Mohammad Shoeybi


2023

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Context Generation Improves Open Domain Question Answering
Dan Su | Mostofa Patwary | Shrimai Prabhumoye | Peng Xu | Ryan Prenger | Mohammad Shoeybi | Pascale Fung | Anima Anandkumar | Bryan Catanzaro
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EACL 2023

Closed-book question answering (QA) requires a model to directly answer an open-domain question without access to any external knowledge. Prior work on closed-book QA either directly finetunes or prompts a pretrained language model (LM) to leverage the stored knowledge. However, they do not fully exploit the parameterized knowledge. To address this inefficiency, we propose a two-stage, closed-book QA framework which employs a coarse-to-fine approach to extract the relevant knowledge and answer a question. We first generate a related context for a given question by prompting a pretrained LM. We then prompt the same LM to generate an answer using the generated context and the question. Additionally, we marginalize over the generated contexts to improve the accuracies and reduce context uncertainty. Experimental results on three QA benchmarks show that our method significantly outperforms previous closed-book QA methods. For example on TriviaQA, our method improves exact match accuracy from 55.3% to 68.6%, and is on par with open-book QA methods (68.6% vs. 68.0%). Our results show that our new methodology is able to better exploit the stored knowledge in pretrained LMs without adding extra learnable parameters or needing finetuning, and paves the way for hybrid models that integrate pretrained LMs with external knowledge.

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Re-ViLM: Retrieval-Augmented Visual Language Model for Zero and Few-Shot Image Captioning
Zhuolin Yang | Wei Ping | Zihan Liu | Vijay Korthikanti | Weili Nie | De-An Huang | Linxi Fan | Zhiding Yu | Shiyi Lan | Bo Li | Mohammad Shoeybi | Ming-Yu Liu | Yuke Zhu | Bryan Catanzaro | Chaowei Xiao | Anima Anandkumar
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Augmenting pretrained language models (LMs) with a vision encoder (e.g., Flamingo) has obtained state-of-the-art results in image-to-text generation. However, these models store all the knowledge within their parameters, thus often requiring enormous model parameters to model the abundant visual concepts and very rich text descriptions. Additionally, they are inefficient in incorporating new data, requiring a computational-expensive fine-tuning process. In this work, we introduce a Retrieval-augmented Visual Language Model, Re-ViLM, built upon the Flamingo, that supports retrieving the relevant knowledge from the external database for zero and in-context few-shot image-to-text generations. By storing certain knowledge explicitly in the external database, our approach reduces the number of model parameters and can easily accommodate new data during evaluation by simply updating the database. We also construct an interleaved image and text data that facilitates in-context few-shot learning capabilities.We demonstrate that Re-ViLM significantly boosts performance for image-to-text generation tasks, especially for zero-shot and few-shot generation in out-of-domain settings with 4x less parameters compared with baseline methods.

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Shall We Pretrain Autoregressive Language Models with Retrieval? A Comprehensive Study
Boxin Wang | Wei Ping | Peng Xu | Lawrence McAfee | Zihan Liu | Mohammad Shoeybi | Yi Dong | Oleksii Kuchaiev | Bo Li | Chaowei Xiao | Anima Anandkumar | Bryan Catanzaro
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Large decoder-only language models (LMs) can be largely improved in terms of perplexity by retrieval (e.g., RETRO), but its impact on text generation quality and downstream task accuracy is unclear. Thus, it is still an open question: shall we pretrain large autoregressive LMs with retrieval? To answer it, we perform a comprehensive study on a scalable pre-trained retrieval-augmented LM (i.e., RETRO) compared with standard GPT and retrieval-augmented GPT incorporated at fine-tuning or inference stages. We first provide the recipe to reproduce RETRO up to 9.5B parameters while retrieving a text corpus with 330B tokens. Based on that, we have the following novel findings: i) RETRO outperforms GPT on text generation with much less degeneration (i.e., repetition), moderately higher factual accuracy, and slightly lower toxicity with a nontoxic retrieval database. ii) On the LM Evaluation Harness benchmark, RETRO largely outperforms GPT on knowledge-intensive tasks, but is on par with GPT on other tasks. Furthermore, we introduce a simple variant of the model, RETRO++, which largely improves open-domain QA results of original RETRO (e.g., EM score +8.6 on Natural Question) and significantly outperforms retrieval-augmented GPT across different model sizes. Our findings highlight the promising direction of pretraining autoregressive LMs with retrieval as future foundation models. We release our implementation at: https://github.com/NVIDIA/Megatron-LM/tree/main/tools/retro.

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Adding Instructions during Pretraining: Effective way of Controlling Toxicity in Language Models
Shrimai Prabhumoye | Mostofa Patwary | Mohammad Shoeybi | Bryan Catanzaro
Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Pretrained large language models have become indispensable for solving various natural language processing (NLP) tasks. However, safely deploying them in real world applications is challenging because they generate toxic content. To address this challenge, we propose two novel pretraining data augmentation strategies that significantly reduce model toxicity without compromising its utility. Our two strategies are: (1) MEDA: adds raw toxicity score as meta-data to the pretraining samples, and (2) INST: adds instructions to those samples indicating their toxicity. Our results indicate that our best performing strategy (INST) substantially reduces the toxicity probability up to 61% while preserving the accuracy on five benchmark NLP tasks as well as improving AUC scores on four bias detection tasks by 1.3%. We also demonstrate the generalizability of our techniques by scaling the number of training samples and the number of model parameters.

2022

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Multi-Stage Prompting for Knowledgeable Dialogue Generation
Zihan Liu | Mostofa Patwary | Ryan Prenger | Shrimai Prabhumoye | Wei Ping | Mohammad Shoeybi | Bryan Catanzaro
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Existing knowledge-grounded dialogue systems typically use finetuned versions of a pretrained language model (LM) and large-scale knowledge bases. These models typically fail to generalize on topics outside of the knowledge base, and require maintaining separate potentially large checkpoints each time finetuning is needed. In this paper, we aim to address these limitations by leveraging the inherent knowledge stored in the pretrained LM as well as its powerful generation ability. We propose a multi-stage prompting approach to generate knowledgeable responses from a single pretrained LM. We first prompt the LM to generate knowledge based on the dialogue context. Then, we further prompt it to generate responses based on the dialogue context and the previously generated knowledge. Results show that our knowledge generator outperforms the state-of-the-art retrieval-based model by 5.8% when combining knowledge relevance and correctness. In addition, our multi-stage prompting outperforms the finetuning-based dialogue model in terms of response knowledgeability and engagement by up to 10% and 5%, respectively. Furthermore, we scale our model up to 530 billion parameters and demonstrate that larger LMs improve the generation correctness score by up to 10%, and response relevance, knowledgeability and engagement by up to 10%. Our code is available at: https://github.com/NVIDIA/Megatron-LM.

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Prompt Compression and Contrastive Conditioning for Controllability and Toxicity Reduction in Language Models
David Wingate | Mohammad Shoeybi | Taylor Sorensen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

We explore the idea of compressing the prompts used to condition language models, and show that compressed prompts can retain a substantive amount of information about the original prompt. For severely compressed prompts, while fine-grained information is lost, abstract information and general sentiments can be retained with surprisingly few parameters, which can be useful in the context of decode-time algorithms for controllability and toxicity reduction. We find that some complex prompts can be effectively compressed into a single token to guide generation. We also show that compressed prompts are largely compositional, and can be constructed such that they can be used to control independent aspects of generated text.

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Evaluating Parameter Efficient Learning for Generation
Peng Xu | Mostofa Patwary | Shrimai Prabhumoye | Virginia Adams | Ryan Prenger | Wei Ping | Nayeon Lee | Mohammad Shoeybi | Bryan Catanzaro
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Parameter efficient learning methods (PERMs)have recently gained significant attention asthey provide an efficient way for pre-trainedlanguage models (PLMs) to adapt to a downstream task. However, these conclusions aremostly drawn from in-domain evaluations overthe full training set. In this paper, we presentcomparisons between PERMs and finetuningfrom three new perspectives: (1) the effect ofsample and model size to in-domain evaluations, (2) generalization to unseen domains andnew datasets, and (3) the faithfulness of generations. Our results show that for in-domainsettings (a) there is a cross point of samplesize for which PERMs will perform better thanfinetuning when training with fewer samples,and (b) larger PLMs have larger cross points. For cross-domain and cross-dataset cases, weshow that (a) Adapter (Houlsby et al., 2019)performs the best amongst all the PERMs studied here, and (b) it outperforms finetuning ifthe task dataset is below a certain size. Wealso compare the faithfulness of generationsand show that PERMs can achieve better faithfulness score than finetuning, especially forsmall training set, by as much as 6%. Finally,we apply Adapter to MT-NLG 530b (Smithet al., 2022) and achieve new state-of-the-artresults on Xsum (Narayan et al., 2018) for allROUGE scores (ROUGE-1 49.17, ROUGE-227.20, ROUGE-L 40.98).

2021

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End-to-End Training of Neural Retrievers for Open-Domain Question Answering
Devendra Sachan | Mostofa Patwary | Mohammad Shoeybi | Neel Kant | Wei Ping | William L. Hamilton | Bryan Catanzaro
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Recent work on training neural retrievers for open-domain question answering (OpenQA) has employed both supervised and unsupervised approaches. However, it remains unclear how unsupervised and supervised methods can be used most effectively for neural retrievers. In this work, we systematically study retriever pre-training. We first propose an approach of unsupervised pre-training with the Inverse Cloze Task and masked salient spans, followed by supervised finetuning using question-context pairs. This approach leads to absolute gains of 2+ points over the previous best result in the top-20 retrieval accuracy on Natural Questions and TriviaQA datasets. We next explore two approaches for end-to-end training of the reader and retriever components in OpenQA models, which differ in the manner the reader ingests the retrieved documents. Our experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of these approaches as we obtain state-of-the-art results. On the Natural Questions dataset, we obtain a top-20 retrieval accuracy of 84%, an improvement of 5 points over the recent DPR model. We also achieve good results on answer extraction, outperforming recent models like REALM and RAG by 3+ points.

2020

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Large Scale Multi-Actor Generative Dialog Modeling
Alex Boyd | Raul Puri | Mohammad Shoeybi | Mostofa Patwary | Bryan Catanzaro
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Non-goal oriented dialog agents (i.e. chatbots) aim to produce varying and engaging conversations with a user; however, they typically exhibit either inconsistent personality across conversations or the average personality of all users. This paper addresses these issues by controlling an agent’s persona upon generation via conditioning on prior conversations of a target actor. In doing so, we are able to utilize more abstract patterns within a person’s speech and better emulate them in generated responses. This work introduces the Generative Conversation Control model, an augmented and fine-tuned GPT-2 language model that conditions on past reference conversations to probabilistically model multi-turn conversations in the actor’s persona. We introduce an accompanying data collection procedure to obtain 10.3M conversations from 6 months worth of Reddit comments. We demonstrate that scaling model sizes from 117M to 8.3B parameters yields an improvement from 23.14 to 13.14 perplexity on 1.7M held out Reddit conversations. Increasing model scale yielded similar improvements in human evaluations that measure preference of model samples to the held out target distribution in terms of realism (31% increased to 37% preference), style matching (37% to 42%), grammar and content quality (29% to 42%), and conversation coherency (32% to 40%). We find that conditionally modeling past conversations improves perplexity by 0.47 in automatic evaluations. Through human trials we identify positive trends between conditional modeling and style matching and outline steps to further improve persona control.

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MEGATRON-CNTRL: Controllable Story Generation with External Knowledge Using Large-Scale Language Models
Peng Xu | Mostofa Patwary | Mohammad Shoeybi | Raul Puri | Pascale Fung | Anima Anandkumar | Bryan Catanzaro
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Existing pre-trained large language models have shown unparalleled generative capabilities. However, they are not controllable. In this paper, we propose MEGATRON-CNTRL, a novel framework that uses large-scale language models and adds control to text generation by incorporating an external knowledge base. Our framework consists of a keyword predictor, a knowledge retriever, a contextual knowledge ranker, and a conditional text generator. As we do not have access to ground-truth supervision for the knowledge ranker, we make use of weak supervision from sentence embedding. The empirical results show that our model generates more fluent, consistent, and coherent stories with less repetition and higher diversity compared to prior work on the ROC story dataset. We showcase the controllability of our model by replacing the keywords used to generate stories and re-running the generation process. Human evaluation results show that 77.5% of these stories are successfully controlled by the new keywords. Furthermore, by scaling our model from 124 million to 8.3 billion parameters we demonstrate that larger models improve both the quality of generation (from 74.5% to 93.0% for consistency) and controllability (from 77.5% to 91.5%).

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BioMegatron: Larger Biomedical Domain Language Model
Hoo-Chang Shin | Yang Zhang | Evelina Bakhturina | Raul Puri | Mostofa Patwary | Mohammad Shoeybi | Raghav Mani
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

There has been an influx of biomedical domain-specific language models, showing language models pre-trained on biomedical text perform better on biomedical domain benchmarks than those trained on general domain text corpora such as Wikipedia and Books. Yet, most works do not study the factors affecting each domain language application deeply. Additionally, the study of model size on domain-specific models has been mostly missing. We empirically study and evaluate several factors that can affect performance on domain language applications, such as the sub-word vocabulary set, model size, pre-training corpus, and domain transfer. We show consistent improvements on benchmarks with our larger BioMegatron model trained on a larger domain corpus, contributing to our understanding of domain language model applications. We demonstrate noticeable improvements over the previous state-of-the-art (SOTA) on standard biomedical NLP benchmarks of question answering, named entity recognition, and relation extraction. Code and checkpoints to reproduce our experiments are available at [github.com/NVIDIA/NeMo].

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Training Question Answering Models From Synthetic Data
Raul Puri | Ryan Spring | Mohammad Shoeybi | Mostofa Patwary | Bryan Catanzaro
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Question and answer generation is a data augmentation method that aims to improve question answering (QA) models given the limited amount of human labeled data. However, a considerable gap remains between synthetic and human-generated question-answer pairs. This work aims to narrow this gap by taking advantage of large language models and explores several factors such as model size, quality of pretrained models, scale of data synthesized, and algorithmic choices. On the SQuAD1.1 question answering task, we achieve higher accuracy using solely synthetic questions and answers than when using the SQuAD1.1 training set questions alone. Removing access to real Wikipedia data, we synthesize questions and answers from a synthetic text corpus generated by an 8.3 billion parameter GPT-2 model and achieve 88.4 Exact Match (EM) and 93.9 F1 score on the SQuAD1.1 dev set. We further apply our methodology to SQuAD2.0 and show a 2.8 absolute gain on EM score compared to prior work using synthetic data.