentence according to the different syntactic distances between words. Furthermore, to combine syntactic structure and semantic information, we equip the attention score matrices by syntactic mask matrices. Finally, we enhance the node representations with graph convolutional network over attention score matrices for ABSA. Experimental results on benchmark datasets illustrate that our proposed model outperforms state-of-the-art methods.

2021

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A Unified Generative Framework for Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis
Hang Yan | Junqi Dai | Tuo Ji | Xipeng Qiu | Zheng Zhang
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)

Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis (ABSA) aims to identify the aspect terms, their corresponding sentiment polarities, and the opinion terms. There exist seven subtasks in ABSA. Most studies only focus on the subsets of these subtasks, which leads to various complicated ABSA models while hard to solve these subtasks in a unified framework. In this paper, we redefine every subtask target as a sequence mixed by pointer indexes and sentiment class indexes, which converts all ABSA subtasks into a unified generative formulation. Based on the unified formulation, we exploit the pre-training sequence-to-sequence model BART to solve all ABSA subtasks in an end-to-end framework. Extensive experiments on four ABSA datasets for seven subtasks demonstrate that our framework achieves substantial performance gain and provides a real unified end-to-end solution for the whole ABSA subtasks, which could benefit multiple tasks.

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A Unified Generative Framework for Various NER Subtasks
Hang Yan | Tao Gui | Junqi Dai | Qipeng Guo | Zheng Zhang | Xipeng Qiu
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 the task of identifying spans that represent entities in sentences. Whether the entity spans are nested or discontinuous, the NER task can be categorized into the flat NER, nested NER, and discontinuous NER subtasks. These subtasks have been mainly solved by the token-level sequence labelling or span-level classification. However, these solutions can hardly tackle the three kinds of NER subtasks concurrently. To that end, we propose to formulate the NER subtasks as an entity span sequence generation task, which can be solved by a unified sequence-to-sequence (Seq2Seq) framework. Based on our unified framework, we can leverage the pre-trained Seq2Seq model to solve all three kinds of NER subtasks without the special design of the tagging schema or ways to enumerate spans. We exploit three types of entity representations to linearize entities into a sequence. Our proposed framework is easy-to-implement and achieves state-of-the-art (SoTA) or near SoTA performance on eight English NER datasets, including two flat NER datasets, three nested NER datasets, and three discontinuous NER datasets.

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Adapting Language Models for Zero-shot Learning by Meta-tuning on Dataset and Prompt Collections
Ruiqi Zhong | Kristy Lee | Zheng Zhang | Dan Klein
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Large pre-trained language models (LMs) such as GPT-3 have acquired a surprising ability to perform zero-shot learning. For example, to classify sentiment without any training examples, we can “prompt” the LM with the review and the label description “Does the user like this movie?”, and ask whether the next word is “yes” or “no”. However, the next word prediction training objective is still misaligned with the target zero-shot learning objective. To address this weakness, we propose meta-tuning, which directly optimizes the zero-shot learning objective by fine-tuning pre-trained language models on a collection of datasets. We focus on classification tasks, and construct the meta-dataset by aggregating 43 existing datasets and annotating 441 label descriptions in a question-answering (QA) format. When evaluated on unseen tasks, meta-tuned models outperform a same-sized QA model and the previous SOTA zero-shot learning system based on natural language inference. Additionally, increasing parameter count from 220M to 770M improves AUC-ROC scores by 6.3%, and we forecast that even larger models would perform better. Therefore, measuring zero-shot learning performance on language models out-of-the-box might underestimate their true potential, and community-wide efforts on aggregating datasets and unifying their formats can help build models that answer prompts better.

2020

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MovieChats: Chat like Humans in a Closed Domain
Hui Su | Xiaoyu Shen | Zhou Xiao | Zheng Zhang | Ernie Chang | Cheng Zhang | Cheng Niu | Jie Zhou
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Being able to perform in-depth chat with humans in a closed domain is a precondition before an open-domain chatbot can be ever claimed. In this work, we take a close look at the movie domain and present a large-scale high-quality corpus with fine-grained annotations in hope of pushing the limit of movie-domain chatbots. We propose a unified, readily scalable neural approach which reconciles all subtasks like intent prediction and knowledge retrieval. The model is first pretrained on the huge general-domain data, then finetuned on our corpus. We show this simple neural approach trained on high-quality data is able to outperform commercial systems replying on complex rules. On both the static and interactive tests, we find responses generated by our system exhibits remarkably good engagement and sensibleness close to human-written ones. We further analyze the limits of our work and point out potential directions for future work

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ConvLab-2: An Open-Source Toolkit for Building, Evaluating, and Diagnosing Dialogue Systems
Qi Zhu | Zheng Zhang | Yan Fang | Xiang Li | Ryuichi Takanobu | Jinchao Li | Baolin Peng | Jianfeng Gao | Xiaoyan Zhu | Minlie Huang
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

We present ConvLab-2, an open-source toolkit that enables researchers to build task-oriented dialogue systems with state-of-the-art models, perform an end-to-end evaluation, and diagnose the weakness of systems. As the successor of ConvLab, ConvLab-2 inherits ConvLab’s framework but integrates more powerful dialogue models and supports more datasets. Besides, we have developed an analysis tool and an interactive tool to assist researchers in diagnosing dialogue systems. The analysis tool presents rich statistics and summarizes common mistakes from simulated dialogues, which facilitates error analysis and system improvement. The interactive tool provides an user interface that allows developers to diagnose an assembled dialogue system by interacting with the system and modifying the output of each system component.

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GenWiki: A Dataset of 1.3 Million Content-Sharing Text and Graphs for Unsupervised Graph-to-Text Generation
Zhijing Jin | Qipeng Guo | Xipeng Qiu | Zheng Zhang
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Data collection for the knowledge graph-to-text generation is expensive. As a result, research on unsupervised models has emerged as an active field recently. However, most unsupervised models have to use non-parallel versions of existing small supervised datasets, which largely constrain their potential. In this paper, we propose a large-scale, general-domain dataset, GenWiki. Our unsupervised dataset has 1.3M text and graph examples, respectively. With a human-annotated test set, we provide this new benchmark dataset for future research on unsupervised text generation from knowledge graphs.

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CoLAKE: Contextualized Language and Knowledge Embedding
Tianxiang Sun | Yunfan Shao | Xipeng Qiu | Qipeng Guo | Yaru Hu | Xuanjing Huang | Zheng Zhang
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

With the emerging branch of incorporating factual knowledge into pre-trained language models such as BERT, most existing models consider shallow, static, and separately pre-trained entity embeddings, which limits the performance gains of these models. Few works explore the potential of deep contextualized knowledge representation when injecting knowledge. In this paper, we propose the Contextualized Language and Knowledge Embedding (CoLAKE), which jointly learns contextualized representation for both language and knowledge with the extended MLM objective. Instead of injecting only entity embeddings, CoLAKE extracts the knowledge context of an entity from large-scale knowledge bases. To handle the heterogeneity of knowledge context and language context, we integrate them in a unified data structure, word-knowledge graph (WK graph). CoLAKE is pre-trained on large-scale WK graphs with the modified Transformer encoder. We conduct experiments on knowledge-driven tasks, knowledge probing tasks, and language understanding tasks. Experimental results show that CoLAKE outperforms previous counterparts on most of the tasks. Besides, CoLAKE achieves surprisingly high performance on our synthetic task called word-knowledge graph completion, which shows the superiority of simultaneously contextualizing language and knowledge representation.

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Learning Goal-oriented Dialogue Policy with opposite Agent Awareness
Zheng Zhang | Lizi Liao | Xiaoyan Zhu | Tat-Seng Chua | Zitao Liu | Yan Huang | Minlie Huang
Proceedings of the 1st Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 10th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing

Most existing approaches for goal-oriented dialogue policy learning used reinforcement learning, which focuses on the target agent policy and simply treats the opposite agent policy as part of the environment. While in real-world scenarios, the behavior of an opposite agent often exhibits certain patterns or underlies hidden policies, which can be inferred and utilized by the target agent to facilitate its own decision making. This strategy is common in human mental simulation by first imaging a specific action and the probable results before really acting it. We therefore propose an opposite behavior aware framework for policy learning in goal-oriented dialogues. We estimate the opposite agent’s policy from its behavior and use this estimation to improve the target agent by regarding it as part of the target policy. We evaluate our model on both cooperative and competitive dialogue tasks, showing superior performance over state-of-the-art baselines.

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TL-Explorer: A Digital Humanities Tool for Mapping and Analyzing Translated Literature
Alex Zhai | Zheng Zhang | Amel Fraisse | Ronald Jenn | Shelley Fisher Fishkin | Pierre Zweigenbaum
Proceedings of the The 4th Joint SIGHUM Workshop on Computational Linguistics for Cultural Heritage, Social Sciences, Humanities and Literature

TL-Explorer is a digital humanities tool for mapping and analyzing translated literature, encompassing the World Map and the Translation Dashboard. The World Map displays collected literature of different languages, locations, and cultures and establishes the foundation for further analysis. It comprises three global maps for spatial and temporal interpretation. A further investigation into an individual point on the map leads to the Translation Dashboard. Each point represents one edition or translation. Collected translations are processed in order to build multilingual parallel corpora for a large number of under-resourced languages as well as to highlight the transnational circulation of knowledge. Our first rendition of TL-Explorer was conducted on the well-traveled American novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain. The maps currently chronicle nearly 400 translations of this novel. And the dashboard supports over 30 collected translations. However, the TL-Explore is easily extended to other works of literature and is not limited to type of texts, such as academic manuscripts or constitutional documents to name a few.

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CycleGT: Unsupervised Graph-to-Text and Text-to-Graph Generation via Cycle Training
Qipeng Guo | Zhijing Jin | Xipeng Qiu | Weinan Zhang | David Wipf | Zheng Zhang
Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Natural Language Generation from the Semantic Web (WebNLG+)

Two important tasks at the intersection of knowledge graphs and natural language processing are graph-to-text (G2T) and text-tograph (T2G) conversion. Due to the difficulty and high cost of data collection, the supervised data available in the two fields are usually on the magnitude of tens of thousands, for example, 18K in the WebNLG 2017 dataset after preprocessing, which is far fewer than the millions of data for other tasks such as machine translation. Consequently, deep learning models for G2T and T2G suffer largely from scarce training data. We present CycleGT, an unsupervised training method that can bootstrap from fully non-parallel graph and text data, and iteratively back translate between the two forms. Experiments on WebNLG datasets show that our unsupervised model trained on the same number of data achieves performance on par with several fully supervised models. Further experiments on the non-parallel GenWiki dataset verify that our method performs the best among unsupervised baselines. This validates our framework as an effective approach to overcome the data scarcity problem in the fields of G2T and T2G.

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𝒫2: A Plan-and-Pretrain Approach for Knowledge Graph-to-Text Generation
Qipeng Guo | Zhijing Jin | Ning Dai | Xipeng Qiu | Xiangyang Xue | David Wipf | Zheng Zhang
Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Natural Language Generation from the Semantic Web (WebNLG+)

Text verbalization of knowledge graphs is an important problem with wide application to natural language generation (NLG) systems. It is challenging because the generated text not only needs to be grammatically correct (fluency), but also has to contain the given structured knowledge input (relevance) and meet some other criteria. We develop a plan-and-pretrain approach, 𝒫2, which consists of a relational graph convolutional network (RGCN) planner and the pretrained sequence-tosequence (Seq2Seq) model T5. Specifically, the R-GCN planner first generates an order of the knowledge graph triplets, corresponding to the order that they will be mentioned in text, and then T5 produces the surface realization of the given plan. In the WebNLG+ 2020 Challenge, our submission ranked in 1st place on all automatic and human evaluation criteria of the English RDF-to-text generation task.

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CrossWOZ: A Large-Scale Chinese Cross-Domain Task-Oriented Dialogue Dataset
Qi Zhu | Kaili Huang | Zheng Zhang | Xiaoyan Zhu | Minlie Huang
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 8

To advance multi-domain (cross-domain) dialogue modeling as well as alleviate the shortage of Chinese task-oriented datasets, we propose CrossWOZ, the first large-scale Chinese Cross-Domain Wizard-of-Oz task-oriented dataset. It contains 6K dialogue sessions and 102K utterances for 5 domains, including hotel, restaurant, attraction, metro, and taxi. Moreover, the corpus contains rich annotation of dialogue states and dialogue acts on both user and system sides. About 60% of the dialogues have cross-domain user goals that favor inter-domain dependency and encourage natural transition across domains in conversation. We also provide a user simulator and several benchmark models for pipelined task-oriented dialogue systems, which will facilitate researchers to compare and evaluate their models on this corpus. The large size and rich annotation of CrossWOZ make it suitable to investigate a variety of tasks in cross-domain dialogue modeling, such as dialogue state tracking, policy learning, user simulation, etc.

2019

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ConvLab: Multi-Domain End-to-End Dialog System Platform
Sungjin Lee | Qi Zhu | Ryuichi Takanobu | Zheng Zhang | Yaoqin Zhang | Xiang Li | Jinchao Li | Baolin Peng | Xiujun Li | Minlie Huang | Jianfeng Gao
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

We present ConvLab, an open-source multi-domain end-to-end dialog system platform, that enables researchers to quickly set up experiments with reusable components and compare a large set of different approaches, ranging from conventional pipeline systems to end-to-end neural models, in common environments. ConvLab offers a set of fully annotated datasets and associated pre-trained reference models. As a showcase, we extend the MultiWOZ dataset with user dialog act annotations to train all component models and demonstrate how ConvLab makes it easy and effortless to conduct complicated experiments in multi-domain end-to-end dialog settings.

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Star-Transformer
Qipeng Guo | Xipeng Qiu | Pengfei Liu | Yunfan Shao | Xiangyang Xue | Zheng Zhang
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers)

Although Transformer has achieved great successes on many NLP tasks, its heavy structure with fully-connected attention connections leads to dependencies on large training data. In this paper, we present Star-Transformer, a lightweight alternative by careful sparsification. To reduce model complexity, we replace the fully-connected structure with a star-shaped topology, in which every two non-adjacent nodes are connected through a shared relay node. Thus, complexity is reduced from quadratic to linear, while preserving the capacity to capture both local composition and long-range dependency. The experiments on four tasks (22 datasets) show that Star-Transformer achieved significant improvements against the standard Transformer for the modestly sized datasets.

2018

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GNEG: Graph-Based Negative Sampling for word2vec
Zheng Zhang | Pierre Zweigenbaum
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Negative sampling is an important component in word2vec for distributed word representation learning. We hypothesize that taking into account global, corpus-level information and generating a different noise distribution for each target word better satisfies the requirements of negative examples for each training word than the original frequency-based distribution. In this purpose we pre-compute word co-occurrence statistics from the corpus and apply to it network algorithms such as random walk. We test this hypothesis through a set of experiments whose results show that our approach boosts the word analogy task by about 5% and improves the performance on word similarity tasks by about 1% compared to the skip-gram negative sampling baseline.

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Efficient Generation and Processing of Word Co-occurrence Networks Using corpus2graph
Zheng Zhang | Pierre Zweigenbaum | Ruiqing Yin
Proceedings of the Twelfth Workshop on Graph-Based Methods for Natural Language Processing (TextGraphs-12)

Corpus2graph is an open-source NLP-application-oriented tool that generates a word co-occurrence network from a large corpus. It not only contains different built-in methods to preprocess words, analyze sentences, extract word pairs and define edge weights, but also supports user-customized functions. By using parallelization techniques, it can generate a large word co-occurrence network of the whole English Wikipedia data within hours. And thanks to its nodes-edges-weight three-level progressive calculation design, rebuilding networks with different configurations is even faster as it does not need to start all over again. This tool also works with other graph libraries such as igraph, NetworkX and graph-tool as a front end providing data to boost network generation speed.

2017

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zNLP: Identifying Parallel Sentences in Chinese-English Comparable Corpora
Zheng Zhang | Pierre Zweigenbaum
Proceedings of the 10th Workshop on Building and Using Comparable Corpora

This paper describes the zNLP system for the BUCC 2017 shared task. Our system identifies parallel sentence pairs in Chinese-English comparable corpora by translating word-by-word Chinese sentences into English, using the search engine Solr to select near-parallel sentences and then by using an SVM classifier to identify true parallel sentences from the previous results. It obtains an F1-score of 45% (resp. 32%) on the test (training) set.
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