Research papers and code for "Xuancheng Ren":
In the training of transition-based dependency parsers, an oracle is used to predict a transition sequence for a sentence and its gold tree. However, the transition system may exhibit ambiguity, that is, there can be multiple correct transition sequences that form the gold tree. We propose to make use of the property in the training of neural dependency parsers, and present the Hybrid Oracle. The new oracle gives all the correct transitions for a parsing state, which are used in the cross entropy loss function to provide better supervisory signal. It is also used to generate different transition sequences for a sentence to better explore the training data and improve the generalization ability of the parser. Evaluations show that the parsers trained using the hybrid oracle outperform the parsers using the traditional oracle in Chinese dependency parsing. We provide analysis from a linguistic view. The code is available at https://github.com/lancopku/nndep .

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Automatic evaluation of semantic rationality is an important yet challenging task, and current automatic techniques cannot well identify whether a sentence is semantically rational. The methods based on the language model do not measure the sentence by rationality but by commonness. The methods based on the similarity with human written sentences will fail if human-written references are not available. In this paper, we propose a novel model called Sememe-Word-Matching Neural Network (SWM-NN) to tackle semantic rationality evaluation by taking advantage of sememe knowledge base HowNet. The advantage is that our model can utilize a proper combination of sememes to represent the fine-grained semantic meanings of a word within the specific contexts. We use the fine-grained semantic representation to help the model learn the semantic dependency among words. To evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed model, we build a large-scale rationality evaluation dataset. Experimental results on this dataset show that the proposed model outperforms the competitive baselines with a 5.4\% improvement in accuracy.

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Existing text generation methods tend to produce repeated and "boring" expressions. To tackle this problem, we propose a new text generation model, called Diversity-Promoting Generative Adversarial Network (DP-GAN). The proposed model assigns low reward for repeatedly generated text and high reward for "novel" and fluent text, encouraging the generator to produce diverse and informative text. Moreover, we propose a novel language-model based discriminator, which can better distinguish novel text from repeated text without the saturation problem compared with existing classifier-based discriminators. The experimental results on review generation and dialogue generation tasks demonstrate that our model can generate substantially more diverse and informative text than existing baselines. The code is available at https://github.com/lancopku/DPGAN

* Accepted by EMNLP 2018
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As traditional neural network consumes a significant amount of computing resources during back propagation, \citet{Sun2017mePropSB} propose a simple yet effective technique to alleviate this problem. In this technique, only a small subset of the full gradients are computed to update the model parameters. In this paper we extend this technique into the Convolutional Neural Network(CNN) to reduce calculation in back propagation, and the surprising results verify its validity in CNN: only 5\% of the gradients are passed back but the model still achieves the same effect as the traditional CNN, or even better. We also show that the top-$k$ selection of gradients leads to a sparse calculation in back propagation, which may bring significant computational benefits for high computational complexity of convolution operation in CNN.

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Unsupervised text style transfer aims to alter text styles while preserving the content, without aligned data for supervision. Existing seq2seq methods face three challenges: 1) the transfer is weakly interpretable, 2) generated outputs struggle in content preservation, and 3) the trade-off between content and style is intractable. To address these challenges, we propose a hierarchical reinforced sequence operation method, named Point-Then-Operate (PTO), which consists of a high-level agent that proposes operation positions and a low-level agent that alters the sentence. We provide comprehensive training objectives to control the fluency, style, and content of the outputs and a mask-based inference algorithm that allows for multi-step revision based on the single-step trained agents. Experimental results on two text style transfer datasets show that our method significantly outperforms recent methods and effectively addresses the aforementioned challenges.

* Accepted to ACL 2019
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Neural network learning is typically slow since backpropagation needs to compute full gradients and backpropagate them across multiple layers. Despite its success of existing work in accelerating propagation through sparseness, the relevant theoretical characteristics remain unexplored and we empirically find that they suffer from the loss of information contained in unpropagated gradients. To tackle these problems, in this work, we present a unified sparse backpropagation framework and provide a detailed analysis of its theoretical characteristics. Analysis reveals that when applied to a multilayer perceptron, our framework essentially performs gradient descent using an estimated gradient similar enough to the true gradient, resulting in convergence in probability under certain conditions. Furthermore, a simple yet effective algorithm named memorized sparse backpropagation (MSBP) is proposed to remedy the problem of information loss by storing unpropagated gradients in memory for the next learning. The experiments demonstrate that the proposed MSBP is able to effectively alleviate the information loss in traditional sparse backpropagation while achieving comparable acceleration.

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This paper explores a new natural language processing task, review-driven multi-label music style classification. This task requires the system to identify multiple styles of music based on its reviews on websites. The biggest challenge lies in the complicated relations of music styles. It has brought failure to many multi-label classification methods. To tackle this problem, we propose a novel deep learning approach to automatically learn and exploit style correlations. The proposed method consists of two parts: a label-graph based neural network, and a soft training mechanism with correlation-based continuous label representation. Experimental results show that our approach achieves large improvements over the baselines on the proposed dataset. Especially, the micro F1 is improved from 53.9 to 64.5, and the one-error is reduced from 30.5 to 22.6. Furthermore, the visualized analysis shows that our approach performs well in capturing style correlations.

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Text summarization and sentiment classification both aim to capture the main ideas of the text but at different levels. Text summarization is to describe the text within a few sentences, while sentiment classification can be regarded as a special type of summarization which "summarizes" the text into a even more abstract fashion, i.e., a sentiment class. Based on this idea, we propose a hierarchical end-to-end model for joint learning of text summarization and sentiment classification, where the sentiment classification label is treated as the further "summarization" of the text summarization output. Hence, the sentiment classification layer is put upon the text summarization layer, and a hierarchical structure is derived. Experimental results on Amazon online reviews datasets show that our model achieves better performance than the strong baseline systems on both abstractive summarization and sentiment classification.

* accepted by IJCAI-18
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Relation classification is an important semantic processing task in the field of natural language processing. In this paper, we propose the task of relation classification for Chinese literature text. A new dataset of Chinese literature text is constructed to facilitate the study in this task. We present a novel model, named Structure Regularized Bidirectional Recurrent Convolutional Neural Network (SR-BRCNN), to identify the relation between entities. The proposed model learns relation representations along the shortest dependency path (SDP) extracted from the structure regularized dependency tree, which has the benefits of reducing the complexity of the whole model. Experimental results show that the proposed method significantly improves the F1 score by 10.3, and outperforms the state-of-the-art approaches on Chinese literature text.

* Accepted at NAACL HLT 2018. arXiv admin note: substantial text overlap with arXiv:1711.02509
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We propose a simple yet effective technique for neural network learning. The forward propagation is computed as usual. In back propagation, only a small subset of the full gradient is computed to update the model parameters. The gradient vectors are sparsified in such a way that only the top-$k$ elements (in terms of magnitude) are kept. As a result, only $k$ rows or columns (depending on the layout) of the weight matrix are modified, leading to a linear reduction ($k$ divided by the vector dimension) in the computational cost. Surprisingly, experimental results demonstrate that we can update only 1--4\% of the weights at each back propagation pass. This does not result in a larger number of training iterations. More interestingly, the accuracy of the resulting models is actually improved rather than degraded, and a detailed analysis is given. The code is available at https://github.com/jklj077/meProp

* Accepted by The 34th International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML 2017)
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We propose a method, called Label Embedding Network, which can learn label representation (label embedding) during the training process of deep networks. With the proposed method, the label embedding is adaptively and automatically learned through back propagation. The original one-hot represented loss function is converted into a new loss function with soft distributions, such that the originally unrelated labels have continuous interactions with each other during the training process. As a result, the trained model can achieve substantially higher accuracy and with faster convergence speed. Experimental results based on competitive tasks demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method, and the learned label embedding is reasonable and interpretable. The proposed method achieves comparable or even better results than the state-of-the-art systems. The source code is available at \url{https://github.com/lancopku/LabelEmb}.

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Chinese word segmentation (CWS) is a fundamental step of Chinese natural language processing. In this paper, we build a new toolkit, named PKUSEG, for multi-domain word segmentation. Unlike existing single-model toolkits, PKUSEG targets at multi-domain word segmentation and provides separate models for different domains, such as web, medicine, and tourism. The new toolkit also supports POS tagging and model training to adapt to various application scenarios. Experiments show that PKUSEG achieves high performance on multiple domains. The toolkit is now freely and publicly available for the usage of research and industry.

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In image-grounded text generation, fine-grained representations of the image are considered to be of paramount importance. Most of the current systems incorporate visual features and textual concepts as a sketch of an image. However, plainly inferred representations are usually undesirable in that they are composed of separate components, the relations of which are elusive. In this work, we aim at representing an image with a set of integrated visual regions and corresponding textual concepts. To this end, we build the Mutual Iterative Attention (MIA) module, which integrates correlated visual features and textual concepts, respectively, by aligning the two modalities. We evaluate the proposed approach on the COCO dataset for image captioning. Extensive experiments show that the refined image representations boost the baseline models by up to 12% in terms of CIDEr, demonstrating that our method is effective and generalizes well to a wide range of models.

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The encode-decoder framework has shown recent success in image captioning. Visual attention, which is good at detailedness, and semantic attention, which is good at comprehensiveness, have been separately proposed to ground the caption on the image. In this paper, we propose the Stepwise Image-Topic Merging Network (simNet) that makes use of the two kinds of attention at the same time. At each time step when generating the caption, the decoder adaptively merges the attentive information in the extracted topics and the image according to the generated context, so that the visual information and the semantic information can be effectively combined. The proposed approach is evaluated on two benchmark datasets and reaches the state-of-the-art performances.(The code is available at https://github.com/lancopku/simNet)

* Accepted by Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing 2018
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Existing neural models usually predict the tag of the current token independent of the neighboring tags. The popular LSTM-CRF model considers the tag dependencies between every two consecutive tags. However, it is hard for existing neural models to take longer distance dependencies of tags into consideration. The scalability is mainly limited by the complex model structures and the cost of dynamic programming during training. In our work, we first design a new model called "high order LSTM" to predict multiple tags for the current token which contains not only the current tag but also the previous several tags. We call the number of tags in one prediction as "order". Then we propose a new method called Multi-Order BiLSTM (MO-BiLSTM) which combines low order and high order LSTMs together. MO-BiLSTM keeps the scalability to high order models with a pruning technique. We evaluate MO-BiLSTM on all-phrase chunking and NER datasets. Experiment results show that MO-BiLSTM achieves the state-of-the-art result in chunking and highly competitive results in two NER datasets.

* Accepted by COLING 2018
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Most of the Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models are based on the sequence-to-sequence (Seq2Seq) model with an encoder-decoder framework equipped with the attention mechanism. However, the conventional attention mechanism treats the decoding at each time step equally with the same matrix, which is problematic since the softness of the attention for different types of words (e.g. content words and function words) should differ. Therefore, we propose a new model with a mechanism called Self-Adaptive Control of Temperature (SACT) to control the softness of attention by means of an attention temperature. Experimental results on the Chinese-English translation and English-Vietnamese translation demonstrate that our model outperforms the baseline models, and the analysis and the case study show that our model can attend to the most relevant elements in the source-side contexts and generate the translation of high quality.

* To appear in EMNLP 2018
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Most recent approaches use the sequence-to-sequence model for paraphrase generation. The existing sequence-to-sequence model tends to memorize the words and the patterns in the training dataset instead of learning the meaning of the words. Therefore, the generated sentences are often grammatically correct but semantically improper. In this work, we introduce a novel model based on the encoder-decoder framework, called Word Embedding Attention Network (WEAN). Our proposed model generates the words by querying distributed word representations (i.e. neural word embeddings), hoping to capturing the meaning of the according words. Following previous work, we evaluate our model on two paraphrase-oriented tasks, namely text simplification and short text abstractive summarization. Experimental results show that our model outperforms the sequence-to-sequence baseline by the BLEU score of 6.3 and 5.5 on two English text simplification datasets, and the ROUGE-2 F1 score of 5.7 on a Chinese summarization dataset. Moreover, our model achieves state-of-the-art performances on these three benchmark datasets.

* arXiv admin note: text overlap with arXiv:1710.02318
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Narrative story generation is a challenging problem because it demands the generated sentences with tight semantic connections, which has not been well studied by most existing generative models. To address this problem, we propose a skeleton-based model to promote the coherence of generated stories. Different from traditional models that generate a complete sentence at a stroke, the proposed model first generates the most critical phrases, called skeleton, and then expands the skeleton to a complete and fluent sentence. The skeleton is not manually defined, but learned by a reinforcement learning method. Compared to the state-of-the-art models, our skeleton-based model can generate significantly more coherent text according to human evaluation and automatic evaluation. The G-score is improved by 20.1% in the human evaluation. The code is available at https://github.com/lancopku/Skeleton-Based-Generation-Model

* Accepted by EMNLP 2018
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