Feng Wei


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Prompts Can Play Lottery Tickets Well: Achieving Lifelong Information Extraction via Lottery Prompt Tuning
Zujie Liang | Feng Wei | Yin Jie | Yuxi Qian | Zhenghong Hao | Bing Han
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Thanks to the recent success of Pre-trained Language Models (PLMs), it has become a promising research direction to develop a universal model (UIE) that can solve all typical information extraction tasks within one generative framework. Nonetheless, in real-world scenarios of UIE applications, new data of different IE tasks and domains usually come in a stream over time. A desirable UIE system should be capable of continually learning new tasks without forgetting old ones, thereby allowing knowledge and functionalities expansion without re-training the whole system. In this paper, we study the UIE system under a more challenging yet practical scenario, i.e., “lifelong learning” settings, to evaluate its abilities in three aspects, including knowledge sharing and expansion, catastrophic forgetting prevention, and rapid generalization on few-shot and unseen tasks. To achieve these three goals, we present a novel parameter- and deployment-efficient prompt tuning method namely Lottery Prompt Tuning (LPT).LPT freezes the PLM’s parameters and sequentially learns compact pruned prompt vectors for each task leveraging a binary prompt mask, while keeping the prompt parameters selected by the previous tasks insusceptible. Furthermore, we use a simple yet effective method to perform mask selection and show the powerful transferability of Lottery Prompts to novel tasks. Extensive experiments demonstrate that LPT consistently sets state-of-the-art performance on multiple lifelong learning settings of UIE, including task-incremental setting on seen tasks, few-shot adaptation, and zero-shot generalization on novel tasks.