Outlier Dimensions that Disrupt Transformers are Driven by Frequency
Giovanni Puccetti | Anna Rogers | Aleksandr Drozd | Felice Dell’Orletta
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022
While Transformer-based language models are generally very robust to pruning, there is the recently discovered outlier phenomenon: disabling only 48 out of 110M parameters in BERT-base drops its performance by nearly 30% on MNLI. We replicate the original evidence for the outlier phenomenon and we link it to the geometry of the embedding space. We find that in both BERT and RoBERTa the magnitude of hidden state coefficients corresponding to outlier dimensions correlate with the frequencies of encoded tokens in pre-training data, and they also contribute to the “vertical” self-attention pattern enabling the model to focus on the special tokens. This explains the drop in performance from disabling the outliers, and it suggests that to decrease anisotopicity in future models we need pre-training schemas that would better take into account the skewed token distributions.
How Do BERT Embeddings Organize Linguistic Knowledge?
Giovanni Puccetti | Alessio Miaschi | Felice Dell’Orletta
Proceedings of Deep Learning Inside Out (DeeLIO): The 2nd Workshop on Knowledge Extraction and Integration for Deep Learning Architectures
Several studies investigated the linguistic information implicitly encoded in Neural Language Models. Most of these works focused on quantifying the amount and type of information available within their internal representations and across their layers. In line with this scenario, we proposed a different study, based on Lasso regression, aimed at understanding how the information encoded by BERT sentence-level representations is arrange within its hidden units. Using a suite of several probing tasks, we showed the existence of a relationship between the implicit knowledge learned by the model and the number of individual units involved in the encodings of this competence. Moreover, we found that it is possible to identify groups of hidden units more relevant for specific linguistic properties.