Mingda Chen


Improving In-Context Few-Shot Learning via Self-Supervised Training
Mingda Chen | Jingfei Du | Ramakanth Pasunuru | Todor Mihaylov | Srini Iyer | Veselin Stoyanov | Zornitsa Kozareva
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Self-supervised pretraining has made few-shot learning possible for many NLP tasks. But the pretraining objectives are not typically adapted specifically for in-context few-shot learning. In this paper, we propose to use self-supervision in an intermediate training stage between pretraining and downstream few-shot usage with the goal to teach the model to perform in-context few shot learning. We propose and evaluate four self-supervised objectives on two benchmarks. We find that the intermediate self-supervision stage produces models that outperform strong baselines. Ablation study shows that several factors affect the downstream performance, such as the amount of training data and the diversity of the self-supervised objectives. Human-annotated cross-task supervision and self-supervision are complementary. Qualitative analysis suggests that the self-supervised-trained models are better at following task requirements.

SummScreen: A Dataset for Abstractive Screenplay Summarization
Mingda Chen | Zewei Chu | Sam Wiseman | Kevin Gimpel
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We introduce SummScreen, a summarization dataset comprised of pairs of TV series transcripts and human written recaps. The dataset provides a challenging testbed for abstractive summarization for several reasons. Plot details are often expressed indirectly in character dialogues and may be scattered across the entirety of the transcript. These details must be found and integrated to form the succinct plot descriptions in the recaps. Also, TV scripts contain content that does not directly pertain to the central plot but rather serves to develop characters or provide comic relief. This information is rarely contained in recaps. Since characters are fundamental to TV series, we also propose two entity-centric evaluation metrics. Empirically, we characterize the dataset by evaluating several methods, including neural models and those based on nearest neighbors. An oracle extractive approach outperforms all benchmarked models according to automatic metrics, showing that the neural models are unable to fully exploit the input transcripts. Human evaluation and qualitative analysis reveal that our non-oracle models are competitive with their oracle counterparts in terms of generating faithful plot events and can benefit from better content selectors. Both oracle and non-oracle models generate unfaithful facts, suggesting future research directions.


WikiTableT: A Large-Scale Data-to-Text Dataset for Generating Wikipedia Article Sections
Mingda Chen | Sam Wiseman | Kevin Gimpel
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021


Learning Probabilistic Sentence Representations from Paraphrases
Mingda Chen | Kevin Gimpel
Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP

Probabilistic word embeddings have shown effectiveness in capturing notions of generality and entailment, but there is very little work on doing the analogous type of investigation for sentences. In this paper we define probabilistic models that produce distributions for sentences. Our best-performing model treats each word as a linear transformation operator applied to a multivariate Gaussian distribution. We train our models on paraphrases and demonstrate that they naturally capture sentence specificity. While our proposed model achieves the best performance overall, we also show that specificity is represented by simpler architectures via the norm of the sentence vectors. Qualitative analysis shows that our probabilistic model captures sentential entailment and provides ways to analyze the specificity and preciseness of individual words.

Mining Knowledge for Natural Language Inference from Wikipedia Categories
Mingda Chen | Zewei Chu | Karl Stratos | Kevin Gimpel
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Accurate lexical entailment (LE) and natural language inference (NLI) often require large quantities of costly annotations. To alleviate the need for labeled data, we introduce WikiNLI: a resource for improving model performance on NLI and LE tasks. It contains 428,899 pairs of phrases constructed from naturally annotated category hierarchies in Wikipedia. We show that we can improve strong baselines such as BERT and RoBERTa by pretraining them on WikiNLI and transferring the models on downstream tasks. We conduct systematic comparisons with phrases extracted from other knowledge bases such as WordNet and Wikidata to find that pretraining on WikiNLI gives the best performance. In addition, we construct WikiNLI in other languages, and show that pretraining on them improves performance on NLI tasks of corresponding languages.


EntEval: A Holistic Evaluation Benchmark for Entity Representations
Mingda Chen | Zewei Chu | Yang Chen | Karl Stratos | Kevin Gimpel
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Rich entity representations are useful for a wide class of problems involving entities. Despite their importance, there is no standardized benchmark that evaluates the overall quality of entity representations. In this work, we propose EntEval: a test suite of diverse tasks that require nontrivial understanding of entities including entity typing, entity similarity, entity relation prediction, and entity disambiguation. In addition, we develop training techniques for learning better entity representations by using natural hyperlink annotations in Wikipedia. We identify effective objectives for incorporating the contextual information in hyperlinks into state-of-the-art pretrained language models (Peters et al., 2018) and show that they improve strong baselines on multiple EntEval tasks.

Evaluation Benchmarks and Learning Criteria for Discourse-Aware Sentence Representations
Mingda Chen | Zewei Chu | Kevin Gimpel
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Prior work on pretrained sentence embeddings and benchmarks focus on the capabilities of stand-alone sentences. We propose DiscoEval, a test suite of tasks to evaluate whether sentence representations include broader context information. We also propose a variety of training objectives that makes use of natural annotations from Wikipedia to build sentence encoders capable of modeling discourse. We benchmark sentence encoders pretrained with our proposed training objectives, as well as other popular pretrained sentence encoders on DiscoEval and other sentence evaluation tasks. Empirically, we show that these training objectives help to encode different aspects of information in document structures. Moreover, BERT and ELMo demonstrate strong performances over DiscoEval with individual hidden layers showing different characteristics.

Controllable Paraphrase Generation with a Syntactic Exemplar
Mingda Chen | Qingming Tang | Sam Wiseman | Kevin Gimpel
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Prior work on controllable text generation usually assumes that the controlled attribute can take on one of a small set of values known a priori. In this work, we propose a novel task, where the syntax of a generated sentence is controlled rather by a sentential exemplar. To evaluate quantitatively with standard metrics, we create a novel dataset with human annotations. We also develop a variational model with a neural module specifically designed for capturing syntactic knowledge and several multitask training objectives to promote disentangled representation learning. Empirically, the proposed model is observed to achieve improvements over baselines and learn to capture desirable characteristics.

A Multi-Task Approach for Disentangling Syntax and Semantics in Sentence Representations
Mingda Chen | Qingming Tang | Sam Wiseman | Kevin Gimpel
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)

We propose a generative model for a sentence that uses two latent variables, with one intended to represent the syntax of the sentence and the other to represent its semantics. We show we can achieve better disentanglement between semantic and syntactic representations by training with multiple losses, including losses that exploit aligned paraphrastic sentences and word-order information. We evaluate our models on standard semantic similarity tasks and novel syntactic similarity tasks. Empirically, we find that the model with the best performing syntactic and semantic representations also gives rise to the most disentangled representations.


Smaller Text Classifiers with Discriminative Cluster Embeddings
Mingda Chen | Kevin Gimpel
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 2 (Short Papers)

Word embedding parameters often dominate overall model sizes in neural methods for natural language processing. We reduce deployed model sizes of text classifiers by learning a hard word clustering in an end-to-end manner. We use the Gumbel-Softmax distribution to maximize over the latent clustering while minimizing the task loss. We propose variations that selectively assign additional parameters to words, which further improves accuracy while still remaining parameter-efficient.

Variational Sequential Labelers for Semi-Supervised Learning
Mingda Chen | Qingming Tang | Karen Livescu | Kevin Gimpel
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We introduce a family of multitask variational methods for semi-supervised sequence labeling. Our model family consists of a latent-variable generative model and a discriminative labeler. The generative models use latent variables to define the conditional probability of a word given its context, drawing inspiration from word prediction objectives commonly used in learning word embeddings. The labeler helps inject discriminative information into the latent space. We explore several latent variable configurations, including ones with hierarchical structure, which enables the model to account for both label-specific and word-specific information. Our models consistently outperform standard sequential baselines on 8 sequence labeling datasets, and improve further with unlabeled data.