Kai Sun


Improving Machine Reading Comprehension with Contextualized Commonsense Knowledge
Kai Sun | Dian Yu | Jianshu Chen | Dong Yu | Claire Cardie
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

To perform well on a machine reading comprehension (MRC) task, machine readers usually require commonsense knowledge that is not explicitly mentioned in the given documents. This paper aims to extract a new kind of structured knowledge from scripts and use it to improve MRC. We focus on scripts as they contain rich verbal and nonverbal messages, and two relevant messages originally conveyed by different modalities during a short time period may serve as arguments of a piece of commonsense knowledge as they function together in daily communications. To save human efforts to name relations, we propose to represent relations implicitly by situating such an argument pair in a context and call it contextualized knowledge. To use the extracted knowledge to improve MRC, we compare several fine-tuning strategies to use the weakly-labeled MRC data constructed based on contextualized knowledge and further design a teacher-student paradigm with multiple teachers to facilitate the transfer of knowledge in weakly-labeled MRC data. Experimental results show that our paradigm outperforms other methods that use weakly-labeled data and improves a state-of-the-art baseline by 4.3% in accuracy on a Chinese multiple-choice MRC dataset C3, wherein most of the questions require unstated prior knowledge. We also seek to transfer the knowledge to other tasks by simply adapting the resulting student reader, yielding a 2.9% improvement in F1 on a relation extraction dataset DialogRE, demonstrating the potential usefulness of the knowledge for non-MRC tasks that require document comprehension.

A Transformational Biencoder with In-Domain Negative Sampling for Zero-Shot Entity Linking
Kai Sun | Richong Zhang | Samuel Mensah | Yongyi Mao | Xudong Liu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Recent interest in entity linking has focused in the zero-shot scenario, where at test time the entity mention to be labelled is never seen during training, or may belong to a different domain from the source domain. Current work leverage pre-trained BERT with the implicit assumption that it bridges the gap between the source and target domain distributions. However, fine-tuned BERT has a considerable underperformance at zero-shot when applied in a different domain. We solve this problem by proposing a Transformational Biencoder that incorporates a transformation into BERT to perform a zero-shot transfer from the source domain during training. As like previous work, we rely on negative entities to encourage our model to discriminate the golden entities during training. To generate these negative entities, we propose a simple but effective strategy that takes the domain of the golden entity into perspective. Our experimental results on the benchmark dataset Zeshel show effectiveness of our approach and achieve new state-of-the-art.


Self-Teaching Machines to Read and Comprehend with Large-Scale Multi-Subject Question-Answering Data
Dian Yu | Kai Sun | Dong Yu | Claire Cardie
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Despite considerable progress, most machine reading comprehension (MRC) tasks still lack sufficient training data to fully exploit powerful deep neural network models with millions of parameters, and it is laborious, expensive, and time-consuming to create large-scale, high-quality MRC data through crowdsourcing. This paper focuses on generating more training data for MRC tasks by leveraging existing question-answering (QA) data. We first collect a large-scale multi-subject multiple-choice QA dataset for Chinese, ExamQA. We next use incomplete, yet relevant snippets returned by a web search engine as the context for each QA instance to convert it into a weakly-labeled MRC instance. To better use the weakly-labeled data to improve a target MRC task, we evaluate and compare several methods and further propose a self-teaching paradigm. Experimental results show that, upon state-of-the-art MRC baselines, we can obtain +5.1% in accuracy on a multiple-choice Chinese MRC dataset, Cˆ3, and +3.8% in exact match on an extractive Chinese MRC dataset, CMRC 2018, demonstrating the usefulness of the generated QA-based weakly-labeled data for different types of MRC tasks as well as the effectiveness of self-teaching. ExamQA will be available at https://dataset.org/examqa/.

Adding Chit-Chat to Enhance Task-Oriented Dialogues
Kai Sun | Seungwhan Moon | Paul Crook | Stephen Roller | Becka Silvert | Bing Liu | Zhiguang Wang | Honglei Liu | Eunjoon Cho | Claire Cardie
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Existing dialogue corpora and models are typically designed under two disjoint motives: while task-oriented systems focus on achieving functional goals (e.g., booking hotels), open-domain chatbots aim at making socially engaging conversations. In this work, we propose to integrate both types of systems by Adding Chit-Chat to ENhance Task-ORiented dialogues (ACCENTOR), with the goal of making virtual assistant conversations more engaging and interactive. Specifically, we propose a Human <-> AI collaborative data collection approach for generating diverse chit-chat responses to augment task-oriented dialogues with minimal annotation effort. We then present our new chit-chat-based annotations to 23.8K dialogues from two popular task-oriented datasets (Schema-Guided Dialogue and MultiWOZ 2.1) and demonstrate their advantage over the originals via human evaluation. Lastly, we propose three new models for adding chit-chat to task-oriented dialogues, explicitly trained to predict user goals and to generate contextually relevant chit-chat responses. Automatic and human evaluations show that, compared with the state-of-the-art task-oriented baseline, our models can code-switch between task and chit-chat to be more engaging, interesting, knowledgeable, and humanlike, while maintaining competitive task performance.

Simple and Effective Unsupervised Redundancy Elimination to Compress Dense Vectors for Passage Retrieval
Xueguang Ma | Minghan Li | Kai Sun | Ji Xin | Jimmy Lin
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Recent work has shown that dense passage retrieval techniques achieve better ranking accuracy in open-domain question answering compared to sparse retrieval techniques such as BM25, but at the cost of large space and memory requirements. In this paper, we analyze the redundancy present in encoded dense vectors and show that the default dimension of 768 is unnecessarily large. To improve space efficiency, we propose a simple unsupervised compression pipeline that consists of principal component analysis (PCA), product quantization, and hybrid search. We further investigate other supervised baselines and find surprisingly that unsupervised PCA outperforms them in some settings. We perform extensive experiments on five question answering datasets and demonstrate that our best pipeline achieves good accuracy–space trade-offs, for example, 48× compression with less than 3% drop in top-100 retrieval accuracy on average or 96× compression with less than 4% drop. Code and data are available at http://pyserini.io/.

An Empirical Study on Leveraging Position Embeddings for Target-oriented Opinion Words Extraction
Samuel Mensah | Kai Sun | Nikolaos Aletras
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Target-oriented opinion words extraction (TOWE) (Fan et al., 2019b) is a new subtask of target-oriented sentiment analysis that aims to extract opinion words for a given aspect in text. Current state-of-the-art methods leverage position embeddings to capture the relative position of a word to the target. However, the performance of these methods depends on the ability to incorporate this information into word representations. In this paper, we explore a variety of text encoders based on pretrained word embeddings or language models that leverage part-of-speech and position embeddings, aiming to examine the actual contribution of each component in TOWE. We also adapt a graph convolutional network (GCN) to enhance word representations by incorporating syntactic information. Our experimental results demonstrate that BiLSTM-based models can effectively encode position information into word representations while using a GCN only achieves marginal gains. Interestingly, our simple methods outperform several state-of-the-art complex neural structures.


Dialogue-Based Relation Extraction
Dian Yu | Kai Sun | Claire Cardie | Dong Yu
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We present the first human-annotated dialogue-based relation extraction (RE) dataset DialogRE, aiming to support the prediction of relation(s) between two arguments that appear in a dialogue. We further offer DialogRE as a platform for studying cross-sentence RE as most facts span multiple sentences. We argue that speaker-related information plays a critical role in the proposed task, based on an analysis of similarities and differences between dialogue-based and traditional RE tasks. Considering the timeliness of communication in a dialogue, we design a new metric to evaluate the performance of RE methods in a conversational setting and investigate the performance of several representative RE methods on DialogRE. Experimental results demonstrate that a speaker-aware extension on the best-performing model leads to gains in both the standard and conversational evaluation settings. DialogRE is available at https://dataset.org/dialogre/.

Recurrent Interaction Network for Jointly Extracting Entities and Classifying Relations
Kai Sun | Richong Zhang | Samuel Mensah | Yongyi Mao | Xudong Liu
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

The idea of using multi-task learning approaches to address the joint extraction of entity and relation is motivated by the relatedness between the entity recognition task and the relation classification task. Existing methods using multi-task learning techniques to address the problem learn interactions among the two tasks through a shared network, where the shared information is passed into the task-specific networks for prediction. However, such an approach hinders the model from learning explicit interactions between the two tasks to improve the performance on the individual tasks. As a solution, we design a multi-task learning model which we refer to as recurrent interaction network which allows the learning of interactions dynamically, to effectively model task-specific features for classification. Empirical studies on two real-world datasets confirm the superiority of the proposed model.

Investigating Prior Knowledge for Challenging Chinese Machine Reading Comprehension
Kai Sun | Dian Yu | Dong Yu | Claire Cardie
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 8

Machine reading comprehension tasks require a machine reader to answer questions relevant to the given document. In this paper, we present the first free-form multiple-Choice Chinese machine reading Comprehension dataset (C3), containing 13,369 documents (dialogues or more formally written mixed-genre texts) and their associated 19,577 multiple-choice free-form questions collected from Chinese-as-a-second-language examinations. We present a comprehensive analysis of the prior knowledge (i.e., linguistic, domain-specific, and general world knowledge) needed for these real-world problems. We implement rule-based and popular neural methods and find that there is still a significant performance gap between the best performing model (68.5%) and human readers (96.0%), especiallyon problems that require prior knowledge. We further study the effects of distractor plausibility and data augmentation based on translated relevant datasets for English on model performance. We expect C3 to present great challenges to existing systems as answering 86.8% of questions requires both knowledge within and beyond the accompanying document, and we hope that C3 can serve as a platform to study how to leverage various kinds of prior knowledge to better understand a given written or orally oriented text. C3 is available at https://dataset.org/c3/.

CLUE: A Chinese Language Understanding Evaluation Benchmark
Liang Xu | Hai Hu | Xuanwei Zhang | Lu Li | Chenjie Cao | Yudong Li | Yechen Xu | Kai Sun | Dian Yu | Cong Yu | Yin Tian | Qianqian Dong | Weitang Liu | Bo Shi | Yiming Cui | Junyi Li | Jun Zeng | Rongzhao Wang | Weijian Xie | Yanting Li | Yina Patterson | Zuoyu Tian | Yiwen Zhang | He Zhou | Shaoweihua Liu | Zhe Zhao | Qipeng Zhao | Cong Yue | Xinrui Zhang | Zhengliang Yang | Kyle Richardson | Zhenzhong Lan
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

The advent of natural language understanding (NLU) benchmarks for English, such as GLUE and SuperGLUE allows new NLU models to be evaluated across a diverse set of tasks. These comprehensive benchmarks have facilitated a broad range of research and applications in natural language processing (NLP). The problem, however, is that most such benchmarks are limited to English, which has made it difficult to replicate many of the successes in English NLU for other languages. To help remedy this issue, we introduce the first large-scale Chinese Language Understanding Evaluation (CLUE) benchmark. CLUE is an open-ended, community-driven project that brings together 9 tasks spanning several well-established single-sentence/sentence-pair classification tasks, as well as machine reading comprehension, all on original Chinese text. To establish results on these tasks, we report scores using an exhaustive set of current state-of-the-art pre-trained Chinese models (9 in total). We also introduce a number of supplementary datasets and additional tools to help facilitate further progress on Chinese NLU. Our benchmark is released at https://www.cluebenchmarks.com


Aspect-Level Sentiment Analysis Via Convolution over Dependency Tree
Kai Sun | Richong Zhang | Samuel Mensah | Yongyi Mao | Xudong Liu
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

We propose a method based on neural networks to identify the sentiment polarity of opinion words expressed on a specific aspect of a sentence. Although a large majority of works typically focus on leveraging the expressive power of neural networks in handling this task, we explore the possibility of integrating dependency trees with neural networks for representation learning. To this end, we present a convolution over a dependency tree (CDT) model which exploits a Bi-directional Long Short Term Memory (Bi-LSTM) to learn representations for features of a sentence, and further enhance the embeddings with a graph convolutional network (GCN) which operates directly on the dependency tree of the sentence. Our approach propagates both contextual and dependency information from opinion words to aspect words, offering discriminative properties for supervision. Experimental results ranks our approach as the new state-of-the-art in aspect-based sentiment classification.

Improving Question Answering with External Knowledge
Xiaoman Pan | Kai Sun | Dian Yu | Jianshu Chen | Heng Ji | Claire Cardie | Dong Yu
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Machine Reading for Question Answering

We focus on multiple-choice question answering (QA) tasks in subject areas such as science, where we require both broad background knowledge and the facts from the given subject-area reference corpus. In this work, we explore simple yet effective methods for exploiting two sources of external knowledge for subject-area QA. The first enriches the original subject-area reference corpus with relevant text snippets extracted from an open-domain resource (i.e., Wikipedia) that cover potentially ambiguous concepts in the question and answer options. As in other QA research, the second method simply increases the amount of training data by appending additional in-domain subject-area instances. Experiments on three challenging multiple-choice science QA tasks (i.e., ARC-Easy, ARC-Challenge, and OpenBookQA) demonstrate the effectiveness of our methods: in comparison to the previous state-of-the-art, we obtain absolute gains in accuracy of up to 8.1%, 13.0%, and 12.8%, respectively. While we observe consistent gains when we introduce knowledge from Wikipedia, we find that employing additional QA training instances is not uniformly helpful: performance degrades when the added instances exhibit a higher level of difficulty than the original training data. As one of the first studies on exploiting unstructured external knowledge for subject-area QA, we hope our methods, observations, and discussion of the exposed limitations may shed light on further developments in the area.

Improving Machine Reading Comprehension with General Reading Strategies
Kai Sun | Dian Yu | Dong Yu | Claire Cardie
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)

Reading strategies have been shown to improve comprehension levels, especially for readers lacking adequate prior knowledge. Just as the process of knowledge accumulation is time-consuming for human readers, it is resource-demanding to impart rich general domain knowledge into a deep language model via pre-training. Inspired by reading strategies identified in cognitive science, and given limited computational resources - just a pre-trained model and a fixed number of training instances - we propose three general strategies aimed to improve non-extractive machine reading comprehension (MRC): (i) BACK AND FORTH READING that considers both the original and reverse order of an input sequence, (ii) HIGHLIGHTING, which adds a trainable embedding to the text embedding of tokens that are relevant to the question and candidate answers, and (iii) SELF-ASSESSMENT that generates practice questions and candidate answers directly from the text in an unsupervised manner. By fine-tuning a pre-trained language model (Radford et al., 2018) with our proposed strategies on the largest general domain multiple-choice MRC dataset RACE, we obtain a 5.8% absolute increase in accuracy over the previous best result achieved by the same pre-trained model fine-tuned on RACE without the use of strategies. We further fine-tune the resulting model on a target MRC task, leading to an absolute improvement of 6.2% in average accuracy over previous state-of-the-art approaches on six representative non-extractive MRC datasets from different domains (i.e., ARC, OpenBookQA, MCTest, SemEval-2018 Task 11, ROCStories, and MultiRC). These results demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed strategies and the versatility and general applicability of our fine-tuned models that incorporate these strategies. Core code is available at https://github.com/nlpdata/strategy/.

DREAM: A Challenge Data Set and Models for Dialogue-Based Reading Comprehension
Kai Sun | Dian Yu | Jianshu Chen | Dong Yu | Yejin Choi | Claire Cardie
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 7

We present DREAM, the first dialogue-based multiple-choice reading comprehension data set. Collected from English as a Foreign Language examinations designed by human experts to evaluate the comprehension level of Chinese learners of English, our data set contains 10,197 multiple-choice questions for 6,444 dialogues. In contrast to existing reading comprehension data sets, DREAM is the first to focus on in-depth multi-turn multi-party dialogue understanding. DREAM is likely to present significant challenges for existing reading comprehension systems: 84% of answers are non-extractive, 85% of questions require reasoning beyond a single sentence, and 34% of questions also involve commonsense knowledge. We apply several popular neural reading comprehension models that primarily exploit surface information within the text and find them to, at best, just barely outperform a rule-based approach. We next investigate the effects of incorporating dialogue structure and different kinds of general world knowledge into both rule-based and (neural and non-neural) machine learning-based reading comprehension models. Experimental results on the DREAM data set show the effectiveness of dialogue structure and general world knowledge. DREAM is available at https://dataset.org/dream/.

Improving Pre-Trained Multilingual Model with Vocabulary Expansion
Hai Wang | Dian Yu | Kai Sun | Jianshu Chen | Dong Yu
Proceedings of the 23rd Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL)

Recently, pre-trained language models have achieved remarkable success in a broad range of natural language processing tasks. However, in multilingual setting, it is extremely resource-consuming to pre-train a deep language model over large-scale corpora for each language. Instead of exhaustively pre-training monolingual language models independently, an alternative solution is to pre-train a powerful multilingual deep language model over large-scale corpora in hundreds of languages. However, the vocabulary size for each language in such a model is relatively small, especially for low-resource languages. This limitation inevitably hinders the performance of these multilingual models on tasks such as sequence labeling, wherein in-depth token-level or sentence-level understanding is essential. In this paper, inspired by previous methods designed for monolingual settings, we investigate two approaches (i.e., joint mapping and mixture mapping) based on a pre-trained multilingual model BERT for addressing the out-of-vocabulary (OOV) problem on a variety of tasks, including part-of-speech tagging, named entity recognition, machine translation quality estimation, and machine reading comprehension. Experimental results show that using mixture mapping is more promising. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work that attempts to address and discuss the OOV issue in multilingual settings.

Evidence Sentence Extraction for Machine Reading Comprehension
Hai Wang | Dian Yu | Kai Sun | Jianshu Chen | Dong Yu | David McAllester | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 23rd Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL)

Remarkable success has been achieved in the last few years on some limited machine reading comprehension (MRC) tasks. However, it is still difficult to interpret the predictions of existing MRC models. In this paper, we focus on extracting evidence sentences that can explain or support the answers of multiple-choice MRC tasks, where the majority of answer options cannot be directly extracted from reference documents. Due to the lack of ground truth evidence sentence labels in most cases, we apply distant supervision to generate imperfect labels and then use them to train an evidence sentence extractor. To denoise the noisy labels, we apply a recently proposed deep probabilistic logic learning framework to incorporate both sentence-level and cross-sentence linguistic indicators for indirect supervision. We feed the extracted evidence sentences into existing MRC models and evaluate the end-to-end performance on three challenging multiple-choice MRC datasets: MultiRC, RACE, and DREAM, achieving comparable or better performance than the same models that take as input the full reference document. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work extracting evidence sentences for multiple-choice MRC.


Recurrent Polynomial Network for Dialogue State Tracking with Mismatched Semantic Parsers
Qizhe Xie | Kai Sun | Su Zhu | Lu Chen | Kai Yu
Proceedings of the 16th Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue


The SJTU System for Dialog State Tracking Challenge 2
Kai Sun | Lu Chen | Su Zhu | Kai Yu
Proceedings of the 15th Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue (SIGDIAL)