Chris DuBois


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Combining Compressions for Multiplicative Size Scaling on Natural Language Tasks
Rajiv Movva | Jinhao Lei | Shayne Longpre | Ajay Gupta | Chris DuBois
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Quantization, knowledge distillation, and magnitude pruning are among the most popular methods for neural network compression in NLP. Independently, these methods reduce model size and can accelerate inference, but their relative benefit and combinatorial interactions have not been rigorously studied. For each of the eight possible subsets of these techniques, we compare accuracy vs. model size tradeoffs across six BERT architecture sizes and eight GLUE tasks. We find that quantization and distillation consistently provide greater benefit than pruning. Surprisingly, except for the pair of pruning and quantization, using multiple methods together rarely yields diminishing returns. Instead, we observe complementary and super-multiplicative reductions to model size. Our work quantitatively demonstrates that combining compression methods can synergistically reduce model size, and that practitioners should prioritize (1) quantization, (2) knowledge distillation, and (3) pruning to maximize accuracy vs. model size tradeoffs.


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On the Transferability of Minimal Prediction Preserving Inputs in Question Answering
Shayne Longpre | Yi Lu | Chris DuBois
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Recent work (Feng et al., 2018) establishes the presence of short, uninterpretable input fragments that yield high confidence and accuracy in neural models. We refer to these as Minimal Prediction Preserving Inputs (MPPIs). In the context of question answering, we investigate competing hypotheses for the existence of MPPIs, including poor posterior calibration of neural models, lack of pretraining, and “dataset bias” (where a model learns to attend to spurious, non-generalizable cues in the training data). We discover a perplexing invariance of MPPIs to random training seed, model architecture, pretraining, and training domain. MPPIs demonstrate remarkable transferability across domains achieving significantly higher performance than comparably short queries. Additionally, penalizing over-confidence on MPPIs fails to improve either generalization or adversarial robustness. These results suggest the interpretability of MPPIs is insufficient to characterize generalization capacity of these models. We hope this focused investigation encourages more systematic analysis of model behavior outside of the human interpretable distribution of examples.

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Entity-Based Knowledge Conflicts in Question Answering
Shayne Longpre | Kartik Perisetla | Anthony Chen | Nikhil Ramesh | Chris DuBois | Sameer Singh
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Knowledge-dependent tasks typically use two sources of knowledge: parametric, learned at training time, and contextual, given as a passage at inference time. To understand how models use these sources together, we formalize the problem of knowledge conflicts, where the contextual information contradicts the learned information. Analyzing the behaviour of popular models, we measure their over-reliance on memorized information (the cause of hallucinations), and uncover important factors that exacerbate this behaviour. Lastly, we propose a simple method to mitigate over-reliance on parametric knowledge, which minimizes hallucination, and improves out-of-distribution generalization by 4% - 7%. Our findings demonstrate the importance for practitioners to evaluate model tendency to hallucinate rather than read, and show that our mitigation strategy encourages generalization to evolving information (i.e. time-dependent queries). To encourage these practices, we have released our framework for generating knowledge conflicts.


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How Effective is Task-Agnostic Data Augmentation for Pretrained Transformers?
Shayne Longpre | Yu Wang | Chris DuBois
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Task-agnostic forms of data augmentation have proven widely effective in computer vision, even on pretrained models. In NLP similar results are reported most commonly for low data regimes, non-pretrained models, or situationally for pretrained models. In this paper we ask how effective these techniques really are when applied to pretrained transformers. Using two popular varieties of task-agnostic data augmentation (not tailored to any particular task), Easy Data Augmentation (Wei andZou, 2019) and Back-Translation (Sennrichet al., 2015), we conduct a systematic examination of their effects across 5 classification tasks, 6 datasets, and 3 variants of modern pretrained transformers, including BERT, XLNet, and RoBERTa. We observe a negative result, finding that techniques which previously reported strong improvements for non-pretrained models fail to consistently improve performance for pretrained transformers, even when training data is limited. We hope this empirical analysis helps inform practitioners where data augmentation techniques may confer improvements.


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An Exploration of Data Augmentation and Sampling Techniques for Domain-Agnostic Question Answering
Shayne Longpre | Yi Lu | Zhucheng Tu | Chris DuBois
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Machine Reading for Question Answering

To produce a domain-agnostic question answering model for the Machine Reading Question Answering (MRQA) 2019 Shared Task, we investigate the relative benefits of large pre-trained language models, various data sampling strategies, as well as query and context paraphrases generated by back-translation. We find a simple negative sampling technique to be particularly effective, even though it is typically used for datasets that include unanswerable questions, such as SQuAD 2.0. When applied in conjunction with per-domain sampling, our XLNet (Yang et al., 2019)-based submission achieved the second best Exact Match and F1 in the MRQA leaderboard competition.