On the Power of Pre-Trained Text Representations: Models and Applications in Text Mining

2021 
Recent years have witnessed the enormous success of text representation learning in a wide range of text mining tasks. Earlier word embedding learning approaches represent words as fixed low-dimensional vectors to capture their semantics. The word embeddings so learned are used as the input features of task-specific models. Recently, pre-trained language models (PLMs), which learn universal language representations via pre-training Transformer-based neural models on large-scale text corpora, have revolutionized the natural language processing (NLP) field. Such pre-trained representations encode generic linguistic features that can be transferred to almost any text-related applications. PLMs outperform previous task-specific models in many applications as they only need to be fine-tuned on the target corpus instead of being trained from scratch. In this tutorial, we introduce recent advances in pre-trained text embeddings and language models, as well as their applications to a wide range of text mining tasks. Specifically, we first overview a set of recently developed self-supervised and weakly-supervised text embedding methods and pre-trained language models that serve as the fundamentals for downstream tasks. We then present several new methods based on pre-trained text embeddings and language models for various text mining applications such as topic discovery and text classification. We focus on methods that are weakly-supervised, domain-independent, language-agnostic, effective and scalable for mining and discovering structured knowledge from large-scale text corpora. Finally, we demonstrate with real-world datasets how pre-trained text representations help mitigate the human annotation burden and facilitate automatic, accurate and efficient text analyses.
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