Hanjie Chen


Pathologies of Pre-trained Language Models in Few-shot Fine-tuning
Hanjie Chen | Guoqing Zheng | Ahmed Awadallah | Yangfeng Ji
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Insights from Negative Results in NLP

Although adapting pre-trained language models with few examples has shown promising performance on text classification, there is a lack of understanding of where the performance gain comes from. In this work, we propose to answer this question by interpreting the adaptation behavior using post-hoc explanations from model predictions. By modeling feature statistics of explanations, we discover that (1) without fine-tuning, pre-trained models (e.g. BERT and RoBERTa) show strong prediction bias across labels; (2) although few-shot fine-tuning can mitigate the prediction bias and demonstrate promising prediction performance, our analysis shows models gain performance improvement by capturing non-task-related features (e.g. stop words) or shallow data patterns (e.g. lexical overlaps). These observations alert that pursuing model performance with fewer examples may incur pathological prediction behavior, which requires further sanity check on model predictions and careful design in model evaluations in few-shot fine-tuning.

Identifying the Source of Vulnerability in Explanation Discrepancy: A Case Study in Neural Text Classification
Ruixuan Tang | Hanjie Chen | Yangfeng Ji
Proceedings of the Fifth BlackboxNLP Workshop on Analyzing and Interpreting Neural Networks for NLP

Some recent works observed the instability of post-hoc explanations when input side perturbations are applied to the model. This raises the interest and concern in the stability of post-hoc explanations. However, the remaining question is: is the instability caused by the neural network model or the post-hoc explanation method? This work explores the potential source that leads to unstable post-hoc explanations. To separate the influence from the model, we propose a simple output probability perturbation method. Compared to prior input side perturbation methods, the output probability perturbation method can circumvent the neural model’s potential effect on the explanations and allow the analysis on the explanation method. We evaluate the proposed method with three widely-used post-hoc explanation methods (LIME (Ribeiro et al., 2016), Kernel Shapley (Lundberg and Lee, 2017a), and Sample Shapley (Strumbelj and Kononenko, 2010)). The results demonstrate that the post-hoc methods are stable, barely producing discrepant explanations under output probability perturbations. The observation suggests that neural network models may be the primary source of fragile explanations.

Self-training with Two-phase Self-augmentation for Few-shot Dialogue Generation
Wanyu Du | Hanjie Chen | Yangfeng Ji
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

In task-oriented dialogue systems, response generation from meaning representations (MRs) often suffers from limited training examples, due to the high cost of annotating MR-to-Text pairs. Previous works on self-training leverage fine-tuned conversational models to automatically generate pseudo-labeled MR-to-Text pairs for further fine-tuning. However, some self-augmented data may be noisy or uninformative for the model to learn from. In this work, we propose a two-phase self-augmentation procedure to generate high-quality pseudo-labeled MR-to-Text pairs: the first phase selects the most informative MRs based on model’s prediction uncertainty; with the selected MRs, the second phase generates accurate responses by aggregating multiple perturbed latent representations from each MR. Empirical experiments on two benchmark datasets, FewShotWOZ and FewShotSGD, show that our method generally outperforms existing self-training methods on both automatic and human evaluations.


Perturbing Inputs for Fragile Interpretations in Deep Natural Language Processing
Sanchit Sinha | Hanjie Chen | Arshdeep Sekhon | Yangfeng Ji | Yanjun Qi
Proceedings of the Fourth BlackboxNLP Workshop on Analyzing and Interpreting Neural Networks for NLP

Interpretability methods like Integrated Gradient and LIME are popular choices for explaining natural language model predictions with relative word importance scores. These interpretations need to be robust for trustworthy NLP applications in high-stake areas like medicine or finance. Our paper demonstrates how interpretations can be manipulated by making simple word perturbations on an input text. Via a small portion of word-level swaps, these adversarial perturbations aim to make the resulting text semantically and spatially similar to its seed input (therefore sharing similar interpretations). Simultaneously, the generated examples achieve the same prediction label as the seed yet are given a substantially different explanation by the interpretation methods. Our experiments generate fragile interpretations to attack two SOTA interpretation methods, across three popular Transformer models and on three different NLP datasets. We observe that the rank order correlation and top-K intersection score drops by over 20% when less than 10% of words are perturbed on average. Further, rank-order correlation keeps decreasing as more words get perturbed. Furthermore, we demonstrate that candidates generated from our method have good quality metrics.

Explaining Neural Network Predictions on Sentence Pairs via Learning Word-Group Masks
Hanjie Chen | Song Feng | Jatin Ganhotra | Hui Wan | Chulaka Gunasekara | Sachindra Joshi | Yangfeng Ji
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Explaining neural network models is important for increasing their trustworthiness in real-world applications. Most existing methods generate post-hoc explanations for neural network models by identifying individual feature attributions or detecting interactions between adjacent features. However, for models with text pairs as inputs (e.g., paraphrase identification), existing methods are not sufficient to capture feature interactions between two texts and their simple extension of computing all word-pair interactions between two texts is computationally inefficient. In this work, we propose the Group Mask (GMASK) method to implicitly detect word correlations by grouping correlated words from the input text pair together and measure their contribution to the corresponding NLP tasks as a whole. The proposed method is evaluated with two different model architectures (decomposable attention model and BERT) across four datasets, including natural language inference and paraphrase identification tasks. Experiments show the effectiveness of GMASK in providing faithful explanations to these models.


Generating Hierarchical Explanations on Text Classification via Feature Interaction Detection
Hanjie Chen | Guangtao Zheng | Yangfeng Ji
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Generating explanations for neural networks has become crucial for their applications in real-world with respect to reliability and trustworthiness. In natural language processing, existing methods usually provide important features which are words or phrases selected from an input text as an explanation, but ignore the interactions between them. It poses challenges for humans to interpret an explanation and connect it to model prediction. In this work, we build hierarchical explanations by detecting feature interactions. Such explanations visualize how words and phrases are combined at different levels of the hierarchy, which can help users understand the decision-making of black-box models. The proposed method is evaluated with three neural text classifiers (LSTM, CNN, and BERT) on two benchmark datasets, via both automatic and human evaluations. Experiments show the effectiveness of the proposed method in providing explanations that are both faithful to models and interpretable to humans.

Learning Variational Word Masks to Improve the Interpretability of Neural Text Classifiers
Hanjie Chen | Yangfeng Ji
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

To build an interpretable neural text classifier, most of the prior work has focused on designing inherently interpretable models or finding faithful explanations. A new line of work on improving model interpretability has just started, and many existing methods require either prior information or human annotations as additional inputs in training. To address this limitation, we propose the variational word mask (VMASK) method to automatically learn task-specific important words and reduce irrelevant information on classification, which ultimately improves the interpretability of model predictions. The proposed method is evaluated with three neural text classifiers (CNN, LSTM, and BERT) on seven benchmark text classification datasets. Experiments show the effectiveness of VMASK in improving both model prediction accuracy and interpretability.