Xingjian Shi


pdf bib
Distiller: A Systematic Study of Model Distillation Methods in Natural Language Processing
Haoyu He | Xingjian Shi | Jonas Mueller | Sheng Zha | Mu Li | George Karypis
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Simple and Efficient Natural Language Processing

Knowledge Distillation (KD) offers a natural way to reduce the latency and memory/energy usage of massive pretrained models that have come to dominate Natural Language Processing (NLP) in recent years. While numerous sophisticated variants of KD algorithms have been proposed for NLP applications, the key factors underpinning the optimal distillation performance are often confounded and remain unclear. We aim to identify how different components in the KD pipeline affect the resulting performance and how much the optimal KD pipeline varies across different datasets/tasks, such as the data augmentation policy, the loss function, and the intermediate representation for transferring the knowledge between teacher and student. To tease apart their effects, we propose Distiller, a meta KD framework that systematically combines a broad range of techniques across different stages of the KD pipeline, which enables us to quantify each component’s contribution. Within Distiller, we unify commonly used objectives for distillation of intermediate representations under a universal mutual information (MI) objective and propose a class of MI-objective functions with better bias/variance trade-off for estimating the MI between the teacher and the student. On a diverse set of NLP datasets, the best Distiller configurations are identified via large-scale hyper-parameter optimization. Our experiments reveal the following: 1) the approach used to distill the intermediate representations is the most important factor in KD performance, 2) among different objectives for intermediate distillation, MI-performs the best, and 3) data augmentation provides a large boost for small training datasets or small student networks. Moreover, we find that different datasets/tasks prefer different KD algorithms, and thus propose a simple AutoDistiller algorithm that can recommend a good KD pipeline for a new dataset.


Dive into Deep Learning for Natural Language Processing
Haibin Lin | Xingjian Shi | Leonard Lausen | Aston Zhang | He He | Sheng Zha | Alexander Smola
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP): Tutorial Abstracts

Deep learning has become the dominant approach to NLP problems, especially when applied on large scale corpora. Recent progress on unsupervised pre-training techniques such as BERT, ELMo, GPT-2, and language modeling in general, when applied on large corpora, is shown to be effective in improving a wide variety of downstream tasks. These techniques push the limits of available hardware, requiring specialized frameworks optimized for GPU, ASIC, and distributed cloud-based training.A few complexities pose challenges to scale these models and algorithms effectively. Compared to other areas where deep learning is applied, these NLP models contain a variety of moving parts: text normalization and tokenization, word representation at subword-level and word-level, variable-length models such as RNN and attention, and sequential decoder based on beam search, among others.In this hands-on tutorial, we take a closer look at the challenges from these complexities and see how with proper tooling with Apache MXNet and GluonNLP, we can overcome these challenges and achieve state-of-the-art results for real-world problems. GluonNLP is a powerful new toolkit that combines MXNet’s speed, the flexibility of Gluon, and an extensive new library automating the most laborious aspects of deep learning for NLP.