Xiaoyuan Yi


Fuse It More Deeply! A Variational Transformer with Layer-Wise Latent Variable Inference for Text Generation
Jinyi Hu | Xiaoyuan Yi | Wenhao Li | Maosong Sun | Xing Xie
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

The past several years have witnessed Variational Auto-Encoder’s superiority in various text generation tasks. However, due to the sequential nature of the text, auto-regressive decoders tend to ignore latent variables and then reduce to simple language models, known as the KL vanishing problem, which would further deteriorate when VAE is combined with Transformer-based structures. To ameliorate this problem, we propose Della, a novel variational Transformer framework. Della learns a series of layer-wise latent variables with each inferred from those of lower layers and tightly coupled with the hidden states by low-rank tensor product. In this way, Della forces these posterior latent variables to be fused deeply with the whole computation path and hence incorporate more information. We theoretically demonstrate that our method can be regarded as entangling latent variables to avoid posterior information decrease through layers, enabling Della to get higher non-zero KL values even without any annealing or thresholding tricks. Experiments on four unconditional and three conditional generation tasks show that Della could better alleviate KL vanishing and improve both quality and diversity compared to several strong baselines.

Recurrence Boosts Diversity! Revisiting Recurrent Latent Variable in Transformer-Based Variational AutoEncoder for Diverse Text Generation
Jinyi Hu | Xiaoyuan Yi | Wenhao Li | Maosong Sun | Xing Xie
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Variational Auto-Encoder (VAE) has been widely adopted in text generation. Among many variants, recurrent VAE learns token-wise latent variables with each conditioned on the preceding ones, which captures sequential variability better in the era of RNN. However, it is unclear how to incorporate such recurrent dynamics into the recently dominant Transformer due to its parallelism. In this work, we propose TRACE, a Transformer-based recurrent VAE structure. TRACE imposes recurrence on segment-wise latent variables with arbitrarily separated text segments and constructs the posterior distribution with residual parameterization. Besides, we design an acceleration method by approximating idempotent matrices, which allows parallelism while maintaining the conditional dependence of latent variables. We demonstrate that TRACE could deduce a non-zero lower bound of the KL term and enhance the entanglement of each segment and preceding latent variables, providing a theoretical guarantee of generation diversity. Experiments on two unconditional and one conditional generation task show that TRACE achieves significantly improved diversity while maintaining satisfactory generation quality.

Evade the Trap of Mediocrity: Promoting Diversity and Novelty in Text Generation via Concentrating Attention
Wenhao Li | Xiaoyuan Yi | Jinyi Hu | Maosong Sun | Xing Xie
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Recently, powerful Transformer architectures have proven superior in generating high-quality sentences. Nevertheless, these models tend to produce dull high-frequency phrases, severely hurting the diversity and novelty of generated text. In this work, we dig into the intrinsic mechanism of this problem and found that sparser attention values in Transformer could improve diversity. To understand such a phenomenon, we first conduct both empirical and theoretical analysis and then attribute it to representation degeneration caused by the attentive mixture of the hidden states during training. We term this process the Trap of Mediocrity. To escape from such a trap, we introduce a novel attention regularization loss to control the sharpness of the attention distribution, which is transparent to model structures and can be easily implemented within 20 lines of python code. We prove that this method could be mathematically regarded as learning a Bayesian approximation of posterior attention. Experiments show that our method improved the diversity and novelty of the generated text while maintaining comparable quality on a variety of conditional and unconditional generation tasks.


Neural Quality Estimation with Multiple Hypotheses for Grammatical Error Correction
Zhenghao Liu | Xiaoyuan Yi | Maosong Sun | Liner Yang | Tat-Seng Chua
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Grammatical Error Correction (GEC) aims to correct writing errors and help language learners improve their writing skills. However, existing GEC models tend to produce spurious corrections or fail to detect lots of errors. The quality estimation model is necessary to ensure learners get accurate GEC results and avoid misleading from poorly corrected sentences. Well-trained GEC models can generate several high-quality hypotheses through decoding, such as beam search, which provide valuable GEC evidence and can be used to evaluate GEC quality. However, existing models neglect the possible GEC evidence from different hypotheses. This paper presents the Neural Verification Network (VERNet) for GEC quality estimation with multiple hypotheses. VERNet establishes interactions among hypotheses with a reasoning graph and conducts two kinds of attention mechanisms to propagate GEC evidence to verify the quality of generated hypotheses. Our experiments on four GEC datasets show that VERNet achieves state-of-the-art grammatical error detection performance, achieves the best quality estimation results, and significantly improves GEC performance by reranking hypotheses. All data and source codes are available at https://github.com/thunlp/VERNet.


Jiuge: A Human-Machine Collaborative Chinese Classical Poetry Generation System
Guo Zhipeng | Xiaoyuan Yi | Maosong Sun | Wenhao Li | Cheng Yang | Jiannan Liang | Huimin Chen | Yuhui Zhang | Ruoyu Li
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

Research on the automatic generation of poetry, the treasure of human culture, has lasted for decades. Most existing systems, however, are merely model-oriented, which input some user-specified keywords and directly complete the generation process in one pass, with little user participation. We believe that the machine, being a collaborator or an assistant, should not replace human beings in poetic creation. Therefore, we proposed Jiuge, a human-machine collaborative Chinese classical poetry generation system. Unlike previous systems, Jiuge allows users to revise the unsatisfied parts of a generated poem draft repeatedly. According to the revision, the poem will be dynamically updated and regenerated. After the revision and modification procedure, the user can write a satisfying poem together with Jiuge system collaboratively. Besides, Jiuge can accept multi-modal inputs, such as keywords, plain text or images. By exposing the options of poetry genres, styles and revision modes, Jiuge, acting as a professional assistant, allows constant and active participation of users in poetic creation.


Automatic Poetry Generation with Mutual Reinforcement Learning
Xiaoyuan Yi | Maosong Sun | Ruoyu Li | Wenhao Li
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Poetry is one of the most beautiful forms of human language art. As a crucial step towards computer creativity, automatic poetry generation has drawn researchers’ attention for decades. In recent years, some neural models have made remarkable progress in this task. However, they are all based on maximum likelihood estimation, which only learns common patterns of the corpus and results in loss-evaluation mismatch. Human experts evaluate poetry in terms of some specific criteria, instead of word-level likelihood. To handle this problem, we directly model the criteria and use them as explicit rewards to guide gradient update by reinforcement learning, so as to motivate the model to pursue higher scores. Besides, inspired by writing theories, we propose a novel mutual reinforcement learning schema. We simultaneously train two learners (generators) which learn not only from the teacher (rewarder) but also from each other to further improve performance. We experiment on Chinese poetry. Based on a strong basic model, our method achieves better results and outperforms the current state-of-the-art method.

Stylistic Chinese Poetry Generation via Unsupervised Style Disentanglement
Cheng Yang | Maosong Sun | Xiaoyuan Yi | Wenhao Li
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The ability to write diverse poems in different styles under the same poetic imagery is an important characteristic of human poetry writing. Most previous works on automatic Chinese poetry generation focused on improving the coherency among lines. Some work explored style transfer but suffered from expensive expert labeling of poem styles. In this paper, we target on stylistic poetry generation in a fully unsupervised manner for the first time. We propose a novel model which requires no supervised style labeling by incorporating mutual information, a concept in information theory, into modeling. Experimental results show that our model is able to generate stylistic poems without losing fluency and coherency.

Chinese Poetry Generation with a Salient-Clue Mechanism
Xiaoyuan Yi | Ruoyu Li | Maosong Sun
Proceedings of the 22nd Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning

As a precious part of the human cultural heritage, Chinese poetry has influenced people for generations. Automatic poetry composition is a challenge for AI. In recent years, significant progress has been made in this area benefiting from the development of neural networks. However, the coherence in meaning, theme or even artistic conception for a generated poem as a whole still remains a big problem. In this paper, we propose a novel Salient-Clue mechanism for Chinese poetry generation. Different from previous work which tried to exploit all the context information, our model selects the most salient characters automatically from each so-far generated line to gradually form a salient clue, which is utilized to guide successive poem generation process so as to eliminate interruptions and improve coherence. Besides, our model can be flexibly extended to control the generated poem in different aspects, for example, poetry style, which further enhances the coherence. Experimental results show that our model is very effective, outperforming three strong baselines.