There has been growing interest in parameter-efficient methods to apply pre-trained language models to downstream tasks. Building on the Prompt Tuning approach of Lester et al. (2021), which learns task-specific soft prompts to condition a frozen pre-trained model to perform different tasks, we propose a novel prompt-based transfer learning approach called SPoT: Soft Prompt Transfer. SPoT first learns a prompt on one or more source tasks and then uses it to initialize the prompt for a target task. We show that SPoT significantly boosts the performance of Prompt Tuning across many tasks. More remarkably, across all model sizes, SPoT matches or outperforms standard Model Tuning (which fine-tunes all model parameters) on the SuperGLUE benchmark, while using up to 27,000× fewer task-specific parameters. To understand where SPoT is most effective, we conduct a large-scale study on task transferability with 26 NLP tasks in 160 combinations, and demonstrate that many tasks can benefit each other via prompt transfer. Finally, we propose an efficient retrieval approach that interprets task prompts as task embeddings to identify similar tasks and predict the most transferable source tasks for a novel target task.
In this paper, we explore the challenging problem of performing a generative task in a target language when labeled data is only available in English, using summarization as a case study. We assume a strict setting with no access to parallel data or machine translation and find that common transfer learning approaches struggle in this setting, as a generative multilingual model fine-tuned purely on English catastrophically forgets how to generate non-English. Given the recent rise of parameter-efficient adaptation techniques, we conduct the first investigation into how one such method, prompt tuning (Lester et al., 2021), can overcome catastrophic forgetting to enable zero-shot cross-lingual generation. Our experiments show that parameter-efficient prompt tuning provides gains over standard fine-tuning when transferring between less-related languages, e.g., from English to Thai. However, a significant gap still remains between these methods and fully-supervised baselines. To improve cross-lingual transfer further, we explore several approaches, including: (1) mixing in unlabeled multilingual data, and (2) explicitly factoring prompts into recombinable language and task components. Our approaches can provide further quality gains, suggesting that robust zero-shot cross-lingual generation is within reach.
In this work, we explore “prompt tuning,” a simple yet effective mechanism for learning “soft prompts” to condition frozen language models to perform specific downstream tasks. Unlike the discrete text prompts used by GPT-3, soft prompts are learned through backpropagation and can be tuned to incorporate signals from any number of labeled examples. Our end-to-end learned approach outperforms GPT-3’s few-shot learning by a large margin. More remarkably, through ablations on model size using T5, we show that prompt tuning becomes more competitive with scale: as models exceed billions of parameters, our method “closes the gap” and matches the strong performance of model tuning (where all model weights are tuned). This finding is especially relevant because large models are costly to share and serve and the ability to reuse one frozen model for multiple downstream tasks can ease this burden. Our method can be seen as a simplification of the recently proposed “prefix tuning” of Li and Liang (2021) and we provide a comparison to this and other similar approaches. Finally, we show that conditioning a frozen model with soft prompts confers benefits in robustness to domain transfer and enables efficient “prompt ensembling.” We release code and model checkpoints to reproduce our experiments.
Complex natural language understanding modules in dialog systems have a richer understanding of user utterances, and thus are critical in providing a better user experience. However, these models are often created from scratch, for specific clients and use cases and require the annotation of large datasets. This encourages the sharing of annotated data across multiple clients. To facilitate this we introduce the idea of intent features: domain and topic agnostic properties of intents that can be learnt from the syntactic cues only, and hence can be shared. We introduce a new neural network architecture, the Global-Local model, that shows significant improvement over strong baselines for identifying these features in a deployed, multi-intent natural language understanding module, and more generally in a classification setting where a part of an utterance has to be classified utilizing the whole context.
Current state-of-the-art models for named entity recognition (NER) are neural models with a conditional random field (CRF) as the final layer. Entities are represented as per-token labels with a special structure in order to decode them into spans. Current work eschews prior knowledge of how the span encoding scheme works and relies on the CRF learning which transitions are illegal and which are not to facilitate global coherence. We find that by constraining the output to suppress illegal transitions we can train a tagger with a cross-entropy loss twice as fast as a CRF with differences in F1 that are statistically insignificant, effectively eliminating the need for a CRF. We analyze the dynamics of tag co-occurrence to explain when these constraints are most effective and provide open source implementations of our tagger in both PyTorch and TensorFlow.
Many tasks in natural language processing, such as named entity recognition and slot-filling, involve identifying and labeling specific spans of text. In order to leverage common models, these tasks are often recast as sequence labeling tasks. Each token is given a label and these labels are prefixed with special tokens such as B- or I-. After a model assigns labels to each token, these prefixes are used to group the tokens into spans. Properly parsing these annotations is critical for producing fair and comparable metrics; however, despite its importance, there is not an easy-to-use, standardized, programmatically integratable library to help work with span labeling. To remedy this, we introduce our open-source library, iobes. iobes is used for parsing, converting, and processing spans represented as token level decisions.
Because large, human-annotated datasets suffer from labeling errors, it is crucial to be able to train deep neural networks in the presence of label noise. While training image classification models with label noise have received much attention, training text classification models have not. In this paper, we propose an approach to training deep networks that is robust to label noise. This approach introduces a non-linear processing layer (noise model) that models the statistics of the label noise into a convolutional neural network (CNN) architecture. The noise model and the CNN weights are learned jointly from noisy training data, which prevents the model from overfitting to erroneous labels. Through extensive experiments on several text classification datasets, we show that this approach enables the CNN to learn better sentence representations and is robust even to extreme label noise. We find that proper initialization and regularization of this noise model is critical. Further, by contrast to results focusing on large batch sizes for mitigating label noise for image classification, we find that altering the batch size does not have much effect on classification performance.
We introduce Baseline: a library for reproducible deep learning research and fast model development for NLP. The library provides easily extensible abstractions and implementations for data loading, model development, training and export of deep learning architectures. It also provides implementations for simple, high-performance, deep learning models for various NLP tasks, against which newly developed models can be compared. Deep learning experiments are hard to reproduce, Baseline provides functionalities to track them. The goal is to allow a researcher to focus on model development, delegating the repetitive tasks to the library.