Adaptive Self-training for Few-shot Neural Sequence Labeling

10/07/2020 ∙ by Yaqing Wang, et al. ∙ 4

Neural sequence labeling is an important technique employed for many Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks, such as Named Entity Recognition (NER), slot tagging for dialog systems and semantic parsing. Large-scale pre-trained language models obtain very good performance on these tasks when fine-tuned on large amounts of task-specific labeled data. However, such large-scale labeled datasets are difficult to obtain for several tasks and domains due to the high cost of human annotation as well as privacy and data access constraints for sensitive user applications. This is exacerbated for sequence labeling tasks requiring such annotations at token-level. In this work, we develop techniques to address the label scarcity challenge for neural sequence labeling models. Specifically, we develop self-training and meta-learning techniques for few-shot training of neural sequence taggers, namely MetaST. While self-training serves as an effective mechanism to learn from large amounts of unlabeled data – meta-learning helps in adaptive sample re-weighting to mitigate error propagation from noisy pseudo-labels. Extensive experiments on six benchmark datasets including two massive multilingual NER datasets and four slot tagging datasets for task-oriented dialog systems demonstrate the effectiveness of our method with around 10 systems for the 10-shot setting.

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