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Xi Wang

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LALM: Long-Term Action Anticipation with Language Models

Nov 29, 2023
Sanghwan Kim, Daoji Huang, Yongqin Xian, Otmar Hilliges, Luc Van Gool, Xi Wang

Understanding human activity is a crucial yet intricate task in egocentric vision, a field that focuses on capturing visual perspectives from the camera wearer's viewpoint. While traditional methods heavily rely on representation learning trained on extensive video data, there exists a significant limitation: obtaining effective video representations proves challenging due to the inherent complexity and variability in human activities.Furthermore, exclusive dependence on video-based learning may constrain a model's capability to generalize across long-tail classes and out-of-distribution scenarios. In this study, we introduce a novel approach for long-term action anticipation using language models (LALM), adept at addressing the complex challenges of long-term activity understanding without the need for extensive training. Our method incorporates an action recognition model to track previous action sequences and a vision-language model to articulate relevant environmental details. By leveraging the context provided by these past events, we devise a prompting strategy for action anticipation using large language models (LLMs). Moreover, we implement Maximal Marginal Relevance for example selection to facilitate in-context learning of the LLMs. Our experimental results demonstrate that LALM surpasses the state-of-the-art methods in the task of long-term action anticipation on the Ego4D benchmark. We further validate LALM on two additional benchmarks, affirming its capacity for generalization across intricate activities with different sets of taxonomies. These are achieved without specific fine-tuning.

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A Social-aware Gaussian Pre-trained Model for Effective Cold-start Recommendation

Nov 27, 2023
Siwei Liu, Xi Wang, Craig Macdonald, Iadh Ounis

The use of pre-training is an emerging technique to enhance a neural model's performance, which has been shown to be effective for many neural language models such as BERT. This technique has also been used to enhance the performance of recommender systems. In such recommender systems, pre-training models are used to learn a better initialisation for both users and items. However, recent existing pre-trained recommender systems tend to only incorporate the user interaction data at the pre-training stage, making it difficult to deliver good recommendations, especially when the interaction data is sparse. To alleviate this common data sparsity issue, we propose to pre-train the recommendation model not only with the interaction data but also with other available information such as the social relations among users, thereby providing the recommender system with a better initialisation compared with solely relying on the user interaction data. We propose a novel recommendation model, the Social-aware Gaussian Pre-trained model (SGP), which encodes the user social relations and interaction data at the pre-training stage in a Graph Neural Network (GNN). Afterwards, in the subsequent fine-tuning stage, our SGP model adopts a Gaussian Mixture Model (GMM) to factorise these pre-trained embeddings for further training, thereby benefiting the cold-start users from these pre-built social relations. Our extensive experiments on three public datasets show that, in comparison to 16 competitive baselines, our SGP model significantly outperforms the best baseline by upto 7.7% in terms of NDCG@10. In addition, we show that SGP permits to effectively alleviate the cold-start problem, especially when users newly register to the system through their friends' suggestions.

* 20 pages 
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Optimizing and Fine-tuning Large Language Model for Urban Renewal

Nov 27, 2023
Xi Wang, Xianyao Ling, Tom Zhang, Xuecao Li, Shaolan Wang, Zhixing Li, Liang Zhang, Peng Gong

This study aims to innovatively explore adaptive applications of large language models (LLM) in urban renewal. It also aims to improve its performance and text generation quality for knowledge question-answering (QA) tasks. Based on the ChatGLM, we automatically generate QA datasets using urban renewal scientific literature corpora in a self-instruct manner and then conduct joint fine-tuning training on the model using the Prefix and LoRA fine-tuning methods to create an LLM for urban renewal. By guiding the LLM to automatically generate QA data based on prompt words and given text, it is possible to quickly obtain datasets in the urban renewal field and provide data support for the fine-tuning training of LLMs. The experimental results show that the joint fine-tuning training method proposed in this study can significantly improve the performance of LLM on the QA tasks. Compared with LoRA fine-tuning, the method improves the Bleu and Rouge metrics on the test by about 5%; compared with the model before fine-tuning, the method improves the Bleu and Rouge metrics by about 15%-20%. This study demonstrates the effectiveness and superiority of the joint fine-tuning method using Prefix and LoRA for ChatGLM in the urban renewal knowledge QA tasks. It provides a new approach for fine-tuning LLMs on urban renewal-related tasks.

* 11 pages, 2 figures, 2 tables, 41 references 
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Model-aware 3D Eye Gaze from Weak and Few-shot Supervisions

Nov 20, 2023
Nikola Popovic, Dimitrios Christodoulou, Danda Pani Paudel, Xi Wang, Luc Van Gool

The task of predicting 3D eye gaze from eye images can be performed either by (a) end-to-end learning for image-to-gaze mapping or by (b) fitting a 3D eye model onto images. The former case requires 3D gaze labels, while the latter requires eye semantics or landmarks to facilitate the model fitting. Although obtaining eye semantics and landmarks is relatively easy, fitting an accurate 3D eye model on them remains to be very challenging due to its ill-posed nature in general. On the other hand, obtaining large-scale 3D gaze data is cumbersome due to the required hardware setups and computational demands. In this work, we propose to predict 3D eye gaze from weak supervision of eye semantic segmentation masks and direct supervision of a few 3D gaze vectors. The proposed method combines the best of both worlds by leveraging large amounts of weak annotations--which are easy to obtain, and only a few 3D gaze vectors--which alleviate the difficulty of fitting 3D eye models on the semantic segmentation of eye images. Thus, the eye gaze vectors, used in the model fitting, are directly supervised using the few-shot gaze labels. Additionally, we propose a transformer-based network architecture, that serves as a solid baseline for our improvements. Our experiments in diverse settings illustrate the significant benefits of the proposed method, achieving about 5 degrees lower angular gaze error over the baseline, when only 0.05% 3D annotations of the training images are used. The source code is available at

* Accepted to ISMAR2023 as a poster paper 
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Improving Conversational Recommendation Systems via Bias Analysis and Language-Model-Enhanced Data Augmentation

Oct 25, 2023
Xi Wang, Hossein A. Rahmani, Jiqun Liu, Emine Yilmaz

Conversational Recommendation System (CRS) is a rapidly growing research area that has gained significant attention alongside advancements in language modelling techniques. However, the current state of conversational recommendation faces numerous challenges due to its relative novelty and limited existing contributions. In this study, we delve into benchmark datasets for developing CRS models and address potential biases arising from the feedback loop inherent in multi-turn interactions, including selection bias and multiple popularity bias variants. Drawing inspiration from the success of generative data via using language models and data augmentation techniques, we present two novel strategies, 'Once-Aug' and 'PopNudge', to enhance model performance while mitigating biases. Through extensive experiments on ReDial and TG-ReDial benchmark datasets, we show a consistent improvement of CRS techniques with our data augmentation approaches and offer additional insights on addressing multiple newly formulated biases.

* Accepted by EMNLP 2023 (Findings) 
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LoRA ensembles for large language model fine-tuning

Oct 04, 2023
Xi Wang, Laurence Aitchison, Maja Rudolph

Finetuned LLMs often exhibit poor uncertainty quantification, manifesting as overconfidence, poor calibration, and unreliable prediction results on test data or out-of-distribution samples. One approach commonly used in vision for alleviating this issue is a deep ensemble, which constructs an ensemble by training the same model multiple times using different random initializations. However, there is a huge challenge to ensembling LLMs: the most effective LLMs are very, very large. Keeping a single LLM in memory is already challenging enough: keeping an ensemble of e.g. 5 LLMs in memory is impossible in many settings. To address these issues, we propose an ensemble approach using Low-Rank Adapters (LoRA), a parameter-efficient fine-tuning technique. Critically, these low-rank adapters represent a very small number of parameters, orders of magnitude less than the underlying pre-trained model. Thus, it is possible to construct large ensembles of LoRA adapters with almost the same computational overhead as using the original model. We find that LoRA ensembles, applied on its own or on top of pre-existing regularization techniques, gives consistent improvements in predictive accuracy and uncertainty quantification.

* Update the title in the PDF file 
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OSM-Net: One-to-Many One-shot Talking Head Generation with Spontaneous Head Motions

Sep 28, 2023
Jin Liu, Xi Wang, Xiaomeng Fu, Yesheng Chai, Cai Yu, Jiao Dai, Jizhong Han

Figure 1 for OSM-Net: One-to-Many One-shot Talking Head Generation with Spontaneous Head Motions
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One-shot talking head generation has no explicit head movement reference, thus it is difficult to generate talking heads with head motions. Some existing works only edit the mouth area and generate still talking heads, leading to unreal talking head performance. Other works construct one-to-one mapping between audio signal and head motion sequences, introducing ambiguity correspondences into the mapping since people can behave differently in head motions when speaking the same content. This unreasonable mapping form fails to model the diversity and produces either nearly static or even exaggerated head motions, which are unnatural and strange. Therefore, the one-shot talking head generation task is actually a one-to-many ill-posed problem and people present diverse head motions when speaking. Based on the above observation, we propose OSM-Net, a \textit{one-to-many} one-shot talking head generation network with natural head motions. OSM-Net constructs a motion space that contains rich and various clip-level head motion features. Each basis of the space represents a feature of meaningful head motion in a clip rather than just a frame, thus providing more coherent and natural motion changes in talking heads. The driving audio is mapped into the motion space, around which various motion features can be sampled within a reasonable range to achieve the one-to-many mapping. Besides, the landmark constraint and time window feature input improve the accurate expression feature extraction and video generation. Extensive experiments show that OSM-Net generates more natural realistic head motions under reasonable one-to-many mapping paradigm compared with other methods.

* Paper Under Review 
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Extragradient Type Methods for Riemannian Variational Inequality Problems

Sep 25, 2023
Zihao Hu, Guanghui Wang, Xi Wang, Andre Wibisono, Jacob Abernethy, Molei Tao

Riemannian convex optimization and minimax optimization have recently drawn considerable attention. Their appeal lies in their capacity to adeptly manage the non-convexity of the objective function as well as constraints inherent in the feasible set in the Euclidean sense. In this work, we delve into monotone Riemannian Variational Inequality Problems (RVIPs), which encompass both Riemannian convex optimization and minimax optimization as particular cases. In the context of Euclidean space, it is established that the last-iterates of both the extragradient (EG) and past extragradient (PEG) methods converge to the solution of monotone variational inequality problems at a rate of $O\left(\frac{1}{\sqrt{T}}\right)$ (Cai et al., 2022). However, analogous behavior on Riemannian manifolds remains an open question. To bridge this gap, we introduce the Riemannian extragradient (REG) and Riemannian past extragradient (RPEG) methods. We demonstrate that both exhibit $O\left(\frac{1}{\sqrt{T}}\right)$ last-iterate convergence. Additionally, we show that the average-iterate convergence of both REG and RPEG is $O\left(\frac{1}{{T}}\right)$, aligning with observations in the Euclidean case (Mokhtari et al., 2020). These results are enabled by judiciously addressing the holonomy effect so that additional complications in Riemannian cases can be reduced and the Euclidean proof inspired by the performance estimation problem (PEP) technique or the sum-of-squares (SOS) technique can be applied again.

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Selecting which Dense Retriever to use for Zero-Shot Search

Sep 18, 2023
Ekaterina Khramtsova, Shengyao Zhuang, Mahsa Baktashmotlagh, Xi Wang, Guido Zuccon

We propose the new problem of choosing which dense retrieval model to use when searching on a new collection for which no labels are available, i.e. in a zero-shot setting. Many dense retrieval models are readily available. Each model however is characterized by very differing search effectiveness -- not just on the test portion of the datasets in which the dense representations have been learned but, importantly, also across different datasets for which data was not used to learn the dense representations. This is because dense retrievers typically require training on a large amount of labeled data to achieve satisfactory search effectiveness in a specific dataset or domain. Moreover, effectiveness gains obtained by dense retrievers on datasets for which they are able to observe labels during training, do not necessarily generalise to datasets that have not been observed during training. This is however a hard problem: through empirical experimentation we show that methods inspired by recent work in unsupervised performance evaluation with the presence of domain shift in the area of computer vision and machine learning are not effective for choosing highly performing dense retrievers in our setup. The availability of reliable methods for the selection of dense retrieval models in zero-shot settings that do not require the collection of labels for evaluation would allow to streamline the widespread adoption of dense retrieval. This is therefore an important new problem we believe the information retrieval community should consider. Implementation of methods, along with raw result files and analysis scripts are made publicly available at

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MuLanTTS: The Microsoft Speech Synthesis System for Blizzard Challenge 2023

Sep 12, 2023
Zhihang Xu, Shaofei Zhang, Xi Wang, Jiajun Zhang, Wenning Wei, Lei He, Sheng Zhao

Figure 1 for MuLanTTS: The Microsoft Speech Synthesis System for Blizzard Challenge 2023
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In this paper, we present MuLanTTS, the Microsoft end-to-end neural text-to-speech (TTS) system designed for the Blizzard Challenge 2023. About 50 hours of audiobook corpus for French TTS as hub task and another 2 hours of speaker adaptation as spoke task are released to build synthesized voices for different test purposes including sentences, paragraphs, homographs, lists, etc. Building upon DelightfulTTS, we adopt contextual and emotion encoders to adapt the audiobook data to enrich beyond sentences for long-form prosody and dialogue expressiveness. Regarding the recording quality, we also apply denoise algorithms and long audio processing for both corpora. For the hub task, only the 50-hour single speaker data is used for building the TTS system, while for the spoke task, a multi-speaker source model is used for target speaker fine tuning. MuLanTTS achieves mean scores of quality assessment 4.3 and 4.5 in the respective tasks, statistically comparable with natural speech while keeping good similarity according to similarity assessment. The excellent and similarity in this year's new and dense statistical evaluation show the effectiveness of our proposed system in both tasks.

* 6 pages 
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