Pre-trained language models have shown stellar performance in various downstream tasks. But, this usually comes at the cost of high latency and computation, hindering their usage in resource-limited settings. In this work, we propose a novel approach for reducing the computational cost of BERT with minimal loss in downstream performance. Our method dynamically eliminates less contributing tokens through layers, resulting in shorter lengths and consequently lower computational cost. To determine the importance of each token representation, we train a Contribution Predictor for each layer using a gradient-based saliency method. Our experiments on several diverse classification tasks show speedups up to 22x during inference time without much sacrifice in performance. We also validate the quality of the selected tokens in our method using human annotations in the ERASER benchmark. In comparison to other widely used strategies for selecting important tokens, such as saliency and attention, our proposed method has a significantly lower false positive rate in generating rationales. Our code is freely available at https://github.com/amodaresi/AdapLeR.
Most of the recent works on probing representations have focused on BERT, with the presumption that the findings might be similar to the other models. In this work, we extend the probing studies to two other models in the family, namely ELECTRA and XLNet, showing that variations in the pre-training objectives or architectural choices can result in different behaviors in encoding linguistic information in the representations. Most notably, we observe that ELECTRA tends to encode linguistic knowledge in the deeper layers, whereas XLNet instead concentrates that in the earlier layers. Also, the former model undergoes a slight change during fine-tuning, whereas the latter experiences significant adjustments. Moreover, we show that drawing conclusions based on the weight mixing evaluation strategy—which is widely used in the context of layer-wise probing—can be misleading given the norm disparity of the representations across different layers. Instead, we adopt an alternative information-theoretic probing with minimum description length, which has recently been proven to provide more reliable and informative results.
Several studies have been carried out on revealing linguistic features captured by BERT. This is usually achieved by training a diagnostic classifier on the representations obtained from different layers of BERT. The subsequent classification accuracy is then interpreted as the ability of the model in encoding the corresponding linguistic property. Despite providing insights, these studies have left out the potential role of token representations. In this paper, we provide a more in-depth analysis on the representation space of BERT in search for distinct and meaningful subspaces that can explain the reasons behind these probing results. Based on a set of probing tasks and with the help of attribution methods we show that BERT tends to encode meaningful knowledge in specific token representations (which are often ignored in standard classification setups), allowing the model to detect syntactic and semantic abnormalities, and to distinctively separate grammatical number and tense subspaces.