Pratyush Maini


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Model-tuning Via Prompts Makes NLP Models Adversarially Robust
Mrigank Raman | Pratyush Maini | J Kolter | Zachary Lipton | Danish Pruthi
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

In recent years, NLP practitioners have converged on the following practice: (i) import an off-the-shelf pretrained (masked) language model; (ii) append a multilayer perceptron atop the CLS token’s hidden representation (with randomly initialized weights); and (iii) fine-tune the entire model on a downstream task (MLP-FT). This procedure has produced massive gains on standard NLP benchmarks, but these models remain brittle, even to mild adversarial perturbations. In this work, we demonstrate surprising gains in adversarial robustness enjoyed by Model-tuning Via Prompts (MVP), an alternative method of adapting to downstream tasks. Rather than appending an MLP head to make output prediction, MVP appends a prompt template to the input, and makes prediction via text infilling/completion. Across 5 NLP datasets, 4 adversarial attacks, and 3 different models, MVP improves performance against adversarial substitutions by an average of 8% over standard methods and even outperforms adversarial training-based state-of-art defenses by 3.5%. By combining MVP with adversarial training, we achieve further improvements in adversarial robustness while maintaining performance on unperturbed examples. Finally, we conduct ablations to investigate the mechanism underlying these gains. Notably, we find that the main causes of vulnerability of MLP-FT can be attributed to the misalignment between pre-training and fine-tuning tasks, and the randomly initialized MLP parameters.


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Why and when should you pool? Analyzing Pooling in Recurrent Architectures
Pratyush Maini | Keshav Kolluru | Danish Pruthi | Mausam
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Pooling-based recurrent neural architectures consistently outperform their counterparts without pooling on sequence classification tasks. However, the reasons for their enhanced performance are largely unexamined. In this work, we examine three commonly used pooling techniques (mean-pooling, max-pooling, and attention, and propose *max-attention*, a novel variant that captures interactions among predictive tokens in a sentence. Using novel experiments, we demonstrate that pooling architectures substantially differ from their non-pooling equivalents in their learning ability and positional biases: (i) pooling facilitates better gradient flow than BiLSTMs in initial training epochs, and (ii) BiLSTMs are biased towards tokens at the beginning and end of the input, whereas pooling alleviates this bias. Consequently, we find that pooling yields large gains in low resource scenarios, and instances when salient words lie towards the middle of the input. Across several text classification tasks, we find max-attention to frequently outperform other pooling techniques.