Adapter-based tuning has recently arisen as an alternative to fine-tuning. It works by adding light-weight adapter modules to a pretrained language model (PrLM) and only updating the parameters of adapter modules when learning on a downstream task. As such, it adds only a few trainable parameters per new task, allowing a high degree of parameter sharing. Prior studies have shown that adapter-based tuning often achieves comparable results to fine-tuning. However, existing work only focuses on the parameter-efficient aspect of adapter-based tuning while lacking further investigation on its effectiveness. In this paper, we study the latter. We first show that adapter-based tuning better mitigates forgetting issues than fine-tuning since it yields representations with less deviation from those generated by the initial PrLM. We then empirically compare the two tuning methods on several downstream NLP tasks and settings. We demonstrate that 1) adapter-based tuning outperforms fine-tuning on low-resource and cross-lingual tasks; 2) it is more robust to overfitting and less sensitive to changes in learning rates.
Adapting pre-trained language models (PrLMs) (e.g., BERT) to new domains has gained much attention recently. Instead of fine-tuning PrLMs as done in most previous work, we investigate how to adapt the features of PrLMs to new domains without fine-tuning. We explore unsupervised domain adaptation (UDA) in this paper. With the features from PrLMs, we adapt the models trained with labeled data from the source domain to the unlabeled target domain. Self-training is widely used for UDA, and it predicts pseudo labels on the target domain data for training. However, the predicted pseudo labels inevitably include noise, which will negatively affect training a robust model. To improve the robustness of self-training, in this paper we present class-aware feature self-distillation (CFd) to learn discriminative features from PrLMs, in which PrLM features are self-distilled into a feature adaptation module and the features from the same class are more tightly clustered. We further extend CFd to a cross-language setting, in which language discrepancy is studied. Experiments on two monolingual and multilingual Amazon review datasets show that CFd can consistently improve the performance of self-training in cross-domain and cross-language settings.