Zixu Wang


Guiding Visual Question Generation
Nihir Vedd | Zixu Wang | Marek Rei | Yishu Miao | Lucia Specia
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

In traditional Visual Question Generation (VQG), most images have multiple concepts (e.g. objects and categories) for which a question could be generated, but models are trained to mimic an arbitrary choice of concept as given in their training data. This makes training difficult and also poses issues for evaluation – multiple valid questions exist for most images but only one or a few are captured by the human references. We present Guiding Visual Question Generation - a variant of VQG which conditions the question generator on categorical information based on expectations on the type of question and the objects it should explore. We propose two variant families: (i) an explicitly guided model that enables an actor (human or automated) to select which objects and categories to generate a question for; and (ii) 2 types of implicitly guided models that learn which objects and categories to condition on, based on discrete variables. The proposed models are evaluated on an answer-category augmented VQA dataset and our quantitative results show a substantial improvement over the current state of the art (over 9 BLEU-4 increase). Human evaluation validates that guidance helps the generation of questions that are grammatically coherent and relevant to the given image and objects.

Contrastive Video-Language Learning with Fine-grained Frame Sampling
Zixu Wang | Yujie Zhong | Yishu Miao | Lin Ma | Lucia Specia
Proceedings of the 2nd Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 12th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Despite recent progress in video and language representation learning, the weak or sparse correspondence between the two modalities remains a bottleneck in the area. Most video-language models are trained via pair-level loss to predict whether a pair of video and text is aligned. However, even in paired video-text segments, only a subset of the frames are semantically relevant to the corresponding text, with the remainder representing noise; where the ratio of noisy frames is higher for longer videos. We propose FineCo (Fine-grained Contrastive Loss for Frame Sampling), an approach to better learn video and language representations with a fine-grained contrastive objective operating on video frames. It helps distil a video by selecting the frames that are semantically equivalent to the text, improving cross-modal correspondence. Building on the well established VideoCLIP model as a starting point, FineCo achieves state-of-the-art performance on YouCookII, a text-video retrieval benchmark with long videos. FineCo also achieves competitive results on text-video retrieval (MSR-VTT), and video question answering datasets (MSR-VTT QA and MSR-VTT MC) with shorter videos.


Exploring Supervised and Unsupervised Rewards in Machine Translation
Julia Ive | Zixu Wang | Marina Fomicheva | Lucia Specia
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Reinforcement Learning (RL) is a powerful framework to address the discrepancy between loss functions used during training and the final evaluation metrics to be used at test time. When applied to neural Machine Translation (MT), it minimises the mismatch between the cross-entropy loss and non-differentiable evaluation metrics like BLEU. However, the suitability of these metrics as reward function at training time is questionable: they tend to be sparse and biased towards the specific words used in the reference texts. We propose to address this problem by making models less reliant on such metrics in two ways: (a) with an entropy-regularised RL method that does not only maximise a reward function but also explore the action space to avoid peaky distributions; (b) with a novel RL method that explores a dynamic unsupervised reward function to balance between exploration and exploitation. We base our proposals on the Soft Actor-Critic (SAC) framework, adapting the off-policy maximum entropy model for language generation applications such as MT. We demonstrate that SAC with BLEU reward tends to overfit less to the training data and performs better on out-of-domain data. We also show that our dynamic unsupervised reward can lead to better translation of ambiguous words.


Distinguishing between Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) using Mental Health Records: a Classification Approach
Zixu Wang | Julia Ive | Sinead Moylett | Christoph Mueller | Rudolf Cardinal | Sumithra Velupillai | John O’Brien | Robert Stewart
Proceedings of the 3rd Clinical Natural Language Processing Workshop

While Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) is the second most common type of neurodegenerative dementia following Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), it is difficult to distinguish from AD. We propose a method for DLB detection by using mental health record (MHR) documents from a (3-month) period before a patient has been diagnosed with DLB or AD. Our objective is to develop a model that could be clinically useful to differentiate between DLB and AD across datasets from different healthcare institutions. We cast this as a classification task using Convolutional Neural Network (CNN), an efficient neural model for text classification. We experiment with different representation models, and explore the features that contribute to model performances. In addition, we apply temperature scaling, a simple but efficient model calibration method, to produce more reliable predictions. We believe the proposed method has important potential for clinical applications using routine healthcare records, and for generalising to other relevant clinical record datasets. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to distinguish DLB from AD using mental health records, and to improve the reliability of DLB predictions.


Is artificial data useful for biomedical Natural Language Processing algorithms?
Zixu Wang | Julia Ive | Sumithra Velupillai | Lucia Specia
Proceedings of the 18th BioNLP Workshop and Shared Task

A major obstacle to the development of Natural Language Processing (NLP) methods in the biomedical domain is data accessibility. This problem can be addressed by generating medical data artificially. Most previous studies have focused on the generation of short clinical text, and evaluation of the data utility has been limited. We propose a generic methodology to guide the generation of clinical text with key phrases. We use the artificial data as additional training data in two key biomedical NLP tasks: text classification and temporal relation extraction. We show that artificially generated training data used in conjunction with real training data can lead to performance boosts for data-greedy neural network algorithms. We also demonstrate the usefulness of the generated data for NLP setups where it fully replaces real training data.