An extractive rationale explains a language model’s (LM’s) prediction on a given task instance by highlighting the text inputs that most influenced the prediction. Ideally, rationale extraction should be faithful (reflective of LM’s actual behavior) and plausible (convincing to humans), without compromising the LM’s (i.e., task model’s) task performance. Although attribution algorithms and select-predict pipelines are commonly used in rationale extraction, they both rely on certain heuristics that hinder them from satisfying all three desiderata. In light of this, we propose UNIREX, a flexible learning framework which generalizes rationale extractor optimization as follows: (1) specify architecture for a learned rationale extractor; (2) select explainability objectives (i.e., faithfulness and plausibility criteria); and (3) jointly the train task model and rationale extractor on the task using selected objectives. UNIREX enables replacing prior works’ heuristic design choices with a generic learned rationale extractor in (1) and optimizing it for all three desiderata in (2)-(3). To facilitate comparison between methods w.r.t. multiple desiderata, we introduce the Normalized Relative Gain (NRG) metric. Across five English text classification datasets, our best UNIREX configuration outperforms the strongest baselines by an average of 32.9% NRG. Plus, we find that UNIREX-trained rationale extractors’ faithfulness can even generalize to unseen datasets and tasks.
We propose an autoregressive entity linking model, that is trained with two auxiliary tasks, and learns to re-rank generated samples at inference time. Our proposed novelties address two weaknesses in the literature. First, a recent method proposes to learn mention detection and then entity candidate selection, but relies on predefined sets of candidates. We use encoder-decoder autoregressive entity linking in order to bypass this need, and propose to train mention detection as an auxiliary task instead. Second, previous work suggests that re-ranking could help correct prediction errors. We add a new, auxiliary task, match prediction, to learn re-ranking. Without the use of a knowledge base or candidate sets, our model sets a new state of the art in two benchmark datasets of entity linking: COMETA in the biomedical domain, and AIDA-CoNLL in the news domain. We show through ablation studies that each of the two auxiliary tasks increases performance, and that re-ranking is an important factor to the increase. Finally, our low-resource experimental results suggest that performance on the main task benefits from the knowledge learned by the auxiliary tasks, and not just from the additional training data.
By explaining how humans would solve a given task, human rationales can provide strong learning signal for neural language models (NLMs). Explanation regularization (ER) aims to improve NLM generalization by pushing the NLM’s machine rationales (Which input tokens did the NLM focus on?) to align with human rationales (Which input tokens would humans focus on). Though prior works primarily study ER via in-distribution (ID) evaluation, out-of-distribution (OOD) generalization is often more critical in real-world scenarios, yet ER’s effect on OOD generalization has been underexplored.In this paper, we introduce ER-Test, a framework for evaluating ER models’ OOD generalization along three dimensions: unseen datasets, contrast set tests, and functional tests. Using ER-Test, we comprehensively analyze how ER models’ OOD generalization varies with the rationale alignment criterion (loss function), human rationale type (instance-level v/s task-level), number and choice of rationale-annotated instances, and time budget for rationale annotation. Across two tasks and six datasets, we show that ER has little impact on ID performance but yields large OOD performance gains, with the best ER criterion being task-dependent. Also, ER can improve OOD performance even with task-level or few human rationales. Finally, we find that rationale annotation is more time-efficient than label annotation for improving OOD performance. Our results with ER-Test help demonstrate ER’s utility and establish best practices for using ER effectively.
Large neural networks are impractical to deploy on mobile devices due to their heavy computational cost and slow inference. Knowledge distillation (KD) is a technique to reduce the model size while retaining performance by transferring knowledge from a large “teacher” model to a smaller “student” model. However, KD on multimodal datasets such as vision-language datasets is relatively unexplored and digesting such multimodal information is challenging since different modalities present different types of information. In this paper, we propose modality-specific distillation (MSD) to effectively transfer knowledge from a teacher on multimodal datasets. Existing KD approaches can be applied to multimodal setup, but a student doesn’t have access to modality-specific predictions. Our idea aims at mimicking a teacher’s modality-specific predictions by introducing an auxiliary loss term for each modality. Because each modality has different importance for predictions, we also propose weighting approaches for the auxiliary losses; a meta-learning approach to learn the optimal weights on these loss terms. In our experiments, we demonstrate the effectiveness of our MSD and the weighting scheme and show that it achieves better performance than KD.
To reduce a model size but retain performance, we often rely on knowledge distillation (KD) which transfers knowledge from a large “teacher” model to a smaller “student” model. However, KD on multimodal datasets such as vision-language tasks is relatively unexplored, and digesting multimodal information is challenging since different modalities present different types of information. In this paper, we perform a large-scale empirical study to investigate the importance and effects of each modality in knowledge distillation. Furthermore, we introduce a multimodal knowledge distillation framework, modality-specific distillation (MSD), to transfer knowledge from a teacher on multimodal tasks by learning the teacher’s behavior within each modality. The idea aims at mimicking a teacher’s modality-specific predictions by introducing auxiliary loss terms for each modality. Furthermore, because each modality has different saliency for predictions, we define saliency scores for each modality and investigate saliency-based weighting schemes for the auxiliary losses. We further study a weight learning approach to learn the optimal weights on these loss terms. In our empirical analysis, we examine the saliency of each modality in KD, demonstrate the effectiveness of the weighting scheme in MSD, and show that it achieves better performance than KD on four multimodal datasets.