SkipBERT: Efficient Inference with Shallow Layer Skipping
Jue Wang | Ke Chen | Gang Chen | Lidan Shou | Julian McAuley
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)
In this paper, we propose SkipBERT to accelerate BERT inference by skipping the computation of shallow layers. To achieve this, our approach encodes small text chunks into independent representations, which are then materialized to approximate the shallow representation of BERT. Since the use of such approximation is inexpensive compared with transformer calculations, we leverage it to replace the shallow layers of BERT to skip their runtime overhead. With off-the-shelf early exit mechanisms, we also skip redundant computation from the highest few layers to further improve inference efficiency. Results on GLUE show that our approach can reduce latency by 65% without sacrificing performance. By using only two-layer transformer calculations, we can still maintain 95% accuracy of BERT.
This paper presents Pyramid, a novel layered model for Nested Named Entity Recognition (nested NER). In our approach, token or text region embeddings are recursively inputted into L flat NER layers, from bottom to top, stacked in a pyramid shape. Each time an embedding passes through a layer of the pyramid, its length is reduced by one. Its hidden state at layer l represents an l-gram in the input text, which is labeled only if its corresponding text region represents a complete entity mention. We also design an inverse pyramid to allow bidirectional interaction between layers. The proposed method achieves state-of-the-art F1 scores in nested NER on ACE-2004, ACE-2005, GENIA, and NNE, which are 80.27, 79.42, 77.78, and 93.70 with conventional embeddings, and 87.74, 86.34, 79.31, and 94.68 with pre-trained contextualized embeddings. In addition, our model can be used for the more general task of Overlapping Named Entity Recognition. A preliminary experiment confirms the effectiveness of our method in overlapping NER.