Nan Ding


2020

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TeaForN: Teacher-Forcing with N-grams
Sebastian Goodman | Nan Ding | Radu Soricut
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Sequence generation models trained with teacher-forcing suffer from issues related to exposure bias and lack of differentiability across timesteps. Our proposed method, Teacher-Forcing with N-grams (TeaForN), addresses both these problems directly, through the use of a stack of N decoders trained to decode along a secondary time axis that allows model-parameter updates based on N prediction steps. TeaForN can be used with a wide class of decoder architectures and requires minimal modifications from a standard teacher-forcing setup. Empirically, we show that TeaForN boosts generation quality on one Machine Translation benchmark, WMT 2014 English-French, and two News Summarization benchmarks, CNN/Dailymail and Gigaword.

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Improving Text Generation Evaluation with Batch Centering and Tempered Word Mover Distance
Xi Chen | Nan Ding | Tomer Levinboim | Radu Soricut
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Evaluation and Comparison of NLP Systems

Recent advances in automatic evaluation metrics for text have shown that deep contextualized word representations, such as those generated by BERT encoders, are helpful for designing metrics that correlate well with human judgements. At the same time, it has been argued that contextualized word representations exhibit sub-optimal statistical properties for encoding the true similarity between words or sentences. In this paper, we present two techniques for improving encoding representations for similarity metrics: a batch-mean centering strategy that improves statistical properties; and a computationally efficient tempered Word Mover Distance, for better fusion of the information in the contextualized word representations. We conduct numerical experiments that demonstrate the robustness of our techniques, reporting results over various BERT-backbone learned metrics and achieving state of the art correlation with human ratings on several benchmarks.

2018

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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.

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Conceptual Captions: A Cleaned, Hypernymed, Image Alt-text Dataset For Automatic Image Captioning
Piyush Sharma | Nan Ding | Sebastian Goodman | Radu Soricut
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We present a new dataset of image caption annotations, Conceptual Captions, which contains an order of magnitude more images than the MS-COCO dataset (Lin et al., 2014) and represents a wider variety of both images and image caption styles. We achieve this by extracting and filtering image caption annotations from billions of webpages. We also present quantitative evaluations of a number of image captioning models and show that a model architecture based on Inception-ResNetv2 (Szegedy et al., 2016) for image-feature extraction and Transformer (Vaswani et al., 2017) for sequence modeling achieves the best performance when trained on the Conceptual Captions dataset.