Learning In-context Learning for Named Entity Recognition

18 May 2023  ·  Jiawei Chen, Yaojie Lu, Hongyu Lin, Jie Lou, Wei Jia, Dai Dai, Hua Wu, Boxi Cao, Xianpei Han, Le Sun ·

Named entity recognition in real-world applications suffers from the diversity of entity types, the emergence of new entity types, and the lack of high-quality annotations. To address the above problems, this paper proposes an in-context learning-based NER approach, which can effectively inject in-context NER ability into PLMs and recognize entities of novel types on-the-fly using only a few demonstrative instances. Specifically, we model PLMs as a meta-function $\mathcal{ \lambda_ {\text{instruction, demonstrations, text}}. M}$, and a new entity extractor can be implicitly constructed by applying new instruction and demonstrations to PLMs, i.e., $\mathcal{ (\lambda . M) }$(instruction, demonstrations) $\to$ $\mathcal{F}$ where $\mathcal{F}$ will be a new entity extractor, i.e., $\mathcal{F}$: text $\to$ entities. To inject the above in-context NER ability into PLMs, we propose a meta-function pre-training algorithm, which pre-trains PLMs by comparing the (instruction, demonstration)-initialized extractor with a surrogate golden extractor. Experimental results on 4 few-shot NER datasets show that our method can effectively inject in-context NER ability into PLMs and significantly outperforms the PLMs+fine-tuning counterparts.

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