Ye Zhang


Effective Sequence-to-Sequence Dialogue State Tracking
Jeffrey Zhao | Mahdis Mahdieh | Ye Zhang | Yuan Cao | Yonghui Wu
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Sequence-to-sequence models have been applied to a wide variety of NLP tasks, but how to properly use them for dialogue state tracking has not been systematically investigated. In this paper, we study this problem from the perspectives of pre-training objectives as well as the formats of context representations. We demonstrate that the choice of pre-training objective makes a significant difference to the state tracking quality. In particular, we find that masked span prediction is more effective than auto-regressive language modeling. We also explore using Pegasus, a span prediction-based pre-training objective for text summarization, for the state tracking model. We found that pre-training for the seemingly distant summarization task works surprisingly well for dialogue state tracking. In addition, we found that while recurrent state context representation works also reasonably well, the model may have a hard time recovering from earlier mistakes. We conducted experiments on the MultiWOZ 2.1-2.4, WOZ 2.0, and DSTC2 datasets with consistent observations.


Do Human Rationales Improve Machine Explanations?
Julia Strout | Ye Zhang | Raymond Mooney
Proceedings of the 2019 ACL Workshop BlackboxNLP: Analyzing and Interpreting Neural Networks for NLP

Work on “learning with rationales” shows that humans providing explanations to a machine learning system can improve the system’s predictive accuracy. However, this work has not been connected to work in “explainable AI” which concerns machines explaining their reasoning to humans. In this work, we show that learning with rationales can also improve the quality of the machine’s explanations as evaluated by human judges. Specifically, we present experiments showing that, for CNN-based text classification, explanations generated using “supervised attention” are judged superior to explanations generated using normal unsupervised attention.


SHAPED: Shared-Private Encoder-Decoder for Text Style Adaptation
Ye Zhang | Nan Ding | Radu Soricut
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long Papers)

Supervised training of abstractive language generation models results in learning conditional probabilities over language sequences based on the supervised training signal. When the training signal contains a variety of writing styles, such models may end up learning an ‘average’ style that is directly influenced by the training data make-up and cannot be controlled by the needs of an application. We describe a family of model architectures capable of capturing both generic language characteristics via shared model parameters, as well as particular style characteristics via private model parameters. Such models are able to generate language according to a specific learned style, while still taking advantage of their power to model generic language phenomena. Furthermore, we describe an extension that uses a mixture of output distributions from all learned styles to perform on-the-fly style adaptation based on the textual input alone. Experimentally, we find that the proposed models consistently outperform models that encapsulate single-style or average-style language generation capabilities.


A Sensitivity Analysis of (and Practitioners’ Guide to) Convolutional Neural Networks for Sentence Classification
Ye Zhang | Byron Wallace
Proceedings of the Eighth International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) have recently achieved remarkably strong performance on the practically important task of sentence classification (Kim, 2014; Kalchbrenner et al., 2014; Johnson and Zhang, 2014; Zhang et al., 2016). However, these models require practitioners to specify an exact model architecture and set accompanying hyperparameters, including the filter region size, regularization parameters, and so on. It is currently unknown how sensitive model performance is to changes in these configurations for the task of sentence classification. We thus conduct a sensitivity analysis of one-layer CNNs to explore the effect of architecture components on model performance; our aim is to distinguish between important and comparatively inconsequential design decisions for sentence classification. We focus on one-layer CNNs (to the exclusion of more complex models) due to their comparative simplicity and strong empirical performance, which makes it a modern standard baseline method akin to Support Vector Machine (SVMs) and logistic regression. We derive practical advice from our extensive empirical results for those interested in getting the most out of CNNs for sentence classification in real world settings.

Exploiting Domain Knowledge via Grouped Weight Sharing with Application to Text Categorization
Ye Zhang | Matthew Lease | Byron C. Wallace
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

A fundamental advantage of neural models for NLP is their ability to learn representations from scratch. However, in practice this often means ignoring existing external linguistic resources, e.g., WordNet or domain specific ontologies such as the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS). We propose a general, novel method for exploiting such resources via weight sharing. Prior work on weight sharing in neural networks has considered it largely as a means of model compression. In contrast, we treat weight sharing as a flexible mechanism for incorporating prior knowledge into neural models. We show that this approach consistently yields improved performance on classification tasks compared to baseline strategies that do not exploit weight sharing.


Rationale-Augmented Convolutional Neural Networks for Text Classification
Ye Zhang | Iain Marshall | Byron C. Wallace
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

MGNC-CNN: A Simple Approach to Exploiting Multiple Word Embeddings for Sentence Classification
Ye Zhang | Stephen Roller | Byron C. Wallace
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies