The source code used for Distantly-Supervised Named Entity Recognition with Noise-Robust Learning and Language Model Augmented Self-Training, published in EMNLP 2021.


At least one GPU is required to run the code.

Before running, you need to first install the required packages by typing following commands:

$ pip3 install -r requirements.txt

Python 3.6 or above is strongly recommended; using older python versions might lead to package incompatibility issues.

Reproducing the Results

The three datasets used in the paper can be found under the data directory. We provide three bash scripts, and for running the model on the three datasets.

Note: Our model does not use any ground truth training/valid/test set labels but only distant labels; we provide the ground truth label files only for completeness and evaluation.

The training bash scripts assume you use one GPU for training (a GPU with around 20GB memory would be sufficient). If your GPUs have smaller memory sizes, try increasing gradient_accumulation_steps or using more GPUs (by setting the CUDA_VISIBLE_DEVICES environment variable). However, the train_batch_size should be always kept as 32.

Command Line Arguments

The meanings of the command line arguments will be displayed upon typing

python src/ -h

The following arguments are important and need to be set carefully:

  • train_batch_size: The effective training batch size after gradient accumulation. Usually 32 is good for different datasets.
  • gradient_accumulation_steps: Increase this value if your GPU cannot hold the training batch size (while keeping train_batch_size unchanged).
  • eval_batch_size: This argument only affects the speed of the algorithm; use as large evaluation batch size as your GPUs can hold.
  • max_seq_length: This argument controls the maximum length of sequence fed into the model (longer sequences will be truncated). Ideally, max_seq_length should be set to the length of the longest document (max_seq_length cannot be larger than 512 under RoBERTa architecture), but using larger max_seq_length also consumes more GPU memory, resulting in smaller batch size and longer training time. Therefore, you can trade model accuracy for faster training by reducing max_seq_length.
  • noise_train_epochs, ensemble_train_epochs, self_train_epochs: They control how many epochs to train the model for noise-robust training, ensemble model trianing and self-training, respectively. Their default values will be a good starting point for most datasets, but you may increase them if your dataset is small (e.g., Wikigold dataset) and decrease them if your dataset is large (e.g., OntoNotes dataset).
  • q, tau: Hyperparameters used for noise-robust training. Their default values will be a good starting point for most datasets, but you may use higher values if your dataset is more noisy and use lower values if your dataset is cleaner.
  • noise_train_update_interval, self_train_update_interval: They control how often to update training label weights in noise-robust training and compute soft labels in soft-training, respectively. Their default values will be a good starting point for most datasets, but you may use smaller values (more frequent updates) if your dataset is small (e.g., Wikigold dataset).

Other arguments can be kept as their default values.

Running on New Datasets

To execute the code on a new dataset, you need to

  1. Create a directory named your_dataset under data.
  2. Prepare a training corpus train_text.txt (one sequence per line; words separated by whitespace) and the corresponding distant label train_label_dist.txt (one sequence per line; labels separated by whitespace) under your_dataset for training the NER model.
  3. Prepare an entity type file types.txt under your_dataset (each line contains one entity type; no need to include O class; no need to prepend I-/B- to type names). The entity type names need to be consistant with those in train_label_dist.txt.
  4. (Optional) You can choose to provide a test corpus test_text.txt (one sequence per line) with ground truth labels test_label_true.txt (one sequence per line; labels separated by whitespace). If the test corpus is provided and the command line argument do_eval is turned on, the code will display evaluation results on the test set during training, which is useful for tuning hyperparameters and monitoring the training progress.
  5. Run the code with appropriate command line arguments (I recommend creating a new bash script by referring to the three example scripts).
  6. The final trained classification model will be saved as under the output directory specified by the command line argument output_dir.

You can always refer to the example datasets when preparing your own datasets.


Please cite the following paper if you find the code helpful for your research.

  title={Distantly-Supervised Named Entity Recognition with Noise-Robust Learning and Language Model Augmented Self-Training},
  author={Meng, Yu and Zhang, Yunyi and Huang, Jiaxin and Wang, Xuan and Zhang, Yu and Ji, Heng and Han, Jiawei},
  booktitle={Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing},