Kaiyue Wen


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On Transferability of Prompt Tuning for Natural Language Processing
Yusheng Su | Xiaozhi Wang | Yujia Qin | Chi-Min Chan | Yankai Lin | Huadong Wang | Kaiyue Wen | Zhiyuan Liu | Peng Li | Juanzi Li | Lei Hou | Maosong Sun | Jie Zhou
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Prompt tuning (PT) is a promising parameter-efficient method to utilize extremely large pre-trained language models (PLMs), which can achieve comparable performance to full-parameter fine-tuning by only tuning a few soft prompts. However, PT requires much more training time than fine-tuning. Intuitively, knowledge transfer can help to improve the efficiency. To explore whether we can improve PT via prompt transfer, we empirically investigate the transferability of soft prompts across different downstream tasks and PLMs in this work. We find that (1) in zero-shot setting, trained soft prompts can effectively transfer to similar tasks on the same PLM and also to other PLMs with a cross-model projector trained on similar tasks; (2) when used as initialization, trained soft prompts of similar tasks and projected prompts of other PLMs can significantly accelerate training and also improve the performance of PT. Moreover, to explore what decides prompt transferability, we investigate various transferability indicators and find that the overlapping rate of activated neurons strongly reflects the transferability, which suggests how the prompts stimulate PLMs is essential. Our findings show that prompt transfer is promising for improving PT, and further research shall focus more on prompts’ stimulation to PLMs. The source code can be obtained from https://github.com/thunlp/Prompt-Transferability.

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Finding Skill Neurons in Pre-trained Transformer-based Language Models
Xiaozhi Wang | Kaiyue Wen | Zhengyan Zhang | Lei Hou | Zhiyuan Liu | Juanzi Li
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Transformer-based pre-trained language models have demonstrated superior performance on various natural language processing tasks. However, it remains unclear how the skills required to handle these tasks distribute among model parameters. In this paper, we find that after prompt tuning for specific tasks, the activations of some neurons within pre-trained Transformers are highly predictive of the task labels. We dub these neurons skill neurons and confirm they encode task-specific skills by finding that: (1) Skill neurons are crucial for handling tasks. Performances of pre-trained Transformers on a task significantly drop when corresponding skill neurons are perturbed. (2) Skill neurons are task-specific. Similar tasks tend to have similar distributions of skill neurons. Furthermore, we demonstrate the skill neurons are most likely generated in pre-training rather than fine-tuning by showing that the skill neurons found with prompt tuning are also crucial for other fine-tuning methods freezing neuron weights, such as the adapter-based tuning and BitFit. We also explore the applications of skill neurons, including accelerating Transformers with network pruning and building better transferability indicators. These findings may promote further research on understanding Transformers. The source code can be obtained from https://github.com/THU-KEG/Skill-Neuron.