Dongsheng Li


Improving Few-Shot Relation Classification by Prototypical Representation Learning with Definition Text
Li Zhenzhen | Yuyang Zhang | Jian-Yun Nie | Dongsheng Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

Few-shot relation classification is difficult because the few instances available may not represent well the relation patterns. Some existing approaches explored extra information such as relation definition, in addition to the instances, to learn a better relation representation. However, the encoding of the extra information has been performed independently from the labeled instances. In this paper, we propose to learn a prototype encoder from relation definition in a way that is useful for relation instance classification. To this end, we use a joint training approach to train both a prototype encoder from definition and an instance encoder. Extensive experiments on several datasets demonstrate the effectiveness and usefulness of our prototype encoder from definition text, enabling us to outperform state-of-the-art approaches.

Empathetic and Emotionally Positive Conversation Systems with an Emotion-specific Query-Response Memory
Zhiliang Tian | Yinliang Wang | Yiping Song | Chi Zhang | Dongkyu Lee | Yingxiu Zhao | Dongsheng Li | Nevin L. Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Emotional conversation systems generate responses for the input queries considering the speaker’s emotions in a conversation. Existing emotional conversation systems output emotional responses according to either a given emotion or the user’s emotion reflected in the input queries. Following a given emotion may lead to an emotional drift between the given emotion and the conversation state, and following only the user’s emotion may aggravate the user’s negative feelings if users suffer from a negative mood. In this paper, we propose to generate empathetic responses catering to the user’s emotions while leading the conversation to be emotionally positive. Particularly, by abstracting the conversation corpus, we extract and store the different responding strategies for different users’ emotions and conversational topics into a memory. We encourage positive emotions in conversation via a sentiment evaluator. We model the memory outputs with a Gaussian mixture distribution and sample a final responding strategy from the distribution. The strategy acts as a condition to a transformer model to generate responses. The experiments verify our model surpasses the baseline methods in appropriateness, diversity, and generating emotionally positive responses.

Social Bot-Aware Graph Neural Network for Early Rumor Detection
Zhen Huang | Zhilong Lv | Xiaoyun Han | Binyang Li | Menglong Lu | Dongsheng Li
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Early rumor detection is a key challenging task to prevent rumors from spreading widely. Sociological research shows that social bots’ behavior in the early stage has become the main reason for rumors’ wide spread. However, current models do not explicitly distinguish genuine users from social bots, and their failure in identifying rumors timely. Therefore, this paper aims at early rumor detection by accounting for social bots’ behavior, and presents a Social Bot-Aware Graph Neural Network, named SBAG. SBAG firstly pre-trains a multi-layer perception network to capture social bot features, and then constructs multiple graph neural networks by embedding the features to model the early propagation of posts, which is further used to detect rumors. Extensive experiments on three benchmark datasets show that SBAG achieves significant improvements against the baselines and also identifies rumors within 3 hours while maintaining more than 90% accuracy.


Diversity and Consistency: Exploring Visual Question-Answer Pair Generation
Sen Yang | Qingyu Zhou | Dawei Feng | Yang Liu | Chao Li | Yunbo Cao | Dongsheng Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Although showing promising values to downstream applications, generating question and answer together is under-explored. In this paper, we introduce a novel task that targets question-answer pair generation from visual images. It requires not only generating diverse question-answer pairs but also keeping the consistency of them. We study different generation paradigms for this task and propose three models: the pipeline model, the joint model, and the sequential model. We integrate variational inference into these models to achieve diversity and consistency. We also propose region representation scaling and attention alignment to improve the consistency further. We finally devise an evaluator as a quantitative metric for consistency. We validate our approach on two benchmarks, VQA2.0 and Visual-7w, by automatically and manually evaluating diversity and consistency. Experimental results show the effectiveness of our models: they can generate diverse or consistent pairs. Moreover, this task can be used to improve visual question generation and visual question answering.


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.

Exploring Pre-trained Language Models for Event Extraction and Generation
Sen Yang | Dawei Feng | Linbo Qiao | Zhigang Kan | Dongsheng Li
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Traditional approaches to the task of ACE event extraction usually depend on manually annotated data, which is often laborious to create and limited in size. Therefore, in addition to the difficulty of event extraction itself, insufficient training data hinders the learning process as well. To promote event extraction, we first propose an event extraction model to overcome the roles overlap problem by separating the argument prediction in terms of roles. Moreover, to address the problem of insufficient training data, we propose a method to automatically generate labeled data by editing prototypes and screen out generated samples by ranking the quality. Experiments on the ACE2005 dataset demonstrate that our extraction model can surpass most existing extraction methods. Besides, incorporating our generation method exhibits further significant improvement. It obtains new state-of-the-art results on the event extraction task, including pushing the F1 score of trigger classification to 81.1%, and the F1 score of argument classification to 58.9%.

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 ( is released to facilitate future work.


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.