Models, code, and papers for "Wei Xu":

Towards Optimal One Pass Large Scale Learning with Averaged Stochastic Gradient Descent

Dec 22, 2011
Wei Xu

For large scale learning problems, it is desirable if we can obtain the optimal model parameters by going through the data in only one pass. Polyak and Juditsky (1992) showed that asymptotically the test performance of the simple average of the parameters obtained by stochastic gradient descent (SGD) is as good as that of the parameters which minimize the empirical cost. However, to our knowledge, despite its optimal asymptotic convergence rate, averaged SGD (ASGD) received little attention in recent research on large scale learning. One possible reason is that it may take a prohibitively large number of training samples for ASGD to reach its asymptotic region for most real problems. In this paper, we present a finite sample analysis for the method of Polyak and Juditsky (1992). Our analysis shows that it indeed usually takes a huge number of samples for ASGD to reach its asymptotic region for improperly chosen learning rate. More importantly, based on our analysis, we propose a simple way to properly set learning rate so that it takes a reasonable amount of data for ASGD to reach its asymptotic region. We compare ASGD using our proposed learning rate with other well known algorithms for training large scale linear classifiers. The experiments clearly show the superiority of ASGD.

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Differentiable Neural Architecture Search via Proximal Iterations

May 30, 2019
Quanming Yao, Ju Xu, Wei-Wei Tu, Zhanxing Zhu

Neural architecture search (NAS) recently attracts much research attention because of its ability to identify better architectures than handcrafted ones. However, many NAS methods, which optimize the search process in a discrete search space, need many GPU days for convergence. Recently, DARTS, which constructs a differentiable search space and then optimizes it by gradient descent, can obtain high-performance architecture and reduces the search time to several days. However, DARTS is still slow as it updates an ensemble of all operations and keeps only one after convergence. Besides, DARTS can converge to inferior architectures due to the strong correlation among operations. In this paper, we propose a new differentiable Neural Architecture Search method based on Proximal gradient descent (denoted as NASP). Different from DARTS, NASP reformulates the search process as an optimization problem with a constraint that only one operation is allowed to be updated during forward and backward propagation. Since the constraint is hard to deal with, we propose a new algorithm inspired by proximal iterations to solve it. Experiments on various tasks demonstrate that NASP can obtain high-performance architectures with 10 times of speedup on the computational time than DARTS.

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Aligning Cross-Lingual Entities with Multi-Aspect Information

Oct 15, 2019
Hsiu-Wei Yang, Yanyan Zou, Peng Shi, Wei Lu, Jimmy Lin, Xu Sun

Multilingual knowledge graphs (KGs), such as YAGO and DBpedia, represent entities in different languages. The task of cross-lingual entity alignment is to match entities in a source language with their counterparts in target languages. In this work, we investigate embedding-based approaches to encode entities from multilingual KGs into the same vector space, where equivalent entities are close to each other. Specifically, we apply graph convolutional networks (GCNs) to combine multi-aspect information of entities, including topological connections, relations, and attributes of entities, to learn entity embeddings. To exploit the literal descriptions of entities expressed in different languages, we propose two uses of a pretrained multilingual BERT model to bridge cross-lingual gaps. We further propose two strategies to integrate GCN-based and BERT-based modules to boost performance. Extensive experiments on two benchmark datasets demonstrate that our method significantly outperforms existing systems.

* Accepted by EMNLP19 

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Attacking Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Systems with Adversarial Watermarks

Feb 08, 2020
Lu Chen, Wei Xu

Optical character recognition (OCR) is widely applied in real applications serving as a key preprocessing tool. The adoption of deep neural network (DNN) in OCR results in the vulnerability against adversarial examples which are crafted to mislead the output of the threat model. Different from vanilla colorful images, images of printed text have clear backgrounds usually. However, adversarial examples generated by most of the existing adversarial attacks are unnatural and pollute the background severely. To address this issue, we propose a watermark attack method to produce natural distortion that is in the disguise of watermarks and evade human eyes' detection. Experimental results show that watermark attacks can yield a set of natural adversarial examples attached with watermarks and attain similar attack performance to the state-of-the-art methods in different attack scenarios.

* 9 pages, this http url 

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Learning Good Representation via Continuous Attention

Apr 02, 2019
Liang Zhao, Wei Xu

In this paper we present our scientific discovery that good representation can be learned via continuous attention during the interaction between Unsupervised Learning(UL) and Reinforcement Learning(RL) modules driven by intrinsic motivation. Specifically, we designed intrinsic rewards generated from UL modules for driving the RL agent to focus on objects for a period of time and to learn good representations of objects for later object recognition task. We evaluate our proposed algorithm in both with and without extrinsic reward settings. Experiments with end-to-end training in simulated environments with applications to few-shot object recognition demonstrated the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.

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A Word-Complexity Lexicon and A Neural Readability Ranking Model for Lexical Simplification

Oct 12, 2018
Mounica Maddela, Wei Xu

Current lexical simplification approaches rely heavily on heuristics and corpus level features that do not always align with human judgment. We create a human-rated word-complexity lexicon of 15,000 English words and propose a novel neural readability ranking model with a Gaussian-based feature vectorization layer that utilizes these human ratings to measure the complexity of any given word or phrase. Our model performs better than the state-of-the-art systems for different lexical simplification tasks and evaluation datasets. Additionally, we also produce SimplePPDB++, a lexical resource of over 10 million simplifying paraphrase rules, by applying our model to the Paraphrase Database (PPDB).

* 12 pages; EMNLP 2018 

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Neural Network Models for Paraphrase Identification, Semantic Textual Similarity, Natural Language Inference, and Question Answering

Aug 23, 2018
Wuwei Lan, Wei Xu

In this paper, we analyze several neural network designs (and their variations) for sentence pair modeling and compare their performance extensively across eight datasets, including paraphrase identification, semantic textual similarity, natural language inference, and question answering tasks. Although most of these models have claimed state-of-the-art performance, the original papers often reported on only one or two selected datasets. We provide a systematic study and show that (i) encoding contextual information by LSTM and inter-sentence interactions are critical, (ii) Tree-LSTM does not help as much as previously claimed but surprisingly improves performance on Twitter datasets, (iii) the Enhanced Sequential Inference Model is the best so far for larger datasets, while the Pairwise Word Interaction Model achieves the best performance when less data is available. We release our implementations as an open-source toolkit.

* 13 pages; accepted to COLING 2018 

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Character-based Neural Networks for Sentence Pair Modeling

May 21, 2018
Wuwei Lan, Wei Xu

Sentence pair modeling is critical for many NLP tasks, such as paraphrase identification, semantic textual similarity, and natural language inference. Most state-of-the-art neural models for these tasks rely on pretrained word embedding and compose sentence-level semantics in varied ways; however, few works have attempted to verify whether we really need pretrained embeddings in these tasks. In this paper, we study how effective subword-level (character and character n-gram) representations are in sentence pair modeling. Though it is well-known that subword models are effective in tasks with single sentence input, including language modeling and machine translation, they have not been systematically studied in sentence pair modeling tasks where the semantic and string similarities between texts matter. Our experiments show that subword models without any pretrained word embedding can achieve new state-of-the-art results on two social media datasets and competitive results on news data for paraphrase identification.

* 7 pages; Accepted in NAACL 2018 

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Many Hard Examples in Exact Phase Transitions with Application to Generating Hard Satisfiable Instances

Nov 11, 2003
Ke Xu, Wei Li

This paper first analyzes the resolution complexity of two random CSP models (i.e. Model RB/RD) for which we can establish the existence of phase transitions and identify the threshold points exactly. By encoding CSPs into CNF formulas, it is proved that almost all instances of Model RB/RD have no tree-like resolution proofs of less than exponential size. Thus, we not only introduce new families of CNF formulas hard for resolution, which is a central task of Proof-Complexity theory, but also propose models with both many hard instances and exact phase transitions. Then, the implications of such models are addressed. It is shown both theoretically and experimentally that an application of Model RB/RD might be in the generation of hard satisfiable instances, which is not only of practical importance but also related to some open problems in cryptography such as generating one-way functions. Subsequently, a further theoretical support for the generation method is shown by establishing exponential lower bounds on the complexity of solving random satisfiable and forced satisfiable instances of RB/RD near the threshold. Finally, conclusions are presented, as well as a detailed comparison of Model RB/RD with the Hamiltonian cycle problem and random 3-SAT, which, respectively, exhibit three different kinds of phase transition behavior in NP-complete problems.

* 19 pages, corrected mistakes in Theorems 5 and 6 

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On the Average Similarity Degree between Solutions of Random k-SAT and Random CSPs

Apr 07, 2002
Ke Xu, Wei Li

To study the structure of solutions for random k-SAT and random CSPs, this paper introduces the concept of average similarity degree to characterize how solutions are similar to each other. It is proved that under certain conditions, as r (i.e. the ratio of constraints to variables) increases, the limit of average similarity degree when the number of variables approaches infinity exhibits phase transitions at a threshold point, shifting from a smaller value to a larger value abruptly. For random k-SAT this phenomenon will occur when k>4 . It is further shown that this threshold point is also a singular point with respect to r in the asymptotic estimate of the second moment of the number of solutions. Finally, we discuss how this work is helpful to understand the hardness of solving random instances and a possible application of it to the design of search algorithms.

* Discrete Applied Mathematics, 136(2004):125-149. 
* 22 pages, the final version to appear in Discrete Applied Mathematics 

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The SAT Phase Transition

May 23, 2000
Ke Xu, Wei Li

Phase transition is an important feature of SAT problem. For random k-SAT model, it is proved that as r (ratio of clauses to variables) increases, the structure of solutions will undergo a sudden change like satisfiability phase transition when r reaches a threshold point. This phenomenon shows that the satisfying truth assignments suddenly shift from being relatively different from each other to being very similar to each other.

* The SAT Phase Transition. Science in China, Series E, 42(5):494-501, 1999 
* 13 pages, 3 figures 

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An Average Analysis of Backtracking on Random Constraint Satisfaction Problems

May 09, 2000
Ke Xu, Wei Li

In this paper we propose a random CSP model, called Model GB, which is a natural generalization of standard Model B. It is proved that Model GB in which each constraint is easy to satisfy exhibits non-trivial behaviour (not trivially satisfiable or unsatisfiable) as the number of variables approaches infinity. A detailed analysis to obtain an asymptotic estimate (good to 1+o(1)) of the average number of nodes in a search tree used by the backtracking algorithm on Model GB is also presented. It is shown that the average number of nodes required for finding all solutions or proving that no solution exists grows exponentially with the number of variables. So this model might be an interesting distribution for studying the nature of hard instances and evaluating the performance of CSP algorithms. In addition, we further investigate the behaviour of the average number of nodes as r (the ratio of constraints to variables) varies. The results indicate that as r increases, random CSP instances get easier and easier to solve, and the base for the average number of nodes that is exponential in r tends to 1 as r approaches infinity. Therefore, although the average number of nodes used by the backtracking algorithm on random CSP is exponential, many CSP instances will be very easy to solve when r is sufficiently large.

* Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence, 33:21-37, 2001. 
* 20 pages, submitted to Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence 

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Exact Phase Transitions in Random Constraint Satisfaction Problems

Apr 16, 2000
Ke Xu, Wei Li

In this paper we propose a new type of random CSP model, called Model RB, which is a revision to the standard Model B. It is proved that phase transitions from a region where almost all problems are satisfiable to a region where almost all problems are unsatisfiable do exist for Model RB as the number of variables approaches infinity. Moreover, the critical values at which the phase transitions occur are also known exactly. By relating the hardness of Model RB to Model B, it is shown that there exist a lot of hard instances in Model RB.

* Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, Vol 12, (2000), 93-103. 
* See for any accompanying files 

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Towards Explainable and Controllable Open Domain Dialogue Generation with Dialogue Acts

Jul 20, 2018
Can Xu, Wei Wu, Yu Wu

We study open domain dialogue generation with dialogue acts designed to explain how people engage in social chat. To imitate human behavior, we propose managing the flow of human-machine interactions with the dialogue acts as policies. The policies and response generation are jointly learned from human-human conversations, and the former is further optimized with a reinforcement learning approach. With the dialogue acts, we achieve significant improvement over state-of-the-art methods on response quality for given contexts and dialogue length in both machine-machine simulation and human-machine conversation.

* The paper is also available on OpenReview of ICLR 2018 ( 

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Mining Commonsense Facts from the Physical World

Feb 11, 2020
Yanyan Zou, Wei Lu, Xu Sun

Textual descriptions of the physical world implicitly mention commonsense facts, while the commonsense knowledge bases explicitly represent such facts as triples. Compared to dramatically increased text data, the coverage of existing knowledge bases is far away from completion. Most of the prior studies on populating knowledge bases mainly focus on Freebase. To automatically complete commonsense knowledge bases to improve their coverage is under-explored. In this paper, we propose a new task of mining commonsense facts from the raw text that describes the physical world. We build an effective new model that fuses information from both sequence text and existing knowledge base resource. Then we create two large annotated datasets each with approximate 200k instances for commonsense knowledge base completion. Empirical results demonstrate that our model significantly outperforms baselines.

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Mutual Information-based State-Control for Intrinsically Motivated Reinforcement Learning

Feb 05, 2020
Rui Zhao, Volker Tresp, Wei Xu

In reinforcement learning, an agent learns to reach a set of goals by means of an external reward signal. In the natural world, intelligent organisms learn from internal drives, bypassing the need for external signals, which is beneficial for a wide range of tasks. Motivated by this observation, we propose to formulate an intrinsic objective as the mutual information between the goal states and the controllable states. This objective encourages the agent to take control of its environment. Subsequently, we derive a surrogate objective of the proposed reward function, which can be optimized efficiently. Lastly, we evaluate the developed framework in different robotic manipulation and navigation tasks and demonstrate the efficacy of our approach. A video showing experimental results is available at \url{}.

* 12 pages, 8 figures 

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Gaussian Process Latent Variable Model Factorization for Context-aware Recommender Systems

Dec 19, 2019
Wei Huang, Richard Yi Da Xu

Context-aware recommender systems (CARS) have gained increasing attention due to their ability to utilize contextual information. Compared to traditional recommender systems, CARS are, in general, able to generate more accurate recommendations. Latent factors approach accounts for a large proportion of CARS. Recently, a non-linear Gaussian Process (GP) based factorization method was proven to outperform the state-of-the-art methods in CARS. Despite its effectiveness, GP model-based methods can suffer from over-fitting and may not be able to determine the impact of each context automatically. In order to address such shortcomings, we propose a Gaussian Process Latent Variable Model Factorization (GPLVMF) method, where we apply an appropriate prior to the original GP model. Our work is primarily inspired by the Gaussian Process Latent Variable Model (GPLVM), which was a non-linear dimensionality reduction method. As a result, we improve the performance on the real datasets significantly as well as capturing the importance of each context. In addition to the general advantages, our method provides two main contributions regarding recommender system settings: (1) addressing the influence of bias by setting a non-zero mean function, and (2) utilizing real-valued contexts by fixing the latent space with real values.

* 8 pages, 5 figures 

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Multi-scale Deep Neural Networks for Solving High Dimensional PDEs

Oct 25, 2019
Wei Cai, Zhi-Qin John Xu

In this paper, we propose the idea of radial scaling in frequency domain and activation functions with compact support to produce a multi-scale DNN (MscaleDNN), which will have the multi-scale capability in approximating high frequency and high dimensional functions and speeding up the solution of high dimensional PDEs. Numerical results on high dimensional function fitting and solutions of high dimensional PDEs, using loss functions with either Ritz energy or least squared PDE residuals, have validated the increased power of multi-scale resolution and high frequency capturing of the proposed MscaleDNN.

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Modeling Conversation Structure and Temporal Dynamics for Jointly Predicting Rumor Stance and Veracity

Sep 18, 2019
Penghui Wei, Nan Xu, Wenji Mao

Automatically verifying rumorous information has become an important and challenging task in natural language processing and social media analytics. Previous studies reveal that people's stances towards rumorous messages can provide indicative clues for identifying the veracity of rumors, and thus determining the stances of public reactions is a crucial preceding step for rumor veracity prediction. In this paper, we propose a hierarchical multi-task learning framework for jointly predicting rumor stance and veracity on Twitter, which consists of two components. The bottom component of our framework classifies the stances of tweets in a conversation discussing a rumor via modeling the structural property based on a novel graph convolutional network. The top component predicts the rumor veracity by exploiting the temporal dynamics of stance evolution. Experimental results on two benchmark datasets show that our method outperforms previous methods in both rumor stance classification and veracity prediction.


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BERT-based Ranking for Biomedical Entity Normalization

Aug 09, 2019
Zongcheng Ji, Qiang Wei, Hua Xu

Developing high-performance entity normalization algorithms that can alleviate the term variation problem is of great interest to the biomedical community. Although deep learning-based methods have been successfully applied to biomedical entity normalization, they often depend on traditional context-independent word embeddings. Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT), BERT for Biomedical Text Mining (BioBERT) and BERT for Clinical Text Mining (ClinicalBERT) were recently introduced to pre-train contextualized word representation models using bidirectional Transformers, advancing the state-of-the-art for many natural language processing tasks. In this study, we proposed an entity normalization architecture by fine-tuning the pre-trained BERT / BioBERT / ClinicalBERT models and conducted extensive experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of the pre-trained models for biomedical entity normalization using three different types of datasets. Our experimental results show that the best fine-tuned models consistently outperformed previous methods and advanced the state-of-the-art for biomedical entity normalization, with up to 1.17% increase in accuracy.

* 9 pages, 1 figure, 4 tables 

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