Zhengbao Jiang


2023

pdf bib
Active Retrieval Augmented Generation
Zhengbao Jiang | Frank Xu | Luyu Gao | Zhiqing Sun | Qian Liu | Jane Dwivedi-Yu | Yiming Yang | Jamie Callan | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Despite the remarkable ability of large language models (LMs) to comprehend and generate language, they have a tendency to hallucinate and create factually inaccurate output. Augmenting LMs by retrieving information from external knowledge resources is one promising solution. Most existing retrieval augmented LMs employ a retrieve-and-generate setup that only retrieves information once based on the input. This is limiting, however, in more general scenarios involving generation of long texts, where continually gathering information throughout generation is essential. In this work, we provide a generalized view of active retrieval augmented generation, methods that actively decide when and what to retrieve across the course of the generation. We propose Forward-Looking Active REtrieval augmented generation (FLARE), a generic method which iteratively uses a prediction of the upcoming sentence to anticipate future content, which is then utilized as a query to retrieve relevant documents to regenerate the sentence if it contains low-confidence tokens. We test FLARE along with baselines comprehensively over 4 long-form knowledge-intensive generation tasks/datasets. FLARE achieves superior or competitive performance on all tasks, demonstrating the effectiveness of our method.

2022

pdf bib
Understanding and Improving Zero-shot Multi-hop Reasoning in Generative Question Answering
Zhengbao Jiang | Jun Araki | Haibo Ding | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Generative question answering (QA) models generate answers to questions either solely based on the parameters of the model (the closed-book setting) or additionally retrieving relevant evidence (the open-book setting). Generative QA models can answer some relatively complex questions, but the mechanism through which they do so is still poorly understood. We perform several studies aimed at better understanding the multi-hop reasoning capabilities of generative QA models. First, we decompose multi-hop questions into multiple corresponding single-hop questions, and find marked inconsistency in QA models’ answers on these pairs of ostensibly identical question chains. Second, we find that models lack zero-shot multi-hop reasoning ability: when trained only on single-hop questions, models generalize poorly to multi-hop questions. Finally, we demonstrate that it is possible to improve models’ zero-shot multi-hop reasoning capacity through two methods that approximate real multi-hop natural language (NL) questions by training on either concatenation of single-hop questions or logical forms (SPARQL). In sum, these results demonstrate that multi-hop reasoning does not emerge naturally in generative QA models, but can be encouraged by advances in training or modeling techniques. Code is available at https://github.com/jzbjyb/multihop.

pdf bib
Table Retrieval May Not Necessitate Table-specific Model Design
Zhiruo Wang | Zhengbao Jiang | Eric Nyberg | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the Workshop on Structured and Unstructured Knowledge Integration (SUKI)

Tables are an important form of structured data for both human and machine readers alike, providing answers to questions that cannot, or cannot easily, be found in texts. Recent work has designed special models and training paradigms for table-related tasks such as table-based question answering and table retrieval. Though effective, they add complexity in both modeling and data acquisition compared to generic text solutions and obscure which elements are truly beneficial. In this work, we focus on the task of table retrieval, and ask: “is table-specific model design necessary for table retrieval, or can a simpler text-based model be effectively used to achieve a similar result?’’ First, we perform an analysis on a table-based portion of the Natural Questions dataset (NQ-table), and find that structure plays a negligible role in more than 70% of the cases. Based on this, we experiment with a general Dense Passage Retriever (DPR) based on text and a specialized Dense Table Retriever (DTR) that uses table-specific model designs. We find that DPR performs well without any table-specific design and training, and even achieves superior results compared to DTR when fine-tuned on properly linearized tables. We then experiment with three modules to explicitly encode table structures, namely auxiliary row/column embeddings, hard attention masks, and soft relation-based attention biases. However, none of these yielded significant improvements, suggesting that table-specific model design may not be necessary for table retrieval.

pdf bib
OmniTab: Pretraining with Natural and Synthetic Data for Few-shot Table-based Question Answering
Zhengbao Jiang | Yi Mao | Pengcheng He | Graham Neubig | Weizhu Chen
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

The information in tables can be an important complement to text, making table-based question answering (QA) systems of great value. The intrinsic complexity of handling tables often adds an extra burden to both model design and data annotation. In this paper, we aim to develop a simple table-based QA model with minimal annotation effort. Motivated by the fact that table-based QA requires both alignment between questions and tables and the ability to perform complicated reasoning over multiple table elements, we propose an omnivorous pretraining approach that consumes both natural and synthetic data to endow models with these respective abilities. Specifically, given freely available tables, we leverage retrieval to pair them with relevant natural sentences for mask-based pretraining, and synthesize NL questions by converting SQL sampled from tables for pretraining with a QA loss. We perform extensive experiments in both few-shot and full settings, and the results clearly demonstrate the superiority of our model OmniTab, with the best multitasking approach achieving an absolute gain of 16.2% and 2.7% in 128-shot and full settings respectively, also establishing a new state-of-the-art on WikiTableQuestions. Detailed ablations and analyses reveal different characteristics of natural and synthetic data, shedding light on future directions in omnivorous pretraining.

pdf bib
Retrieval as Attention: End-to-end Learning of Retrieval and Reading within a Single Transformer
Zhengbao Jiang | Luyu Gao | Zhiruo Wang | Jun Araki | Haibo Ding | Jamie Callan | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Systems for knowledge-intensive tasks such as open-domain question answering (QA) usually consist of two stages: efficient retrieval of relevant documents from a large corpus and detailed reading of the selected documents. This is usually done through two separate models, a retriever that encodes the query and finds nearest neighbors, and a reader based on Transformers. These two components are usually modeled separately, which necessitates a cumbersome implementation and is awkward to optimize in an end-to-end fashion. In this paper, we revisit this design and eschew the separate architecture and training in favor of a single Transformer that performs retrieval as attention (RAA), and end-to-end training solely based on supervision from the end QA task. We demonstrate for the first time that an end-to-end trained single Transformer can achieve both competitive retrieval and QA performance on in-domain datasets, matching or even slightly outperforming state-of-the-art dense retrievers and readers. Moreover, end-to-end adaptation of our model significantly boosts its performance on out-of-domain datasets in both supervised and unsupervised settings, making our model a simple and adaptable end-to-end solution for knowledge-intensive tasks.

pdf bib
SPE: Symmetrical Prompt Enhancement for Fact Probing
Yiyuan Li | Tong Che | Yezhen Wang | Zhengbao Jiang | Caiming Xiong | Snigdha Chaturvedi
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Pretrained language models (PLMs) have been shown to accumulate factual knowledge during pretraining (Petroni et al. 2019). Recent works probe PLMs for the extent of this knowledge through prompts either in discrete or continuous forms. However, these methods do not consider symmetry of the task: object prediction and subject prediction. In this work, we propose Symmetrical Prompt Enhancement (SPE), a continuous prompt-based method for factual probing in PLMs that leverages the symmetry of the task by constructing symmetrical prompts for subject and object prediction. Our results on a popular factual probing dataset, LAMA, show significant improvement of SPE over previous probing methods.

2021

pdf bib
GSum: A General Framework for Guided Neural Abstractive Summarization
Zi-Yi Dou | Pengfei Liu | Hiroaki Hayashi | Zhengbao Jiang | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Neural abstractive summarization models are flexible and can produce coherent summaries, but they are sometimes unfaithful and can be difficult to control. While previous studies attempt to provide different types of guidance to control the output and increase faithfulness, it is not clear how these strategies compare and contrast to each other. In this paper, we propose a general and extensible guided summarization framework (GSum) that can effectively take different kinds of external guidance as input, and we perform experiments across several different varieties. Experiments demonstrate that this model is effective, achieving state-of-the-art performance according to ROUGE on 4 popular summarization datasets when using highlighted sentences as guidance. In addition, we show that our guided model can generate more faithful summaries and demonstrate how different types of guidance generate qualitatively different summaries, lending a degree of controllability to the learned models.

pdf bib
How Can We Know When Language Models Know? On the Calibration of Language Models for Question Answering
Zhengbao Jiang | Jun Araki | Haibo Ding | Graham Neubig
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 9

Recent works have shown that language models (LM) capture different types of knowledge regarding facts or common sense. However, because no model is perfect, they still fail to provide appropriate answers in many cases. In this paper, we ask the question, “How can we know when language models know, with confidence, the answer to a particular query?” We examine this question from the point of view of calibration, the property of a probabilistic model’s predicted probabilities actually being well correlated with the probabilities of correctness. We examine three strong generative models—T5, BART, and GPT-2—and study whether their probabilities on QA tasks are well calibrated, finding the answer is a relatively emphatic no. We then examine methods to calibrate such models to make their confidence scores correlate better with the likelihood of correctness through fine-tuning, post-hoc probability modification, or adjustment of the predicted outputs or inputs. Experiments on a diverse range of datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our methods. We also perform analysis to study the strengths and limitations of these methods, shedding light on further improvements that may be made in methods for calibrating LMs. We have released the code at https://github.com/jzbjyb/lm-calibration.

pdf bib
CoRI: Collective Relation Integration with Data Augmentation for Open Information Extraction
Zhengbao Jiang | Jialong Han | Bunyamin Sisman | Xin Luna Dong
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)

Integrating extracted knowledge from the Web to knowledge graphs (KGs) can facilitate tasks like question answering. We study relation integration that aims to align free-text relations in subject-relation-object extractions to relations in a target KG. To address the challenge that free-text relations are ambiguous, previous methods exploit neighbor entities and relations for additional context. However, the predictions are made independently, which can be mutually inconsistent. We propose a two-stage Collective Relation Integration (CoRI) model, where the first stage independently makes candidate predictions, and the second stage employs a collective model that accesses all candidate predictions to make globally coherent predictions. We further improve the collective model with augmented data from the portion of the target KG that is otherwise unused. Experiment results on two datasets show that CoRI can significantly outperform the baselines, improving AUC from .677 to .748 and from .716 to .780, respectively.

2020

pdf bib
How Can We Know What Language Models Know?
Zhengbao Jiang | Frank F. Xu | Jun Araki | Graham Neubig
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 8

Recent work has presented intriguing results examining the knowledge contained in language models (LMs) by having the LM fill in the blanks of prompts such as “Obama is a __ by profession”. These prompts are usually manually created, and quite possibly sub-optimal; another prompt such as “Obama worked as a __ ” may result in more accurately predicting the correct profession. Because of this, given an inappropriate prompt, we might fail to retrieve facts that the LM does know, and thus any given prompt only provides a lower bound estimate of the knowledge contained in an LM. In this paper, we attempt to more accurately estimate the knowledge contained in LMs by automatically discovering better prompts to use in this querying process. Specifically, we propose mining-based and paraphrasing-based methods to automatically generate high-quality and diverse prompts, as well as ensemble methods to combine answers from different prompts. Extensive experiments on the LAMA benchmark for extracting relational knowledge from LMs demonstrate that our methods can improve accuracy from 31.1% to 39.6%, providing a tighter lower bound on what LMs know. We have released the code and the resulting LM Prompt And Query Archive (LPAQA) at https://github.com/jzbjyb/LPAQA.

pdf bib
Generalizing Natural Language Analysis through Span-relation Representations
Zhengbao Jiang | Wei Xu | Jun Araki | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Natural language processing covers a wide variety of tasks predicting syntax, semantics, and information content, and usually each type of output is generated with specially designed architectures. In this paper, we provide the simple insight that a great variety of tasks can be represented in a single unified format consisting of labeling spans and relations between spans, thus a single task-independent model can be used across different tasks. We perform extensive experiments to test this insight on 10 disparate tasks spanning dependency parsing (syntax), semantic role labeling (semantics), relation extraction (information content), aspect based sentiment analysis (sentiment), and many others, achieving performance comparable to state-of-the-art specialized models. We further demonstrate benefits of multi-task learning, and also show that the proposed method makes it easy to analyze differences and similarities in how the model handles different tasks. Finally, we convert these datasets into a unified format to build a benchmark, which provides a holistic testbed for evaluating future models for generalized natural language analysis.

pdf bib
Incorporating External Knowledge through Pre-training for Natural Language to Code Generation
Frank F. Xu | Zhengbao Jiang | Pengcheng Yin | Bogdan Vasilescu | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Open-domain code generation aims to generate code in a general-purpose programming language (such as Python) from natural language (NL) intents. Motivated by the intuition that developers usually retrieve resources on the web when writing code, we explore the effectiveness of incorporating two varieties of external knowledge into NL-to-code generation: automatically mined NL-code pairs from the online programming QA forum StackOverflow and programming language API documentation. Our evaluations show that combining the two sources with data augmentation and retrieval-based data re-sampling improves the current state-of-the-art by up to 2.2% absolute BLEU score on the code generation testbed CoNaLa. The code and resources are available at https://github.com/neulab/external-knowledge-codegen.

pdf bib
X-FACTR: Multilingual Factual Knowledge Retrieval from Pretrained Language Models
Zhengbao Jiang | Antonios Anastasopoulos | Jun Araki | Haibo Ding | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Language models (LMs) have proven surprisingly successful at capturing factual knowledge by completing cloze-style fill-in-the-blank questions such as “Punta Cana is located in _.” However, while knowledge is both written and queried in many languages, studies on LMs’ factual representation ability have almost invariably been performed on English. To assess factual knowledge retrieval in LMs in different languages, we create a multilingual benchmark of cloze-style probes for typologically diverse languages. To properly handle language variations, we expand probing methods from single- to multi-word entities, and develop several decoding algorithms to generate multi-token predictions. Extensive experimental results provide insights about how well (or poorly) current state-of-the-art LMs perform at this task in languages with more or fewer available resources. We further propose a code-switching-based method to improve the ability of multilingual LMs to access knowledge, and verify its effectiveness on several benchmark languages. Benchmark data and code have be released at https://x-factr.github.io.

2019

pdf bib
Improving Open Information Extraction via Iterative Rank-Aware Learning
Zhengbao Jiang | Pengcheng Yin | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Open information extraction (IE) is the task of extracting open-domain assertions from natural language sentences. A key step in open IE is confidence modeling, ranking the extractions based on their estimated quality to adjust precision and recall of extracted assertions. We found that the extraction likelihood, a confidence measure used by current supervised open IE systems, is not well calibrated when comparing the quality of assertions extracted from different sentences. We propose an additional binary classification loss to calibrate the likelihood to make it more globally comparable, and an iterative learning process, where extractions generated by the open IE model are incrementally included as training samples to help the model learn from trial and error. Experiments on OIE2016 demonstrate the effectiveness of our method. Code and data are available at https://github.com/jzbjyb/oie_rank.