Alvin Chan


On Orthogonality Constraints for Transformers
Aston Zhang | Alvin Chan | Yi Tay | Jie Fu | Shuohang Wang | Shuai Zhang | Huajie Shao | Shuochao Yao | Roy Ka-Wei Lee
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Orthogonality constraints encourage matrices to be orthogonal for numerical stability. These plug-and-play constraints, which can be conveniently incorporated into model training, have been studied for popular architectures in natural language processing, such as convolutional neural networks and recurrent neural networks. However, a dedicated study on such constraints for transformers has been absent. To fill this gap, this paper studies orthogonality constraints for transformers, showing the effectiveness with empirical evidence from ten machine translation tasks and two dialogue generation tasks. For example, on the large-scale WMT’16 En→De benchmark, simply plugging-and-playing orthogonality constraints on the original transformer model (Vaswani et al., 2017) increases the BLEU from 28.4 to 29.6, coming close to the 29.7 BLEU achieved by the very competitive dynamic convolution (Wu et al., 2019).


Would you Rather? A New Benchmark for Learning Machine Alignment with Cultural Values and Social Preferences
Yi Tay | Donovan Ong | Jie Fu | Alvin Chan | Nancy Chen | Anh Tuan Luu | Chris Pal
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Understanding human preferences, along with cultural and social nuances, lives at the heart of natural language understanding. Concretely, we present a new task and corpus for learning alignments between machine and human preferences. Our newly introduced problem is concerned with predicting the preferable options from two sentences describing scenarios that may involve social and cultural situations. Our problem is framed as a natural language inference task with crowd-sourced preference votes by human players, obtained from a gamified voting platform. We benchmark several state-of-the-art neural models, along with BERT and friends on this task. Our experimental results show that current state-of-the-art NLP models still leave much room for improvement.

Poison Attacks against Text Datasets with Conditional Adversarially Regularized Autoencoder
Alvin Chan | Yi Tay | Yew-Soon Ong | Aston Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

This paper demonstrates a fatal vulnerability in natural language inference (NLI) and text classification systems. More concretely, we present a ‘backdoor poisoning’ attack on NLP models. Our poisoning attack utilizes conditional adversarially regularized autoencoder (CARA) to generate poisoned training samples by poison injection in latent space. Just by adding 1% poisoned data, our experiments show that a victim BERT finetuned classifier’s predictions can be steered to the poison target class with success rates of >80% when the input hypothesis is injected with the poison signature, demonstrating that NLI and text classification systems face a huge security risk.