Continual learning is essential for real-world deployment when there is a need to quickly adapt the model to new tasks without forgetting knowledge of old tasks. Existing work on continual sequence generation either always reuses existing parameters to learn new tasks, which is vulnerable to catastrophic forgetting on dissimilar tasks, or blindly adds new parameters for every new task, which could prevent knowledge sharing between similar tasks. To get the best of both worlds, in this work, we propose continual sequence generation with adaptive compositional modules to adaptively add modules in transformer architectures and compose both old and new modules for new tasks. We also incorporate pseudo experience replay to facilitate knowledge transfer in those shared modules. Experiment results on various sequences of generation tasks show that our framework can adaptively add modules or reuse modules based on task similarity, outperforming state-of-the-art baselines in terms of both performance and parameter efficiency. We make our code public at https://github.com/GT-SALT/Adaptive-Compositional-Modules.
Named Entity Recognition (NER) systems often demonstrate great performance on in-distribution data, but perform poorly on examples drawn from a shifted distribution. One way to evaluate the generalization ability of NER models is to use adversarial examples, on which the specific variations associated with named entities are rarely considered. To this end, we propose leveraging expert-guided heuristics to change the entity tokens and their surrounding contexts thereby altering their entity types as adversarial attacks. Using expert-guided heuristics, we augmented the CoNLL 2003 test set and manually annotated it to construct a high-quality challenging set. We found that state-of-the-art NER systems trained on CoNLL 2003 training data drop performance dramatically on our challenging set. By training on adversarial augmented training examples and using mixup for regularization, we were able to significantly improve the performance on the challenging set as well as improve out-of-domain generalization which we evaluated by using OntoNotes data. We have publicly released our dataset and code at https://github.com/GT-SALT/Guided-Adversarial-Augmentation.
Demonstration-based learning has shown great potential in stimulating pretrained language models’ ability under limited data scenario. Simply augmenting the input with some demonstrations can significantly improve performance on few-shot NER. However, why such demonstrations are beneficial for the learning process remains unclear since there is no explicit alignment between the demonstrations and the predictions. In this paper, we design pathological demonstrations by gradually removing intuitively useful information from the standard ones to take a deep dive of the robustness of demonstration-based sequence labeling and show that (1) demonstrations composed of random tokens still make the model a better few-shot learner; (2) the length of random demonstrations and the relevance of random tokens are the main factors affecting the performance; (3) demonstrations increase the confidence of model predictions on captured superficial patterns. We have publicly released our code at https://github.com/SALT-NLP/RobustDemo.
Continual learning has become increasingly important as it enables NLP models to constantly learn and gain knowledge over time. Previous continual learning methods are mainly designed to preserve knowledge from previous tasks, without much emphasis on how to well generalize models to new tasks. In this work, we propose an information disentanglement based regularization method for continual learning on text classification. Our proposed method first disentangles text hidden spaces into representations that are generic to all tasks and representations specific to each individual task, and further regularizes these representations differently to better constrain the knowledge required to generalize. We also introduce two simple auxiliary tasks: next sentence prediction and task-id prediction, for learning better generic and specific representation spaces. Experiments conducted on large-scale benchmarks demonstrate the effectiveness of our method in continual text classification tasks with various sequences and lengths over state-of-the-art baselines. We have publicly released our code at https://github.com/GT-SALT/IDBR.