Models, code, and papers for "Zhilin Yang":

Differentiable Learning of Logical Rules for Knowledge Base Reasoning

Nov 27, 2017
Fan Yang, Zhilin Yang, William W. Cohen

We study the problem of learning probabilistic first-order logical rules for knowledge base reasoning. This learning problem is difficult because it requires learning the parameters in a continuous space as well as the structure in a discrete space. We propose a framework, Neural Logic Programming, that combines the parameter and structure learning of first-order logical rules in an end-to-end differentiable model. This approach is inspired by a recently-developed differentiable logic called TensorLog, where inference tasks can be compiled into sequences of differentiable operations. We design a neural controller system that learns to compose these operations. Empirically, our method outperforms prior work on multiple knowledge base benchmark datasets, including Freebase and WikiMovies.

* Accepted at NIPS 2017 

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Multi-Task Cross-Lingual Sequence Tagging from Scratch

Aug 09, 2016
Zhilin Yang, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, William Cohen

We present a deep hierarchical recurrent neural network for sequence tagging. Given a sequence of words, our model employs deep gated recurrent units on both character and word levels to encode morphology and context information, and applies a conditional random field layer to predict the tags. Our model is task independent, language independent, and feature engineering free. We further extend our model to multi-task and cross-lingual joint training by sharing the architecture and parameters. Our model achieves state-of-the-art results in multiple languages on several benchmark tasks including POS tagging, chunking, and NER. We also demonstrate that multi-task and cross-lingual joint training can improve the performance in various cases.

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Multi-Modal Bayesian Embeddings for Learning Social Knowledge Graphs

Apr 20, 2016
Zhilin Yang, Jie Tang, William Cohen

We study the extent to which online social networks can be connected to open knowledge bases. The problem is referred to as learning social knowledge graphs. We propose a multi-modal Bayesian embedding model, GenVector, to learn latent topics that generate word and network embeddings. GenVector leverages large-scale unlabeled data with embeddings and represents data of two modalities---i.e., social network users and knowledge concepts---in a shared latent topic space. Experiments on three datasets show that the proposed method clearly outperforms state-of-the-art methods. We then deploy the method on AMiner, a large-scale online academic search system with a network of 38,049,189 researchers with a knowledge base with 35,415,011 concepts. Our method significantly decreases the error rate in an online A/B test with live users.

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Transfer Learning for Sequence Tagging with Hierarchical Recurrent Networks

Mar 18, 2017
Zhilin Yang, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, William W. Cohen

Recent papers have shown that neural networks obtain state-of-the-art performance on several different sequence tagging tasks. One appealing property of such systems is their generality, as excellent performance can be achieved with a unified architecture and without task-specific feature engineering. However, it is unclear if such systems can be used for tasks without large amounts of training data. In this paper we explore the problem of transfer learning for neural sequence taggers, where a source task with plentiful annotations (e.g., POS tagging on Penn Treebank) is used to improve performance on a target task with fewer available annotations (e.g., POS tagging for microblogs). We examine the effects of transfer learning for deep hierarchical recurrent networks across domains, applications, and languages, and show that significant improvement can often be obtained. These improvements lead to improvements over the current state-of-the-art on several well-studied tasks.

* Accepted as a conference paper at ICLR 2017. This is an extended version of the original paper ( The original paper proposes a new architecture, while this version focuses on transfer learning for a general model class 

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Revisiting Semi-Supervised Learning with Graph Embeddings

May 26, 2016
Zhilin Yang, William W. Cohen, Ruslan Salakhutdinov

We present a semi-supervised learning framework based on graph embeddings. Given a graph between instances, we train an embedding for each instance to jointly predict the class label and the neighborhood context in the graph. We develop both transductive and inductive variants of our method. In the transductive variant of our method, the class labels are determined by both the learned embeddings and input feature vectors, while in the inductive variant, the embeddings are defined as a parametric function of the feature vectors, so predictions can be made on instances not seen during training. On a large and diverse set of benchmark tasks, including text classification, distantly supervised entity extraction, and entity classification, we show improved performance over many of the existing models.

* ICML 2016 

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Breaking the Softmax Bottleneck: A High-Rank RNN Language Model

Mar 02, 2018
Zhilin Yang, Zihang Dai, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, William W. Cohen

We formulate language modeling as a matrix factorization problem, and show that the expressiveness of Softmax-based models (including the majority of neural language models) is limited by a Softmax bottleneck. Given that natural language is highly context-dependent, this further implies that in practice Softmax with distributed word embeddings does not have enough capacity to model natural language. We propose a simple and effective method to address this issue, and improve the state-of-the-art perplexities on Penn Treebank and WikiText-2 to 47.69 and 40.68 respectively. The proposed method also excels on the large-scale 1B Word dataset, outperforming the baseline by over 5.6 points in perplexity.

* ICLR Oral 2018 

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Semi-Supervised QA with Generative Domain-Adaptive Nets

Apr 22, 2017
Zhilin Yang, Junjie Hu, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, William W. Cohen

We study the problem of semi-supervised question answering----utilizing unlabeled text to boost the performance of question answering models. We propose a novel training framework, the Generative Domain-Adaptive Nets. In this framework, we train a generative model to generate questions based on the unlabeled text, and combine model-generated questions with human-generated questions for training question answering models. We develop novel domain adaptation algorithms, based on reinforcement learning, to alleviate the discrepancy between the model-generated data distribution and the human-generated data distribution. Experiments show that our proposed framework obtains substantial improvement from unlabeled text.

* Accepted as a long paper at ACL2017 

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Linguistic Knowledge as Memory for Recurrent Neural Networks

Mar 07, 2017
Bhuwan Dhingra, Zhilin Yang, William W. Cohen, Ruslan Salakhutdinov

Training recurrent neural networks to model long term dependencies is difficult. Hence, we propose to use external linguistic knowledge as an explicit signal to inform the model which memories it should utilize. Specifically, external knowledge is used to augment a sequence with typed edges between arbitrarily distant elements, and the resulting graph is decomposed into directed acyclic subgraphs. We introduce a model that encodes such graphs as explicit memory in recurrent neural networks, and use it to model coreference relations in text. We apply our model to several text comprehension tasks and achieve new state-of-the-art results on all considered benchmarks, including CNN, bAbi, and LAMBADA. On the bAbi QA tasks, our model solves 15 out of the 20 tasks with only 1000 training examples per task. Analysis of the learned representations further demonstrates the ability of our model to encode fine-grained entity information across a document.

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Neural Cross-Lingual Named Entity Recognition with Minimal Resources

Sep 11, 2018
Jiateng Xie, Zhilin Yang, Graham Neubig, Noah A. Smith, Jaime Carbonell

For languages with no annotated resources, unsupervised transfer of natural language processing models such as named-entity recognition (NER) from resource-rich languages would be an appealing capability. However, differences in words and word order across languages make it a challenging problem. To improve mapping of lexical items across languages, we propose a method that finds translations based on bilingual word embeddings. To improve robustness to word order differences, we propose to use self-attention, which allows for a degree of flexibility with respect to word order. We demonstrate that these methods achieve state-of-the-art or competitive NER performance on commonly tested languages under a cross-lingual setting, with much lower resource requirements than past approaches. We also evaluate the challenges of applying these methods to Uyghur, a low-resource language.

* EMNLP 2018 long paper 

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Good Semi-supervised Learning that Requires a Bad GAN

Nov 03, 2017
Zihang Dai, Zhilin Yang, Fan Yang, William W. Cohen, Ruslan Salakhutdinov

Semi-supervised learning methods based on generative adversarial networks (GANs) obtained strong empirical results, but it is not clear 1) how the discriminator benefits from joint training with a generator, and 2) why good semi-supervised classification performance and a good generator cannot be obtained at the same time. Theoretically, we show that given the discriminator objective, good semisupervised learning indeed requires a bad generator, and propose the definition of a preferred generator. Empirically, we derive a novel formulation based on our analysis that substantially improves over feature matching GANs, obtaining state-of-the-art results on multiple benchmark datasets.

* NIPS 2017 camera ready 

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Neural Models for Reasoning over Multiple Mentions using Coreference

Apr 16, 2018
Bhuwan Dhingra, Qiao Jin, Zhilin Yang, William W. Cohen, Ruslan Salakhutdinov

Many problems in NLP require aggregating information from multiple mentions of the same entity which may be far apart in the text. Existing Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) layers are biased towards short-term dependencies and hence not suited to such tasks. We present a recurrent layer which is instead biased towards coreferent dependencies. The layer uses coreference annotations extracted from an external system to connect entity mentions belonging to the same cluster. Incorporating this layer into a state-of-the-art reading comprehension model improves performance on three datasets -- Wikihop, LAMBADA and the bAbi AI tasks -- with large gains when training data is scarce.

* NAACL 2018 (Short Paper) 

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Gated-Attention Readers for Text Comprehension

Apr 21, 2017
Bhuwan Dhingra, Hanxiao Liu, Zhilin Yang, William W. Cohen, Ruslan Salakhutdinov

In this paper we study the problem of answering cloze-style questions over documents. Our model, the Gated-Attention (GA) Reader, integrates a multi-hop architecture with a novel attention mechanism, which is based on multiplicative interactions between the query embedding and the intermediate states of a recurrent neural network document reader. This enables the reader to build query-specific representations of tokens in the document for accurate answer selection. The GA Reader obtains state-of-the-art results on three benchmarks for this task--the CNN \& Daily Mail news stories and the Who Did What dataset. The effectiveness of multiplicative interaction is demonstrated by an ablation study, and by comparing to alternative compositional operators for implementing the gated-attention. The code is available at

* Accepted at ACL 2017 

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Review Networks for Caption Generation

Oct 27, 2016
Zhilin Yang, Ye Yuan, Yuexin Wu, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, William W. Cohen

We propose a novel extension of the encoder-decoder framework, called a review network. The review network is generic and can enhance any existing encoder- decoder model: in this paper, we consider RNN decoders with both CNN and RNN encoders. The review network performs a number of review steps with attention mechanism on the encoder hidden states, and outputs a thought vector after each review step; the thought vectors are used as the input of the attention mechanism in the decoder. We show that conventional encoder-decoders are a special case of our framework. Empirically, we show that our framework improves over state-of- the-art encoder-decoder systems on the tasks of image captioning and source code captioning.

* NIPS 2016 

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XLNet: Generalized Autoregressive Pretraining for Language Understanding

Jun 19, 2019
Zhilin Yang, Zihang Dai, Yiming Yang, Jaime Carbonell, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, Quoc V. Le

With the capability of modeling bidirectional contexts, denoising autoencoding based pretraining like BERT achieves better performance than pretraining approaches based on autoregressive language modeling. However, relying on corrupting the input with masks, BERT neglects dependency between the masked positions and suffers from a pretrain-finetune discrepancy. In light of these pros and cons, we propose XLNet, a generalized autoregressive pretraining method that (1) enables learning bidirectional contexts by maximizing the expected likelihood over all permutations of the factorization order and (2) overcomes the limitations of BERT thanks to its autoregressive formulation. Furthermore, XLNet integrates ideas from Transformer-XL, the state-of-the-art autoregressive model, into pretraining. Empirically, XLNet outperforms BERT on 20 tasks, often by a large margin, and achieves state-of-the-art results on 18 tasks including question answering, natural language inference, sentiment analysis, and document ranking.

* Pretrained models and code are available at 

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Transformer-XL: Attentive Language Models Beyond a Fixed-Length Context

Jan 18, 2019
Zihang Dai, Zhilin Yang, Yiming Yang, Jaime Carbonell, Quoc V. Le, Ruslan Salakhutdinov

Transformer networks have a potential of learning longer-term dependency, but are limited by a fixed-length context in the setting of language modeling. As a solution, we propose a novel neural architecture, Transformer-XL, that enables Transformer to learn dependency beyond a fixed length without disrupting temporal coherence. Concretely, 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 problem of context fragmentation. As a result, Transformer-XL learns dependency that is about 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 Transformer during evaluation. Additionally, we improve the state-of-the-art (SoTA) results of bpc/perplexity from 1.06 to 0.99 on enwiki8, from 1.13 to 1.08 on text8, from 20.5 to 18.3 on WikiText-103, from 23.7 to 21.8 on One Billion Word, and from 55.3 to 54.5 on Penn Treebank (without finetuning). Our code, pretrained models, and hyperparameters are available in both Tensorflow and PyTorch.

* Code and pretrained models are available at 

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A Probabilistic Framework for Location Inference from Social Media

Mar 01, 2017
Yujie Qian, Jie Tang, Zhilin Yang, Binxuan Huang, Wei Wei, Kathleen M. Carley

We study the extent to which we can infer users' geographical locations from social media. Location inference from social media can benefit many applications, such as disaster management, targeted advertising, and news content tailoring. In recent years, a number of algorithms have been proposed for identifying user locations on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook from message contents, friend networks, and interactions between users. In this paper, we propose a novel probabilistic model based on factor graphs for location inference that offers several unique advantages for this task. First, the model generalizes previous methods by incorporating content, network, and deep features learned from social context. The model is also flexible enough to support both supervised learning and semi-supervised learning. Second, we explore several learning algorithms for the proposed model, and present a Two-chain Metropolis-Hastings (MH+) algorithm, which improves the inference accuracy. Third, we validate the proposed model on three different genres of data - Twitter, Weibo, and Facebook - and demonstrate that the proposed model can substantially improve the inference accuracy (+3.3-18.5% by F1-score) over that of several state-of-the-art methods.

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Words or Characters? Fine-grained Gating for Reading Comprehension

Sep 11, 2017
Zhilin Yang, Bhuwan Dhingra, Ye Yuan, Junjie Hu, William W. Cohen, Ruslan Salakhutdinov

Previous work combines word-level and character-level representations using concatenation or scalar weighting, which is suboptimal for high-level tasks like reading comprehension. We present a fine-grained gating mechanism to dynamically combine word-level and character-level representations based on properties of the words. We also extend the idea of fine-grained gating to modeling the interaction between questions and paragraphs for reading comprehension. Experiments show that our approach can improve the performance on reading comprehension tasks, achieving new state-of-the-art results on the Children's Book Test dataset. To demonstrate the generality of our gating mechanism, we also show improved results on a social media tag prediction task.

* Accepted as a conference paper at ICLR 2017 

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GLoMo: Unsupervisedly Learned Relational Graphs as Transferable Representations

Jul 02, 2018
Zhilin Yang, Jake Zhao, Bhuwan Dhingra, Kaiming He, William W. Cohen, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, Yann LeCun

Modern deep transfer learning approaches have mainly focused on learning generic feature vectors from one task that are transferable to other tasks, such as word embeddings in language and pretrained convolutional features in vision. However, these approaches usually transfer unary features and largely ignore more structured graphical representations. This work explores the possibility of learning generic latent relational graphs that capture dependencies between pairs of data units (e.g., words or pixels) from large-scale unlabeled data and transferring the graphs to downstream tasks. Our proposed transfer learning framework improves performance on various tasks including question answering, natural language inference, sentiment analysis, and image classification. We also show that the learned graphs are generic enough to be transferred to different embeddings on which the graphs have not been trained (including GloVe embeddings, ELMo embeddings, and task-specific RNN hidden unit), or embedding-free units such as image pixels.

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HotpotQA: A Dataset for Diverse, Explainable Multi-hop Question Answering

Sep 25, 2018
Zhilin Yang, Peng Qi, Saizheng Zhang, Yoshua Bengio, William W. Cohen, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, Christopher D. Manning

Existing question answering (QA) datasets fail to train QA systems to perform complex reasoning and provide explanations for answers. We introduce HotpotQA, a new dataset with 113k Wikipedia-based question-answer pairs with four key features: (1) the questions require finding and reasoning over multiple supporting documents to answer; (2) the questions are diverse and not constrained to any pre-existing knowledge bases or knowledge schemas; (3) we provide sentence-level supporting facts required for reasoning, allowing QA systems to reason with strong supervision and explain the predictions; (4) we offer a new type of factoid comparison questions to test QA systems' ability to extract relevant facts and perform necessary comparison. We show that HotpotQA is challenging for the latest QA systems, and the supporting facts enable models to improve performance and make explainable predictions.

* EMNLP 2018 long paper. The first three authors contribute equally. Data, code, and blog posts available at 

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Mastering the Dungeon: Grounded Language Learning by Mechanical Turker Descent

Apr 16, 2018
Zhilin Yang, Saizheng Zhang, Jack Urbanek, Will Feng, Alexander H. Miller, Arthur Szlam, Douwe Kiela, Jason Weston

Contrary to most natural language processing research, which makes use of static datasets, humans learn language interactively, grounded in an environment. In this work we propose an interactive learning procedure called Mechanical Turker Descent (MTD) and use it to train agents to execute natural language commands grounded in a fantasy text adventure game. In MTD, Turkers compete to train better agents in the short term, and collaborate by sharing their agents' skills in the long term. This results in a gamified, engaging experience for the Turkers and a better quality teaching signal for the agents compared to static datasets, as the Turkers naturally adapt the training data to the agent's abilities.

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