Maxim Krikun


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Beyond Distillation: Task-level Mixture-of-Experts for Efficient Inference
Sneha Kudugunta | Yanping Huang | Ankur Bapna | Maxim Krikun | Dmitry Lepikhin | Minh-Thang Luong | Orhan Firat
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Sparse Mixture-of-Experts (MoE) has been a successful approach for scaling multilingual translation models to billions of parameters without a proportional increase in training computation. However, MoE models are prohibitively large and practitioners often resort to methods such as distillation for serving. In this work, we investigate routing strategies at different granularity (token, sentence, task) in MoE models to bypass distillation. Experiments on WMT and a web-scale dataset suggest that task-level routing (task-MoE) enables us to extract smaller, ready-to-deploy sub-networks from large sparse models. On WMT, our task-MoE with 32 experts (533M parameters) outperforms the best performing token-level MoE model (token-MoE) by +1.0 BLEU on average across 30 language pairs. The peak inference throughput is also improved by a factor of 1.9x when we route by tasks instead of tokens. While distilling a token-MoE to a smaller dense model preserves only 32% of the BLEU gains, our sub-network task-MoE, by design, preserves all the gains with the same inference cost as the distilled student model. Finally, when scaling up to 200 language pairs, our 128-expert task-MoE (13B parameters) performs competitively with a token-level counterpart, while improving the peak inference throughput by a factor of 2.6x.


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Reinforcement Learning based Curriculum Optimization for Neural Machine Translation
Gaurav Kumar | George Foster | Colin Cherry | Maxim Krikun
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers)

We consider the problem of making efficient use of heterogeneous training data in neural machine translation (NMT). Specifically, given a training dataset with a sentence-level feature such as noise, we seek an optimal curriculum, or order for presenting examples to the system during training. Our curriculum framework allows examples to appear an arbitrary number of times, and thus generalizes data weighting, filtering, and fine-tuning schemes. Rather than relying on prior knowledge to design a curriculum, we use reinforcement learning to learn one automatically, jointly with the NMT system, in the course of a single training run. We show that this approach can beat uniform baselines on Paracrawl and WMT English-to-French datasets by +3.4 and +1.3 BLEU respectively. Additionally, we match the performance of strong filtering baselines and hand-designed, state-of-the-art curricula.


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Google’s Multilingual Neural Machine Translation System: Enabling Zero-Shot Translation
Melvin Johnson | Mike Schuster | Quoc V. Le | Maxim Krikun | Yonghui Wu | Zhifeng Chen | Nikhil Thorat | Fernanda Viégas | Martin Wattenberg | Greg Corrado | Macduff Hughes | Jeffrey Dean
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 5

We propose a simple solution to use a single Neural Machine Translation (NMT) model to translate between multiple languages. Our solution requires no changes to the model architecture from a standard NMT system but instead introduces an artificial token at the beginning of the input sentence to specify the required target language. Using a shared wordpiece vocabulary, our approach enables Multilingual NMT systems using a single model. On the WMT’14 benchmarks, a single multilingual model achieves comparable performance for English→French and surpasses state-of-theart results for English→German. Similarly, a single multilingual model surpasses state-of-the-art results for French→English and German→English on WMT’14 and WMT’15 benchmarks, respectively. On production corpora, multilingual models of up to twelve language pairs allow for better translation of many individual pairs. Our models can also learn to perform implicit bridging between language pairs never seen explicitly during training, showing that transfer learning and zero-shot translation is possible for neural translation. Finally, we show analyses that hints at a universal interlingua representation in our models and also show some interesting examples when mixing languages.