AbstractSeveral recent papers investigate Active Learning (AL) for mitigating the data dependence of deep learning for natural language processing. However, the applicability of AL to real-world problems remains an open question. While in supervised learning, practitioners can try many different methods, evaluating each against a validation set before selecting a model, AL affords no such luxury. Over the course of one AL run, an agent annotates its dataset exhausting its labeling budget. Thus, given a new task, we have no opportunity to compare models and acquisition functions. This paper provides a large-scale empirical study of deep active learning, addressing multiple tasks and, for each, multiple datasets, multiple models, and a full suite of acquisition functions. We find that across all settings, Bayesian active learning by disagreement, using uncertainty estimates provided either by Dropout or Bayes-by-Backprop significantly improves over i.i.d. baselines and usually outperforms classic uncertainty sampling.