Zhilin Yang


2023

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A Universal Discriminator for Zero-Shot Generalization
Haike Xu | Zongyu Lin | Jing Zhou | Yanan Zheng | Zhilin Yang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Generative modeling has been the dominant approach for large-scale pretraining and zero-shot generalization. In this work, we challenge this convention by showing that discriminative approaches perform substantially better than generative ones on a large number of NLP tasks. Technically, we train a single discriminator to predict whether a text sample comes from the true data distribution, similar to GANs. Since many NLP tasks can be formulated as selecting from a few options, we use this discriminator to predict the concatenation of input and which option has the highest probability of coming from the true data distribution. This simple formulation achieves state-of-the-art zero-shot results on the T0 benchmark, outperforming T0 by 16.0%, 7.8%, and 11.5% respectively on different scales. In the finetuning setting, our approach also achieves new state-of-the-art results on a wide range of NLP tasks, with only 1/4 parameters of previous methods. Meanwhile, our approach requires minimal prompting efforts, which largely improves robustness and is essential for real-world applications. Furthermore, we also jointly train a generalized UD in combination with generative tasks, which maintains its advantage on discriminative tasks and simultaneously works on generative tasks.

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Prompt-Based Metric Learning for Few-Shot NER
Yanru Chen | Yanan Zheng | Zhilin Yang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Few-shot named entity recognition (NER) targets generalizing to unseen labels and/or domains with few labeled examples. Existing metric learning methods compute token-level similarities between query and support sets, but are not able to fully incorporate label semantics into modeling. To address this issue, we propose a simple method to largely improve metric learning for NER: 1) multiple prompt schemas are designed to enhance label semantics; 2) we propose a novel architecture to effectively combine multiple prompt-based representations. Empirically, our method achieves new state-of-the-art (SOTA) results under 16 of the 18 considered settings, substantially outperforming the previous SOTA by an average of 9.12% and a maximum of 34.51% in relative gains of micro F1.

2022

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ZeroPrompt: Scaling Prompt-Based Pretraining to 1,000 Tasks Improves Zero-Shot Generalization
Hanwei Xu | Yujun Chen | Yulun Du | Nan Shao | Wang Yanggang | Haiyu Li | Zhilin Yang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

We propose a multitask pretraining approach ZeroPrompt for zero-shot generalization, focusing on task scaling and zero-shot prompting. While previous models are trained on only a few dozen tasks, we scale to 1,000 tasks for the first time using real-world data. This leads to a crucial discovery that task scaling can be an efficient alternative to model scaling; i.e., the model size has less impact on performance with an extremely large number of tasks. Our results show that task scaling can improve training efficiency by 30 times in FLOPs.Empirically, ZeroPrompt substantially improves both the efficiency and the performance of zero-shot learning across a variety of academic and production datasets.

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Learning to Detect Noisy Labels Using Model-Based Features
Zhihao Wang | Zongyu Lin | Junjie Wen | Xianxin Chen | Peiqi Liu | Guidong Zheng | Yujun Chen | Zhilin Yang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Label noise is ubiquitous in various machine learning scenarios such as self-labeling with model predictions and erroneous data annotation. Many existing approaches are based on heuristics such as sample losses, which might not be flexible enough to achieve optimal solutions. Meta learning based methods address this issue by learning a data selection function, but can be hard to optimize. In light of these pros and cons, we propose SENT (Selection-Enhanced Noisy label Training) that does not rely on meta learning while having the flexibility of being data-driven. SENT transfers the noise distribution to a clean set and trains a model to distinguish noisy labels from clean ones using model-based features. Empirically, on a wide range of tasks including text classification and speech recognition, SENT improves performance over strong baselines under the settings of self-training and label corruption.

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GLM: General Language Model Pretraining with Autoregressive Blank Infilling
Zhengxiao Du | Yujie Qian | Xiao Liu | Ming Ding | Jiezhong Qiu | Zhilin Yang | Jie Tang
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

There have been various types of pretraining architectures including autoencoding models (e.g., BERT), autoregressive models (e.g., GPT), and encoder-decoder models (e.g., T5). However, none of the pretraining frameworks performs the best for all tasks of three main categories including natural language understanding (NLU), unconditional generation, and conditional generation. We propose a General Language Model (GLM) based on autoregressive blank infilling to address this challenge. GLM improves blank filling pretraining by adding 2D positional encodings and allowing an arbitrary order to predict spans, which results in performance gains over BERT and T5 on NLU tasks. Meanwhile, GLM can be pretrained for different types of tasks by varying the number and lengths of blanks. On a wide range of tasks across NLU, conditional and unconditional generation, GLM outperforms BERT, T5, and GPT given the same model sizes and data, and achieves the best performance from a single pretrained model with 1.25× parameters of BERT Large , demonstrating its generalizability to different downstream tasks.

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FewNLU: Benchmarking State-of-the-Art Methods for Few-Shot Natural Language Understanding
Yanan Zheng | Jing Zhou | Yujie Qian | Ming Ding | Chonghua Liao | Li Jian | Ruslan Salakhutdinov | Jie Tang | Sebastian Ruder | Zhilin Yang
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

The few-shot natural language understanding (NLU) task has attracted much recent attention. However, prior methods have been evaluated under a disparate set of protocols, which hinders fair comparison and measuring the progress of the field. To address this issue, we introduce an evaluation framework that improves previous evaluation procedures in three key aspects, i.e., test performance, dev-test correlation, and stability. Under this new evaluation framework, we re-evaluate several state-of-the-art few-shot methods for NLU tasks. Our framework reveals new insights: (1) both the absolute performance and relative gap of the methods were not accurately estimated in prior literature; (2) no single method dominates most tasks with consistent performance; (3) improvements of some methods diminish with a larger pretrained model; and (4) gains from different methods are often complementary and the best combined model performs close to a strong fully-supervised baseline. We open-source our toolkit, FewNLU, that implements our evaluation framework along with a number of state-of-the-art methods.

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FlipDA: Effective and Robust Data Augmentation for Few-Shot Learning
Jing Zhou | Yanan Zheng | Jie Tang | Li Jian | Zhilin Yang
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Most previous methods for text data augmentation are limited to simple tasks and weak baselines. We explore data augmentation on hard tasks (i.e., few-shot natural language understanding) and strong baselines (i.e., pretrained models with over one billion parameters). Under this setting, we reproduced a large number of previous augmentation methods and found that these methods bring marginal gains at best and sometimes degrade the performance much. To address this challenge, we propose a novel data augmentation method FlipDA that jointly uses a generative model and a classifier to generate label-flipped data. Central to the idea of FlipDA is the discovery that generating label-flipped data is more crucial to the performance than generating label-preserved data. Experiments show that FlipDA achieves a good tradeoff between effectiveness and robustness—it substantially improves many tasks while not negatively affecting the others.

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P-Tuning: Prompt Tuning Can Be Comparable to Fine-tuning Across Scales and Tasks
Xiao Liu | Kaixuan Ji | Yicheng Fu | Weng Tam | Zhengxiao Du | Zhilin Yang | Jie Tang
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Prompt tuning, which only tunes continuous prompts with a frozen language model, substantially reduces per-task storage and memory usage at training. However, in the context of NLU, prior work reveals that prompt tuning does not perform well for normal-sized pretrained models. We also find that existing methods of prompt tuning cannot handle hard sequence labeling tasks, indicating a lack of universality. We present a novel empirical finding that properly optimized prompt tuning can be universally effective across a wide range of model scales and NLU tasks. It matches the performance of finetuning while having only 0.1%-3% tuned parameters. Our method P-Tuning v2 is an implementation of Deep Prompt Tuning (CITATION) optimized and adapted for NLU. Given the universality and simplicity of P-Tuning v2, we believe it can serve as an alternative to finetuning and a strong baseline for future research.

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GPS: Genetic Prompt Search for Efficient Few-Shot Learning
Hanwei Xu | Yujun Chen | Yulun Du | Nan Shao | Wang Yanggang | Haiyu Li | Zhilin Yang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Prompt-based techniques have demostrated great potential for improving the few-shot generalization of pretrained language models. However, their performance heavily relies on the manual design of prompts and thus requiring a lot of human efforts. In this paper, we introduce Genetic Prompt Search (GPS) to improve few-shot learning with prompts, which utilizes a genetic algorithm to automatically search for the best prompt.GPS is gradient-free and requires no update of model parameters but only a small validation set. Experiments on diverse datasets proved the effectiveness of GPS, which outperforms manual prompts by a large margin of 2.6 points. Our method is also better than other parameter-efficient tuning methods such as prompt tuning.

2019

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Transformer-XL: Attentive Language Models beyond a Fixed-Length Context
Zihang Dai | Zhilin Yang | Yiming Yang | Jaime Carbonell | Quoc Le | Ruslan Salakhutdinov
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Transformers have a potential of learning longer-term dependency, but are limited by a fixed-length context in the setting of language modeling. We propose a novel neural architecture Transformer-XL that enables learning dependency beyond a fixed length without disrupting temporal coherence. It consists of a segment-level recurrence mechanism and a novel positional encoding scheme. Our method not only enables capturing longer-term dependency, but also resolves the context fragmentation problem. As a result, Transformer-XL learns dependency that is 80% longer than RNNs and 450% longer than vanilla Transformers, achieves better performance on both short and long sequences, and is up to 1,800+ times faster than vanilla Transformers during evaluation. Notably, we improve the state-of-the-art results of bpc/perplexity to 0.99 on enwiki8, 1.08 on text8, 18.3 on WikiText-103, 21.8 on One Billion Word, and 54.5 on Penn Treebank (without finetuning). When trained only on WikiText-103, Transformer-XL manages to generate reasonably coherent, novel text articles with thousands of tokens. Our code, pretrained models, and hyperparameters are available in both Tensorflow and PyTorch.

2018

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Neural Models for Reasoning over Multiple Mentions Using Coreference
Bhuwan Dhingra | Qiao Jin | Zhilin Yang | William Cohen | Ruslan Salakhutdinov
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 2 (Short Papers)

Many problems in NLP require aggregating information from multiple mentions of the same entity which may be far apart in the text. Existing Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) layers are biased towards short-term dependencies and hence not suited to such tasks. We present a recurrent layer which is instead biased towards coreferent dependencies. The layer uses coreference annotations extracted from an external system to connect entity mentions belonging to the same cluster. Incorporating this layer into a state-of-the-art reading comprehension model improves performance on three datasets – Wikihop, LAMBADA and the bAbi AI tasks – with large gains when training data is scarce.

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Neural Cross-Lingual Named Entity Recognition with Minimal Resources
Jiateng Xie | Zhilin Yang | Graham Neubig | Noah A. Smith | Jaime Carbonell
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

For languages with no annotated resources, unsupervised transfer of natural language processing models such as named-entity recognition (NER) from resource-rich languages would be an appealing capability. However, differences in words and word order across languages make it a challenging problem. To improve mapping of lexical items across languages, we propose a method that finds translations based on bilingual word embeddings. To improve robustness to word order differences, we propose to use self-attention, which allows for a degree of flexibility with respect to word order. We demonstrate that these methods achieve state-of-the-art or competitive NER performance on commonly tested languages under a cross-lingual setting, with much lower resource requirements than past approaches. We also evaluate the challenges of applying these methods to Uyghur, a low-resource language.

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HotpotQA: A Dataset for Diverse, Explainable Multi-hop Question Answering
Zhilin Yang | Peng Qi | Saizheng Zhang | Yoshua Bengio | William Cohen | Ruslan Salakhutdinov | Christopher D. Manning
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Existing question answering (QA) datasets fail to train QA systems to perform complex reasoning and provide explanations for answers. We introduce HotpotQA, a new dataset with 113k Wikipedia-based question-answer pairs with four key features: (1) the questions require finding and reasoning over multiple supporting documents to answer; (2) the questions are diverse and not constrained to any pre-existing knowledge bases or knowledge schemas; (3) we provide sentence-level supporting facts required for reasoning, allowing QA systems to reason with strong supervision and explain the predictions; (4) we offer a new type of factoid comparison questions to test QA systems’ ability to extract relevant facts and perform necessary comparison. We show that HotpotQA is challenging for the latest QA systems, and the supporting facts enable models to improve performance and make explainable predictions.

2017

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Semi-Supervised QA with Generative Domain-Adaptive Nets
Zhilin Yang | Junjie Hu | Ruslan Salakhutdinov | William Cohen
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We study the problem of semi-supervised question answering—utilizing unlabeled text to boost the performance of question answering models. We propose a novel training framework, the Generative Domain-Adaptive Nets. In this framework, we train a generative model to generate questions based on the unlabeled text, and combine model-generated questions with human-generated questions for training question answering models. We develop novel domain adaptation algorithms, based on reinforcement learning, to alleviate the discrepancy between the model-generated data distribution and the human-generated data distribution. Experiments show that our proposed framework obtains substantial improvement from unlabeled text.

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Gated-Attention Readers for Text Comprehension
Bhuwan Dhingra | Hanxiao Liu | Zhilin Yang | William Cohen | Ruslan Salakhutdinov
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In this paper we study the problem of answering cloze-style questions over documents. Our model, the Gated-Attention (GA) Reader, integrates a multi-hop architecture with a novel attention mechanism, which is based on multiplicative interactions between the query embedding and the intermediate states of a recurrent neural network document reader. This enables the reader to build query-specific representations of tokens in the document for accurate answer selection. The GA Reader obtains state-of-the-art results on three benchmarks for this task–the CNN & Daily Mail news stories and the Who Did What dataset. The effectiveness of multiplicative interaction is demonstrated by an ablation study, and by comparing to alternative compositional operators for implementing the gated-attention.