Natural Language Processing

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is one of the most frontier and important tasks in the field of Artificial Intelligence. It can help machines understand natural languages, which realizes barrier-free communications between machines and human beings. With the Machine Learning algorithm, Fano Labs’ Natural Language Processing technology can understand and analyze English, Mandarin, Cantonese and mixed languages, which has been widely used for automatic Q&A, text analysis, knowledge map, emotion analysis and so on.


  • Supports multi-language and mixed-language processing
  • Supports intent recognition so that machines can understand human languages
  • Understands synonyms, synonymous sentences, euphemisms, etc.
  • Use Machine Learning algorithms to train the AI model continuously

Application Scenarios

  • Public Opinions Analysis

    Public Opinions Analysis
  • Text Chatbot

    Text Chatbot
  • Text understanding and analysis

    Text understanding and analysis
  • Sentiment Analysis

    Sentiment Analysis

Research Papers

  • Unknown Intent Detection Using Gaussian Mixture Model with an Application to Zero-shot Intent Classification

    Guangfeng Yan, Lu Fan, Qimai Li, Han Liu, Xiaotong Zhang, Xiao-Ming Wu, and Albert Y.S. Lam, in Proceedings of 2020 Annual Conference of the Association for Computational Linguistics, July, 2020.

    User intent classification plays a vital role in dialogue systems. Since user intent may frequently change over time in many realistic scenarios, unknown (new) intent detection has become an essential problem, where the study has just begun. This paper proposes a semantic-enhanced Gaussian mixture model (SEG) for unknown intent detection. In particular, we model utterance embeddings with a Gaussian mixture distribution and inject dynamic class semantic information into Gaussian means, which enables learning more class-concentrated embeddings that help to facilitate downstream outlier detection. Coupled with a density-based outlier detection algorithm, SEG achieves competitive results on three real task-oriented dialogue datasets in two languages for unknown intent detection. On top of that, we propose to integrate SEG as an unknown intent identifier into existing generalized zero-shot intent classification models to improve their performance. A case study on a state-of-the-art method, ReCapsNet, shows that SEG can push the classification performance to a significantly higher level.

  • Reconstructing Capsule Networks for Zero-shot Intent Classification

    Han Liu, Xiaotong Zhang, Lu Fan, Xuandi Fu, Qimai Li, Xiao-Ming Wu, and Albert Y.S. Lam, in Proceedings of 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP 2019), Hong Kong, Nov. 2019.

    Intent classification is an important building block of dialogue systems. With the burgeoning of conversational AI, existing systems are not capable of handling numerous fast-emerging intents, which motivates zero-shot intent classification. Nevertheless, research on this problem is still in the incipient stage and few methods are available. A recently proposed zero-shot intent classification method, IntentCapsNet, has been shown to achieve state-of-the-art performance. However, it has two unaddressed limitations: (1) it cannot deal with polysemy when extracting semantic capsules; (2) it hardly recognizes the utterances of unseen intents in the generalized zero-shot intent classification setting. To overcome these limitations, we propose to reconstruct capsule networks for zero-shot intent classification. First, we introduce a dimensional attention mechanism to fight against polysemy. Second, we reconstruct the transformation matrices for unseen intents by utilizing abundant latent information of the labeled utterances, which significantly improves the model generalization ability. Experimental results on two task-oriented dialogue datasets in different languages show that our proposed method outperforms IntentCapsNet and other strong baselines.

  • Go From the General to the Particular: Multi-Domain Translation with Domain Transformation Networks

    Y Wang, L Wang, S Shi, Victor O.K. Li, Z. Tu, arXiv:1911.09912 [cs.CL], Nov. 2019.

    The key challenge of multi-domain translation lies in simultaneously encoding both the general knowledge shared across domains and the particular knowledge distinctive to each domain in a unified model. Previous work shows that the standard neural machine translation (NMT) model, trained on mixed-domain data, generally captures the general knowledge, but misses the domain-specific knowledge. In response to this problem, we augment NMT model with additional domain transformation networks to transform the general representations to domain-specific representations, which are subsequently fed to the NMT decoder. To guarantee the knowledge transformation, we also propose two complementary supervision signals by leveraging the power of knowledge distillation and adversarial learning. Experimental results on several language pairs, covering both balanced and unbalanced multi-domain translation, demonstrate the effectiveness and universality of the proposed approach. Encouragingly, the proposed unified model achieves comparable results with the fine-tuning approach that requires multiple models to preserve the particular knowledge. Further analyses reveal that the domain transformation networks successfully capture the domain-specific knowledge as expected.

  • Improved Zero-shot Neural Machine Translation via Ignoring Spurious Correlations

    J. Gu, Y. Wang, K. Cho, and Victor O.K. Li, in Proceedings of 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL), Florence, Italy, Jul. 2019.

    Zero-shot translation, translating between language pairs on which a Neural Machine Translation (NMT) system has never been trained, is an emergent property when training the system in multilingual settings. However, naive training for zero-shot NMT easily fails, and is sensitive to hyper-parameter setting. The performance typically lags far behind the more conventional pivot-based approach which translates twice using a third language as a pivot. In this work, we address the degeneracy problem due to capturing spurious correlations by quantitatively analyzing the mutual information between language IDs of the source and decoded sentences. Inspired by this analysis, we propose to use two simple but effective approaches: (1) decoder pre-training; (2) back-translation. These methods show significant improvement (4~22 BLEU points) over the vanilla zero-shot translation on three challenging multilingual datasets, and achieve similar or better results than the pivot-based approach.

  • Search Engine Guided Non-Parametric Neural Machine Translation

    Gu, J., Wang, Y., Cho, K, and Li, V.O.K., arXiv: 1705.07267, May 2017.

    In this paper, we extend an attention-based neural machine translation (NMT) model by allowing it to access an entire training set of parallel sentence pairs even after training. The proposed approach consists of two stages. In the first stage--retrieval stage--, an off-the-shelf, black-box search engine is used to retrieve a small subset of sentence pairs from a training set given a source sentence. These pairs are further filtered based on a fuzzy matching score based on edit distance. In the second stage--translation stage--, a novel translation model, called translation memory enhanced NMT (TM-NMT), seamlessly uses both the source sentence and a set of retrieved sentence pairs to perform the translation. Empirical evaluation on three language pairs (En-Fr, En-De, and En-Es) shows that the proposed approach significantly outperforms the baseline approach and the improvement is more significant when more relevant sentence pairs were retrieved.

  • A Teacher-Student Framework for Zero-Resource Neural Machine Translation

    Chen Y., Liu, Y., Cheng, Y., Li, V.O.K., arXiv:1705.00753, 2017.

    While end-to-end neural machine translation (NMT) has made remarkable progress recently, it still suffers from the data scarcity problem for low-resource language pairs and domains. In this paper, we propose a method for zero-resource NMT by assuming that parallel sentences have close probabilities of generating a sentence in a third language. Based on this assumption, our method is able to train a source-to-target NMT model ("student") without parallel corpora available, guided by an existing pivot-to-target NMT model ("teacher") on a source-pivot parallel corpus. Experimental results show that the proposed method significantly improves over a baseline pivot-based model by +3.0 BLEU points across various language pairs.

  • Trainable Greedy Decoding for the Neural Machine Translation

    Gu, J., Cho, K., Li, V.O.K., arXiv:1702.02429, 2017.

    Recent research in neural machine translation has largely focused on two aspects; neural network architectures and end-to-end learning algorithms. The problem of decoding, however, has received relatively little attention from the research community. In this paper, we solely focus on the problem of decoding given a trained neural machine translation model. Instead of trying to build a new decoding algorithm for any specific decoding objective, we propose the idea of trainable decoding algorithm in which we train a decoding algorithm to find a translation that maximizes an arbitrary decoding objective. More specifically, we design an actor that observes and manipulates the hidden state of the neural machine translation decoder and propose to train it using a variant of deterministic policy gradient. We extensively evaluate the proposed algorithm using four language pairs and two decoding objectives and show that we can indeed train a trainable greedy decoder that generates a better translation (in terms of a target decoding objective) with minimal computational overhead.

  • Learning to Translate in Real-time with Neural Machine Translation

    Gu, J., Neubig, G., Cho, K., and Li, V.O.K., arXiv:1610.00388, 2016.

    Translating in real-time, a.k.a. simultaneous translation, outputs translation words before the input sentence ends, which is a challenging problem for conventional machine translation methods. We propose a neural machine translation (NMT) framework for simultaneous translation in which an agent learns to make decisions on when to translate from the interaction with a pre-trained NMT environment. To trade off quality and delay, we extensively explore various targets for delay and design a method for beam-search applicable in the simultaneous MT setting. Experiments against state-of-the-art baselines on two language pairs demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed framework both quantitatively and qualitatively.

  • Incorporating Copying Mechanism in Sequence-to-Sequence Learning

    Gu, J., Lu, Z., Li, H., and Li, V.O.K., Proc. Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL), Berlin, Germany, Aug 2016.

    We address an important problem in sequence-to-sequence (Seq2Seq) learning referred to as copying, in which certain segments in the input sequence are selectively replicated in the output sequence. A similar phenomenon is observable in human language communication. For example, humans tend to repeat entity names or even long phrases in conversation. The challenge with regard to copying in Seq2Seq is that new machinery is needed to decide when to perform the operation. In this paper, we incorporate copying into neural network-based Seq2Seq learning and propose a new model called CopyNet with encoder-decoder structure. CopyNet can nicely integrate the regular way of word generation in the decoder with the new copying mechanism which can choose sub-sequences in the input sequence and put them at proper places in the output sequence. Our empirical study on both synthetic data sets and real world data sets demonstrates the efficacy of CopyNet. For example, CopyNet can outperform regular RNN-based model with remarkable margins on text summarization tasks.

  • Universal Neural Machine Translation for Extremely Low Resource Languages

    Jiatao Gu, Hany Hassan, Jacob Devlin, Victor OK Li. Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (NAACL), 2018.

    In this paper, we propose a new universal machine translation approach focusing on languages with a limited amount of parallel data. Our proposed approach utilizes a transfer-learning approach to share lexical and sentence level representations across multiple source languages into one target language. The lexical part is shared through a Universal Lexical Representation to support multilingual word-level sharing. The sentence-level sharing is represented by a model of experts from all source languages that share the source encoders with all other languages. This enables the low-resource language to utilize the lexical and sentence representations of the higher resource languages. Our approach is able to achieve 23 BLEU on Romanian-English WMT2016 using a tiny parallel corpus of 6k sentences, compared to the 18 BLEU of strong baseline system which uses multilingual training and back-translation. Furthermore, we show that the proposed approach can achieve almost 20 BLEU on the same dataset through fine-tuning a pre-trained multi-lingual system in a zero-shot setting.

  • Efficient Learning for Undirected Topic Models

    Gu, J. and Li, V.O.K., Proc. ACL-IJCNLP, Beijing, China, July 2015.

    Replicated Softmax model, a well-known undirected topic model, is powerful in extracting semantic representations of documents. Traditional learning strategies such as Contrastive Divergence are very inefficient. This paper provides a novel estimator to speed up the learning based on Noise Contrastive Estimate, extended for documents of variant lengths and weighted inputs. Experiments on two benchmarks show that the new estimator achieves great learning efficiency and high accuracy on document retrieval and classification.

  • Non-Autoregressive Neural Machine Translation

    Jiatao Gu, James Bradbury, Caiming Xiong, Victor OK Li, Richard Socher. International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR), 2018.

    Existing approaches to neural machine translation condition each output word on previously generated outputs. We introduce a model that avoids this autoregressive property and produces its outputs in parallel, allowing an order of magnitude lower latency during inference. Through knowledge distillation, the use of input token fertilities as a latent variable, and policy gradient fine-tuning, we achieve this at a cost of as little as 2.0 BLEU points relative to the autoregressive Transformer network used as a teacher. We demonstrate substantial cumulative improvements associated with each of the three aspects of our training strategy, and validate our approach on IWSLT 2016 English-German and two WMT language pairs. By sampling fertilities in parallel at inference time, our non-autoregressive model achieves near-state-of-the-art performance of 29.8 BLEU on WMT 2016 English-Romanian.

  • Neural Machine Translation with Gumbel-Greedy Decoding

    Jiatao Gu, Daniel Jiwoong Im, Victor OK Li. AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), 2018.

    Previous neural machine translation models used some heuristic search algorithms (e.g., beam search) in order to avoid solving the maximum a posteriori problem over translation sentences at test time. In this paper, we propose the Gumbel-Greedy Decoding which trains a generative network to predict translation under a trained model. We solve such a problem using the Gumbel-Softmax reparameterization, which makes our generative network differentiable and trainable through standard stochastic gradient methods. We empirically demonstrate that our proposed model is effective for generating sequences of discrete words.