Xian-Ling Mao


Cross-Lingual Phrase Retrieval
Heqi Zheng | Xiao Zhang | Zewen Chi | Heyan Huang | Yan Tan | Tian Lan | Wei Wei | Xian-Ling Mao
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Cross-lingual retrieval aims to retrieve relevant text across languages. Current methods typically achieve cross-lingual retrieval by learning language-agnostic text representations in word or sentence level. However, how to learn phrase representations for cross-lingual phrase retrieval is still an open problem. In this paper, we propose , a cross-lingual phrase retriever that extracts phrase representations from unlabeled example sentences. Moreover, we create a large-scale cross-lingual phrase retrieval dataset, which contains 65K bilingual phrase pairs and 4.2M example sentences in 8 English-centric language pairs. Experimental results show that outperforms state-of-the-art baselines which utilize word-level or sentence-level representations. also shows impressive zero-shot transferability that enables the model to perform retrieval in an unseen language pair during training. Our dataset, code, and trained models are publicly available at github.com/cwszz/XPR/.

XLM-E: Cross-lingual Language Model Pre-training via ELECTRA
Zewen Chi | Shaohan Huang | Li Dong | Shuming Ma | Bo Zheng | Saksham Singhal | Payal Bajaj | Xia Song | Xian-Ling Mao | Heyan Huang | Furu Wei
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In this paper, we introduce ELECTRA-style tasks to cross-lingual language model pre-training. Specifically, we present two pre-training tasks, namely multilingual replaced token detection, and translation replaced token detection. Besides, we pretrain the model, named as XLM-E, on both multilingual and parallel corpora. Our model outperforms the baseline models on various cross-lingual understanding tasks with much less computation cost. Moreover, analysis shows that XLM-E tends to obtain better cross-lingual transferability.

BiSyn-GAT+: Bi-Syntax Aware Graph Attention Network for Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis
Shuo Liang | Wei Wei | Xian-Ling Mao | Fei Wang | Zhiyong He
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Aspect-based sentiment analysis (ABSA) is a fine-grained sentiment analysis task that aims to align aspects and corresponding sentiments for aspect-specific sentiment polarity inference. It is challenging because a sentence may contain multiple aspects or complicated (e.g., conditional, coordinating, or adversative) relations. Recently, exploiting dependency syntax information with graph neural networks has been the most popular trend. Despite its success, methods that heavily rely on the dependency tree pose challenges in accurately modeling the alignment of the aspects and their words indicative of sentiment, since the dependency tree may provide noisy signals of unrelated associations (e.g., the “conj” relation between “great” and “dreadful” in Figure 2). In this paper, to alleviate this problem, we propose a Bi-Syntax aware Graph Attention Network (BiSyn-GAT+). Specifically, BiSyn-GAT+ fully exploits the syntax information (e.g., phrase segmentation and hierarchical structure) of the constituent tree of a sentence to model the sentiment-aware context of every single aspect (called intra-context) and the sentiment relations across aspects (called inter-context) for learning. Experiments on four benchmark datasets demonstrate that BiSyn-GAT+ outperforms the state-of-the-art methods consistently.

Sequential Topic Selection Model with Latent Variable for Topic-Grounded Dialogue
Xiao-Fei Wen | Wei Wei | Xian-Ling Mao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Recently, topic-grounded dialogue system has attracted significant attention due to its effectiveness in predicting the next topic to yield better responses via the historical context and given topic sequence. However, almost all existing topic prediction solutions focus on only the current conversation and corresponding topic sequence to predict the next conversation topic, without exploiting other topic-guided conversations which may contain relevant topic-transitions to current conversation. To address the problem, in this paper we propose a novel approach, named Sequential Global Topic Attention (SGTA) to exploit topic transition over all conversations in a subtle way for better modeling post-to-response topic-transition and guiding the response generation to the current conversation. Specifically, we introduce a latent space modeled as a Multivariate Skew-Normal distribution with hybrid kernel functions to flexibly integrate the global-level information with sequence-level information, and predict the topic based on the distribution sampling results. We also leverage a topic-aware prior-posterior approach for secondary selection of predicted topics, which is utilized to optimize the response generation task. Extensive experiments demonstrate that our model outperforms competitive baselines on prediction and generation tasks.

HCL-TAT: A Hybrid Contrastive Learning Method for Few-shot Event Detection with Task-Adaptive Threshold
Ruihan Zhang | Wei Wei | Xian-Ling Mao | Rui Fang | Dangyang Chen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Event detection has been suffering from constantly emerging event types with lack of sufficient data. Existing works formulate the new problem as few-shot event detection (FSED), and employ two-stage or unified models based on meta-learning to address the problem. However, these methods fall far short of expectations due to: (i) insufficient learning of discriminative representations in low-resource scenarios, and (ii) representation overlap between triggers and non-triggers. To resolve the above issues, in this paper, we propose a novel Hybrid Contrastive Learning method with a Task-Adaptive Threshold (abbreviated as HCL-TAT), which enables discriminative representation learning with a two-view contrastive loss (support-support and prototype-query), and devises an easily-adapted threshold to alleviate misidentification of triggers. Extensive experiments on the benchmark dataset FewEvent demonstrate the superiority of our method to achieve better results compared to the state-of-the-arts. All the data and codes will be available to facilitate future research.

Capturing Global Structural Information in Long Document Question Answering with Compressive Graph Selector Network
Yuxiang Nie | Heyan Huang | Wei Wei | Xian-Ling Mao
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Long document question answering is a challenging task due to its demands for complex reasoning over long text. Previous works usually take long documents as non-structured flat texts or only consider the local structure in long documents. However, these methods usually ignore the global structure of the long document, which is essential for long-range understanding. To tackle this problem, we propose Compressive Graph Selector Network (CGSN) to capture the global structure in a compressive and iterative manner. The proposed model mainly focuses on the evidence selection phase of long document question answering. Specifically, it consists of three modules: local graph network, global graph network and evidence memory network. Firstly, the local graph network builds the graph structure of the chunked segment in token, sentence, paragraph and segment levels to capture the short-term dependency of the text. Secondly, the global graph network selectively receives the information of each level from the local graph, compresses them into the global graph nodes and applies graph attention to the global graph nodes to build the long-range reasoning over the entire text in an iterative way. Thirdly, the evidence memory network is designed to alleviate the redundancy problem in the evidence selection by saving the selected result in the previous steps. Extensive experiments show that the proposed model outperforms previous methods on two datasets.

ET5: A Novel End-to-end Framework for Conversational Machine Reading Comprehension
Xiao Zhang | Heyan Huang | Zewen Chi | Xian-Ling Mao
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Conversational machine reading comprehension (CMRC) aims to assist computers to understand an natural language text and thereafter engage in a multi-turn conversation to answer questions related to the text. Existing methods typically require three steps: (1) decision making based on entailment reasoning; (2) span extraction if required by the above decision; (3) question rephrasing based on the extracted span. However, for nearly all these methods, the span extraction and question rephrasing steps cannot fully exploit the fine-grained entailment reasoning information in decision making step because of their relative independence, which will further enlarge the information gap between decision making and question phrasing. Thus, to tackle this problem, we propose a novel end-to-end framework for conversational machine reading comprehension based on shared parameter mechanism, called entailment reasoning T5 (ET5). Despite the lightweight of our proposed framework, experimental results show that the proposed ET5 achieves new state-of-the-art results on the ShARC leaderboard with the BLEU-4 score of 55.2. Our model and code are publicly available.

Unsupervised Question Answering via Answer Diversifying
Yuxiang Nie | Heyan Huang | Zewen Chi | Xian-Ling Mao
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Unsupervised question answering is an attractive task due to its independence on labeled data. Previous works usually make use of heuristic rules as well as pre-trained models to construct data and train QA models. However, most of these works regard named entity (NE) as the only answer type, which ignores the high diversity of answers in the real world. To tackle this problem, we propose a novel unsupervised method by diversifying answers, named DiverseQA. Specifically, the proposed method is composed of three modules: data construction, data augmentation and denoising filter. Firstly, the data construction module extends the extracted named entity into a longer sentence constituent as the new answer span to construct a QA dataset with diverse answers. Secondly, the data augmentation module adopts an answer-type dependent data augmentation process via adversarial training in the embedding level. Thirdly, the denoising filter module is designed to alleviate the noise in the constructed data. Extensive experiments show that the proposed method outperforms previous unsupervised models on five benchmark datasets, including SQuADv1.1, NewsQA, TriviaQA, BioASQ, and DuoRC. Besides, the proposed method shows strong performance in the few-shot learning setting.

Gated Mechanism Enhanced Multi-Task Learning for Dialog Routing
Ziming Huang | Zhuoxuan Jiang | Ke Wang | Juntao Li | Shanshan Feng | Xian-Ling Mao
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Currently, human-bot symbiosis dialog systems, e.g. pre- and after-sales in E-commerce, are ubiquitous, and the dialog routing component is essential to improve the overall efficiency, reduce human resource cost and increase user experience. To satisfy this requirement, existing methods are mostly heuristic and cannot obtain high-quality performance. In this paper, we investigate the important problem by thoroughly mining both the data-to-task and task-to-task knowledge among various kinds of dialog data. To achieve the above target, we propose a comprehensive and general solution with multi-task learning framework, specifically including a novel dialog encoder and two tailored gated mechanism modules. The proposed Gated Mechanism enhanced Multi-task Model (G3M) can play the role of hierarchical information filtering and is non-invasive to the existing dialog systems. Experiments on two datasets collected from the real world demonstrate our method’s effectiveness and the results achieve the state-of-the-art performance by relatively increasing 8.7%/11.8% on RMSE metric and 2.2%/4.4% on F1 metric.


mT6: Multilingual Pretrained Text-to-Text Transformer with Translation Pairs
Zewen Chi | Li Dong | Shuming Ma | Shaohan Huang | Saksham Singhal | Xian-Ling Mao | Heyan Huang | Xia Song | Furu Wei
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Multilingual T5 pretrains a sequence-to-sequence model on massive monolingual texts, which has shown promising results on many cross-lingual tasks. In this paper, we improve multilingual text-to-text transfer Transformer with translation pairs (mT6). Specifically, we explore three cross-lingual text-to-text pre-training tasks, namely, machine translation, translation pair span corruption, and translation span corruption. In addition, we propose a partially non-autoregressive objective for text-to-text pre-training. We evaluate the methods on seven multilingual benchmark datasets, including sentence classification, named entity recognition, question answering, and abstractive summarization. Experimental results show that the proposed mT6 improves cross-lingual transferability over mT5.

Read, Listen, and See: Leveraging Multimodal Information Helps Chinese Spell Checking
Heng-Da Xu | Zhongli Li | Qingyu Zhou | Chao Li | Zizhen Wang | Yunbo Cao | Heyan Huang | Xian-Ling Mao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

Hashing based Efficient Inference for Image-Text Matching
Rong-Cheng Tu | Lei Ji | Huaishao Luo | Botian Shi | Heyan Huang | Nan Duan | Xian-Ling Mao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

Context-aware Entity Typing in Knowledge Graphs
Weiran Pan | Wei Wei | Xian-Ling Mao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Knowledge graph entity typing aims to infer entities’ missing types in knowledge graphs which is an important but under-explored issue. This paper proposes a novel method for this task by utilizing entities’ contextual information. Specifically, we design two inference mechanisms: i) N2T: independently use each neighbor of an entity to infer its type; ii) Agg2T: aggregate the neighbors of an entity to infer its type. Those mechanisms will produce multiple inference results, and an exponentially weighted pooling method is used to generate the final inference result. Furthermore, we propose a novel loss function to alleviate the false-negative problem during training. Experiments on two real-world KGs demonstrate the effectiveness of our method. The source code and data of this paper can be obtained from https://github.com/CCIIPLab/CET.

Comprehensive Study: How the Context Information of Different Granularity Affects Dialogue State Tracking?
Puhai Yang | Heyan Huang | Xian-Ling Mao
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)

Dialogue state tracking (DST) plays a key role in task-oriented dialogue systems to monitor the user’s goal. In general, there are two strategies to track a dialogue state: predicting it from scratch and updating it from previous state. The scratch-based strategy obtains each slot value by inquiring all the dialogue history, and the previous-based strategy relies on the current turn dialogue to update the previous dialogue state. However, it is hard for the scratch-based strategy to correctly track short-dependency dialogue state because of noise; meanwhile, the previous-based strategy is not very useful for long-dependency dialogue state tracking. Obviously, it plays different roles for the context information of different granularity to track different kinds of dialogue states. Thus, in this paper, we will study and discuss how the context information of different granularity affects dialogue state tracking. First, we explore how greatly different granularities affect dialogue state tracking. Then, we further discuss how to combine multiple granularities for dialogue state tracking. Finally, we apply the findings about context granularity to few-shot learning scenario. Besides, we have publicly released all codes.

Improving Pretrained Cross-Lingual Language Models via Self-Labeled Word Alignment
Zewen Chi | Li Dong | Bo Zheng | Shaohan Huang | Xian-Ling Mao | Heyan Huang | Furu Wei
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)

The cross-lingual language models are typically pretrained with masked language modeling on multilingual text or parallel sentences. In this paper, we introduce denoising word alignment as a new cross-lingual pre-training task. Specifically, the model first self-label word alignments for parallel sentences. Then we randomly mask tokens in a bitext pair. Given a masked token, the model uses a pointer network to predict the aligned token in the other language. We alternately perform the above two steps in an expectation-maximization manner. Experimental results show that our method improves cross-lingual transferability on various datasets, especially on the token-level tasks, such as question answering, and structured prediction. Moreover, the model can serve as a pretrained word aligner, which achieves reasonably low error rate on the alignment benchmarks. The code and pretrained parameters are available at github.com/CZWin32768/XLM-Align.

InfoXLM: An Information-Theoretic Framework for Cross-Lingual Language Model Pre-Training
Zewen Chi | Li Dong | Furu Wei | Nan Yang | Saksham Singhal | Wenhui Wang | Xia Song | Xian-Ling Mao | Heyan Huang | Ming Zhou
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

In this work, we present an information-theoretic framework that formulates cross-lingual language model pre-training as maximizing mutual information between multilingual-multi-granularity texts. The unified view helps us to better understand the existing methods for learning cross-lingual representations. More importantly, inspired by the framework, we propose a new pre-training task based on contrastive learning. Specifically, we regard a bilingual sentence pair as two views of the same meaning and encourage their encoded representations to be more similar than the negative examples. By leveraging both monolingual and parallel corpora, we jointly train the pretext tasks to improve the cross-lingual transferability of pre-trained models. Experimental results on several benchmarks show that our approach achieves considerably better performance. The code and pre-trained models are available at https://aka.ms/infoxlm.


Weibo-COV: A Large-Scale COVID-19 Social Media Dataset from Weibo
Yong Hu | Heyan Huang | Anfan Chen | Xian-Ling Mao
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on NLP for COVID-19 (Part 2) at EMNLP 2020

With the rapid development of COVID-19 around the world, people are requested to maintain “social distance” and “stay at home”. In this scenario, extensive social interactions transfer to cyberspace, especially on social media platforms like Twitter and Sina Weibo. People generate posts to share information, express opinions and seek help during the pandemic outbreak, and these kinds of data on social media are valuable for studies to prevent COVID-19 transmissions, such as early warning and outbreaks detection. Therefore, in this paper, we release a novel and fine-grained large-scale COVID-19 social media dataset collected from Sina Weibo, named Weibo-COV, contains more than 40 million posts ranging from December 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020. Moreover, this dataset includes comprehensive information nuggets like post-level information, interactive information, location information, and repost network. We hope this dataset can promote studies of COVID-19 from multiple perspectives and enable better and rapid researches to suppress the spread of this pandemic.


Towards End-to-End Learning for Efficient Dialogue Agent by Modeling Looking-ahead Ability
Zhuoxuan Jiang | Xian-Ling Mao | Ziming Huang | Jie Ma | Shaochun Li
Proceedings of the 20th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue

Learning an efficient manager of dialogue agent from data with little manual intervention is important, especially for goal-oriented dialogues. However, existing methods either take too many manual efforts (e.g. reinforcement learning methods) or cannot guarantee the dialogue efficiency (e.g. sequence-to-sequence methods). In this paper, we address this problem by proposing a novel end-to-end learning model to train a dialogue agent that can look ahead for several future turns and generate an optimal response to make the dialogue efficient. Our method is data-driven and does not require too much manual work for intervention during system design. We evaluate our method on two datasets of different scenarios and the experimental results demonstrate the efficiency of our model.


A Novel Fast Framework for Topic Labeling Based on Similarity-preserved Hashing
Xian-Ling Mao | Yi-Jing Hao | Qiang Zhou | Wen-Qing Yuan | Liner Yang | Heyan Huang
Proceedings of COLING 2016, the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Technical Papers

Recently, topic modeling has been widely applied in data mining due to its powerful ability. A common, major challenge in applying such topic models to other tasks is to accurately interpret the meaning of each topic. Topic labeling, as a major interpreting method, has attracted significant attention recently. However, most of previous works only focus on the effectiveness of topic labeling, and less attention has been paid to quickly creating good topic descriptors; meanwhile, it’s hard to assign labels for new emerging topics by using most of existing methods. To solve the problems above, in this paper, we propose a novel fast topic labeling framework that casts the labeling problem as a k-nearest neighbor (KNN) search problem in a probability vector set. Our experimental results show that the proposed sequential interleaving method based on locality sensitive hashing (LSH) technology is efficient in boosting the comparison speed among probability distributions, and the proposed framework can generate meaningful labels to interpret topics, including new emerging topics.


SSHLDA: A Semi-Supervised Hierarchical Topic Model
Xian-Ling Mao | Zhao-Yan Ming | Tat-Seng Chua | Si Li | Hongfei Yan | Xiaoming Li
Proceedings of the 2012 Joint Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and Computational Natural Language Learning