Zihang Dai


Wiki-40B: Multilingual Language Model Dataset
Mandy Guo | Zihang Dai | Denny Vrandečić | Rami Al-Rfou
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

We propose a new multilingual language model benchmark that is composed of 40+ languages spanning several scripts and linguistic families. With around 40 billion characters, we hope this new resource will accelerate the research of multilingual modeling. We train monolingual causal language models using a state-of-the-art model (Transformer-XL) establishing baselines for many languages. We also introduce the task of multilingual causal language modeling where we train our model on the combined text of 40+ languages from Wikipedia with different vocabulary sizes and evaluate on the languages individually. We released the cleaned-up text of 40+ Wikipedia language editions, the corresponding trained monolingual language models, and several multilingual language models with different fixed vocabulary sizes.


Transformer-XL: Attentive Language Models beyond a Fixed-Length Context
Zihang Dai | Zhilin Yang | Yiming Yang | Jaime Carbonell | Quoc Le | Ruslan Salakhutdinov
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Transformers have a potential of learning longer-term dependency, but are limited by a fixed-length context in the setting of language modeling. We propose a novel neural architecture Transformer-XL that enables learning dependency beyond a fixed length without disrupting temporal coherence. It consists of a segment-level recurrence mechanism and a novel positional encoding scheme. Our method not only enables capturing longer-term dependency, but also resolves the context fragmentation problem. As a result, Transformer-XL learns dependency that is 80% longer than RNNs and 450% longer than vanilla Transformers, achieves better performance on both short and long sequences, and is up to 1,800+ times faster than vanilla Transformers during evaluation. Notably, we improve the state-of-the-art results of bpc/perplexity to 0.99 on enwiki8, 1.08 on text8, 18.3 on WikiText-103, 21.8 on One Billion Word, and 54.5 on Penn Treebank (without finetuning). When trained only on WikiText-103, Transformer-XL manages to generate reasonably coherent, novel text articles with thousands of tokens. Our code, pretrained models, and hyperparameters are available in both Tensorflow and PyTorch.


SwitchOut: an Efficient Data Augmentation Algorithm for Neural Machine Translation
Xinyi Wang | Hieu Pham | Zihang Dai | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

In this work, we examine methods for data augmentation for text-based tasks such as neural machine translation (NMT). We formulate the design of a data augmentation policy with desirable properties as an optimization problem, and derive a generic analytic solution. This solution not only subsumes some existing augmentation schemes, but also leads to an extremely simple data augmentation strategy for NMT: randomly replacing words in both the source sentence and the target sentence with other random words from their corresponding vocabularies. We name this method SwitchOut. Experiments on three translation datasets of different scales show that SwitchOut yields consistent improvements of about 0.5 BLEU, achieving better or comparable performances to strong alternatives such as word dropout (Sennrich et al., 2016a). Code to implement this method is included in the appendix.

Large-scale Cloze Test Dataset Created by Teachers
Qizhe Xie | Guokun Lai | Zihang Dai | Eduard Hovy
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Cloze tests are widely adopted in language exams to evaluate students’ language proficiency. In this paper, we propose the first large-scale human-created cloze test dataset CLOTH, containing questions used in middle-school and high-school language exams. With missing blanks carefully created by teachers and candidate choices purposely designed to be nuanced, CLOTH requires a deeper language understanding and a wider attention span than previously automatically-generated cloze datasets. We test the performance of dedicatedly designed baseline models including a language model trained on the One Billion Word Corpus and show humans outperform them by a significant margin. We investigate the source of the performance gap, trace model deficiencies to some distinct properties of CLOTH, and identify the limited ability of comprehending the long-term context to be the key bottleneck.

From Credit Assignment to Entropy Regularization: Two New Algorithms for Neural Sequence Prediction
Zihang Dai | Qizhe Xie | Eduard Hovy
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In this work, we study the credit assignment problem in reward augmented maximum likelihood (RAML) learning, and establish a theoretical equivalence between the token-level counterpart of RAML and the entropy regularized reinforcement learning. Inspired by the connection, we propose two sequence prediction algorithms, one extending RAML with fine-grained credit assignment and the other improving Actor-Critic with a systematic entropy regularization. On two benchmark datasets, we show the proposed algorithms outperform RAML and Actor-Critic respectively, providing new alternatives to sequence prediction.


An Interpretable Knowledge Transfer Model for Knowledge Base Completion
Qizhe Xie | Xuezhe Ma | Zihang Dai | Eduard Hovy
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Knowledge bases are important resources for a variety of natural language processing tasks but suffer from incompleteness. We propose a novel embedding model, ITransF, to perform knowledge base completion. Equipped with a sparse attention mechanism, ITransF discovers hidden concepts of relations and transfer statistical strength through the sharing of concepts. Moreover, the learned associations between relations and concepts, which are represented by sparse attention vectors, can be interpreted easily. We evaluate ITransF on two benchmark datasets—WN18 and FB15k for knowledge base completion and obtains improvements on both the mean rank and Hits@10 metrics, over all baselines that do not use additional information.


CFO: Conditional Focused Neural Question Answering with Large-scale Knowledge Bases
Zihang Dai | Lei Li | Wei Xu
Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)