Yujia Qin


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Recyclable Tuning for Continual Pre-training
Yujia Qin | Cheng Qian | Xu Han | Yankai Lin | Huadong Wang | Ruobing Xie | Zhiyuan Liu | Maosong Sun | Jie Zhou
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Continual pre-training is the paradigm where pre-trained language models (PLMs) continually acquire fresh knowledge from growing data and gradually get upgraded. Before an upgraded PLM is released, we may have tuned the original PLM for various tasks and stored the adapted weights. However, when tuning the upgraded PLM, these outdated adapted weights will typically be ignored and discarded, causing a potential waste of resources. We bring this issue to the forefront and contend that proper algorithms for recycling outdated adapted weights should be developed. To this end, we formulate the task of recyclable tuning for continual pre-training. In pilot studies, we find that after continual pre-training, the upgraded PLM remains compatible with the outdated adapted weights to some extent. Motivated by this finding, we analyze the connection between continually pre-trained PLMs from two novel aspects, i.e., mode connectivity, and functional similarity. Based on the corresponding findings, we propose both an initialization-based method and a distillation-based method for our task. We demonstrate their feasibility in improving the convergence and performance for tuning the upgraded PLM. We also show that both methods can be combined to achieve better performance.

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CREATOR: Tool Creation for Disentangling Abstract and Concrete Reasoning of Large Language Models
Cheng Qian | Chi Han | Yi Fung | Yujia Qin | Zhiyuan Liu | Heng Ji
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Large Language Models (LLMs) have made significant progress in utilizing tools, but their ability is limited by API availability and the instability of implicit reasoning, particularly when both planning and execution are involved. To overcome these limitations, we propose CREATOR, a novel framework that enables LLMs to create their own tools using documentation and code realization. CREATOR disentangles abstract tool creation and concrete decision execution, resulting in improved performance. We evaluate CREATOR on MATH and TabMWP benchmarks, respectively consisting of challenging math competition problems and diverse tabular contents. Remarkably, CREATOR outperforms existing chain-of-thought, program-of-thought, and tool-using baselines. Additionally, we introduce the Creation Challenge dataset, featuring 2K diverse questions, to emphasize the necessity and benefits of LLMs’ tool creation ability. Further research demonstrates that leveraging LLMs as tool creators facilitates knowledge transfer, and LLMs exhibit varying levels of tool creation abilities, enabling them to adapt to diverse situations. The tool creation ability revolutionizes the LLM’s problem-solving paradigm, driving us closer to the next frontier of artificial intelligence.

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Enhancing Chat Language Models by Scaling High-quality Instructional Conversations
Ning Ding | Yulin Chen | Bokai Xu | Yujia Qin | Shengding Hu | Zhiyuan Liu | Maosong Sun | Bowen Zhou
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Fine-tuning on instruction data has been widely validated as an effective practice for implementing chat language models like ChatGPT. Scaling the diversity and quality of such data, although straightforward, stands a great chance of leading to improved performance. This paper aims to push the upper bound of open-source models further. We first provide a systematically designed, diverse, informative, large-scale dataset of instructional conversations, UltraChat, which does not involve human queries. Our objective is to capture the breadth of interactions between a human user and an AI assistant and employs a comprehensive framework to generate multi-turn conversation iteratively. UltraChat contains 1.5 million high-quality multi-turn dialogues and covers a wide range of topics and instructions. Our statistical analysis of UltraChat reveals its superiority in various key metrics, including scale, average length, diversity, coherence, etc., solidifying its position as a leading open-source dataset. Building upon UltraChat, we fine-tune a LLaMA model to create a powerful conversational model, UltraLM. Our evaluations indicate that UltraLM consistently outperforms other open-source models, including WizardLM and Vicuna, the previously recognized state-of-the-art open-source models.

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Exploring the Impact of Model Scaling on Parameter-Efficient Tuning
Yusheng Su | Chi-Min Chan | Jiali Cheng | Yujia Qin | Yankai Lin | Shengding Hu | Zonghan Yang | Ning Ding | Xingzhi Sun | Guotong Xie | Zhiyuan Liu | Maosong Sun
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Parameter-efficient tuning (PET) methods can effectively drive extremely large pre-trained language models (PLMs) by training only minimal parameters. Different PET methods utilize different manually designed tunable modules. In small PLMs, there are usually noticeable performance differences among PET methods. Nevertheless, as the model scale increases, the performance differences become marginal. Hence, we hypothesize that model scaling mitigates the impact of design differences on PET methods. To investigate this hypothesis, we introduce a more flexible PET method called Arbitrary PET (APET) method. The APET method is compatible with a tunable module, which consists of any number of parameters distributed in arbitrary positions. Then, we utilize it and conduct experiments on 11 NLP tasks across 3 representative PLMs. Our investigations reveal that model scaling (1) mitigates the effects of the positions of tunable parameters on performance, and (2) enables tuning methods to achieve performance comparable to full-parameter fine-tuning by optimizing fewer tunable parameters. Intriguingly, we also observe that tuning methods optimize the similar number of tunable parameters to exceed random guess performance on different tasks. We collectively discuss this phenomenon and the two aforementioned findings from an optimization perspective to understand the underlying mechanisms. These conclusions enhance our understanding of the impact of model scaling on PET and assist in designing more effective and efficient PET methods for PLMs of different scales. The source code can be obtained from this GitHub repository: https://github.com/yushengsu-thu/PET_Scaling.

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WebCPM: Interactive Web Search for Chinese Long-form Question Answering
Yujia Qin | Zihan Cai | Dian Jin | Lan Yan | Shihao Liang | Kunlun Zhu | Yankai Lin | Xu Han | Ning Ding | Huadong Wang | Ruobing Xie | Fanchao Qi | Zhiyuan Liu | Maosong Sun | Jie Zhou
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Long-form question answering (LFQA) aims at answering complex, open-ended questions with detailed, paragraph-length responses. The de facto paradigm of LFQA necessitates two procedures: information retrieval, which searches for relevant supporting facts, and information synthesis, which integrates these facts into a coherent answer. In this paper, we introduce WebCPM, the first Chinese LFQA dataset. One unique feature of WebCPM is that its information retrieval is based on interactive web search, which engages with a search engine in real time. Following WebGPT, we develop a web search interface. We recruit annotators to search for relevant information using our interface and then answer questions. Meanwhile, the web search behaviors of our annotators would be recorded. In total, we collect 5,500 high-quality question-answer pairs, together with 15,372 supporting facts and 125,954 web search actions. We fine-tune pre-trained language models to imitate human behaviors for web search and to generate answers based on the collected facts. Our LFQA pipeline, built on these fine-tuned models, generates answers that are no worse than human-written ones in 32.5% and 47.5% of the cases on our dataset and DuReader, respectively. The interface, dataset, and codes are publicly available at https://github.com/thunlp/WebCPM.

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Parameter-efficient Weight Ensembling Facilitates Task-level Knowledge Transfer
Xingtai Lv | Ning Ding | Yujia Qin | Zhiyuan Liu | Maosong Sun
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Recent studies show that large-scale pre-trained language models could be efficaciously adapted to particular tasks in a parameter-efficient manner. The trained lightweight set of parameters, such as adapters, can be easily stored and shared as a capability equipped with the corresponding models. Owning many lightweight parameters, we focus on transferring them between tasks to acquire an improvement in performance of new tasks, the key point of which is to obtain the similarity between tasks. In this paper, we explore 5 parameter-efficient weight ensembling methods to achieve such transferability and verify the effectiveness of them. These methods extract the information of datasets and trained lightweight parameters from different perspectives to obtain the similarity between tasks, and weight the existing lightweight parameters according to the comparability to acquire a suitable module for the initialization of new tasks. We apply them to three parameter-efficient tuning methods and test them on a wide set of downstream tasks. Experimental results show that our methods show an improvement of 5%~8% over baselines and could largely facilitate task-level knowledge transfer.


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bert2BERT: Towards Reusable Pretrained Language Models
Cheng Chen | Yichun Yin | Lifeng Shang | Xin Jiang | Yujia Qin | Fengyu Wang | Zhi Wang | Xiao Chen | Zhiyuan Liu | Qun Liu
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In recent years, researchers tend to pre-train ever-larger language models to explore the upper limit of deep models. However, large language model pre-training costs intensive computational resources, and most of the models are trained from scratch without reusing the existing pre-trained models, which is wasteful. In this paper, we propose bert2BERT, which can effectively transfer the knowledge of an existing smaller pre-trained model to a large model through parameter initialization and significantly improve the pre-training efficiency of the large model. Specifically, we extend the previous function-preserving method proposed in computer vision on the Transformer-based language model, and further improve it by proposing a novel method, advanced knowledge for large model’s initialization. In addition, a two-stage learning method is proposed to further accelerate the pre-training. We conduct extensive experiments on representative PLMs (e.g., BERT and GPT) and demonstrate that (1) our method can save a significant amount of training cost compared with baselines including learning from scratch, StackBERT and MSLT; (2) our method is generic and applicable to different types of pre-trained models. In particular, bert2BERT saves about 45% and 47% computational cost of pre-training BERT BASE and GPT BASE by reusing the models of almost their half sizes.

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Pass off Fish Eyes for Pearls: Attacking Model Selection of Pre-trained Models
Biru Zhu | Yujia Qin | Fanchao Qi | Yangdong Deng | Zhiyuan Liu | Maosong Sun | Ming Gu
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Selecting an appropriate pre-trained model (PTM) for a specific downstream task typically requires significant efforts of fine-tuning. To accelerate this process, researchers propose feature-based model selection (FMS) methods, which assess PTMs’ transferability to a specific task in a fast way without fine-tuning. In this work, we argue that current FMS methods are vulnerable, as the assessment mainly relies on the static features extracted from PTMs. However, such features are derived without training PTMs on downstream tasks, and are not necessarily reliable indicators for the PTM’s transferability. To validate our viewpoints, we design two methods to evaluate the robustness of FMS: (1) model disguise attack, which post-trains an inferior PTM with a contrastive objective, and (2) evaluation data selection, which selects a subset of the data points for FMS evaluation based on K-means clustering. Experimental results prove that both methods can successfully make FMS mistakenly judge the transferability of PTMs. Moreover, we find that these two methods can further be combined with the backdoor attack to misguide the FMS to select poisoned models. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work to demonstrate the defects of current FMS algorithms and evaluate their potential security risks. By identifying previously unseen risks of FMS, our study indicates new directions for improving the robustness of FMS.

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ELLE: Efficient Lifelong Pre-training for Emerging Data
Yujia Qin | Jiajie Zhang | Yankai Lin | Zhiyuan Liu | Peng Li | Maosong Sun | Jie Zhou
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Current pre-trained language models (PLM) are typically trained with static data, ignoring that in real-world scenarios, streaming data of various sources may continuously grow. This requires PLMs to integrate the information from all the sources in a lifelong manner. Although this goal could be achieved by exhaustive pre-training on all the existing data, such a process is known to be computationally expensive. To this end, we propose ELLE, aiming at efficient lifelong pre-training for emerging data. Specifically, ELLE consists of (1) function preserved model expansion, which flexibly expands an existing PLM’s width and depth to improve the efficiency of knowledge acquisition; and (2) pre-trained domain prompts, which disentangle the versatile knowledge learned during pre-training and stimulate the proper knowledge for downstream tasks. We experiment ELLE with streaming data from 5 domains on BERT and GPT. The results show the superiority of ELLE over various lifelong learning baselines in both pre-training efficiency and downstream performances. The codes are publicly available at https://github.com/thunlp/ELLE.

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Different Tunes Played with Equal Skill: Exploring a Unified Optimization Subspace for Parameter-Efficient Tuning
Jing Yi | Weize Chen | Yujia Qin | Yankai Lin | Ning Ding | Xu Han | Zhiyuan Liu | Maosong Sun | Jie Zhou
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Delta tuning (DET, also known as parameter-efficient tuning) is deemed as the new paradigm for using pre-trained language models (PLMs). Up to now, various DETs with distinct design elements have been proposed, achieving performance on par with fine-tuning. However, the mechanisms behind the above success are still under-explored, especially the connections among various DETs. To fathom the mystery, we hypothesize that the adaptations of different DETs could all be reparameterized as low-dimensional optimizations in a unified optimization subspace, which could be found by jointly decomposing independent solutions of different DETs. Then we explore the connections among different DETs by conducting optimization within the subspace. In experiments, we find that, for a certain DET, conducting optimization simply in the subspace could achieve comparable performance to its original space, and the found solution in the subspace could be transferred to another DET and achieve non-trivial performance. We also visualize the performance landscape of the subspace, and find that, there exists a substantial region where different DETs all perform well. Finally, we extend our analysis and show the strong connections between fine-tuning and DETs. The codes are publicly available at https://github.com/thunlp/Unified-DeltaTuning.

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FPT: Improving Prompt Tuning Efficiency via Progressive Training
Yufei Huang | Yujia Qin | Huadong Wang | Yichun Yin | Maosong Sun | Zhiyuan Liu | Qun Liu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Recently, prompt tuning (PT) has gained increasing attention as a parameter-efficient way of tuning pre-trained language models (PLMs). Despite extensively reducing the number of tunable parameters and achieving satisfying performance, PT is training-inefficient due to its slow convergence. To improve PT’s training efficiency, we first make some novel observations about the prompt transferability of “partial PLMs”, which are defined by compressing a PLM in depth or width. We observe that the soft prompts learned by different partial PLMs of various sizes are similar in the parameter space, implying that these soft prompts could potentially be transferred among partial PLMs. Inspired by these observations, we propose Fast Prompt Tuning (FPT), which starts by conducting PT using a small-scale partial PLM, and then progressively expands its depth and width until the full-model size. After each expansion, we recycle the previously learned soft prompts as initialization for the enlarged partial PLM and then proceed PT. We demonstrate the feasibility of FPT on 5 tasks and show that FPT could save over 30% training computations while achieving comparable performance. The codes are publicly available at https://github.com/thunlp/FastPromptTuning.

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Knowledge Inheritance for Pre-trained Language Models
Yujia Qin | Yankai Lin | Jing Yi | Jiajie Zhang | Xu Han | Zhengyan Zhang | Yusheng Su | Zhiyuan Liu | Peng Li | Maosong Sun | Jie Zhou
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Recent explorations of large-scale pre-trained language models (PLMs) have revealed the power of PLMs with huge amounts of parameters, setting off a wave of training ever-larger PLMs. However, it requires tremendous computational resources to train a large-scale PLM, which may be practically unaffordable. In addition, existing large-scale PLMs are mainly trained from scratch individually, ignoring that many well-trained PLMs are available. To this end, we explore the question how could existing PLMs benefit training large-scale PLMs in future. Specifically, we introduce a pre-training framework named “knowledge inheritance” (KI) and explore how could knowledge distillation serve as auxiliary supervision during pre-training to efficiently learn larger PLMs. Experimental results demonstrate the superiority of KI in training efficiency. We also conduct empirical analyses to explore the effects of teacher PLMs’ pre-training settings, including model architecture, pre-training data, etc. Finally, we show that KI could be applied to domain adaptation and knowledge transfer.

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On Transferability of Prompt Tuning for Natural Language Processing
Yusheng Su | Xiaozhi Wang | Yujia Qin | Chi-Min Chan | Yankai Lin | Huadong Wang | Kaiyue Wen | Zhiyuan Liu | Peng Li | Juanzi Li | Lei Hou | Maosong Sun | Jie Zhou
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Prompt tuning (PT) is a promising parameter-efficient method to utilize extremely large pre-trained language models (PLMs), which can achieve comparable performance to full-parameter fine-tuning by only tuning a few soft prompts. However, PT requires much more training time than fine-tuning. Intuitively, knowledge transfer can help to improve the efficiency. To explore whether we can improve PT via prompt transfer, we empirically investigate the transferability of soft prompts across different downstream tasks and PLMs in this work. We find that (1) in zero-shot setting, trained soft prompts can effectively transfer to similar tasks on the same PLM and also to other PLMs with a cross-model projector trained on similar tasks; (2) when used as initialization, trained soft prompts of similar tasks and projected prompts of other PLMs can significantly accelerate training and also improve the performance of PT. Moreover, to explore what decides prompt transferability, we investigate various transferability indicators and find that the overlapping rate of activated neurons strongly reflects the transferability, which suggests how the prompts stimulate PLMs is essential. Our findings show that prompt transfer is promising for improving PT, and further research shall focus more on prompts’ stimulation to PLMs. The source code can be obtained from https://github.com/thunlp/Prompt-Transferability.

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ProQA: Structural Prompt-based Pre-training for Unified Question Answering
Wanjun Zhong | Yifan Gao | Ning Ding | Yujia Qin | Zhiyuan Liu | Ming Zhou | Jiahai Wang | Jian Yin | Nan Duan
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Question Answering (QA) is a longstanding challenge in natural language processing. Existing QA works mostly focus on specific question types, knowledge domains, or reasoning skills. The specialty in QA research hinders systems from modeling commonalities between tasks and generalization for wider applications. To address this issue, we present ProQA, a unified QA paradigm that solves various tasks through a single model. ProQA takes a unified structural prompt as the bridge and improves the QA-centric ability by structural prompt-based pre-training. Through a structurally designed prompt-based input schema, ProQA concurrently models the knowledge generalization for all QA tasks while keeping the knowledge customization for every specific QA task. Furthermore, ProQA is pre-trained with structural prompt-formatted large-scale synthesized corpus, which empowers the model with the commonly-required QA ability. Experimental results on 11 QA benchmarks demonstrate that ProQA consistently boosts performance on both full data fine-tuning, few-shot learning, and zero-shot testing scenarios. Furthermore, ProQA exhibits strong ability in both continual learning and transfer learning by taking the advantages of the structural prompt.

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Exploring Mode Connectivity for Pre-trained Language Models
Yujia Qin | Cheng Qian | Jing Yi | Weize Chen | Yankai Lin | Xu Han | Zhiyuan Liu | Maosong Sun | Jie Zhou
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Recent years have witnessed the prevalent application of pre-trained language models (PLMs) in NLP. From the perspective of parameter space, PLMs provide generic initialization, starting from which high-performance minima could be found. Although plenty of works have studied how to effectively and efficiently adapt PLMs to high-performance minima, little is known about the connection of various minima reached under different adaptation configurations. In this paper, we investigate the geometric connections of different minima through the lens of mode connectivity, which measures whether two minima can be connected with a low-loss path. We conduct empirical analyses to investigate three questions: (1) how could hyperparameters, specific tuning methods, and training data affect PLM’s mode connectivity? (2) How does mode connectivity change during pre-training? (3) How does the PLM’s task knowledge change along the path connecting two minima? In general, exploring the mode connectivity of PLMs conduces to understanding the geometric connection of different minima, which may help us fathom the inner workings of PLM downstream adaptation. The codes are publicly available at https://github.com/thunlp/Mode-Connectivity-PLM.


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ERICA: Improving Entity and Relation Understanding for Pre-trained Language Models via Contrastive Learning
Yujia Qin | Yankai Lin | Ryuichi Takanobu | Zhiyuan Liu | Peng Li | Heng Ji | Minlie Huang | Maosong Sun | Jie Zhou
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Pre-trained Language Models (PLMs) have shown superior performance on various downstream Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks. However, conventional pre-training objectives do not explicitly model relational facts in text, which are crucial for textual understanding. To address this issue, we propose a novel contrastive learning framework ERICA to obtain a deep understanding of the entities and their relations in text. Specifically, we define two novel pre-training tasks to better understand entities and relations: (1) the entity discrimination task to distinguish which tail entity can be inferred by the given head entity and relation; (2) the relation discrimination task to distinguish whether two relations are close or not semantically, which involves complex relational reasoning. Experimental results demonstrate that ERICA can improve typical PLMs (BERT and RoBERTa) on several language understanding tasks, including relation extraction, entity typing and question answering, especially under low-resource settings.