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Fact-based Dialogue Generation with Convergent and Divergent Decoding

May 06, 2020
Ryota Tanaka, Akinobu Lee

Fact-based dialogue generation is a task of generating a human-like response based on both dialogue context and factual texts. Various methods were proposed to focus on generating informative words that contain facts effectively. However, previous works implicitly assume a topic to be kept on a dialogue and usually converse passively, therefore the systems have a difficulty to generate diverse responses that provide meaningful information proactively. This paper proposes an end-to-end Fact-based dialogue system augmented with the ability of convergent and divergent thinking over both context and facts, which can converse about the current topic or introduce a new topic. Specifically, our model incorporates a novel convergent and divergent decoding that can generate informative and diverse responses considering not only given inputs (context and facts) but also inputs-related topics. Both automatic and human evaluation results on DSTC7 dataset show that our model significantly outperforms state-of-the-art baselines, indicating that our model can generate more appropriate, informative, and diverse responses.

* 8 pages, 3 figures 

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Mind Your Inflections! Improving NLP for Non-Standard English with Base-Inflection Encoding

Apr 30, 2020
Samson Tan, Shafiq Joty, Lav R. Varshney, Min-Yen Kan

Morphological inflection is a process of word formation where base words are modified to express different grammatical categories such as tense, case, voice, person, or number. World Englishes, such as Colloquial Singapore English (CSE) and African American Vernacular English (AAVE), differ from Standard English dialects in inflection use. Although comprehension by human readers is usually unimpaired by non-standard inflection use, NLP systems are not so robust. We introduce a new Base-Inflection Encoding of English text that is achieved by combining linguistic and statistical techniques. Fine-tuning pre-trained NLP models for downstream tasks under this novel encoding achieves robustness to non-standard inflection use while maintaining performance on Standard English examples. Models using this encoding also generalize better to non-standard dialects without explicit training. We suggest metrics to evaluate tokenizers and extensive model-independent analyses demonstrate the efficacy of the encoding when used together with data-driven subword tokenizers.

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Challenge Closed-book Science Exam: A Meta-learning Based Question Answering System

Apr 26, 2020
Xinyue Zheng, Peng Wang, Qigang Wang, Zhongchao Shi

Prior work in standardized science exams requires support from large text corpus, such as targeted science corpus fromWikipedia or SimpleWikipedia. However, retrieving knowledge from the large corpus is time-consuming and questions embedded in complex semantic representation may interfere with retrieval. Inspired by the dual process theory in cognitive science, we propose a MetaQA framework, where system 1 is an intuitive meta-classifier and system 2 is a reasoning module. Specifically, our method based on meta-learning method and large language model BERT, which can efficiently solve science problems by learning from related example questions without relying on external knowledge bases. We evaluate our method on AI2 Reasoning Challenge (ARC), and the experimental results show that meta-classifier yields considerable classification performance on emerging question types. The information provided by meta-classifier significantly improves the accuracy of reasoning module from 46.6% to 64.2%, which has a competitive advantage over retrieval-based QA methods.

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Dynamic Data Selection and Weighting for Iterative Back-Translation

Apr 07, 2020
Zi-Yi Dou, Antonios Anastasopoulos, Graham Neubig

Back-translation has proven to be an effective method to utilize monolingual data in neural machine translation (NMT), and iteratively conducting back-translation can further improve the model performance. Selecting which monolingual data to back-translate is crucial, as we require that the resulting synthetic data are of high quality \textit{and} reflect the target domain. To achieve these two goals, data selection and weighting strategies have been proposed, with a common practice being to select samples close to the target domain but also dissimilar to the average general-domain text. In this paper, we provide insights into this commonly used approach and generalize it to a dynamic curriculum learning strategy, which is applied to iterative back-translation models. In addition, we propose weighting strategies based on both the current quality of the sentence and its improvement over the previous iteration. We evaluate our models on domain adaptation, low-resource, and high-resource MT settings and on two language pairs. Experimental results demonstrate that our methods achieve improvements of up to 1.8 BLEU points over competitive baselines.

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Is Graph Structure Necessary for Multi-hop Reasoning?

Apr 07, 2020
Nan Shao, Yiming Cui, Ting Liu, Shijin Wang, Guoping Hu

Recently, many works attempt to model texts as graph structure and introduce graph neural networks to deal with it on many NLP tasks.In this paper, we investigate whether graph structure is necessary for multi-hop reasoning tasks and what role it plays. Our analysis is centered on HotpotQA. We use the state-of-the-art published model, Dynamically Fused Graph Network (DFGN), as our baseline. By directly modifying the pre-trained model, our baseline model gains a large improvement and significantly surpass both published and unpublished works. Ablation experiments established that, with the proper use of pre-trained models, graph structure may not be necessary for multi-hop reasoning. We point out that both the graph structure and the adjacency matrix are task-related prior knowledge, and graph-attention can be considered as a special case of self-attention. Experiments demonstrate that graph-attention or the entire graph structure can be replaced by self-attention or Transformers, and achieve similar results to the previous state-of-the-art model achieved.

* 5 pages 

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Hierarchical Modes Exploring in Generative Adversarial Networks

Mar 05, 2020
Mengxiao Hu, Jinlong Li, Maolin Hu, Tao Hu

In conditional Generative Adversarial Networks (cGANs), when two different initial noises are concatenated with the same conditional information, the distance between their outputs is relatively smaller, which makes minor modes likely to collapse into large modes. To prevent this happen, we proposed a hierarchical mode exploring method to alleviate mode collapse in cGANs by introducing a diversity measurement into the objective function as the regularization term. We also introduced the Expected Ratios of Expansion (ERE) into the regularization term, by minimizing the sum of differences between the real change of distance and ERE, we can control the diversity of generated images w.r.t specific-level features. We validated the proposed algorithm on four conditional image synthesis tasks including categorical generation, paired and un-paired image translation and text-to-image generation. Both qualitative and quantitative results show that the proposed method is effective in alleviating the mode collapse problem in cGANs, and can control the diversity of output images w.r.t specific-level features.

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The Microsoft Toolkit of Multi-Task Deep Neural Networks for Natural Language Understanding

Feb 19, 2020
Xiaodong Liu, Yu Wang, Jianshu Ji, Hao Cheng, Xueyun Zhu, Emmanuel Awa, Pengcheng He, Weizhu Chen, Hoifung Poon, Guihong Cao, Jianfeng Gao

We present MT-DNN, an open-source natural language understanding (NLU) toolkit that makes it easy for researchers and developers to train customized deep learning models. Built upon PyTorch and Transformers, MT-DNN is designed to facilitate rapid customization for a broad spectrum of NLU tasks, using a variety of objectives (classification, regression, structured prediction) and text encoders (e.g., RNNs, BERT, RoBERTa, UniLM). A unique feature of MT-DNN is its built-in support for robust and transferable learning using the adversarial multi-task learning paradigm. To enable efficient production deployment, MT-DNN supports multi-task knowledge distillation, which can substantially compress a deep neural model without significant performance drop. We demonstrate the effectiveness of MT-DNN on a wide range of NLU applications across general and biomedical domains. The software and pre-trained models will be publicly available at

* 9 pages, 3 figures and 3 tables 

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Knowledge Guided Named Entity Recognition

Nov 10, 2019
Pratyay Banerjee, Kuntal Kumar Pal, Murthy Devarakonda, Chitta Baral

In this work, we try to perform Named Entity Recognition (NER) with external knowledge. We formulate the NER task as a multi-answer question answering (MAQA) task and provide different knowledge contexts, such as entity types, questions, definitions, and definitions with examples. Moreover, the formulation of the task as a MAQA task helps to reduce other errors. This formulation (a) enables systems to jointly learn from varied NER datasets, enabling systems to learn more NER specific features, (b) can use knowledge-text attention to identify words having higher similarity to 'entity type' mentioned in the knowledge, improving performance, (c) reduces confusion in systems by reducing the classes to be predicted, limited to only three (B, I, O), (d) Makes detection of Nested Entities easier. We perform extensive experiments of this Knowledge Guided NER (KGNER) formulation on 15 Biomedical NER datasets, and through these experiments, we see external knowledge helps. We will release the code for dataset conversion and our trained models for replicating experiments.

* work in progress, draft 

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SMART: Robust and Efficient Fine-Tuning for Pre-trained Natural Language Models through Principled Regularized Optimization

Nov 08, 2019
Haoming Jiang, Pengcheng He, Weizhu Chen, Xiaodong Liu, Jianfeng Gao, Tuo Zhao

Transfer learning has fundamentally changed the landscape of natural language processing (NLP) research. Many existing state-of-the-art models are first pre-trained on a large text corpus and then fine-tuned on downstream tasks. However, due to limited data resources from downstream tasks and the extremely large capacity of pre-trained models, aggressive fine-tuning often causes the adapted model to overfit the data of downstream tasks and forget the knowledge of the pre-trained model. To address the above issue in a more principled manner, we propose a new computational framework for robust and efficient fine-tuning for pre-trained language models. Specifically, our proposed framework contains two important ingredients: 1. Smoothness-inducing regularization, which effectively manages the capacity of the model; 2. Bregman proximal point optimization, which is a class of trust-region methods and can prevent knowledge forgetting. Our experiments demonstrate that our proposed method achieves the state-of-the-art performance on multiple NLP benchmarks.

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Does BERT Make Any Sense? Interpretable Word Sense Disambiguation with Contextualized Embeddings

Sep 23, 2019
Gregor Wiedemann, Steffen Remus, Avi Chawla, Chris Biemann

Contextualized word embeddings (CWE) such as provided by ELMo (Peters et al., 2018), flair NLP (Akbik et al., 2018), or BERT (Devlin et al., 2019) are a major recent innovation in NLP. CWEs provide semantic vector representations of words depending on their respective context. The advantage compared to static word embeddings has been shown for a number of tasks, such as text classification, sequence tagging, or machine translation. Since vectors of the same word can vary due to different contexts, they implicitly provide a model for word sense disambiguation (WSD). We introduce a simple but effective approach to WSD using a nearest neighbor classification on CWEs. We compare the performance of different CWE models for the task and can report improvements above the current state of the art for one standard WSD benchmark dataset. We further show that the pre-trained BERT model is able to place polysemic words into distinct 'sense' regions of the embedding space, while ELMo and flair NLP do not indicate this ability.

* 10 pages, 3 figures, Accepted for Konferenz zur Verarbeitung nat\"urlicher Sprache (KONVENS) 2019, Erlangen/Germany 

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