Best Paper Award at IEEE BIBM 2021

All dates for this event occur in the past.

CSE is delighted to announce that Prof. Huan Sun’s paper titled with “CliniQG4QA: Generating Diverse Questions for Domain Adaptation of Clinical Question Answering” has won the Best Paper Award at the IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine (BIBM) 2021. This paper was co-authored with Xiang Yue (currently a 4th-year Ph.D. student advised by Prof. Sun), Xinliang Frederick Zhang (then an undergraduate in CSE and now a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan), Ziyu Yao (then a Ph.D. student in CSE and now an assistant professor at George Mason University), Simon Lin (then the Chief Research Information Officer at the Nationwide Children's Hospital and now at the University of California, Riverside).

This paper addresses an important problem of domain adaptation of natural language question answering (QA) models. Medical professionals often query over clinical notes in Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) to find information that can support their decision-making. One way to facilitate such clinical information-seeking activities is to train a clinical question answering (CliniQA) system, which inputs a clinical document (e.g., a patient record) as well as a natural question raised by a clinician and extracts a text span from the document as the answer to the question.

However, a QA model trained on one dataset often struggles to generalize to new questions and new contexts.  In the paper, the authors propose a simple yet effective framework, CliniQG4QA, which leverages automatic question generation to synthesize QA pairs on new clinical contexts and boosts QA models without requiring manual annotations. This study makes a great example of how to adapt general natural language processing (NLP) techniques to specialized domains such as clinical informatics. 

“We are very excited to receive this award and it is a great recognition of my students’ hard work and the team collaboration,” said Huan Sun. She has been dedicated to developing natural language interfaces and conversational AI systems with applications to various domains. She said, “The techniques introduced in this paper could be applied to other use cases beyond clinical question answering.” 

The IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine (BIBM) has established itself as the premier research conference in bioinformatics and biomedicine. IEEE BIBM 2021 provides a leading forum for disseminating the latest research in bioinformatics and health informatics. It brings together academic and industrial scientists from computer science, biology, chemistry, medicine, mathematics and statistics.