Bill Yuchen Lin

Also published as: Bill Y. Lin


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Learning to Contextually Aggregate Multi-Source Supervision for Sequence Labeling
Ouyu Lan | Xiao Huang | Bill Yuchen Lin | He Jiang | Liyuan Liu | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Sequence labeling is a fundamental task for a range of natural language processing problems. When used in practice, its performance is largely influenced by the annotation quality and quantity, and meanwhile, obtaining ground truth labels is often costly. In many cases, ground truth labels do not exist, but noisy annotations or annotations from different domains are accessible. In this paper, we propose a novel framework Consensus Network (ConNet) that can be trained on annotations from multiple sources (e.g., crowd annotation, cross-domain data). It learns individual representation for every source and dynamically aggregates source-specific knowledge by a context-aware attention module. Finally, it leads to a model reflecting the agreement (consensus) among multiple sources. We evaluate the proposed framework in two practical settings of multi-source learning: learning with crowd annotations and unsupervised cross-domain model adaptation. Extensive experimental results show that our model achieves significant improvements over existing methods in both settings. We also demonstrate that the method can apply to various tasks and cope with different encoders.

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TriggerNER: Learning with Entity Triggers as Explanations for Named Entity Recognition
Bill Yuchen Lin | Dong-Ho Lee | Ming Shen | Ryan Moreno | Xiao Huang | Prashant Shiralkar | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Training neural models for named entity recognition (NER) in a new domain often requires additional human annotations (e.g., tens of thousands of labeled instances) that are usually expensive and time-consuming to collect. Thus, a crucial research question is how to obtain supervision in a cost-effective way. In this paper, we introduce “entity triggers,” an effective proxy of human explanations for facilitating label-efficient learning of NER models. An entity trigger is defined as a group of words in a sentence that helps to explain why humans would recognize an entity in the sentence. We crowd-sourced 14k entity triggers for two well-studied NER datasets. Our proposed model, Trigger Matching Network, jointly learns trigger representations and soft matching module with self-attention such that can generalize to unseen sentences easily for tagging. Our framework is significantly more cost-effective than the traditional neural NER frameworks. Experiments show that using only 20% of the trigger-annotated sentences results in a comparable performance as using 70% of conventional annotated sentences.

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LEAN-LIFE: A Label-Efficient Annotation Framework Towards Learning from Explanation
Dong-Ho Lee | Rahul Khanna | Bill Yuchen Lin | Seyeon Lee | Qinyuan Ye | Elizabeth Boschee | Leonardo Neves | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

Successfully training a deep neural network demands a huge corpus of labeled data. However, each label only provides limited information to learn from, and collecting the requisite number of labels involves massive human effort. In this work, we introduce LEAN-LIFE, a web-based, Label-Efficient AnnotatioN framework for sequence labeling and classification tasks, with an easy-to-use UI that not only allows an annotator to provide the needed labels for a task but also enables LearnIng From Explanations for each labeling decision. Such explanations enable us to generate useful additional labeled data from unlabeled instances, bolstering the pool of available training data. On three popular NLP tasks (named entity recognition, relation extraction, sentiment analysis), we find that using this enhanced supervision allows our models to surpass competitive baseline F1 scores by more than 5-10 percentage points, while using 2X times fewer labeled instances. Our framework is the first to utilize this enhanced supervision technique and does so for three important tasks – thus providing improved annotation recommendations to users and an ability to build datasets of (data, label, explanation) triples instead of the regular (data, label) pair.

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CommonGen: A Constrained Text Generation Challenge for Generative Commonsense Reasoning
Bill Yuchen Lin | Wangchunshu Zhou | Ming Shen | Pei Zhou | Chandra Bhagavatula | Yejin Choi | Xiang Ren
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Recently, large-scale pre-trained language models have demonstrated impressive performance on several commonsense-reasoning benchmark datasets. However, building machines with commonsense to compose realistically plausible sentences remains challenging. In this paper, we present a constrained text generation task, CommonGen associated with a benchmark dataset, to explicitly test machines for the ability of generative commonsense reasoning. Given a set of common concepts (e.g., dog, frisbee, catch, throw); the task is to generate a coherent sentence describing an everyday scenario using these concepts (e.g., “a man throws a frisbee and his dog catches it”). The CommonGen task is challenging because it inherently requires 1) relational reasoning with background commonsense knowledge and 2) compositional generalization ability to work on unseen concept combinations. Our dataset, constructed through a combination of crowdsourced and existing caption corpora, consists of 77k commonsense descriptions over 35k unique concept-sets. Experiments show that there is a large gap between state-of-the-art text generation models (e.g., T5) and human performance (31.6% v.s. 63.5% in SPICE metric). Furthermore, we demonstrate that the learned generative commonsense reasoning capability can be transferred to improve downstream tasks such as CommonsenseQA (76.9% to 78.4 in dev accuracy) by generating additional context.

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Scalable Multi-Hop Relational Reasoning for Knowledge-Aware Question Answering
Yanlin Feng | Xinyue Chen | Bill Yuchen Lin | Peifeng Wang | Jun Yan | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Existing work on augmenting question answering (QA) models with external knowledge (e.g., knowledge graphs) either struggle to model multi-hop relations efficiently, or lack transparency into the model’s prediction rationale. In this paper, we propose a novel knowledge-aware approach that equips pre-trained language models (PTLMs) has with a multi-hop relational reasoning module, named multi-hop graph relation network (MHGRN). It performs multi-hop, multi-relational reasoning over subgraphs extracted from external knowledge graphs. The proposed reasoning module unifies path-based reasoning methods and graph neural networks to achieve better interpretability and scalability. We also empirically show its effectiveness and scalability on CommonsenseQA and OpenbookQA datasets, and interpret its behaviors with case studies, with the code for experiments released.

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Birds have four legs?! NumerSense: Probing Numerical Commonsense Knowledge of Pre-Trained Language Models
Bill Yuchen Lin | Seyeon Lee | Rahul Khanna | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Recent works show that pre-trained language models (PTLMs), such as BERT, possess certain commonsense and factual knowledge. They suggest that it is promising to use PTLMs as “neural knowledge bases” via predicting masked words. Surprisingly, we find that this may not work for numerical commonsense knowledge (e.g., a bird usually has two legs). In this paper, we investigate whether and to what extent we can induce numerical commonsense knowledge from PTLMs as well as the robustness of this process. In this paper, we investigate whether and to what extent we can induce numerical commonsense knowledge from PTLMs as well as the robustness of this process. To study this, we introduce a novel probing task with a diagnostic dataset, NumerSense, containing 13.6k masked-word-prediction probes (10.5k for fine-tuning and 3.1k for testing). Our analysis reveals that: (1) BERT and its stronger variant RoBERTa perform poorly on the diagnostic dataset prior to any fine-tuning; (2) fine-tuning with distant supervision brings some improvement; (3) the best supervised model still performs poorly as compared to human performance (54.06% vs. 96.3% in accuracy).


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KagNet: Knowledge-Aware Graph Networks for Commonsense Reasoning
Bill Yuchen Lin | Xinyue Chen | Jamin Chen | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Commonsense reasoning aims to empower machines with the human ability to make presumptions about ordinary situations in our daily life. In this paper, we propose a textual inference framework for answering commonsense questions, which effectively utilizes external, structured commonsense knowledge graphs to perform explainable inferences. The framework first grounds a question-answer pair from the semantic space to the knowledge-based symbolic space as a schema graph, a related sub-graph of external knowledge graphs. It represents schema graphs with a novel knowledge-aware graph network module named KagNet, and finally scores answers with graph representations. Our model is based on graph convolutional networks and LSTMs, with a hierarchical path-based attention mechanism. The intermediate attention scores make it transparent and interpretable, which thus produce trustworthy inferences. Using ConceptNet as the only external resource for Bert-based models, we achieved state-of-the-art performance on the CommonsenseQA, a large-scale dataset for commonsense reasoning.

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AlpacaTag: An Active Learning-based Crowd Annotation Framework for Sequence Tagging
Bill Yuchen Lin | Dong-Ho Lee | Frank F. Xu | Ouyu Lan | Xiang Ren
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

We introduce an open-source web-based data annotation framework (AlpacaTag) for sequence tagging tasks such as named-entity recognition (NER). The distinctive advantages of AlpacaTag are three-fold. 1) Active intelligent recommendation: dynamically suggesting annotations and sampling the most informative unlabeled instances with a back-end active learned model; 2) Automatic crowd consolidation: enhancing real-time inter-annotator agreement by merging inconsistent labels from multiple annotators; 3) Real-time model deployment: users can deploy their models in downstream systems while new annotations are being made. AlpacaTag is a comprehensive solution for sequence labeling tasks, ranging from rapid tagging with recommendations powered by active learning and auto-consolidation of crowd annotations to real-time model deployment.


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Neural Adaptation Layers for Cross-domain Named Entity Recognition
Bill Yuchen Lin | Wei Lu
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Recent research efforts have shown that neural architectures can be effective in conventional information extraction tasks such as named entity recognition, yielding state-of-the-art results on standard newswire datasets. However, despite significant resources required for training such models, the performance of a model trained on one domain typically degrades dramatically when applied to a different domain, yet extracting entities from new emerging domains such as social media can be of significant interest. In this paper, we empirically investigate effective methods for conveniently adapting an existing, well-trained neural NER model for a new domain. Unlike existing approaches, we propose lightweight yet effective methods for performing domain adaptation for neural models. Specifically, we introduce adaptation layers on top of existing neural architectures, where no re-training using the source domain data is required. We conduct extensive empirical studies and show that our approach significantly outperforms state-of-the-art methods.

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ExtRA: Extracting Prominent Review Aspects from Customer Feedback
Zhiyi Luo | Shanshan Huang | Frank F. Xu | Bill Yuchen Lin | Hanyuan Shi | Kenny Zhu
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Many existing systems for analyzing and summarizing customer reviews about products or service are based on a number of prominent review aspects. Conventionally, the prominent review aspects of a product type are determined manually. This costly approach cannot scale to large and cross-domain services such as, or where there are a large number of product types and new products emerge almost every day. In this paper, we propose a novel framework, for extracting the most prominent aspects of a given product type from textual reviews. The proposed framework, ExtRA, extracts K most prominent aspect terms or phrases which do not overlap semantically automatically without supervision. Extensive experiments show that ExtRA is effective and achieves the state-of-the-art performance on a dataset consisting of different product types.

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Mining Cross-Cultural Differences and Similarities in Social Media
Bill Yuchen Lin | Frank F. Xu | Kenny Zhu | Seung-won Hwang
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Cross-cultural differences and similarities are common in cross-lingual natural language understanding, especially for research in social media. For instance, people of distinct cultures often hold different opinions on a single named entity. Also, understanding slang terms across languages requires knowledge of cross-cultural similarities. In this paper, we study the problem of computing such cross-cultural differences and similarities. We present a lightweight yet effective approach, and evaluate it on two novel tasks: 1) mining cross-cultural differences of named entities and 2) finding similar terms for slang across languages. Experimental results show that our framework substantially outperforms a number of baseline methods on both tasks. The framework could be useful for machine translation applications and research in computational social science.

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Automatic Extraction of Commonsense LocatedNear Knowledge
Frank F. Xu | Bill Yuchen Lin | Kenny Zhu
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

LocatedNear relation is a kind of commonsense knowledge describing two physical objects that are typically found near each other in real life. In this paper, we study how to automatically extract such relationship through a sentence-level relation classifier and aggregating the scores of entity pairs from a large corpus. Also, we release two benchmark datasets for evaluation and future research.


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Multi-channel BiLSTM-CRF Model for Emerging Named Entity Recognition in Social Media
Bill Y. Lin | Frank Xu | Zhiyi Luo | Kenny Zhu
Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text

In this paper, we present our multi-channel neural architecture for recognizing emerging named entity in social media messages, which we applied in the Novel and Emerging Named Entity Recognition shared task at the EMNLP 2017 Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text (W-NUT). We propose a novel approach, which incorporates comprehensive word representations with multi-channel information and Conditional Random Fields (CRF) into a traditional Bidirectional Long Short-Term Memory (BiLSTM) neural network without using any additional hand-craft features such as gazetteers. In comparison with other systems participating in the shared task, our system won the 2nd place.