Debiased and Denoised Entity Recognition from Distant Supervision

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Haobo Wang, Yiwen Dong, Ruixuan Xiao, Fei Huang, Gang Chen, Junbo Zhao


While distant supervision has been extensively explored and exploited in NLP tasks like named entity recognition, a major obstacle stems from the inevitable noisy distant labels tagged unsupervisedly. A few past works approach this problem by adopting a self-training framework with a sample-selection mechanism. In this work, we innovatively identify two types of biases that were omitted by prior work, and these biases lead to inferior performance of the distant-supervised NER setup. First, we characterize the noise concealed in the distant labels as highly structural rather than fully randomized. Second, the self-training framework would ubiquitously introduce an inherent bias that causes erroneous behavior in both sample selection and eventually prediction. To cope with these problems, we propose a novel self-training framework, dubbed DesERT. This framework augments the conventional NER predicative pathway to a dual form that effectively adapts the sample-selection process to conform to its innate distributional-bias structure. The other crucial component of DesERT composes a debiased module aiming to enhance the token representations, hence the quality of the pseudo-labels. Extensive experiments are conducted to validate the DesERT. The results show that our framework establishes a new state-of-art performance, it achieves a +2.22% average F1 score improvement on five standardized benchmarking datasets. Lastly, DesERT demonstrates its effectiveness under a new DSNER benchmark where additional distant supervision comes from the ChatGPT model.