Machine translation has seen rapid progress with the advent of Transformer-based models. These models have no explicit linguistic structure built into them, yet they may still implicitly learn structured relationships by attending to relevant tokens. We hypothesize that this structural learning could be made more robust by explicitly endowing Transformers with a structural bias, and we investigate two methods for building in such a bias. One method, the TP-Transformer, augments the traditional Transformer architecture to include an additional component to represent structure. The second method imbues structure at the data level by segmenting the data with morphological tokenization. We test these methods on translating from English into morphologically rich languages, Turkish and Inuktitut, and consider both automatic metrics and human evaluations. We find that each of these two approaches allows the network to achieve better performance, but this improvement is dependent on the size of the dataset. In sum, structural encoding methods make Transformers more sample-efficient, enabling them to perform better from smaller amounts of data.
Abstractive summarization, the task of generating a concise summary of input documents, requires: (1) reasoning over the source document to determine the salient pieces of information scattered across the long document, and (2) composing a cohesive text by reconstructing these salient facts into a shorter summary that faithfully reflects the complex relations connecting these facts. In this paper, we adapt TP-Transformer (Schlag et al., 2019), an architecture that enriches the original Transformer (Vaswani et al., 2017) with the explicitly compositional Tensor Product Representation (TPR), for the task of abstractive summarization. The key feature of our model is a structural bias that we introduce by encoding two separate representations for each token to represent the syntactic structure (with role vectors) and semantic content (with filler vectors) separately. The model then binds the role and filler vectors into the TPR as the layer output. We argue that the structured intermediate representations enable the model to take better control of the contents (salient facts) and structures (the syntax that connects the facts) when generating the summary. Empirically, we show that our TP-Transformer outperforms the Transformer and the original TP-Transformer significantly on several abstractive summarization datasets based on both automatic and human evaluations. On several syntactic and semantic probing tasks, we demonstrate the emergent structural information in the role vectors and the performance gain by information specificity of the role vectors and improved syntactic interpretability in the TPR layer outputs.(Code and models are available at https://github.com/jiangycTarheel/TPT-Summ)
How can neural networks perform so well on compositional tasks even though they lack explicit compositional representations? We use a novel analysis technique called ROLE to show that recurrent neural networks perform well on such tasks by converging to solutions which implicitly represent symbolic structure. This method uncovers a symbolic structure which, when properly embedded in vector space, closely approximates the encodings of a standard seq2seq network trained to perform the compositional SCAN task. We verify the causal importance of the discovered symbolic structure by showing that, when we systematically manipulate hidden embeddings based on this symbolic structure, the model’s output is changed in the way predicted by our analysis.