There have been a lot of interest in the scaling properties of Transformer models. However, not much has been done on the front of investigating the effect of scaling properties of different inductive biases and model architectures. Do model architectures scale differently? If so, how does inductive bias affect scaling behaviour? How does this influence upstream (pretraining) and downstream (transfer)? This paper conducts a systematic study of scaling behaviour of ten diverse model architectures such as Transformers, Switch Transformers, Universal Transformers, Dynamic convolutions, Performers, and recently proposed MLP-Mixers. Via extensive experiments, we show that (1) architecture is an indeed an important consideration when performing scaling and (2) the best performing model can fluctuate at different scales. We believe that the findings outlined in this work has significant implications to how model architectures are currently evaluated in the community.
Scaling language models improves performance but comes with significant computational costs. This paper proposes UL2R, a method that substantially improves existing language models and their scaling curves with a relatively tiny amount of extra compute. The key idea is to continue training a state-of-the-art large language model on a few more steps with UL2’s mixture-of-denoiser objective. We show that, with almost negligible extra computational costs and no new sources of data, we are able to substantially improve the scaling properties of large language models on downstream metrics. In this paper, we continue training a baseline language model, PaLM, with ULR2, introducing a new set of models at 8B, 62B, and 540B scale which we call U-PaLM. Impressively, at 540B scale, we show an approximately 2x computational savings rate where U-PaLM achieves the same performance as the final PaLM 540B model at around half its computational budget (i.e., saving ~4.4 million TPUv4 hours). We further show that this improved scaling curve leads to “emergent abilities” on challenging BIG-Bench tasks—for instance, U-PaLM does much better on some tasks or demonstrates better quality at much smaller scale (62B as opposed to 540B). Overall, we show that U-PaLM outperforms PaLM on many few-shot setups, including reasoning tasks with chain-of-thought (e.g., GSM8K), multilingual tasks (MGSM, TydiQA), MMLU and challenging BIG-Bench tasks.
Differentiable Search Indices (DSIs) encode a corpus of documents in the parameters of a model and use the same model to map queries directly to relevant document identifiers. Despite the solid performance of DSI models, successfully deploying them in scenarios where document corpora change with time is an open problem. In this work, we introduce DSI++, a continual learning challenge for DSI with the goal of continuously indexing new documents while being able to answer queries related to both previously and newly indexed documents. Across different model scales and document identifier representations, we show that continual indexing of new documents leads to considerable forgetting of previously indexed documents. We also hypothesize and verify that the model experiences forgetting events during training, leading to unstable learning. To mitigate these issues, we investigate two approaches. The first focuses on modifying the training dynamics. Flatter minima implicitly alleviates forgetting, so we explicitly optimize for flatter loss basins and show that the model stably memorizes more documents (+12%). Next, we introduce a parametric memory to generate pseudo-queries for documents and supplement them during incremental indexing to prevent forgetting for the retrieval task. Extensive experiments on a novel continual indexing benchmark based on Natural Questions demonstrate that our proposed solution mitigates the forgetting in DSI++ by a significant margin and improves the average Hits@10 by +21.1% over competitive baselines.
In the era of pre-trained language models, Transformers are the de facto choice of model architectures. While recent research has shown promise in entirely convolutional, or CNN, architectures, they have not been explored using the pre-train-fine-tune paradigm. In the context of language models, are convolutional models competitive to Transformers when pre-trained? This paper investigates this research question and presents several interesting findings. Across an extensive set of experiments on 8 datasets/tasks, we find that CNN-based pre-trained models are competitive and outperform their Transformer counterpart in certain scenarios, albeit with caveats. Overall, the findings outlined in this paper suggest that conflating pre-training and architectural advances is misguided and that both advances should be considered independently. We believe our research paves the way for a healthy amount of optimism in alternative architectures.