When primed with only a handful of training samples, very large, pretrained language models such as GPT-3 have shown competitive results when compared to fully-supervised, fine-tuned, large, pretrained language models. We demonstrate that the order in which the samples are provided can make the difference between near state-of-the-art and random guess performance: essentially some permutations are “fantastic” and some not. We analyse this phenomenon in detail, establishing that: it is present across model sizes (even for the largest current models), it is not related to a specific subset of samples, and that a given good permutation for one model is not transferable to another. While one could use a development set to determine which permutations are performant, this would deviate from the true few-shot setting as it requires additional annotated data. Instead, we use the generative nature of language models to construct an artificial development set and based on entropy statistics of the candidate permutations on this set, we identify performant prompts. Our method yields a 13% relative improvement for GPT-family models across eleven different established text classification tasks.
Multi-document summarization is a challenging task for which there exists little large-scale datasets. We propose Multi-XScience, a large-scale multi-document summarization dataset created from scientific articles. Multi-XScience introduces a challenging multi-document summarization task: writing the related-work section of a paper based on its abstract and the articles it references. Our work is inspired by extreme summarization, a dataset construction protocol that favours abstractive modeling approaches. Descriptive statistics and empirical results—using several state-of-the-art models trained on the Multi-XScience dataset—reveal that Multi-XScience is well suited for abstractive models.
Automatic sentence summarization produces a shorter version of a sentence, while preserving its most important information. A good summary is characterized by language fluency and high information overlap with the source sentence. We model these two aspects in an unsupervised objective function, consisting of language modeling and semantic similarity metrics. We search for a high-scoring summary by discrete optimization. Our proposed method achieves a new state-of-the art for unsupervised sentence summarization according to ROUGE scores. Additionally, we demonstrate that the commonly reported ROUGE F1 metric is sensitive to summary length. Since this is unwillingly exploited in recent work, we emphasize that future evaluation should explicitly group summarization systems by output length brackets.
Knowledge distillation can effectively transfer knowledge from BERT, a deep language representation model, to traditional, shallow word embedding-based neural networks, helping them approach or exceed the quality of other heavyweight language representation models. As shown in previous work, critical to this distillation procedure is the construction of an unlabeled transfer dataset, which enables effective knowledge transfer. To create transfer set examples, we propose to sample from pretrained language models fine-tuned on task-specific text. Unlike previous techniques, this directly captures the purpose of the transfer set. We hypothesize that this principled, general approach outperforms rule-based techniques. On four datasets in sentiment classification, sentence similarity, and linguistic acceptability, we show that our approach improves upon previous methods. We outperform OpenAI GPT, a deep pretrained transformer, on three of the datasets, while using a single-layer bidirectional LSTM that runs at least ten times faster.