Colin Raffel


2023

pdf bib
An Empirical Survey of Data Augmentation for Limited Data Learning in NLP
Jiaao Chen | Derek Tam | Colin Raffel | Mohit Bansal | Diyi Yang
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 11

NLP has achieved great progress in the past decade through the use of neural models and large labeled datasets. The dependence on abundant data prevents NLP models from being applied to low-resource settings or novel tasks where significant time, money, or expertise is required to label massive amounts of textual data. Recently, data augmentation methods have been explored as a means of improving data efficiency in NLP. To date, there has been no systematic empirical overview of data augmentation for NLP in the limited labeled data setting, making it difficult to understand which methods work in which settings. In this paper, we provide an empirical survey of recent progress on data augmentation for NLP in the limited labeled data setting, summarizing the landscape of methods (including token-level augmentations, sentence-level augmentations, adversarial augmentations, and hidden-space augmentations) and carrying out experiments on 11 datasets covering topics/news classification, inference tasks, paraphrasing tasks, and single-sentence tasks. Based on the results, we draw several conclusions to help practitioners choose appropriate augmentations in different settings and discuss the current challenges and future directions for limited data learning in NLP.

pdf bib
Efficient Methods for Natural Language Processing: A Survey
Marcos Treviso | Ji-Ung Lee | Tianchu Ji | Betty van Aken | Qingqing Cao | Manuel R. Ciosici | Michael Hassid | Kenneth Heafield | Sara Hooker | Colin Raffel | Pedro H. Martins | André F. T. Martins | Jessica Zosa Forde | Peter Milder | Edwin Simpson | Noam Slonim | Jesse Dodge | Emma Strubell | Niranjan Balasubramanian | Leon Derczynski | Iryna Gurevych | Roy Schwartz
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 11

Recent work in natural language processing (NLP) has yielded appealing results from scaling model parameters and training data; however, using only scale to improve performance means that resource consumption also grows. Such resources include data, time, storage, or energy, all of which are naturally limited and unevenly distributed. This motivates research into efficient methods that require fewer resources to achieve similar results. This survey synthesizes and relates current methods and findings in efficient NLP. We aim to provide both guidance for conducting NLP under limited resources, and point towards promising research directions for developing more efficient methods.

pdf bib
ColD Fusion: Collaborative Descent for Distributed Multitask Finetuning
Shachar Don-Yehiya | Elad Venezian | Colin Raffel | Noam Slonim | Leshem Choshen
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Pretraining has been shown to scale well with compute, data size and data diversity. Multitask learning trains on a mixture of supervised datasets and produces improved performance compared to self-supervised pretraining. Until now, massively multitask learning required simultaneous access to all datasets in the mixture and heavy compute resources that are only available to well-resourced teams. In this paper, we propose ColD Fusion, a method that provides the benefits of multitask learning but leverages distributed computation and requires limited communication and no sharing of data. Consequentially, ColD Fusion can create a synergistic loop, where finetuned models can be recycled to continually improve the pretrained model they are based on. We show that ColD Fusion yields comparable benefits to multitask training by producing a model that (a) attains strong performance on all of the datasets it was multitask trained on and (b) is a better starting point for finetuning on unseen datasets. We find ColD Fusion outperforms RoBERTa and even previous multitask models. Specifically, when training and testing on 35 diverse datasets, ColD Fusion-based model outperforms RoBERTa by 2.19 points on average without any changes to the architecture.

pdf bib
Crosslingual Generalization through Multitask Finetuning
Niklas Muennighoff | Thomas Wang | Lintang Sutawika | Adam Roberts | Stella Biderman | Teven Le Scao | M Saiful Bari | Sheng Shen | Zheng Xin Yong | Hailey Schoelkopf | Xiangru Tang | Dragomir Radev | Alham Fikri Aji | Khalid Almubarak | Samuel Albanie | Zaid Alyafeai | Albert Webson | Edward Raff | Colin Raffel
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Multitask prompted finetuning (MTF) has been shown to help large language models generalize to new tasks in a zero-shot setting, but so far explorations of MTF have focused on English data and models. We apply MTF to the pretrained multilingual BLOOM and mT5 model families to produce finetuned variants called BLOOMZ and mT0. We find finetuning large multilingual language models on English tasks with English prompts allows for task genrealization to non-English languages that appear only in the pretraining corpus. Finetuning on multilingual tasks with English prompts further improves performance on English and non-English tasks leading to various state-of-the-art zero-shot results. We also investigate finetuning on multilingual tasks with prompts that have been machine-translated from English to match the language of each dataset. We find training on these machine-translated prompts leads to better performance on human-written prompts in the respective languages. Surprisingly, we find models are capable of zero-shot generalization to tasks in languages they have never intentionally seen. We conjecture that the models are learning higher-level capabilities that are both task- and language-agnostic. In addition, we introduce xP3, a composite of supervised datasets in 46 languages with English and machine-translated prompts. Our code, datasets and models are freely available at https://github.com/bigscience-workshop/xmtf.

pdf bib
Petals: Collaborative Inference and Fine-tuning of Large Models
Alexander Borzunov | Dmitry Baranchuk | Tim Dettmers | Maksim Riabinin | Younes Belkada | Artem Chumachenko | Pavel Samygin | Colin Raffel
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 3: System Demonstrations)

Many NLP tasks benefit from using large language models (LLMs) that often have more than 100 billion parameters. With the release of BLOOM-176B and OPT-175B, everyone can download pretrained models of this scale. Still, using these models requires high-end hardware unavailable to many researchers. In some cases, LLMs can be used more affordably via RAM offloading or hosted APIs. However, these techniques have innate limitations: offloading is too slow for interactive inference, while APIs are not flexible enough for research that requires access to weights, attention or logits. In this work, we propose Petals - a system for inference and fine-tuning of large models collaboratively by joining the resources of multiple parties. We demonstrate that this strategy outperforms offloading for very large models, running inference of BLOOM-176B on consumer GPUs with ≈1 step per second, which is enough for many interactive LLM applications. Unlike most inference APIs, Petals also natively exposes hidden states of served models, allowing to train and share custom model extensions based on efficient fine-tuning methods. The system, its source code, and documentation are available at https://petals.mlVideo (2 min): https://youtu.be/F4muLI-0hTE

pdf bib
Evaluating the Factual Consistency of Large Language Models Through News Summarization
Derek Tam | Anisha Mascarenhas | Shiyue Zhang | Sarah Kwan | Mohit Bansal | Colin Raffel
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

While large language models (LLMs) have proven to be effective on a large variety of tasks, they are also known to hallucinate information. To measure whether an LLM prefers factually consistent continuations of its input, we propose a new benchmark called FIB (Factual Inconsistency Benchmark) that focuses on the task of summarization. Specifically, our benchmark involves comparing the scores an LLM assigns to a factually consistent versus a factually inconsistent summary for an input news article. For factually consistent summaries, we use human-written reference summaries that we manually verify as factually consistent. To generate summaries that are factually inconsistent, we generate summaries from a suite of summarization models that we have manually annotated as factually inconsistent. A model’s factual consistency is then measured according to its accuracy, i.e. the proportion of documents where it assigns a higher score to the factually consistent summary. To validate the usefulness of {pasted macro ‘BENCHMARK’}, we evaluate 23 large language models ranging from 1B to 176B parameters from six different model families including BLOOM and OPT. We find that existing LLMs generally assign a higher score to factually consistent summaries than to factually inconsistent summaries. However, if the factually inconsistent summaries occur verbatim in the document, then LLMs assign a higher score to these factually inconsistent summaries than factually consistent summaries. We validate design choices in our benchmark including the scoring method and source of distractor summaries.

pdf bib
Knowledge is a Region in Weight Space for Fine-tuned Language Models
Almog Gueta | Elad Venezian | Colin Raffel | Noam Slonim | Yoav Katz | Leshem Choshen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Research on neural networks has focused on understanding a single model trained on a single dataset. However, relatively little is known about the relationships between different models, particularly those trained or tested on different datasets. We address this by studying how the weight space and the underlying loss landscape of different models are interconnected. Specifically, we demonstrate that finetuned models that were optimized for high performance, reside in well-defined regions in weight space, and vice versa – that any model that resides anywhere in those regions also exhibits high performance. Notably, we show that language models that have been finetuned on the same dataset form a tight cluster in the weight space, while models finetuned on different datasets from the same underlying task form a looser cluster. Moreover, traversing around the region between the models leads to new models that perform comparably or even better than models obtained via finetuning, even on tasks that the original models were not finetuned on. Our findings provide insight into the relationships between models, demonstrating that a model positioned between two similar models can acquire the knowledge of both. We leverage this and design a method for selecting a better model for efficient finetuning. Specifically, we show that starting from the center of the region is as effective, if not more, than using the pretrained model in 11 out of 12 datasets, resulting in an average accuracy improvement of 3.06.

pdf bib
Reward-Augmented Decoding: Efficient Controlled Text Generation With a Unidirectional Reward Model
Haikang Deng | Colin Raffel
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

While large language models have proven effective in a huge range of downstream applications, they often generate text that is problematic or lacks a desired attribute. In this paper, we introduce Reward-Augmented Decoding (RAD), a text generation procedure that uses a small unidirectional reward model to encourage a language model to generate text that has certain properties. Specifically, RAD uses the reward model to score generations as they are produced and rescales sampling probabilities to favor high-reward tokens. By using a unidirectional reward model, RAD can cache activations from prior generation steps to decrease computational overhead. Through experiments on generating non-toxic and sentiment-controlled text, we demonstrate that RAD performs best among methods that change only the generation procedure and matches the performance of state-of-the-art methods that involve re-training the language model. We further validate that RAD is effective on very large language models while incurring a minimal computational overhead.

2022

pdf bib
What Language Model to Train if You Have One Million GPU Hours?
Teven Le Scao | Thomas Wang | Daniel Hesslow | Stas Bekman | M Saiful Bari | Stella Biderman | Hady Elsahar | Niklas Muennighoff | Jason Phang | Ofir Press | Colin Raffel | Victor Sanh | Sheng Shen | Lintang Sutawika | Jaesung Tae | Zheng Xin Yong | Julien Launay | Iz Beltagy
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

The crystallization of modeling methods around the Transformer architecture has been a boon for practitioners. Simple, well-motivated architectural variations can transfer across tasks and scale, increasing the impact of modeling research. However, with the emergence of state-of-the-art 100B+ parameters models, large language models are increasingly expensive to accurately design and train. Notably, it can be difficult to evaluate how modeling decisions may impact emergent capabilities, given that these capabilities arise mainly from sheer scale alone. In the process of building BLOOM–the Big Science Large Open-science Open-access Multilingual language model–our goal is to identify an architecture and training setup that makes the best use of our 1,000,000 A100-GPU-hours budget. Specifically, we perform an ablation study at the billion-parameter scale comparing different modeling practices and their impact on zero-shot generalization. In addition, we study the impact of various popular pre-training corpora on zero-shot generalization. We also study the performance of a multilingual model and how it compares to the English-only one. Finally, we consider the scaling behaviour of Transformers to choose the target model size, shape, and training setup. All our models and code are open-sourced at https://huggingface.co/bigscience.

pdf bib
PromptSource: An Integrated Development Environment and Repository for Natural Language Prompts
Stephen Bach | Victor Sanh | Zheng Xin Yong | Albert Webson | Colin Raffel | Nihal V. Nayak | Abheesht Sharma | Taewoon Kim | M Saiful Bari | Thibault Fevry | Zaid Alyafeai | Manan Dey | Andrea Santilli | Zhiqing Sun | Srulik Ben-david | Canwen Xu | Gunjan Chhablani | Han Wang | Jason Fries | Maged Al-shaibani | Shanya Sharma | Urmish Thakker | Khalid Almubarak | Xiangru Tang | Dragomir Radev | Mike Tian-jian Jiang | Alexander Rush
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

PromptSource is a system for creating, sharing, and using natural language prompts. Prompts are functions that map an example from a dataset to a natural language input and target output. Using prompts to train and query language models is an emerging area in NLP that requires new tools that let users develop and refine these prompts collaboratively. PromptSource addresses the emergent challenges in this new setting with (1) a templating language for defining data-linked prompts, (2) an interface that lets users quickly iterate on prompt development by observing outputs of their prompts on many examples, and (3) a community-driven set of guidelines for contributing new prompts to a common pool. Over 2,000 prompts for roughly 170 datasets are already available in PromptSource. PromptSource is available at https://github.com/bigscience-workshop/promptsource.

pdf bib
Learning with Limited Text Data
Diyi Yang | Ankur Parikh | Colin Raffel
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Tutorial Abstracts

Natural Language Processing (NLP) has achieved great progress in the past decade on the basis of neural models, which often make use of large amounts of labeled data to achieve state-of-the-art performance. The dependence on labeled data prevents NLP models from being applied to low-resource settings and languages because of the time, money, and expertise that is often required to label massive amounts of textual data. Consequently, the ability to learn with limited labeled data is crucial for deploying neural systems to real-world NLP applications. Recently, numerous approaches have been explored to alleviate the need for labeled data in NLP such as data augmentation and semi-supervised learning. This tutorial aims to provide a systematic and up-to-date overview of these methods in order to help researchers and practitioners understand the landscape of approaches and the challenges associated with learning from limited labeled data, an emerging topic in the computational linguistics community. We will consider applications to a wide variety of NLP tasks (including text classification, generation, and structured prediction) and will highlight current challenges and future directions.

pdf bib
ByT5: Towards a Token-Free Future with Pre-trained Byte-to-Byte Models
Linting Xue | Aditya Barua | Noah Constant | Rami Al-Rfou | Sharan Narang | Mihir Kale | Adam Roberts | Colin Raffel
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 10

Most widely used pre-trained language models operate on sequences of tokens corresponding to word or subword units. By comparison, token-free models that operate directly on raw text (bytes or characters) have many benefits: They can process text in any language out of the box, they are more robust to noise, and they minimize technical debt by removing complex and error-prone text preprocessing pipelines. Because byte or character sequences are longer than token sequences, past work on token-free models has often introduced new model architectures designed to amortize the cost of operating directly on raw text. In this paper, we show that a standard Transformer architecture can be used with minimal modifications to process byte sequences. We characterize the trade-offs in terms of parameter count, training FLOPs, and inference speed, and show that byte-level models are competitive with their token-level counterparts. We also demonstrate that byte-level models are significantly more robust to noise and perform better on tasks that are sensitive to spelling and pronunciation. As part of our contribution, we release a new set of pre-trained byte-level Transformer models based on the T5 architecture, as well as all code and data used in our experiments.1

2021

pdf bib
mT5: A Massively Multilingual Pre-trained Text-to-Text Transformer
Linting Xue | Noah Constant | Adam Roberts | Mihir Kale | Rami Al-Rfou | Aditya Siddhant | Aditya Barua | Colin Raffel
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

The recent “Text-to-Text Transfer Transformer” (T5) leveraged a unified text-to-text format and scale to attain state-of-the-art results on a wide variety of English-language NLP tasks. In this paper, we introduce mT5, a multilingual variant of T5 that was pre-trained on a new Common Crawl-based dataset covering 101 languages. We detail the design and modified training of mT5 and demonstrate its state-of-the-art performance on many multilingual benchmarks. We also describe a simple technique to prevent “accidental translation” in the zero-shot setting, where a generative model chooses to (partially) translate its prediction into the wrong language. All of the code and model checkpoints used in this work are publicly available.

pdf bib
Improving and Simplifying Pattern Exploiting Training
Derek Tam | Rakesh R. Menon | Mohit Bansal | Shashank Srivastava | Colin Raffel
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Recently, pre-trained language models (LMs) have achieved strong performance when fine-tuned on difficult benchmarks like SuperGLUE. However, performance can suffer when there are very few labeled examples available for fine-tuning. Pattern Exploiting Training (PET) is a recent approach that leverages patterns for few-shot learning. However, PET uses task-specific unlabeled data. In this paper, we focus on few-shot learning without any unlabeled data and introduce ADAPET, which modifies PET’s objective to provide denser supervision during fine-tuning. As a result, ADAPET outperforms PET on SuperGLUE without any task-specific unlabeled data.

pdf bib
Do Transformer Modifications Transfer Across Implementations and Applications?
Sharan Narang | Hyung Won Chung | Yi Tay | Liam Fedus | Thibault Fevry | Michael Matena | Karishma Malkan | Noah Fiedel | Noam Shazeer | Zhenzhong Lan | Yanqi Zhou | Wei Li | Nan Ding | Jake Marcus | Adam Roberts | Colin Raffel
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The research community has proposed copious modifications to the Transformer architecture since it was introduced over three years ago, relatively few of which have seen widespread adoption. In this paper, we comprehensively evaluate many of these modifications in a shared experimental setting that covers most of the common uses of the Transformer in natural language processing. Surprisingly, we find that most modifications do not meaningfully improve performance. Furthermore, most of the Transformer variants we found beneficial were either developed in the same codebase that we used or are relatively minor changes. We conjecture that performance improvements may strongly depend on implementation details and correspondingly make some recommendations for improving the generality of experimental results.

2020

pdf bib
How Much Knowledge Can You Pack Into the Parameters of a Language Model?
Adam Roberts | Colin Raffel | Noam Shazeer
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

It has recently been observed that neural language models trained on unstructured text can implicitly store and retrieve knowledge using natural language queries. In this short paper, we measure the practical utility of this approach by fine-tuning pre-trained models to answer questions without access to any external context or knowledge. We show that this approach scales with model size and performs competitively with open-domain systems that explicitly retrieve answers from an external knowledge source when answering questions. To facilitate reproducibility and future work, we release our code and trained models.

2019

pdf bib
Monotonic Infinite Lookback Attention for Simultaneous Machine Translation
Naveen Arivazhagan | Colin Cherry | Wolfgang Macherey | Chung-Cheng Chiu | Semih Yavuz | Ruoming Pang | Wei Li | Colin Raffel
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Simultaneous machine translation begins to translate each source sentence before the source speaker is finished speaking, with applications to live and streaming scenarios. Simultaneous systems must carefully schedule their reading of the source sentence to balance quality against latency. We present the first simultaneous translation system to learn an adaptive schedule jointly with a neural machine translation (NMT) model that attends over all source tokens read thus far. We do so by introducing Monotonic Infinite Lookback (MILk) attention, which maintains both a hard, monotonic attention head to schedule the reading of the source sentence, and a soft attention head that extends from the monotonic head back to the beginning of the source. We show that MILk’s adaptive schedule allows it to arrive at latency-quality trade-offs that are favorable to those of a recently proposed wait-k strategy for many latency values.
Search
Co-authors