Xuchao Zhang works at Microsoft.


Open-Ended Commonsense Reasoning with Unrestricted Answer Scope

Open-ended Commonsense Reasoning is defined as solving a commonsense question without providing 1) a short list of answer candidates and 2) a pre-defined answer scope. Conventional ways of formulating the commonsense question into a question-answering form or utilizing external knowledge to learn retrieval-based methods are less applicable in the open-ended setting due to an inherent challenge. Without pre-defining an answer scope or a few candidates, open-ended commonsense reasoning entails predicting answers by searching over an extremely large searching space. Moreover, most questions require implicit multi-hop reasoning, which presents even more challenges to our problem. In this work, we leverage pre-trained language models to iteratively retrieve reasoning paths on the external knowledge base, which does not require task-specific supervision. The reasoning paths can help to identify the most precise answer to the commonsense question. We conduct experiments on two commonsense benchmark datasets. Compared to other approaches, our proposed method achieves better performance both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Multi-Label Temporal Evidential Neural Networks for Early Event Detection

Multi-Label Temporal Evidential Neural Networks for Early Event Detection Early event detection aims to detect events even before the event is complete. However, most of the existing methods focus on an event with a single label but fail to be applied to cases with multiple labels. Another non-negligible issue for early event detection is a prediction with overconfidence due to the high vacuity uncertainty that exists in the early time series. It results in an over-confidence estimation and hence unreliable predictions. To this end, technically, we propose a novel framework, Multi-Label Temporal Evidential Neural Network (MTENN), for multi-label uncertainty estimation in temporal data. MTENN is able to quality predictive uncertainty due to the lack of evidence for multi-label classifications at each time stamp based on belief/evidence theory. In addition, we introduce a novel uncertainty estimation head (weighted binomial comultiplication (WBC)) to quantify the fused uncertainty of a sub-sequence for early event detection. We validate the performance of our approach with state-of-the-art techniques on real-world audio datasets.

Time Series Contrastive Learning with Information-Aware Augmentations

Time Series Contrastive Learning with Information-Aware Augmentations Various contrastive learning approaches have been proposed in recent years and achieve significant empirical success. While effective and prevalent, contrastive learning has been less explored for time series data. A key component of contrastive learning is to select appropriate augmentations imposing some priors to construct feasible positive samples, such that an encoder can be trained to learn robust and discriminative representations. Unlike image and language domains where “desired” augmented samples can be generated with the rule of thumb guided by prefabricated human priors, the ad-hoc manual selection of time series augmentations is hindered by their diverse and human-unrecognizable temporal structures. How to find the desired augmentations of time series data that are meaningful for given contrastive learning tasks and datasets remains an open question. In this work, we address the problem by encouraging both high fidelity and variety based on information theory. A theoretical analysis leads to the criteria for selecting feasible data augmentations. On top of that, we propose a new contrastive learning approach with information-aware augmentations, InfoTS, that adaptively selects optimal augmentations for time series representation learning. Experiments on various datasets show highly competitive performance with up to a 12.0% reduction in MSE on forecasting tasks and up to 3.7% relative improvement in accuracy on classification tasks over the leading baselines.

DeepGAR: Deep Graph Learning for Analogical Reasoning

DeepGAR: Deep Graph Learning for Analogical Reasoning Analogical reasoning is the process of discovering and mapping correspondences from a target subject to a base subject. As the most well-known computational method of analogical reasoning, Structure-Mapping Theory (SMT) abstracts both target and base subjects into relational graphs and forms the cognitive process of analogical reasoning by finding a corresponding subgraph (i.e., correspondence) in the target graph that is aligned with the base graph. However, incorporating deep learning for SMT is still under-explored due to several obstacles: 1) the combinatorial complexity of searching for the correspondence in the target graph, 2) the correspondence mining is restricted by various cognitive theory-driven constraints. To address both challenges, we propose a novel framework for Analogical Reasoning (DeepGAR) that identifies the correspondence between source and target domains by assuring cognitive theory-driven constraints. Specifically, we design a geometric constraint embedding space to induce subgraph relation from node embeddings for efficient subgraph search. Furthermore, we develop novel learning and optimization strategies that could end-to-end identify correspondences that are strictly consistent with constraints driven by the cognitive theory. Extensive experiments are conducted on synthetic and real-world datasets to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed DeepGAR over existing methods. The code and data are available at: https://github.com/triplej0079/DeepGAR.

CAT: Beyond Efficient Transformer for Content-Aware Anomaly Detection in Event Sequences

CAT: Beyond Efficient Transformer for Content-Aware Anomaly Detection in Event Sequences It is critical and important to detect anomalies in event sequences, which becomes widely available in many application domains. Indeed, various efforts have been made to capture abnormal patterns from event sequences through sequential pattern analysis or event representation learning. However, existing approaches usually ignore the semantic information of event content. To this end, in this paper, we propose a self-attentive encoder-decoder transformer framework, Content-Aware Transformer CAT, for anomaly detection in event sequences. In CAT, the encoder learns preamble event sequence representations with content awareness, and the decoder embeds sequences under detection into a latent space, where anomalies are distinguishable. Specifically, the event content is first fed to a content-awareness layer, generating representations of each event. The encoder accepts preamble event representation sequence, generating feature maps. In the decoder, an additional token is added at the beginning of the sequence under detection, denoting the sequence status. A one-class objective together with sequence reconstruction loss is collectively applied to train our framework under the label efficiency scheme. Furthermore, CAT is optimized under a scalable and efficient setting. Finally, extensive experiments on three real-world datasets demonstrate the superiority of CAT.

SEED: Sound Event Early Detection via Evidential Uncertainty

SEED: Sound Event Early Detection via Evidential Uncertainty Sound Event Early Detection (SEED) is an essential task in recognizing the acoustic environments and soundscapes. However, most of the existing methods focus on the offline sound event detection, which suffers from the over-confidence issue of early-stage event detection and usually yield unreliable results. To solve the problem, we propose a novel Polyphonic Evidential Neural Network (PENet) to model the evidential uncertainty of the class probability with Beta distribution. Specifically, we use a Beta distribution to model the distribution of class probabilities, and the evidential uncertainty enriches uncertainty representation with evidence information, which plays a central role in reliable prediction. To further improve the event detection performance, we design the backtrack inference method that utilizes both the forward and backward audio features of an ongoing event. Experiments on the DESED database show that the proposed method can simultaneously improve 13.0% and 3.8% in time delay and detection F1 score compared to the state-of-the-art methods.

Zero-Shot Cross-Lingual Machine Reading Comprehension via Inter-Sentence Dependency Graph

Zero-Shot Cross-Lingual Machine Reading Comprehension via Inter-Sentence Dependency Graph We target the task of cross-lingual Machine Reading Comprehension (MRC) in the direct zero-shot setting, by incorporating syntactic features from Universal Dependencies (UD), and the key features we use are the syntactic relations within each sentence. While previous work has demonstrated effective syntax-guided MRC models, we propose to adopt the inter-sentence syntactic relations, in addition to the rudimentary intra-sentence relations, to further utilize the syntactic dependencies in the multi-sentence input of the MRC task. In our approach, we build the Inter-Sentence Dependency Graph (ISDG) connecting dependency trees to form global syntactic relations across sentences. We then propose the ISDG encoder that encodes the global dependency graph, addressing the inter-sentence relations via both one-hop and multi-hop dependency paths explicitly. Experiments on three multilingual MRC datasets (XQuAD, MLQA, TyDiQA-GoldP) show that our encoder that is only trained on English is able to improve the zero-shot performance on all 14 test sets covering 8 languages, with up to 3.8 F1 / 5.2 EM improvement on-average, and 5.2 F1 / 11.2 EM on certain languages. Further analysis shows the improvement can be attributed to the attention on the cross-linguistically consistent syntactic path. Our code is available at https://github.com/lxucs/multilingual-mrc-isdg.

Dynamic Causal Discovery in Imitation Learning

Dynamic Causal Discovery in Imitation Learning Using deep reinforcement learning (DRL) to recover expert policies via imitation has been found to be promising in a wide range of applications. However, it remains a difficult task to interpret the control policy learned by the agent. Difficulties mainly come from two aspects: 1) agents in DRL are usually implemented as deep neural networks (DNNs), which are black-box models and lack in interpretability, 2) the latent causal mechanism behind agents’ decisions may vary along the trajectory, rather than staying static throughout time steps. To address these difficulties, in this paper, we propose a self-explaining imitation framework, which can expose causal relations among states and action variables behind its decisions. Specifically, a dynamic causal discovery module is designed to extract the causal graph basing on historical trajectory and current states at each time step, and a causality encoding module is designed to model the interactions among variables with discovered causal edges. After encoding causality into variable embeddings, a prediction model conducts the imitation learning on top of obtained representations. These three components are trained end-to-end, and discovered causal edges can provide interpretations on rules captured by the agent. Comprehensive experiments are conducted on the simulation dataset to analyze its causal discovery capacity, and we further test it on a real-world medical dataset MIMIC-IV. Experimental results demonstrate its potential of providing explanations behind decisions.

Boosting Cross-Lingual Transfer via Self-Learning with Uncertainty Estimation

Boosting Cross-Lingual Transfer via Self-Learning with Uncertainty Estimation Recent multilingual pre-trained language models have achieved remarkable zero-shot performance, where the model is only finetuned on one source language and directly evaluated on target languages. In this work, we propose a self-learning framework that further utilizes unlabeled data of target languages, combined with uncertainty estimation in the process to select high-quality silver labels. Three different uncertainties are adapted and analyzed specifically for the cross lingual transfer: Language Heteroscedastic/Homoscedastic Uncertainty (LEU/LOU), Evidential Uncertainty (EVI). We evaluate our framework with uncertainties on two cross-lingual tasks including Named Entity Recognition (NER) and Natural Language Inference (NLI) covering 40 languages in total, which outperforms the baselines significantly by 10 F1 for NER on average and 2.5 accuracy for NLI.

Interpreting Convolutional Sequence Model by Learning Local Prototypes with Adaptation Regularization

Interpreting Convolutional Sequence Model by Learning Local Prototypes with Adaptation Regularization n many high-stakes applications of machine learning models, outputting only predictions or providing statistical confidence is usually insufficient to gain trust from end users, who often prefer a transparent reasoning paradigm. Despite the recent encouraging developments on deep networks for sequential data modeling, due to the highly recursive functions, the underlying rationales of their predictions are difficult to explain. Thus, in this paper, we aim to develop a sequence modeling approach that explains its own predictions by breaking input sequences down into evidencing segments (i.e., sub-sequences) in its reasoning. To this end, we build our model upon convolutional neural networks, which, in their vanilla forms, associates local receptive fields with outputs in an obscure manner. To unveil it, we resort to case-based reasoning, and design prototype modules whose units (i.e., prototypes) resemble exemplar segments in the problem domain. Each prediction is obtained by combining the comparisons between the prototypes and the segments of an input. To enhance interpretability, we propose a training objective that delicately adapts the distribution of prototypes to the data distribution in latent spaces, and design an algorithm to map prototypes to human-understandable segments. Through extensive experiments in a variety of domains, we demonstrate that our model can achieve high interpretability generally, together with a competitive accuracy to the state-of-the-art approaches.