Zheng Cai


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Towards Near-imperceptible Steganographic Text
Falcon Dai | Zheng Cai
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We show that the imperceptibility of several existing linguistic steganographic systems (Fang et al., 2017; Yang et al., 2018) relies on implicit assumptions on statistical behaviors of fluent text. We formally analyze them and empirically evaluate these assumptions. Furthermore, based on these observations, we propose an encoding algorithm called patient-Huffman with improved near-imperceptible guarantees.

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Many Faces of Feature Importance: Comparing Built-in and Post-hoc Feature Importance in Text Classification
Vivian Lai | Zheng Cai | Chenhao Tan
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Feature importance is commonly used to explain machine predictions. While feature importance can be derived from a machine learning model with a variety of methods, the consistency of feature importance via different methods remains understudied. In this work, we systematically compare feature importance from built-in mechanisms in a model such as attention values and post-hoc methods that approximate model behavior such as LIME. Using text classification as a testbed, we find that 1) no matter which method we use, important features from traditional models such as SVM and XGBoost are more similar with each other, than with deep learning models; 2) post-hoc methods tend to generate more similar important features for two models than built-in methods. We further demonstrate how such similarity varies across instances. Notably, important features do not always resemble each other better when two models agree on the predicted label than when they disagree.


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Glyph-aware Embedding of Chinese Characters
Falcon Dai | Zheng Cai
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Subword and Character Level Models in NLP

Given the advantage and recent success of English character-level and subword-unit models in several NLP tasks, we consider the equivalent modeling problem for Chinese. Chinese script is logographic and many Chinese logograms are composed of common substructures that provide semantic, phonetic and syntactic hints. In this work, we propose to explicitly incorporate the visual appearance of a character’s glyph in its representation, resulting in a novel glyph-aware embedding of Chinese characters. Being inspired by the success of convolutional neural networks in computer vision, we use them to incorporate the spatio-structural patterns of Chinese glyphs as rendered in raw pixels. In the context of two basic Chinese NLP tasks of language modeling and word segmentation, the model learns to represent each character’s task-relevant semantic and syntactic information in the character-level embedding.

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Pay Attention to the Ending:Strong Neural Baselines for the ROC Story Cloze Task
Zheng Cai | Lifu Tu | Kevin Gimpel
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

We consider the ROC story cloze task (Mostafazadeh et al., 2016) and present several findings. We develop a model that uses hierarchical recurrent networks with attention to encode the sentences in the story and score candidate endings. By discarding the large training set and only training on the validation set, we achieve an accuracy of 74.7%. Even when we discard the story plots (sentences before the ending) and only train to choose the better of two endings, we can still reach 72.5%. We then analyze this “ending-only” task setting. We estimate human accuracy to be 78% and find several types of clues that lead to this high accuracy, including those related to sentiment, negation, and general ending likelihood regardless of the story context.