The transformer model has demonstrated superior results on NLP tasks including machine translation and question answering. In this paper, we argue that the position information is not fully utilized in existing work. For example, the initial proposal of a sinusoid embedding is fixed and not learnable. In this paper, we first review the absolute position embeddings and existing relative position embedding methods. We then propose new methods to encourage increased interaction between query, key and relative position embeddings in the self-attention mechanism. Our most promising approach is a generalization of the absolute position embedding. Our method results in increased accuracy compared to previous approaches in absolute and relative position embeddings on the SQuAD1.1 dataset. In addition, we address the inductive property of whether a position embedding can be robust enough to handle long sequences. We demonstrate empirically that our relative embedding method can be reasonably generalized to and is robust in the inductive perspective. Finally, we show that our proposed method can be effectively and efficiently adopted as a near drop-in replacement for improving the accuracy of large models with little computational overhead.
Pretrained masked language models (MLMs) require finetuning for most NLP tasks. Instead, we evaluate MLMs out of the box via their pseudo-log-likelihood scores (PLLs), which are computed by masking tokens one by one. We show that PLLs outperform scores from autoregressive language models like GPT-2 in a variety of tasks. By rescoring ASR and NMT hypotheses, RoBERTa reduces an end-to-end LibriSpeech model’s WER by 30% relative and adds up to +1.7 BLEU on state-of-the-art baselines for low-resource translation pairs, with further gains from domain adaptation. We attribute this success to PLL’s unsupervised expression of linguistic acceptability without a left-to-right bias, greatly improving on scores from GPT-2 (+10 points on island effects, NPI licensing in BLiMP). One can finetune MLMs to give scores without masking, enabling computation in a single inference pass. In all, PLLs and their associated pseudo-perplexities (PPPLs) enable plug-and-play use of the growing number of pretrained MLMs; e.g., we use a single cross-lingual model to rescore translations in multiple languages. We release our library for language model scoring at https://github.com/awslabs/mlm-scoring.
Multi-task learning (MTL) has recently contributed to learning better representations in service of various NLP tasks. MTL aims at improving the performance of a primary task by jointly training on a secondary task. This paper introduces automated tasks, which exploit the sequential nature of the input data, as secondary tasks in an MTL model. We explore next word prediction, next character prediction, and missing word completion as potential automated tasks. Our results show that training on a primary task in parallel with a secondary automated task improves both the convergence speed and accuracy for the primary task. We suggest two methods for augmenting an existing network with automated tasks and establish better performance in topic prediction, sentiment analysis, and hashtag recommendation. Finally, we show that the MTL models can perform well on datasets that are small and colloquial by nature.