Qingqing Cao


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Efficient Methods for Natural Language Processing: A Survey
Marcos Treviso | Ji-Ung Lee | Tianchu Ji | Betty van Aken | Qingqing Cao | Manuel R. Ciosici | Michael Hassid | Kenneth Heafield | Sara Hooker | Colin Raffel | Pedro H. Martins | André F. T. Martins | Jessica Zosa Forde | Peter Milder | Edwin Simpson | Noam Slonim | Jesse Dodge | Emma Strubell | Niranjan Balasubramanian | Leon Derczynski | Iryna Gurevych | Roy Schwartz
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 11

Recent work in natural language processing (NLP) has yielded appealing results from scaling model parameters and training data; however, using only scale to improve performance means that resource consumption also grows. Such resources include data, time, storage, or energy, all of which are naturally limited and unevenly distributed. This motivates research into efficient methods that require fewer resources to achieve similar results. This survey synthesizes and relates current methods and findings in efficient NLP. We aim to provide both guidance for conducting NLP under limited resources, and point towards promising research directions for developing more efficient methods.

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PuMer: Pruning and Merging Tokens for Efficient Vision Language Models
Qingqing Cao | Bhargavi Paranjape | Hannaneh Hajishirzi
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Large-scale vision language (VL) models use Transformers to perform cross-modal interactions between the input text and image. These cross-modal interactions are computationally expensive and memory-intensive due to the quadratic complexity of processing the input image and text. We present PuMer: a token reduction framework that uses text-informed Pruning and modality-aware Merging strategies to progressively reduce the tokens of input image and text, improving model inference speed and reducing memory footprint. PuMer learns to keep salient image tokens related to the input text and merges similar textual and visual tokens by adding lightweight token reducer modules at several cross-modal layers in the VL model. Training PuMer is mostly the same as finetuning the original VL model but faster. Our evaluation for two vision language models on four downstream VL tasks shows PuMer increases inference throughput by up to 2x and reduces memory footprint by over 50% while incurring less than a 1% accuracy drop.

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A Survey for Efficient Open Domain Question Answering
Qin Zhang | Shangsi Chen | Dongkuan Xu | Qingqing Cao | Xiaojun Chen | Trevor Cohn | Meng Fang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Open domain question answering (ODQA) is a longstanding task aimed at answering factual questions from a large knowledge corpus without any explicit evidence in natural language processing (NLP). Recent works have predominantly focused on improving the answering accuracy and have achieved promising progress. However, higher accuracy often requires more memory consumption and inference latency, which might not necessarily be efficient enough for direct deployment in the real world. Thus, a trade-off between accuracy, memory consumption and processing speed is pursued. In this paper, we will survey recent advancements in the efficiency of ODQA models and conclude core techniques for achieving efficiency. Additionally, we will provide a quantitative analysis of memory cost, query speed, accuracy, and overall performance comparison. Our goal is to keep scholars informed of the latest advancements and open challenges in ODQA efficiency research and contribute to the further development of ODQA efficiency.


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IrEne-viz: Visualizing Energy Consumption of Transformer Models
Yash Kumar Lal | Reetu Singh | Harsh Trivedi | Qingqing Cao | Aruna Balasubramanian | Niranjan Balasubramanian
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

IrEne is an energy prediction system that accurately predicts the interpretable inference energy consumption of a wide range of Transformer-based NLP models. We present the IrEne-viz tool, an online platform for visualizing and exploring energy consumption of various Transformer-based models easily. Additionally, we release a public API that can be used to access granular information about energy consumption of transformer models and their components. The live demo is available at http://stonybrooknlp.github.io/irene/demo/.

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IrEne: Interpretable Energy Prediction for Transformers
Qingqing Cao | Yash Kumar Lal | Harsh Trivedi | Aruna Balasubramanian | Niranjan Balasubramanian
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)

Existing software-based energy measurements of NLP models are not accurate because they do not consider the complex interactions between energy consumption and model execution. We present IrEne, an interpretable and extensible energy prediction system that accurately predicts the inference energy consumption of a wide range of Transformer-based NLP models. IrEne constructs a model tree graph that breaks down the NLP model into modules that are further broken down into low-level machine learning (ML) primitives. IrEne predicts the inference energy consumption of the ML primitives as a function of generalizable features and fine-grained runtime resource usage. IrEne then aggregates these low-level predictions recursively to predict the energy of each module and finally of the entire model. Experiments across multiple Transformer models show IrEne predicts inference energy consumption of transformer models with an error of under 7% compared to the ground truth. In contrast, existing energy models see an error of over 50%. We also show how IrEne can be used to conduct energy bottleneck analysis and to easily evaluate the energy impact of different architectural choices. We release the code and data at https://github.com/StonyBrookNLP/irene.


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Towards Accurate and Reliable Energy Measurement of NLP Models
Qingqing Cao | Aruna Balasubramanian | Niranjan Balasubramanian
Proceedings of SustaiNLP: Workshop on Simple and Efficient Natural Language Processing

Accurate and reliable measurement of energy consumption is critical for making well-informed design choices when choosing and training large scale NLP models. In this work, we show that existing software-based energy estimations are not accurate because they do not take into account hardware differences and how resource utilization affects energy consumption. We conduct energy measurement experiments with four different models for a question answering task. We quantify the error of existing software-based energy estimations by using a hardware power meter that provides highly accurate energy measurements. Our key takeaway is the need for a more accurate energy estimation model that takes into account hardware variabilities and the non-linear relationship between resource utilization and energy consumption. We release the code and data at https://github.com/csarron/sustainlp2020-energy.

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DeFormer: Decomposing Pre-trained Transformers for Faster Question Answering
Qingqing Cao | Harsh Trivedi | Aruna Balasubramanian | Niranjan Balasubramanian
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Transformer-based QA models use input-wide self-attention – i.e. across both the question and the input passage – at all layers, causing them to be slow and memory-intensive. It turns out that we can get by without input-wide self-attention at all layers, especially in the lower layers. We introduce DeFormer, a decomposed transformer, which substitutes the full self-attention with question-wide and passage-wide self-attentions in the lower layers. This allows for question-independent processing of the input text representations, which in turn enables pre-computing passage representations reducing runtime compute drastically. Furthermore, because DeFormer is largely similar to the original model, we can initialize DeFormer with the pre-training weights of a standard transformer, and directly fine-tune on the target QA dataset. We show DeFormer versions of BERT and XLNet can be used to speed up QA by over 4.3x and with simple distillation-based losses they incur only a 1% drop in accuracy. We open source the code at https://github.com/StonyBrookNLP/deformer.