Minghao Hu


Extract-Select: A Span Selection Framework for Nested Named Entity Recognition with Generative Adversarial Training
Peixin Huang | Xiang Zhao | Minghao Hu | Yang Fang | Xinyi Li | Weidong Xiao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Nested named entity recognition (NER) is a task in which named entities may overlap with each other. Span-based approaches regard nested NER as a two-stage span enumeration and classification task, thus having the innate ability to handle this task. However, they face the problems of error propagation, ignorance of span boundary, difficulty in long entity recognition and requirement on large-scale annotated data. In this paper, we propose Extract-Select, a span selection framework for nested NER, to tackle these problems. Firstly, we introduce a span selection framework in which nested entities with different input categories would be separately extracted by the extractor, thus naturally avoiding error propagation in two-stage span-based approaches. In the inference phase, the trained extractor selects final results specific to the given entity category. Secondly, we propose a hybrid selection strategy in the extractor, which not only makes full use of span boundary but also improves the ability of long entity recognition. Thirdly, we design a discriminator to evaluate the extraction result, and train both extractor and discriminator with generative adversarial training (GAT). The use of GAT greatly alleviates the stress on the dataset size. Experimental results on four benchmark datasets demonstrate that Extract-Select outperforms competitive nested NER models, obtaining state-of-the-art results. The proposed model also performs well when less labeled data are given, proving the effectiveness of GAT.

Adaptive Threshold Selective Self-Attention for Chinese NER
Biao Hu | Zhen Huang | Minghao Hu | Ziwen Zhang | Yong Dou
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Recently, Transformer has achieved great success in Chinese named entity recognition (NER) owing to its good parallelism and ability to model long-range dependencies, which utilizes self-attention to encode context. However, the fully connected way of self-attention may scatter the attention distribution and allow some irrelevant character information to be integrated, leading to entity boundaries being misidentified. In this paper, we propose a data-driven Adaptive Threshold Selective Self-Attention (ATSSA) mechanism that aims to dynamically select the most relevant characters to enhance the Transformer architecture for Chinese NER. In ATSSA, the attention score threshold of each query is automatically generated, and characters with attention score higher than the threshold are selected by the query while others are discarded, so as to address irrelevant attention integration. Experiments on four benchmark Chinese NER datasets show that the proposed ATSSA brings 1.68 average F1 score improvements to the baseline model and achieves state-of-the-art performance.


A Multi-Type Multi-Span Network for Reading Comprehension that Requires Discrete Reasoning
Minghao Hu | Yuxing Peng | Zhen Huang | Dongsheng Li
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Rapid progress has been made in the field of reading comprehension and question answering, where several systems have achieved human parity in some simplified settings. However, the performance of these models degrades significantly when they are applied to more realistic scenarios, such as answers involve various types, multiple text strings are correct answers, or discrete reasoning abilities are required. In this paper, we introduce the Multi-Type Multi-Span Network (MTMSN), a neural reading comprehension model that combines a multi-type answer predictor designed to support various answer types (e.g., span, count, negation, and arithmetic expression) with a multi-span extraction method for dynamically producing one or multiple text spans. In addition, an arithmetic expression reranking mechanism is proposed to rank expression candidates for further confirming the prediction. Experiments show that our model achieves 79.9 F1 on the DROP hidden test set, creating new state-of-the-art results. Source code (https://github.com/huminghao16/MTMSN) is released to facilitate future work.

Open-Domain Targeted Sentiment Analysis via Span-Based Extraction and Classification
Minghao Hu | Yuxing Peng | Zhen Huang | Dongsheng Li | Yiwei Lv
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Open-domain targeted sentiment analysis aims to detect opinion targets along with their sentiment polarities from a sentence. Prior work typically formulates this task as a sequence tagging problem. However, such formulation suffers from problems such as huge search space and sentiment inconsistency. To address these problems, we propose a span-based extract-then-classify framework, where multiple opinion targets are directly extracted from the sentence under the supervision of target span boundaries, and corresponding polarities are then classified using their span representations. We further investigate three approaches under this framework, namely the pipeline, joint, and collapsed models. Experiments on three benchmark datasets show that our approach consistently outperforms the sequence tagging baseline. Moreover, we find that the pipeline model achieves the best performance compared with the other two models.

Retrieve, Read, Rerank: Towards End-to-End Multi-Document Reading Comprehension
Minghao Hu | Yuxing Peng | Zhen Huang | Dongsheng Li
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

This paper considers the reading comprehension task in which multiple documents are given as input. Prior work has shown that a pipeline of retriever, reader, and reranker can improve the overall performance. However, the pipeline system is inefficient since the input is re-encoded within each module, and is unable to leverage upstream components to help downstream training. In this work, we present RE3QA, a unified question answering model that combines context retrieving, reading comprehension, and answer reranking to predict the final answer. Unlike previous pipelined approaches, RE3QA shares contextualized text representation across different components, and is carefully designed to use high-quality upstream outputs (e.g., retrieved context or candidate answers) for directly supervising downstream modules (e.g., the reader or the reranker). As a result, the whole network can be trained end-to-end to avoid the context inconsistency problem. Experiments show that our model outperforms the pipelined baseline and achieves state-of-the-art results on two versions of TriviaQA and two variants of SQuAD.


Attention-Guided Answer Distillation for Machine Reading Comprehension
Minghao Hu | Yuxing Peng | Furu Wei | Zhen Huang | Dongsheng Li | Nan Yang | Ming Zhou
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Despite that current reading comprehension systems have achieved significant advancements, their promising performances are often obtained at the cost of making an ensemble of numerous models. Besides, existing approaches are also vulnerable to adversarial attacks. This paper tackles these problems by leveraging knowledge distillation, which aims to transfer knowledge from an ensemble model to a single model. We first demonstrate that vanilla knowledge distillation applied to answer span prediction is effective for reading comprehension systems. We then propose two novel approaches that not only penalize the prediction on confusing answers but also guide the training with alignment information distilled from the ensemble. Experiments show that our best student model has only a slight drop of 0.4% F1 on the SQuAD test set compared to the ensemble teacher, while running 12x faster during inference. It even outperforms the teacher on adversarial SQuAD datasets and NarrativeQA benchmark.