Jeremy Wohlwend


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Autoregressive Knowledge Distillation through Imitation Learning
Alexander Lin | Jeremy Wohlwend | Howard Chen | Tao Lei
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

The performance of autoregressive models on natural language generation tasks has dramatically improved due to the adoption of deep, self-attentive architectures. However, these gains have come at the cost of hindering inference speed, making state-of-the-art models cumbersome to deploy in real-world, time-sensitive settings. We develop a compression technique for autoregressive models that is driven by an imitation learning perspective on knowledge distillation. The algorithm is designed to address the exposure bias problem. On prototypical language generation tasks such as translation and summarization, our method consistently outperforms other distillation algorithms, such as sequence-level knowledge distillation. Student models trained with our method attain 1.4 to 4.8 BLEU/ROUGE points higher than those trained from scratch, while increasing inference speed by up to 14 times in comparison to the teacher model.

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Structured Pruning of Large Language Models
Ziheng Wang | Jeremy Wohlwend | Tao Lei
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Large language models have recently achieved state of the art performance across a wide variety of natural language tasks. Meanwhile, the size of these models and their latency have significantly increased, which makes their usage costly, and raises an interesting question: do language models need to be large? We study this question through the lens of model compression. We present a generic, structured pruning approach by parameterizing each weight matrix using its low-rank factorization, and adaptively removing rank-1 components during training. On language modeling tasks, our structured approach outperforms other unstructured and block-structured pruning baselines at various compression levels, while achieving significant speedups during both training and inference. We also demonstrate that our method can be applied to pruning adaptive word embeddings in large language models, and to pruning the BERT model on several downstream fine-tuning classification benchmarks.


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Building a Production Model for Retrieval-Based Chatbots
Kyle Swanson | Lili Yu | Christopher Fox | Jeremy Wohlwend | Tao Lei
Proceedings of the First Workshop on NLP for Conversational AI

Response suggestion is an important task for building human-computer conversation systems. Recent approaches to conversation modeling have introduced new model architectures with impressive results, but relatively little attention has been paid to whether these models would be practical in a production setting. In this paper, we describe the unique challenges of building a production retrieval-based conversation system, which selects outputs from a whitelist of candidate responses. To address these challenges, we propose a dual encoder architecture which performs rapid inference and scales well with the size of the whitelist. We also introduce and compare two methods for generating whitelists, and we carry out a comprehensive analysis of the model and whitelists. Experimental results on a large, proprietary help desk chat dataset, including both offline metrics and a human evaluation, indicate production-quality performance and illustrate key lessons about conversation modeling in practice.

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Metric Learning for Dynamic Text Classification
Jeremy Wohlwend | Ethan R. Elenberg | Sam Altschul | Shawn Henry | Tao Lei
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Deep Learning Approaches for Low-Resource NLP (DeepLo 2019)

Traditional text classifiers are limited to predicting over a fixed set of labels. However, in many real-world applications the label set is frequently changing. For example, in intent classification, new intents may be added over time while others are removed. We propose to address the problem of dynamic text classification by replacing the traditional, fixed-size output layer with a learned, semantically meaningful metric space. Here the distances between textual inputs are optimized to perform nearest-neighbor classification across overlapping label sets. Changing the label set does not involve removing parameters, but rather simply adding or removing support points in the metric space. Then the learned metric can be fine-tuned with only a few additional training examples. We demonstrate that this simple strategy is robust to changes in the label space. Furthermore, our results show that learning a non-Euclidean metric can improve performance in the low data regime, suggesting that further work on metric spaces may benefit low-resource research.

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Flambé: A Customizable Framework for Machine Learning Experiments
Jeremy Wohlwend | Nicholas Matthews | Ivan Itzcovich
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

Flambé is a machine learning experimentation framework built to accelerate the entire research life cycle. Flambé’s main objective is to provide a unified interface for prototyping models, running experiments containing complex pipelines, monitoring those experiments in real-time, reporting results, and deploying a final model for inference. Flambé achieves both flexibility and simplicity by allowing users to write custom code but instantly include that code as a component in a larger system which is represented by a concise configuration file format. We demonstrate the application of the framework through a cutting-edge multistage use case: fine-tuning and distillation of a state of the art pretrained language model used for text classification.