Uri Alon


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On the Expressivity Role of LayerNorm in Transformers’ Attention
Shaked Brody | Uri Alon | Eran Yahav
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Layer Normalization (LayerNorm) is an inherent component in all Transformer-based models. In this paper, we show that LayerNorm is crucial to the expressivity of the multi-head attention layer that follows it. This is in contrast to the common belief that LayerNorm’s only role is to normalize the activations during the forward pass, and their gradients during the backward pass. We consider a geometric interpretation of LayerNorm and show that it consists of two components: (a) projection of the input vectors to a d-1 space that is orthogonal to the [1,1,...,1] vector, and(b) scaling of all vectors to the same norm of d. We show that each of these components is important for the attention layer that follows it in Transformers:(a) projection allows the attention mechanism to create an attention query that attends to all keys equally, offloading the need to learn this operation in the attention; and(b) scaling allows each key to potentially receive the highest attention, and prevents keys from being “un-select-able”.We show empirically that Transformers do indeed benefit from these properties of LayeNorm in general language modeling and even in computing simple functions such as “majority”. Our code is available at https://github.com/tech-srl/layer_norm_expressivity_role .

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CodeBERTScore: Evaluating Code Generation with Pretrained Models of Code
Shuyan Zhou | Uri Alon | Sumit Agarwal | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Since the rise of neural natural-language-to-code models (NLCode) that can generate long expressions and statements rather than a single next-token, one of the major problems has been reliably evaluating their generated output. In this paper, we propose CodeBERTScore: an evaluation metric for code generation, which builds on BERTScore (Zhang et al., 2020). Instead of encoding only the generated tokens as in BERTScore, CodeBERTScore also encodes the natural language input preceding the generated code, thus modeling the consistency between the generated code and its given natural language context as well. We perform an extensive evaluation of CodeBERTScore across four programming languages. We find that CodeBERTScore achieves a higher correlation with human preference and with functional correctness than all existing metrics. That is, generated code that receives a higher score by CodeBERTScore is more likely to be preferred by humans, as well as to function correctly when executed. We release five language-specific pretrained models to use with our publicly available code. Our language-specific models have been downloaded more than **1,000,000** times from the Huggingface Hub. Our code and data are available at https://github.com/neulab/code-bert-score


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Language Models of Code are Few-Shot Commonsense Learners
Aman Madaan | Shuyan Zhou | Uri Alon | Yiming Yang | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We address the general task of structured commonsense reasoning: given a natural language input, the goal is to generate a graph such as an event or a reasoning-graph.To employ large language models (LMs) for this task, existing approaches ‘serialize’ the output graph as a flat list of nodes and edges.Although feasible, these serialized graphs strongly deviate from the natural language corpora that LMs were pre-trained on, hindering LMs from generating them correctly. In this paper, we show that when we instead frame structured commonsense reasoning tasks as code generation tasks, pre-trained LMs of code are better structured commonsense reasoners than LMs of natural language, even when the downstream task does not involve source code at all.We demonstrate our approach across three diverse structured commonsense reasoning tasks. In all these natural language tasks, we show that using our approach, a code generation LM (codex) outperforms natural-LMs that are fine-tuned on the target task (T5) and other strong LMs such as GPT-3 in the few-shot setting.