Recently introduced language model prompting methods can achieve high accuracy in zero- and few-shot settings while requiring few to no learned task-specific parameters. Nevertheless, these methods still often trail behind full model finetuning. In this work, we investigate if a dedicated continued pretraining stage could improve “promptability”, i.e., zero-shot performance with natural language prompts or few-shot performance with prompt tuning. We reveal settings where existing continued pretraining methods lack promptability. We also identify current methodological gaps, which we fill with thorough large-scale experiments. We demonstrate that a simple recipe, continued pretraining that incorporates a trainable prompt during multi-task learning, leads to improved promptability in both zero- and few-shot settings compared to existing methods, up to 31% relative. On the other hand, we find that continued pretraining using MAML-style meta-learning, a method that directly optimizes few-shot promptability, yields subpar performance. We validate our findings with two prompt tuning methods, and, based on our results, we provide concrete recommendations to optimize promptability for different use cases.
Large language models have led to remarkable progress on many NLP tasks, and researchers are turning to ever-larger text corpora to train them. Some of the largest corpora available are made by scraping significant portions of the internet, and are frequently introduced with only minimal documentation. In this work we provide some of the first documentation for the Colossal Clean Crawled Corpus (C4; Raffel et al., 2020), a dataset created by applying a set of filters to a single snapshot of Common Crawl. We begin by investigating where the data came from, and find a significant amount of text from unexpected sources like patents and US military websites. Then we explore the content of the text itself, and find machine-generated text (e.g., from machine translation systems) and evaluation examples from other benchmark NLP datasets. To understand the impact of the filters applied to create this dataset, we evaluate the text that was removed, and show that blocklist filtering disproportionately removes text from and about minority individuals. Finally, we conclude with some recommendations for how to created and document web-scale datasets from a scrape of the internet.
State-of-the-art models for multi-hop question answering typically augment large-scale language models like BERT with additional, intuitively useful capabilities such as named entity recognition, graph-based reasoning, and question decomposition. However, does their strong performance on popular multi-hop datasets really justify this added design complexity? Our results suggest that the answer may be no, because even our simple pipeline based on BERT, named , performs surprisingly well. Specifically, on HotpotQA, Quark outperforms these models on both question answering and support identification (and achieves performance very close to a RoBERTa model). Our pipeline has three steps: 1) use BERT to identify potentially relevant sentences independently of each other; 2) feed the set of selected sentences as context into a standard BERT span prediction model to choose an answer; and 3) use the sentence selection model, now with the chosen answer, to produce supporting sentences. The strong performance of Quark resurfaces the importance of carefully exploring simple model designs before using popular benchmarks to justify the value of complex techniques.
We describe a deployed scalable system for organizing published scientific literature into a heterogeneous graph to facilitate algorithmic manipulation and discovery. The resulting literature graph consists of more than 280M nodes, representing papers, authors, entities and various interactions between them (e.g., authorships, citations, entity mentions). We reduce literature graph construction into familiar NLP tasks (e.g., entity extraction and linking), point out research challenges due to differences from standard formulations of these tasks, and report empirical results for each task. The methods described in this paper are used to enable semantic features in www.semanticscholar.org