We describe the Uppsala NLP submission to SemEval-2021 Task 2 on multilingual and cross-lingual word-in-context disambiguation. We explore the usefulness of three pre-trained multilingual language models, XLM-RoBERTa (XLMR), Multilingual BERT (mBERT) and multilingual distilled BERT (mDistilBERT). We compare these three models in two setups, fine-tuning and as feature extractors. In the second case we also experiment with using dependency-based information. We find that fine-tuning is better than feature extraction. XLMR performs better than mBERT in the cross-lingual setting both with fine-tuning and feature extraction, whereas these two models give a similar performance in the multilingual setting. mDistilBERT performs poorly with fine-tuning but gives similar results to the other models when used as a feature extractor. We submitted our two best systems, fine-tuned with XLMR and mBERT.

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Understanding natural language involves recognizing how multiple event mentions structurally and temporally interact with each other. In this process, one can induce event complexes that organize multi-granular events with temporal order and membership relations interweaving among them. Due to the lack of jointly labeled data for these relational phenomena and the restriction on the structures they articulate, we propose a joint constrained learning framework for modeling event-event relations. Specifically, the framework enforces logical constraints within and across multiple temporal and subevent relations by converting these constraints into differentiable learning objectives. We show that our joint constrained learning approach effectively compensates for the lack of jointly labeled data, and outperforms SOTA methods on benchmarks for both temporal relation extraction and event hierarchy construction, replacing a commonly used but more expensive global inference process. We also present a promising case study showing the effectiveness of our approach in inducing event complexes on an external corpus.

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Pre-training text representations has recently been shown to significantly improve the state-of-the-art in many natural language processing tasks. The central goal of pre-training is to learn text representations that are useful for subsequent tasks. However, existing approaches are optimized by minimizing a proxy objective, such as the negative log likelihood of language modeling. In this work, we introduce a learning algorithm which directly optimizes model's ability to learn text representations for effective learning of downstream tasks. We show that there is an intrinsic connection between multi-task pre-training and model-agnostic meta-learning with a sequence of meta-train steps. The standard multi-task learning objective adopted in BERT is a special case of our learning algorithm where the depth of meta-train is zero. We study the problem in two settings: unsupervised pre-training and supervised pre-training with different pre-training objects to verify the generality of our approach.Experimental results show that our algorithm brings improvements and learns better initializations for a variety of downstream tasks.

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We propose to pre-train a unified language model for both autoencoding and partially autoregressive language modeling tasks using a novel training procedure, referred to as a pseudo-masked language model (PMLM). Given an input text with masked tokens, we rely on conventional masks to learn inter-relations between corrupted tokens and context via autoencoding, and pseudo masks to learn intra-relations between masked spans via partially autoregressive modeling. With well-designed position embeddings and self-attention masks, the context encodings are reused to avoid redundant computation. Moreover, conventional masks used for autoencoding provide global masking information, so that all the position embeddings are accessible in partially autoregressive language modeling. In addition, the two tasks pre-train a unified language model as a bidirectional encoder and a sequence-to-sequence decoder, respectively. Our experiments show that the unified language models pre-trained using PMLM achieve new state-of-the-art results on a wide range of natural language understanding and generation tasks across several widely used benchmarks.

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This paper shows that pretraining multilingual language models at scale leads to significant performance gains for a wide range of cross-lingual transfer tasks. We train a Transformer-based masked language model on one hundred languages, using more than two terabytes of filtered CommonCrawl data. Our model, dubbed XLM-R, significantly outperforms multilingual BERT (mBERT) on a variety of cross-lingual benchmarks, including +13.8% average accuracy on XNLI, +12.3% average F1 score on MLQA, and +2.1% average F1 score on NER. XLM-R performs particularly well on low-resource languages, improving 11.8% in XNLI accuracy for Swahili and 9.2% for Urdu over the previous XLM model. We also present a detailed empirical evaluation of the key factors that are required to achieve these gains, including the trade-offs between (1) positive transfer and capacity dilution and (2) the performance of high and low resource languages at scale. Finally, we show, for the first time, the possibility of multilingual modeling without sacrificing per-language performance; XLM-Ris very competitive with strong monolingual models on the GLUE and XNLI benchmarks. We will make XLM-R code, data, and models publicly available.

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Text classification tends to be difficult when the data is deficient or when it is required to adapt to unseen classes. In such challenging scenarios, recent studies have often used meta-learning to simulate the few-shot task, thus negating explicit common linguistic features across tasks. Deep language representations have proven to be very effective forms of unsupervised pretraining, yielding contextualized features that capture linguistic properties and benefit downstream natural language understanding tasks. However, the effect of pretrained language representation for few-shot learning on text classification tasks is still not well understood. In this study, we design a few-shot learning model with pretrained language representations and report the empirical results. We show that our approach is not only simple but also produces state-of-the-art performance on a well-studied sentiment classification dataset. It can thus be further suggested that pretraining could be a promising solution for few shot learning of many other NLP tasks. The code and the dataset to replicate the experiments are made available at https://github.com/zxlzr/FewShotNLP.

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Entity and relation extraction is the necessary step in structuring medical text. However, the feature extraction ability of the bidirectional long short term memory network in the existing model does not achieve the best effect. At the same time, the language model has achieved excellent results in more and more natural language processing tasks. In this paper, we present a focused attention model for the joint entity and relation extraction task. Our model integrates well-known BERT language model into joint learning through dynamic range attention mechanism, thus improving the feature representation ability of shared parameter layer. Experimental results on coronary angiography texts collected from Shuguang Hospital show that the F1-score of named entity recognition and relation classification tasks reach 96.89% and 88.51%, which are better than state-of-the-art methods 1.65% and 1.22%, respectively.

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In this paper, we propose a span based model combined with syntactic information for n-ary open information extraction. The advantage of span model is that it can leverage span level features, which is difficult in token based BIO tagging methods. We also improve the previous bootstrap method to construct training corpus. Experiments show that our model outperforms previous open information extraction systems. Our code and data are publicly available at https://github.com/zhanjunlang/Span_OIE

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Inductive transfer learning has greatly impacted computer vision, but existing approaches in NLP still require task-specific modifications and training from scratch. We propose Universal Language Model Fine-tuning (ULMFiT), an effective transfer learning method that can be applied to any task in NLP, and introduce techniques that are key for fine-tuning a language model. Our method significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art on six text classification tasks, reducing the error by 18-24% on the majority of datasets. Furthermore, with only 100 labeled examples, it matches the performance of training from scratch on 100x more data. We open-source our pretrained models and code.

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While neural machine translation (NMT) models provide improved translation quality in an elegant, end-to-end framework, it is less clear what they learn about language. Recent work has started evaluating the quality of vector representations learned by NMT models on morphological and syntactic tasks. In this paper, we investigate the representations learned at different layers of NMT encoders. We train NMT systems on parallel data and use the trained models to extract features for training a classifier on two tasks: part-of-speech and semantic tagging. We then measure the performance of the classifier as a proxy to the quality of the original NMT model for the given task. Our quantitative analysis yields interesting insights regarding representation learning in NMT models. For instance, we find that higher layers are better at learning semantics while lower layers tend to be better for part-of-speech tagging. We also observe little effect of the target language on source-side representations, especially with higher quality NMT models.

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Scientific publications have evolved several features for mitigating vocabulary mismatch when indexing, retrieving, and computing similarity between articles. These mitigation strategies range from simply focusing on high-value article sections, such as titles and abstracts, to assigning keywords, often from controlled vocabularies, either manually or through automatic annotation. Various document representation schemes possess different cost-benefit tradeoffs. In this paper, we propose to model different representations of the same article as translations of each other, all generated from a common latent representation in a multilingual topic model. We start with a methodological overview on latent variable models for parallel document representations that could be used across many information science tasks. We then show how solving the inference problem of mapping diverse representations into a shared topic space allows us to evaluate representations based on how topically similar they are to the original article. In addition, our proposed approach provides means to discover where different concept vocabularies require improvement.

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