Active learning, which effectively collects informative unlabeled data for annotation, reduces the demand for labeled data. In this work, we propose to retrieve unlabeled samples with a local sensitivity and hardness-aware acquisition function. The proposed method generates data copies through local perturbations and selects data points whose predictive likelihoods diverge the most from their copies. We further empower our acquisition function by injecting the select-worst case perturbation. Our method achieves consistent gains over the commonly used active learning strategies in various classification tasks. Furthermore, we observe consistent improvements over the baselines on the study of prompt selection in prompt-based few-shot learning. These experiments demonstrate that our acquisition guided by local sensitivity and hardness can be effective and beneficial for many NLP tasks.
Retriever-reader models achieve competitive performance across many different NLP tasks such as open question answering and dialogue conversations. In this work, we notice these models easily overfit the top-rank retrieval passages and standard training fails to reason over the entire retrieval passages. We introduce a learnable passage mask mechanism which desensitizes the impact from the top-rank retrieval passages and prevents the model from overfitting. Controlling the gradient variance with fewer mask candidates and selecting the mask candidates with one-shot bi-level optimization, our learnable regularization strategy enforces the answer generation to focus on the entire retrieval passages. Experiments on different tasks across open question answering, dialogue conversation, and fact verification show that our method consistently outperforms its baselines. Extensive experiments and ablation studies demonstrate that our method can be general, effective, and beneficial for many NLP tasks.