Pratyusha Sharma


pdf bib
Grokking of Hierarchical Structure in Vanilla Transformers
Shikhar Murty | Pratyusha Sharma | Jacob Andreas | Christopher Manning
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

For humans, language production and comprehension is sensitive to the hierarchical structure of sentences. In natural language processing, past work has questioned how effectively neural sequence models like transformers capture this hierarchical structure when generalizing to structurally novel inputs. We show that transformer language models can learn to generalize hierarchically after training for extremely long periods—far beyond the point when in-domain accuracy has saturated. We call this phenomenon structural grokking. On multiple datasets, structural grokking exhibits inverted U-shaped scaling in model depth: intermediate-depth models generalize better than both very deep and very shallow transformers. When analyzing the relationship between model-internal properties and grokking, we find that optimal depth for grokking can be identified using the tree-structuredness metric of CITATION. Overall, our work provides strong evidence that, with extended training, vanilla transformers discover and use hierarchical structure.

pdf bib
Pushdown Layers: Encoding Recursive Structure in Transformer Language Models
Shikhar Murty | Pratyusha Sharma | Jacob Andreas | Christopher Manning
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Recursion is a prominent feature of human language, and fundamentally challenging for self-attention due to the lack of an explicit recursive-state tracking mechanism. Consequently, Transformer language models poorly capture long-tail recursive structure and exhibit sample-inefficient syntactic generalization. This work introduces Pushdown Layers, a new self-attention layer that models recursive state via a stack tape that tracks estimated depths of every token in an incremental parse of the observed prefix. Transformer LMs with Pushdown Layers are syntactic language models that autoregressively and synchronously update this stack tape as they predict new tokens, in turn using the stack tape to softly modulate attention over tokens—for instance, learning to “skip” over closed constituents. When trained on a corpus of strings annotated with silver constituency parses, Transformers equipped with Pushdown Layers achieve dramatically better and 3-5x more sample-efficient syntactic generalization, while maintaining similar perplexities. Pushdown Layers are a drop-in replacement for standard self-attention. We illustrate this by finetuning GPT2-medium with Pushdown Layers on an automatically parsed WikiText-103, leading to improvements on several GLUE text classification tasks.

pdf bib
Pseudointelligence: A Unifying Lens on Language Model Evaluation
Shikhar Murty | Orr Paradise | Pratyusha Sharma
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

With large language models surpassing human performance on an increasing number of benchmarks, we must take a principled approach for targeted evaluation of model capabilities. Inspired by pseudorandomness, we propose pseudointelligence, which captures the maxim that “(perceived) intelligence lies in the eye of the beholder.” That is, that claims of intelligence are meaningful only when their evaluator is taken into account. Concretely, we propose a complexity-theoretic framework of model evaluation cast as a dynamic interaction between a model and a learned evaluator. We demonstrate that this framework can be used to reason about two case studies in language model evaluation, as well as analyze existing evaluation methods.


pdf bib
Skill Induction and Planning with Latent Language
Pratyusha Sharma | Antonio Torralba | Jacob Andreas
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We present a framework for learning hierarchical policies from demonstrations, using sparse natural language annotations to guide the discovery of reusable skills for autonomous decision-making. We formulate a generative model of action sequences in which goals generate sequences of high-level subtask descriptions, and these descriptions generate sequences of low-level actions. We describe how to train this model using primarily unannotated demonstrations by parsing demonstrations into sequences of named high-level sub-tasks, using only a small number of seed annotations to ground language in action. In trained models, natural language commands index a combinatorial library of skills; agents can use these skills to plan by generating high-level instruction sequences tailored to novel goals. We evaluate this approach in the ALFRED household simulation environment, providing natural language annotations for only 10% of demonstrations. It achieves performance comparable state-of-the-art models on ALFRED success rate, outperforming several recent methods with access to ground-truth plans during training and evaluation.