Shuangfei Zhai


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Regularized Training of Nearest Neighbor Language Models
Jean-Francois Ton | Walter Talbott | Shuangfei Zhai | Joshua M. Susskind
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies: Student Research Workshop

Including memory banks in a natural language processing architecture increases model capacity by equipping it with additional data at inference time. In this paper, we build upon kNN-LM (CITATION), which uses a pre-trained language model together with an exhaustive kNN search through the training data (memory bank) to achieve state-of-the-art results. We investigate whether we can improve the kNN-LM performance by instead training a LM with the knowledge that we will be using a kNN post-hoc. We achieved significant improvement using our method on language modeling tasks on WIKI-2 and WIKI-103. The main phenomenon that we encounter is that adding a simple L2 regularization on the activations (not weights) of the model, a transformer, improves the post-hoc kNN classification performance. We explore some possible reasons for this improvement. In particular, we find that the added L2 regularization seems to improve the performance for high-frequency words without deteriorating the performance for low frequency ones.