Jiahao Liu


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Minimal Distillation Schedule for Extreme Language Model Compression
Chen Zhang | Yang Yang | Qifan Wang | Jiahao Liu | Jingang Wang | Wei Wu | Dawei Song
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EACL 2024

Recent studies have revealed that language model distillation can become less effective when there is a significant capacity gap between the teacher and the student models. In order to bridge the gap, teacher assistant-based distillation has been introduced, in which the selection of the teacher assistant plays a crucial role in transferring knowledge from the teacher to the student. However, existing approaches for teacher assistant-based distillation require numerous trials to find the optimal teacher assistant.In this paper, we propose a novel approach called Minimal Distillation Schedule (MiniDisc), which enables the scheduling of an optimal teacher assistant in just one trial for extreme model compression (e.g, to 5% scale). In particular, we empirically show that the performance of the student is positively correlated with the scale-performance tradeoff of the teacher assistant. We then introduce a new 𝜆-tradeoff metric that quantifies the optimality of the teacher assistant without the need for trial distillation to the student. By employing a sandwich framework, MiniDisc can select the optimal teacher assistant with the best 𝜆-tradeoff.We extensively evaluate MiniDisc through a series of experiments on the GLUE benchmark. The results demonstrate that our approach achieved an improved efficiency compared to various state-of-the-art baselines. Furthermore, we showcase the scalability of MiniDisc by applying it to a language model with billions of parameters.


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Lifting the Curse of Capacity Gap in Distilling Language Models
Chen Zhang | Yang Yang | Jiahao Liu | Jingang Wang | Yunsen Xian | Benyou Wang | Dawei Song
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Pretrained language models (LMs) have shown compelling performance on various downstream tasks, but unfortunately they require a tremendous amount of inference compute. Knowledge distillation finds a path to compress LMs to small ones with a teacher-student paradigm. However, when the capacity gap between the teacher and the student is large, a curse of capacity gap appears, invoking a deficiency in distilling LMs. While a few studies have been carried out to fill the gap, the curse is not yet well tackled. In this paper, we aim at lifting the curse of capacity gap via enlarging the capacity of the student without notably increasing the inference compute. Largely motivated by sparse activation regime of mixture of experts (MoE), we propose a mixture of minimal experts (MiniMoE), which imposes extra parameters to the student but introduces almost no additional inference compute. Experimental results on GLUE and CoNLL demonstrate the curse of capacity gap is lifted by the magic of MiniMoE to a large extent. MiniMoE also achieves the state-of-the-art performance at small FLOPs compared with a range of competitive baselines. With a compression rate as much as ~50×, MiniMoE preserves ~95% GLUE score of the teacher.

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RankCSE: Unsupervised Sentence Representations Learning via Learning to Rank
Jiduan Liu | Jiahao Liu | Qifan Wang | Jingang Wang | Wei Wu | Yunsen Xian | Dongyan Zhao | Kai Chen | Rui Yan
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Unsupervised sentence representation learning is one of the fundamental problems in natural language processing with various downstream applications. Recently, contrastive learning has been widely adopted which derives high-quality sentence representations by pulling similar semantics closer and pushing dissimilar ones away. However, these methods fail to capture the fine-grained ranking information among the sentences, where each sentence is only treated as either positive or negative. In many real-world scenarios, one needs to distinguish and rank the sentences based on their similarities to a query sentence, e.g., very relevant, moderate relevant, less relevant, irrelevant, etc. In this paper, we propose a novel approach, RankCSE, for unsupervised sentence representation learning, which incorporates ranking consistency and ranking distillation with contrastive learning into a unified framework. In particular, we learn semantically discriminative sentence representations by simultaneously ensuring ranking consistency between two representations with different dropout masks, and distilling listwise ranking knowledge from the teacher. An extensive set of experiments are conducted on both semantic textual similarity (STS) and transfer (TR) tasks. Experimental results demonstrate the superior performance of our approach over several state-of-the-art baselines.

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PreQuant: A Task-agnostic Quantization Approach for Pre-trained Language Models
Zhuocheng Gong | Jiahao Liu | Qifan Wang | Yang Yang | Jingang Wang | Wei Wu | Yunsen Xian | Dongyan Zhao | Rui Yan
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

While transformer-based pre-trained language models (PLMs) have dominated a number of NLP applications, these models are heavy to deploy and expensive to use. Therefore, effectively compressing large-scale PLMs becomes an increasingly important problem. Quantization, which represents high-precision tensors with low-bit fix-point format, is a viable solution. However, most existing quantization methods are task-specific, requiring customized training and quantization with a large number of trainable parameters on each individual task. Inspired by the observation that the over-parameterization nature of PLMs makes it possible to freeze most of the parameters during the fine-tuning stage, in this work, we propose a novel “quantize before fine-tuning” framework, PreQuant, that differs from both quantization-aware training and post-training quantization. {pasted macro ‘OUR’} is compatible with various quantization strategies, with outlier-aware parameter-efficient fine-tuning incorporated to correct the induced quantization error. We demonstrate the effectiveness of PreQuant on the GLUE benchmark using BERT, RoBERTa, and T5. We also provide an empirical investigation into the workflow of PreQuant, which sheds light on its efficacy.

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Retrieval-based Knowledge Transfer: An Effective Approach for Extreme Large Language Model Compression
Jiduan Liu | Jiahao Liu | Qifan Wang | Jingang Wang | Xunliang Cai | Dongyan Zhao | Ran Wang | Rui Yan
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Large-scale pre-trained language models (LLMs) have demonstrated exceptional performance in various natural language processing (NLP) tasks. However, the massive size of these models poses huge challenges for their deployment in real-world applications. While numerous model compression techniques have been proposed, most of them are not well-suited for achieving extreme model compression when there is a significant gap in model scale. In this paper, we introduce a novel compression paradigm called Retrieval-based Knowledge Transfer (RetriKT), which effectively transfers the knowledge of LLMs to extremely small-scale models (e.g., 1%). In particular, our approach extracts knowledge from LLMs to construct a knowledge store, from which the small-scale model can retrieve relevant information and leverage it for effective inference. To improve the quality of the model, soft prompt tuning and Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO) reinforcement learning techniques are employed. Extensive experiments are conducted on low-resource tasks from SuperGLUE and GLUE benchmarks. The results demonstrate that the proposed approach significantly enhances the performance of small-scale models by leveraging the knowledge from LLMs.

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Improving Input-label Mapping with Demonstration Replay for In-context Learning
Zhuocheng Gong | Jiahao Liu | Qifan Wang | Jingang Wang | Xunliang Cai | Dongyan Zhao | Rui Yan
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

In-context learning (ICL) is an emerging capability of large autoregressive language models where a few input-label demonstrations are appended to the input to enhance the model’s understanding of downstream NLP tasks, without directly adjusting the model parameters. The effectiveness of ICL can be attributed to the strong language modeling capabilities of large language models (LLMs), which enable them to learn the mapping between input and labels based on in-context demonstrations. Despite achieving promising results, the causal nature of language modeling in ICL restricts the attention to be backward only, i.e., a token only attends to its previous tokens, failing to capture the full input-label information and limiting the model’s performance. In this paper, we propose a novel ICL method called Repeated Demonstration with Sliding Causal Attention, (RdSca). Specifically, we duplicate later demonstrations and concatenate them to the front, allowing the model to ‘observe’ the later information even under the causal restriction. Besides, we introduce sliding causal attention, which customizes causal attention to avoid information leakage. Experimental results show that our method significantly improves the input-label mapping in ICL demonstrations. We also conduct an in-depth analysis of how to customize the causal attention without training, which has been an unexplored area in previous research.


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VIRT: Improving Representation-based Text Matching via Virtual Interaction
Dan Li | Yang Yang | Hongyin Tang | Jiahao Liu | Qifan Wang | Jingang Wang | Tong Xu | Wei Wu | Enhong Chen
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Text matching is a fundamental research problem in natural language understanding. Interaction-based approaches treat the text pair as a single sequence and encode it through cross encoders, while representation-based models encode the text pair independently with siamese or dual encoders. Interaction-based models require dense computations and thus are impractical in real-world applications. Representation-based models have become the mainstream paradigm for efficient text matching. However, these models suffer from severe performance degradation due to the lack of interactions between the pair of texts. To remedy this, we propose a Virtual InteRacTion mechanism (VIRT) for improving representation-based text matching while maintaining its efficiency. In particular, we introduce an interactive knowledge distillation module that is only applied during training. It enables deep interaction between texts by effectively transferring knowledge from the interaction-based model. A light interaction strategy is designed to fully leverage the learned interactive knowledge. Experimental results on six text matching benchmarks demonstrate the superior performance of our method over several state-of-the-art representation-based models. We further show that VIRT can be integrated into existing methods as plugins to lift their performances.

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GNN-encoder: Learning a Dual-encoder Architecture via Graph Neural Networks for Dense Passage Retrieval
Jiduan Liu | Jiahao Liu | Yang Yang | Jingang Wang | Wei Wu | Dongyan Zhao | Rui Yan
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Recently, retrieval models based on dense representations are dominant in passage retrieval tasks, due to their outstanding ability in terms of capturing semantics of input text compared to the traditional sparse vector space models. A common practice of dense retrieval models is to exploit a dual-encoder architecture to represent a query and a passage independently. Though efficient, such a structure loses interaction between the query-passage pair, resulting in inferior accuracy. To enhance the performance of dense retrieval models without loss of efficiency, we propose a GNN-encoder model in which query (passage) information is fused into passage (query) representations via graph neural networks that are constructed by queries and their top retrieved passages. By this means, we maintain a dual-encoder structure, and retain some interaction information between query-passage pairs in their representations, which enables us to achieve both efficiency and efficacy in passage retrieval. Evaluation results indicate that our method significantly outperforms the existing models on MSMARCO, Natural Questions and TriviaQA datasets, and achieves the new state-of-the-art on these datasets.


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VECO: Variable and Flexible Cross-lingual Pre-training for Language Understanding and Generation
Fuli Luo | Wei Wang | Jiahao Liu | Yijia Liu | Bin Bi | Songfang Huang | Fei Huang | Luo Si
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Existing work in multilingual pretraining has demonstrated the potential of cross-lingual transferability by training a unified Transformer encoder for multiple languages. However, much of this work only relies on the shared vocabulary and bilingual contexts to encourage the correlation across languages, which is loose and implicit for aligning the contextual representations between languages. In this paper, we plug a cross-attention module into the Transformer encoder to explicitly build the interdependence between languages. It can effectively avoid the degeneration of predicting masked words only conditioned on the context in its own language. More importantly, when fine-tuning on downstream tasks, the cross-attention module can be plugged in or out on-demand, thus naturally benefiting a wider range of cross-lingual tasks, from language understanding to generation. As a result, the proposed cross-lingual model delivers new state-of-the-art results on various cross-lingual understanding tasks of the XTREME benchmark, covering text classification, sequence labeling, question answering, and sentence retrieval. For cross-lingual generation tasks, it also outperforms all existing cross-lingual models and state-of-the-art Transformer variants on WMT14 English-to-German and English-to-French translation datasets, with gains of up to 1 2 BLEU.