Weiming Lu


De-Bias for Generative Extraction in Unified NER Task
Shuai Zhang | Yongliang Shen | Zeqi Tan | Yiquan Wu | Weiming Lu
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Named entity recognition (NER) is a fundamental task to recognize specific types of entities from a given sentence. Depending on how the entities appear in the sentence, it can be divided into three subtasks, namely, Flat NER, Nested NER, and Discontinuous NER. Among the existing approaches, only the generative model can be uniformly adapted to these three subtasks. However, when the generative model is applied to NER, its optimization objective is not consistent with the task, which makes the model vulnerable to the incorrect biases. In this paper, we analyze the incorrect biases in the generation process from a causality perspective and attribute them to two confounders: pre-context confounder and entity-order confounder. Furthermore, we design Intra- and Inter-entity Deconfounding Data Augmentation methods to eliminate the above confounders according to the theory of backdoor adjustment. Experiments show that our method can improve the performance of the generative NER model in various datasets.

Parallel Instance Query Network for Named Entity Recognition
Yongliang Shen | Xiaobin Wang | Zeqi Tan | Guangwei Xu | Pengjun Xie | Fei Huang | Weiming Lu | Yueting Zhuang
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Named entity recognition (NER) is a fundamental task in natural language processing. Recent works treat named entity recognition as a reading comprehension task, constructing type-specific queries manually to extract entities. This paradigm suffers from three issues. First, type-specific queries can only extract one type of entities per inference, which is inefficient. Second, the extraction for different types of entities is isolated, ignoring the dependencies between them. Third, query construction relies on external knowledge and is difficult to apply to realistic scenarios with hundreds of entity types. To deal with them, we propose Parallel Instance Query Network (PIQN), which sets up global and learnable instance queries to extract entities from a sentence in a parallel manner. Each instance query predicts one entity, and by feeding all instance queries simultaneously, we can query all entities in parallel. Instead of being constructed from external knowledge, instance queries can learn their different query semantics during training. For training the model, we treat label assignment as a one-to-many Linear Assignment Problem (LAP) and dynamically assign gold entities to instance queries with minimal assignment cost. Experiments on both nested and flat NER datasets demonstrate that our proposed method outperforms previous state-of-the-art models.

Minimally-Supervised Relation Induction from Pre-trained Language Model
Lu Sun | Yongliang Shen | Weiming Lu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

Relation Induction is a very practical task in Natural Language Processing (NLP) area. In practical application scenarios, people want to induce more entity pairs having the same relation from only a few seed entity pairs. Thus, instead of the laborious supervised setting, in this paper, we focus on the minimally-supervised setting where only a couple of seed entity pairs per relation are provided. Although the conventional relation induction methods have made some success, their performance depends heavily on the quality of word embeddings. The great success of Pre-trained Language Models, such as BERT, changes the NLP area a lot, and they are proven to be able to better capture relation knowledge. In this paper, we propose a novel method to induce relation with BERT under the minimally-supervised setting. Specifically, we firstly extract proper templates from the corpus by using the mask-prediction task in BERT to build pseudo-sentences as the context of entity pairs. Then we use BERT attention weights to better represent the pseudo-sentences. In addition, We also use the IntegratedGradient of entity pairs to iteratively select better templates further. Finally, with the high-quality pseudo-sentences, we can train a better classifier for relation induction. Experiments onGoogle Analogy Test Sets (GATS), Bigger Analogy TestSet (BATS) and DiffVec demonstrate that our proposed method achieves state-of-the-art performance.

Multi-View Reasoning: Consistent Contrastive Learning for Math Word Problem
Wenqi Zhang | Yongliang Shen | Yanna Ma | Xiaoxia Cheng | Zeqi Tan | Qingpeng Nong | Weiming Lu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Math word problem solver requires both precise relation reasoning about quantities in the text and reliable generation for the diverse equation. Current sequence-to-tree or relation extraction methods regard this only from a fixed view, struggling to simultaneously handle complex semantics and diverse equations. However, human solving naturally involves two consistent reasoning views: top-down and bottom-up, just as math equations also can be expressed in multiple equivalent forms: pre-order and post-order. We propose a multi-view consistent contrastive learning for a more complete semantics-to-equation mapping. The entire process is decoupled into two independent but consistent views: top-down decomposition and bottom-up construction, and the two reasoning views are aligned in multi-granularity for consistency, enhancing global generation and precise reasoning. Experiments on multiple datasets across two languages show our approach significantly outperforms the existing baselines, especially on complex problems. We also show after consistent alignment, multi-view can absorb the merits of both views and generate more diverse results consistent with the mathematical laws.

Improving Complex Knowledge Base Question Answering via Question-to-Action and Question-to-Question Alignment
Yechun Tang | Xiaoxia Cheng | Weiming Lu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Complex knowledge base question answering can be achieved by converting questions into sequences of predefined actions. However, there is a significant semantic and structural gap between natural language and action sequences, which makes this conversion difficult. In this paper, we introduce an alignment-enhanced complex question answering framework, called ALCQA, which mitigates this gap through question-to-action alignment and question-to-question alignment. We train a question rewriting model to align the question and each action, and utilize a pretrained language model to implicitly align the question and KG artifacts. Moreover, considering that similar questions correspond to similar action sequences, we retrieve top-k similar question-answer pairs at the inference stage through question-to-question alignment and propose a novel reward-guided action sequence selection strategy to select from candidate action sequences. We conduct experiments on CQA and WQSP datasets, and the results show that our approach outperforms state-of-the-art methods and obtains a 9.88% improvements in the F1 metric on CQA dataset. Our source code is available at https://github.com/TTTTTTTTy/ALCQA.

Towards Interactivity and Interpretability: A Rationale-based Legal Judgment Prediction Framework
Yiquan Wu | Yifei Liu | Weiming Lu | Yating Zhang | Jun Feng | Changlong Sun | Fei Wu | Kun Kuang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Legal judgment prediction (LJP) is a fundamental task in legal AI, which aims to assist the judge to hear the case and determine the judgment. The legal judgment usually consists of the law article, charge, and term of penalty. In the real trial scenario, the judge usually makes the decision step-by-step: first concludes the rationale according to the case’s facts and then determines the judgment. Recently, many models have been proposed and made tremendous progress in LJP, but most of them adopt an end-to-end manner that cannot be manually intervened by the judge for practical use. Moreover, existing models lack interpretability due to the neglect of rationale in the prediction process. Following the judge’s real trial logic, in this paper, we propose a novel Rationale-based Legal Judgment Prediction (RLJP) framework. In the RLJP framework, the LJP process is split into two steps. In the first phase, the model generates the rationales according to the fact description. Then it predicts the judgment based on the fact and the generated rationales. Extensive experiments on a real-world dataset show RLJP achieves the best results compared to the state-of-the-art models. Meanwhile, the proposed framework provides good interactivity and interpretability which enables practical use.

Query-based Instance Discrimination Network for Relational Triple Extraction
Zeqi Tan | Yongliang Shen | Xuming Hu | Wenqi Zhang | Xiaoxia Cheng | Weiming Lu | Yueting Zhuang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Joint entity and relation extraction has been a core task in the field of information extraction. Recent approaches usually consider the extraction of relational triples from a stereoscopic perspective, either learning a relation-specific tagger or separate classifiers for each relation type. However, they still suffer from error propagation, relation redundancy and lack of high-level connections between triples. To address these issues, we propose a novel query-based approach to construct instance-level representations for relational triples. By metric-based comparison between query embeddings and token embeddings, we can extract all types of triples in one step, thus eliminating the error propagation problem. In addition, we learn the instance-level representation of relational triples via contrastive learning. In this way, relational triples can not only enclose rich class-level semantics but also access to high-order global connections. Experimental results show that our proposed method achieves the state of the art on five widely used benchmarks.

DAMO-NLP at SemEval-2022 Task 11: A Knowledge-based System for Multilingual Named Entity Recognition
Xinyu Wang | Yongliang Shen | Jiong Cai | Tao Wang | Xiaobin Wang | Pengjun Xie | Fei Huang | Weiming Lu | Yueting Zhuang | Kewei Tu | Wei Lu | Yong Jiang
Proceedings of the 16th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2022)

The MultiCoNER shared task aims at detecting semantically ambiguous and complex named entities in short and low-context settings for multiple languages. The lack of contexts makes the recognition of ambiguous named entities challenging. To alleviate this issue, our team DAMO-NLP proposes a knowledge-based system, where we build a multilingual knowledge base based on Wikipedia to provide related context information to the named entity recognition (NER) model. Given an input sentence, our system effectively retrieves related contexts from the knowledge base. The original input sentences are then augmented with such context information, allowing significantly better contextualized token representations to be captured. Our system wins 10 out of 13 tracks in the MultiCoNER shared task.


MuVER: Improving First-Stage Entity Retrieval with Multi-View Entity Representations
Xinyin Ma | Yong Jiang | Nguyen Bach | Tao Wang | Zhongqiang Huang | Fei Huang | Weiming Lu
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Entity retrieval, which aims at disambiguating mentions to canonical entities from massive KBs, is essential for many tasks in natural language processing. Recent progress in entity retrieval shows that the dual-encoder structure is a powerful and efficient framework to nominate candidates if entities are only identified by descriptions. However, they ignore the property that meanings of entity mentions diverge in different contexts and are related to various portions of descriptions, which are treated equally in previous works. In this work, we propose Multi-View Entity Representations (MuVER), a novel approach for entity retrieval that constructs multi-view representations for entity descriptions and approximates the optimal view for mentions via a heuristic searching method. Our method achieves the state-of-the-art performance on ZESHEL and improves the quality of candidates on three standard Entity Linking datasets.

Locate and Label: A Two-stage Identifier for Nested Named Entity Recognition
Yongliang Shen | Xinyin Ma | Zeqi Tan | Shuai Zhang | Wen Wang | Weiming Lu
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Named entity recognition (NER) is a well-studied task in natural language processing. Traditional NER research only deals with flat entities and ignores nested entities. The span-based methods treat entity recognition as a span classification task. Although these methods have the innate ability to handle nested NER, they suffer from high computational cost, ignorance of boundary information, under-utilization of the spans that partially match with entities, and difficulties in long entity recognition. To tackle these issues, we propose a two-stage entity identifier. First we generate span proposals by filtering and boundary regression on the seed spans to locate the entities, and then label the boundary-adjusted span proposals with the corresponding categories. Our method effectively utilizes the boundary information of entities and partially matched spans during training. Through boundary regression, entities of any length can be covered theoretically, which improves the ability to recognize long entities. In addition, many low-quality seed spans are filtered out in the first stage, which reduces the time complexity of inference. Experiments on nested NER datasets demonstrate that our proposed method outperforms previous state-of-the-art models.

Heterogeneous Graph Neural Networks for Concept Prerequisite Relation Learning in Educational Data
Chenghao Jia | Yongliang Shen | Yechun Tang | Lu Sun | Weiming Lu
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Prerequisite relations among concepts are crucial for educational applications, such as curriculum planning and intelligent tutoring. In this paper, we propose a novel concept prerequisite relation learning approach, named CPRL, which combines both concept representation learned from a heterogeneous graph and concept pairwise features. Furthermore, we extend CPRL under weakly supervised settings to make our method more practical, including learning prerequisite relations from learning object dependencies and generating training data with data programming. Our experiments on four datasets show that the proposed approach achieves the state-of-the-art results comparing with existing methods.


SynET: Synonym Expansion using Transitivity
Jiale Yu | Yongliang Shen | Xinyin Ma | Chenghao Jia | Chen Chen | Weiming Lu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

In this paper, we study a new task of synonym expansion using transitivity, and propose a novel approach named SynET, which considers both the contexts of two given synonym pairs. It introduces an auxiliary task to reduce the impact of noisy sentences, and proposes a Multi-Perspective Entity Matching Network to match entities from multiple perspectives. Extensive experiments on a real-world dataset show the effectiveness of our approach.

Adversarial Self-Supervised Data-Free Distillation for Text Classification
Xinyin Ma | Yongliang Shen | Gongfan Fang | Chen Chen | Chenghao Jia | Weiming Lu
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Large pre-trained transformer-based language models have achieved impressive results on a wide range of NLP tasks. In the past few years, Knowledge Distillation(KD) has become a popular paradigm to compress a computationally expensive model to a resource-efficient lightweight model. However, most KD algorithms, especially in NLP, rely on the accessibility of the original training dataset, which may be unavailable due to privacy issues. To tackle this problem, we propose a novel two-stage data-free distillation method, named Adversarial self-Supervised Data-Free Distillation (AS-DFD), which is designed for compressing large-scale transformer-based models (e.g., BERT). To avoid text generation in discrete space, we introduce a Plug & Play Embedding Guessing method to craft pseudo embeddings from the teacher’s hidden knowledge. Meanwhile, with a self-supervised module to quantify the student’s ability, we adapt the difficulty of pseudo embeddings in an adversarial training manner. To the best of our knowledge, our framework is the first data-free distillation framework designed for NLP tasks. We verify the effectiveness of our method on several text classification datasets.


Short Text Understanding by Leveraging Knowledge into Topic Model
Shansong Yang | Weiming Lu | Dezhi Yang | Liang Yao | Baogang Wei
Proceedings of the 2015 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies