Luyu Gao


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Unsupervised Corpus Aware Language Model Pre-training for Dense Passage Retrieval
Luyu Gao | Jamie Callan
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Recent research demonstrates the effectiveness of using fine-tuned language models (LM) for dense retrieval. However, dense retrievers are hard to train, typically requiring heavily engineered fine-tuning pipelines to realize their full potential. In this paper, we identify and address two underlying problems of dense retrievers: i) fragility to training data noise and ii) requiring large batches to robustly learn the embedding space. We use the recently proposed Condenser pre-training architecture, which learns to condense information into the dense vector through LM pre-training. On top of it, we propose coCondenser, which adds an unsupervised corpus-level contrastive loss to warm up the passage embedding space. Experiments on MS-MARCO, Natural Question, and Trivia QA datasets show that coCondenser removes the need for heavy data engineering such as augmentation, synthesis, or filtering, and the need for large batch training. It shows comparable performance to RocketQA, a state-of-the-art, heavily engineered system, using simple small batch fine-tuning.


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Condenser: a Pre-training Architecture for Dense Retrieval
Luyu Gao | Jamie Callan
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Pre-trained Transformer language models (LM) have become go-to text representation encoders. Prior research fine-tunes deep LMs to encode text sequences such as sentences and passages into single dense vector representations for efficient text comparison and retrieval. However, dense encoders require a lot of data and sophisticated techniques to effectively train and suffer in low data situations. This paper finds a key reason is that standard LMs’ internal attention structure is not ready-to-use for dense encoders, which needs to aggregate text information into the dense representation. We propose to pre-train towards dense encoder with a novel Transformer architecture, Condenser, where LM prediction CONditions on DENSE Representation. Our experiments show Condenser improves over standard LM by large margins on various text retrieval and similarity tasks.

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Scaling Deep Contrastive Learning Batch Size under Memory Limited Setup
Luyu Gao | Yunyi Zhang | Jiawei Han | Jamie Callan
Proceedings of the 6th Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP (RepL4NLP-2021)

Contrastive learning has been applied successfully to learn vector representations of text. Previous research demonstrated that learning high-quality representations benefits from batch-wise contrastive loss with a large number of negatives. In practice, the technique of in-batch negative is used, where for each example in a batch, other batch examples’ positives will be taken as its negatives, avoiding encoding extra negatives. This, however, still conditions each example’s loss on all batch examples and requires fitting the entire large batch into GPU memory. This paper introduces a gradient caching technique that decouples backpropagation between contrastive loss and the encoder, removing encoder backward pass data dependency along the batch dimension. As a result, gradients can be computed for one subset of the batch at a time, leading to almost constant memory usage.

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COIL: Revisit Exact Lexical Match in Information Retrieval with Contextualized Inverted List
Luyu Gao | Zhuyun Dai | Jamie Callan
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Classical information retrieval systems such as BM25 rely on exact lexical match and can carry out search efficiently with inverted list index. Recent neural IR models shifts towards soft matching all query document terms, but they lose the computation efficiency of exact match systems. This paper presents COIL, a contextualized exact match retrieval architecture, where scoring is based on overlapping query document tokens’ contextualized representations. The new architecture stores contextualized token representations in inverted lists, bringing together the efficiency of exact match and the representation power of deep language models. Our experimental results show COIL outperforms classical lexical retrievers and state-of-the-art deep LM retrievers with similar or smaller latency.


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Modularized Transfomer-based Ranking Framework
Luyu Gao | Zhuyun Dai | Jamie Callan
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Recent innovations in Transformer-based ranking models have advanced the state-of-the-art in information retrieval. However, these Transformers are computationally expensive, and their opaque hidden states make it hard to understand the ranking process. In this work, we modularize the Transformer ranker into separate modules for text representation and interaction. We show how this design enables substantially faster ranking using offline pre-computed representations and light-weight online interactions. The modular design is also easier to interpret and sheds light on the ranking process in Transformer rankers.

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Improving Target-side Lexical Transfer in Multilingual Neural Machine Translation
Luyu Gao | Xinyi Wang | Graham Neubig
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

To improve the performance of Neural Machine Translation (NMT) for low-resource languages (LRL), one effective strategy is to leverage parallel data from a related high-resource language (HRL). However, multilingual data has been found more beneficial for NMT models that translate from the LRL to a target language than the ones that translate into the LRLs. In this paper, we aim to improve the effectiveness of multilingual transfer for NMT models that translate into the LRL, by designing a better decoder word embedding. Extending upon a general-purpose multilingual encoding method Soft Decoupled Encoding (Wang et al., 2019), we propose DecSDE, an efficient character n-gram based embedding specifically designed for the NMT decoder. Our experiments show that DecSDE leads to consistent gains of up to 1.8 BLEU on translation from English to four different languages.