Jinlan Fu


Are All the Datasets in Benchmark Necessary? A Pilot Study of Dataset Evaluation for Text Classification
Yang Xiao | Jinlan Fu | See-Kiong Ng | Pengfei Liu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

In this paper, we ask the research question of whether all the datasets in the benchmark are necessary. We approach this by first characterizing the distinguishability of datasets when comparing different systems. Experiments on 9 datasets and 36 systems show that several existing benchmark datasets contribute little to discriminating top-scoring systems, while those less used datasets exhibit impressive discriminative power. We further, taking the text classification task as a case study, investigate the possibility of predicting dataset discrimination based on its properties (e.g., average sentence length). Our preliminary experiments promisingly show that given a sufficient number of training experimental records, a meaningful predictor can be learned to estimate dataset discrimination over unseen datasets. We released all datasets with features explored in this work on DataLab.

DataLab: A Platform for Data Analysis and Intervention
Yang Xiao | Jinlan Fu | Weizhe Yuan | Vijay Viswanathan | Zhoumianze Liu | Yixin Liu | Graham Neubig | Pengfei Liu
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

Despite data’s crucial role in machine learning, most existing tools and research tend to focus on systems on top of existing data rather than how to interpret and manipulate data.In this paper, we propose DataLab, a unified data-oriented platform that not only allows users to interactively analyze the characteristics of data but also provides a standardized interface so that many data processing operations can be provided within a unified interface. Additionally, in view of the ongoing surge in the proliferation of datasets, DataLab has features for dataset recommendation and global vision analysis that help researchers form a better view of the data ecosystem. So far, DataLab covers 1,300 datasets and 3,583 of its transformed version, where 313 datasets support different types of analysis (e.g., with respect to gender bias) with the help of 119M samples annotated by 318 feature functions. DataLab is under active development and will be supported going forward. We have released a web platform, web API, Python SDK, and PyPI published package, which hopefully, can meet the diverse needs of researchers.

CorefDiffs: Co-referential and Differential Knowledge Flow in Document Grounded Conversations
Lin Xu | Qixian Zhou | Jinlan Fu | Min-Yen Kan | See-Kiong Ng
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Knowledge-grounded dialog systems need to incorporate smooth transitions among knowledge selected for generating responses, to ensure that dialog flows naturally. For document-grounded dialog systems, the inter- and intra-document knowledge relations can be used to model such conversational flows. We develop a novel Multi-Document Co-Referential Graph (Coref-MDG) to effectively capture the inter-document relationships based on commonsense and similarity and the intra-document co-referential structures of knowledge segments within the grounding documents. We propose CorefDiffs, a Co-referential and Differential flow management method, to linearize the static Coref-MDG into conversational sequence logic. CorefDiffs performs knowledge selection by accounting for contextual graph structures and the knowledge difference sequences. CorefDiffs significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art by 9.5%, 7.4% and 8.2% on three public benchmarks. This demonstrates that the effective modeling of co-reference and knowledge difference for dialog flows are critical for transitions in document-grounded conversation.

Polyglot Prompt: Multilingual Multitask Prompt Training
Jinlan Fu | See-Kiong Ng | Pengfei Liu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

This paper aims for a potential architectural improvement for multilingual learning and asks: Can different tasks from different languages be modeled in a monolithic framework, i.e. without any task/language-specific module? The benefit of achieving this could open new doors for future multilingual research, including allowing systems trained on low resources to be further assisted by other languages as well as other tasks. We approach this goal by developing a learning framework named Polyglot Prompting to exploit prompting methods for learning a unified semantic space for different languages and tasks with multilingual prompt engineering. We performed a comprehensive evaluation of 6 tasks, namely topic classification, sentiment classification, named entity recognition, question answering, natural language inference, and summarization, covering 24 datasets and 49 languages. The experimental results demonstrated the efficacy of multilingual multitask prompt-based learning and led to inspiring observations. We also present an interpretable multilingual evaluation methodology and show how the proposed framework, multilingual multitask prompt training, works. We release all datasets prompted in the best setting and code.


SpanNER: Named Entity Re-/Recognition as Span Prediction
Jinlan Fu | Xuanjing Huang | Pengfei Liu
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)

Recent years have seen the paradigm shift of Named Entity Recognition (NER) systems from sequence labeling to span prediction. Despite its preliminary effectiveness, the span prediction model’s architectural bias has not been fully understood. In this paper, we first investigate the strengths and weaknesses when the span prediction model is used for named entity recognition compared with the sequence labeling framework and how to further improve it, which motivates us to make complementary advantages of systems based on different paradigms. We then reveal that span prediction, simultaneously, can serve as a system combiner to re-recognize named entities from different systems’ outputs. We experimentally implement 154 systems on 11 datasets, covering three languages, comprehensive results show the effectiveness of span prediction models that both serve as base NER systems and system combiners. We make all codes and datasets available: https://github.com/neulab/spanner, as well as an online system demo: http://spanner.sh. Our model also has been deployed into the ExplainaBoard platform, which allows users to flexibly perform a system combination of top-scoring systems in an interactive way: http://explainaboard.nlpedia.ai/leaderboard/task-ner/.

ExplainaBoard: An Explainable Leaderboard for NLP
Pengfei Liu | Jinlan Fu | Yang Xiao | Weizhe Yuan | Shuaichen Chang | Junqi Dai | Yixin Liu | Zihuiwen Ye | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

With the rapid development of NLP research, leaderboards have emerged as one tool to track the performance of various systems on various NLP tasks. They are effective in this goal to some extent, but generally present a rather simplistic one-dimensional view of the submitted systems, communicated only through holistic accuracy numbers. In this paper, we present a new conceptualization and implementation of NLP evaluation: the ExplainaBoard, which in addition to inheriting the functionality of the standard leaderboard, also allows researchers to (i) diagnose strengths and weaknesses of a single system (e.g. what is the best-performing system bad at?) (ii) interpret relationships between multiple systems. (e.g. where does system A outperform system B? What if we combine systems A, B and C?) and (iii) examine prediction results closely (e.g. what are common errors made by multiple systems or in what contexts do particular errors occur?). So far, ExplainaBoard covers more than 400 systems, 50 datasets, 40 languages, and 12 tasks. We not only released an online platform at the website but also make our evaluation tool an API with MIT Licence at Github and PyPi that allows users to conveniently assess their models offline. We additionally release all output files from systems that we have run or collected to motivate “output-driven” research in the future.

TextFlint: Unified Multilingual Robustness Evaluation Toolkit for Natural Language Processing
Xiao Wang | Qin Liu | Tao Gui | Qi Zhang | Yicheng Zou | Xin Zhou | Jiacheng Ye | Yongxin Zhang | Rui Zheng | Zexiong Pang | Qinzhuo Wu | Zhengyan Li | Chong Zhang | Ruotian Ma | Zichu Fei | Ruijian Cai | Jun Zhao | Xingwu Hu | Zhiheng Yan | Yiding Tan | Yuan Hu | Qiyuan Bian | Zhihua Liu | Shan Qin | Bolin Zhu | Xiaoyu Xing | Jinlan Fu | Yue Zhang | Minlong Peng | Xiaoqing Zheng | Yaqian Zhou | Zhongyu Wei | Xipeng Qiu | Xuanjing Huang
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

TextFlint is a multilingual robustness evaluation toolkit for NLP tasks that incorporates universal text transformation, task-specific transformation, adversarial attack, subpopulation, and their combinations to provide comprehensive robustness analyses. This enables practitioners to automatically evaluate their models from various aspects or to customize their evaluations as desired with just a few lines of code. TextFlint also generates complete analytical reports as well as targeted augmented data to address the shortcomings of the model in terms of its robustness. To guarantee acceptability, all the text transformations are linguistically based and all the transformed data selected (up to 100,000 texts) scored highly under human evaluation. To validate the utility, we performed large-scale empirical evaluations (over 67,000) on state-of-the-art deep learning models, classic supervised methods, and real-world systems. The toolkit is already available at https://github.com/textflint with all the evaluation results demonstrated at textflint.io.

Towards More Fine-grained and Reliable NLP Performance Prediction
Zihuiwen Ye | Pengfei Liu | Jinlan Fu | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Performance prediction, the task of estimating a system’s performance without performing experiments, allows us to reduce the experimental burden caused by the combinatorial explosion of different datasets, languages, tasks, and models. In this paper, we make two contributions to improving performance prediction for NLP tasks. First, we examine performance predictors not only for holistic measures of accuracy like F1 or BLEU, but also fine-grained performance measures such as accuracy over individual classes of examples. Second, we propose methods to understand the reliability of a performance prediction model from two angles: confidence intervals and calibration. We perform an analysis of four types of NLP tasks, and both demonstrate the feasibility of fine-grained performance prediction and the necessity to perform reliability analysis for performance prediction methods in the future.

Larger-Context Tagging: When and Why Does It Work?
Jinlan Fu | Liangjing Feng | Qi Zhang | Xuanjing Huang | Pengfei Liu
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

The development of neural networks and pretraining techniques has spawned many sentence-level tagging systems that achieved superior performance on typical benchmarks. However, a relatively less discussed topic is what if more context information is introduced into current top-scoring tagging systems. Although several existing works have attempted to shift tagging systems from sentence-level to document-level, there is still no consensus conclusion about when and why it works, which limits the applicability of the larger-context approach in tagging tasks. In this paper, instead of pursuing a state-of-the-art tagging system by architectural exploration, we focus on investigating when and why the larger-context training, as a general strategy, can work. To this end, we conduct a thorough comparative study on four proposed aggregators for context information collecting and present an attribute-aided evaluation method to interpret the improvement brought by larger-context training. Experimentally, we set up a testbed based on four tagging tasks and thirteen datasets. Hopefully, our preliminary observations can deepen the understanding of larger-context training and enlighten more follow-up works on the use of contextual information.

A Partition Filter Network for Joint Entity and Relation Extraction
Zhiheng Yan | Chong Zhang | Jinlan Fu | Qi Zhang | Zhongyu Wei
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

In joint entity and relation extraction, existing work either sequentially encode task-specific features, leading to an imbalance in inter-task feature interaction where features extracted later have no direct contact with those that come first. Or they encode entity features and relation features in a parallel manner, meaning that feature representation learning for each task is largely independent of each other except for input sharing. We propose a partition filter network to model two-way interaction between tasks properly, where feature encoding is decomposed into two steps: partition and filter. In our encoder, we leverage two gates: entity and relation gate, to segment neurons into two task partitions and one shared partition. The shared partition represents inter-task information valuable to both tasks and is evenly shared across two tasks to ensure proper two-way interaction. The task partitions represent intra-task information and are formed through concerted efforts of both gates, making sure that encoding of task-specific features is dependent upon each other. Experiment results on six public datasets show that our model performs significantly better than previous approaches. In addition, contrary to what previous work has claimed, our auxiliary experiments suggest that relation prediction is contributory to named entity prediction in a non-negligible way. The source code can be found at https://github.com/Coopercoppers/PFN.

XTREME-R: Towards More Challenging and Nuanced Multilingual Evaluation
Sebastian Ruder | Noah Constant | Jan Botha | Aditya Siddhant | Orhan Firat | Jinlan Fu | Pengfei Liu | Junjie Hu | Dan Garrette | Graham Neubig | Melvin Johnson
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Machine learning has brought striking advances in multilingual natural language processing capabilities over the past year. For example, the latest techniques have improved the state-of-the-art performance on the XTREME multilingual benchmark by more than 13 points. While a sizeable gap to human-level performance remains, improvements have been easier to achieve in some tasks than in others. This paper analyzes the current state of cross-lingual transfer learning and summarizes some lessons learned. In order to catalyze meaningful progress, we extend XTREME to XTREME-R, which consists of an improved set of ten natural language understanding tasks, including challenging language-agnostic retrieval tasks, and covers 50 typologically diverse languages. In addition, we provide a massively multilingual diagnostic suite and fine-grained multi-dataset evaluation capabilities through an interactive public leaderboard to gain a better understanding of such models.


RethinkCWS: Is Chinese Word Segmentation a Solved Task?
Jinlan Fu | Pengfei Liu | Qi Zhang | Xuanjing Huang
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

The performance of the Chinese Word Segmentation (CWS) systems has gradually reached a plateau with the rapid development of deep neural networks, especially the successful use of large pre-trained models. In this paper, we take stock of what we have achieved and rethink what’s left in the CWS task. Methodologically, we propose a fine-grained evaluation for existing CWS systems, which not only allows us to diagnose the strengths and weaknesses of existing models (under the in-dataset setting), but enables us to quantify the discrepancy between different criterion and alleviate the negative transfer problem when doing multi-criteria learning. Strategically, despite not aiming to propose a novel model in this paper, our comprehensive experiments on eight models and seven datasets, as well as thorough analysis, could search for some promising direction for future research. We make all codes publicly available and release an interface that can quickly evaluate and diagnose user’s models: https://github.com/neulab/InterpretEval

Interpretable Multi-dataset Evaluation for Named Entity Recognition
Jinlan Fu | Pengfei Liu | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

With the proliferation of models for natural language processing tasks, it is even harder to understand the differences between models and their relative merits. Simply looking at differences between holistic metrics such as accuracy, BLEU, or F1 does not tell us why or how particular methods perform differently and how diverse datasets influence the model design choices. In this paper, we present a general methodology for interpretable evaluation for the named entity recognition (NER) task. The proposed evaluation method enables us to interpret the differences in models and datasets, as well as the interplay between them, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of current systems. By making our analysis tool available, we make it easy for future researchers to run similar analyses and drive progress in this area: https://github.com/neulab/InterpretEval

A Knowledge-Aware Sequence-to-Tree Network for Math Word Problem Solving
Qinzhuo Wu | Qi Zhang | Jinlan Fu | Xuanjing Huang
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

With the advancements in natural language processing tasks, math word problem solving has received increasing attention. Previous methods have achieved promising results but ignore background common-sense knowledge not directly provided by the problem. In addition, during generation, they focus on local features while neglecting global information. To incorporate external knowledge and global expression information, we propose a novel knowledge-aware sequence-to-tree (KA-S2T) network in which the entities in the problem sequences and their categories are modeled as an entity graph. Based on this entity graph, a graph attention network is used to capture knowledge-aware problem representations. Further, we use a tree-structured decoder with a state aggregation mechanism to capture the long-distance dependency and global expression information. Experimental results on the Math23K dataset revealed that the KA-S2T model can achieve better performance than previously reported best results.


A Lexicon-Based Graph Neural Network for Chinese NER
Tao Gui | Yicheng Zou | Qi Zhang | Minlong Peng | Jinlan Fu | Zhongyu Wei | Xuanjing Huang
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Recurrent neural networks (RNN) used for Chinese named entity recognition (NER) that sequentially track character and word information have achieved great success. However, the characteristic of chain structure and the lack of global semantics determine that RNN-based models are vulnerable to word ambiguities. In this work, we try to alleviate this problem by introducing a lexicon-based graph neural network with global semantics, in which lexicon knowledge is used to connect characters to capture the local composition, while a global relay node can capture global sentence semantics and long-range dependency. Based on the multiple graph-based interactions among characters, potential words, and the whole-sentence semantics, word ambiguities can be effectively tackled. Experiments on four NER datasets show that the proposed model achieves significant improvements against other baseline models.

Distantly Supervised Named Entity Recognition using Positive-Unlabeled Learning
Minlong Peng | Xiaoyu Xing | Qi Zhang | Jinlan Fu | Xuanjing Huang
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

In this work, we explore the way to perform named entity recognition (NER) using only unlabeled data and named entity dictionaries. To this end, we formulate the task as a positive-unlabeled (PU) learning problem and accordingly propose a novel PU learning algorithm to perform the task. We prove that the proposed algorithm can unbiasedly and consistently estimate the task loss as if there is fully labeled data. A key feature of the proposed method is that it does not require the dictionaries to label every entity within a sentence, and it even does not require the dictionaries to label all of the words constituting an entity. This greatly reduces the requirement on the quality of the dictionaries and makes our method generalize well with quite simple dictionaries. Empirical studies on four public NER datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed method. We have published the source code at https://github.com/v-mipeng/LexiconNER.