Compressing BERT: Studying the Effects of Weight Pruning on Transfer Learning
Mitchell Gordon | Kevin Duh | Nicholas Andrews
Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP
Pre-trained universal feature extractors, such as BERT for natural language processing and VGG for computer vision, have become effective methods for improving deep learning models without requiring more labeled data. While effective, feature extractors like BERT may be prohibitively large for some deployment scenarios. We explore weight pruning for BERT and ask: how does compression during pre-training affect transfer learning? We find that pruning affects transfer learning in three broad regimes. Low levels of pruning (30-40%) do not affect pre-training loss or transfer to downstream tasks at all. Medium levels of pruning increase the pre-training loss and prevent useful pre-training information from being transferred to downstream tasks. High levels of pruning additionally prevent models from fitting downstream datasets, leading to further degradation. Finally, we observe that fine-tuning BERT on a specific task does not improve its prunability. We conclude that BERT can be pruned once during pre-training rather than separately for each task without affecting performance.
Distill, Adapt, Distill: Training Small, In-Domain Models for Neural Machine Translation
Mitchell Gordon | Kevin Duh
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Neural Generation and Translation
We explore best practices for training small, memory efficient machine translation models with sequence-level knowledge distillation in the domain adaptation setting. While both domain adaptation and knowledge distillation are widely-used, their interaction remains little understood. Our large-scale empirical results in machine translation (on three language pairs with three domains each) suggest distilling twice for best performance: once using general-domain data and again using in-domain data with an adapted teacher.