Zechun Liu


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LLM-FP4: 4-Bit Floating-Point Quantized Transformers
Shih-yang Liu | Zechun Liu | Xijie Huang | Pingcheng Dong | Kwang-Ting Cheng
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We propose LLM-FP4 for quantizing both weights and activations in large language models (LLMs) down to 4-bit floating-point values, in a post-training manner. Existing post-training quantization (PTQ) solutions are primarily integer-based and struggle with bit widths below 8 bits. Compared to integer quantization, floating-point (FP) quantization is more flexible and can better handle long-tail or bell-shaped distributions, and it has emerged as a default choice in many hardware platforms. One characteristic of FP quantization is that its performance largely depends on the choice of exponent bits and clipping range. In this regard, we construct a strong FP-PTQ baseline by searching for the optimal quantization parameters. Furthermore, we observe a high inter-channel variance and low intra-channel variance pattern in activation distributions, which adds activation quantization difficulty. We recognize this pattern to be consistent across a spectrum of transformer models designed for diverse tasks such as LLMs, BERT, and Vision Transformer models. To tackle this, we propose per-channel activation quantization and show that these additional scaling factors can be reparameterized as exponential biases of weights, incurring a negligible cost. Our method, for the first time, can quantize both weights and activations in the LLaMA-13B to only 4-bit and achieves an average score of 63.1 on the common sense zero-shot reasoning tasks, which is only 5.8 lower than the full-precision model, significantly outperforming the previous state-of-the-art by 12.7 points. Code is available at: https://github.com/nbasyl/LLM-FP4.

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Binary and Ternary Natural Language Generation
Zechun Liu | Barlas Oguz | Aasish Pappu | Yangyang Shi | Raghuraman Krishnamoorthi
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Ternary and binary neural networks enable multiplication-free computation and promise multiple orders of magnitude efficiency gains over full-precision networks if implemented on specialized hardware. However, since both the parameter and the output space are highly discretized, such networks have proven very difficult to optimize. The difficulties are compounded for the class of transformer text generation models due to the sensitivity of the attention operation to quantization and the noise-compounding effects of autoregressive decoding in the high-cardinality output space. We approach the problem with a mix of statistics-based quantization for the weights and elastic quantization of the activations and demonstrate the first ternary and binary transformer models on the downstream tasks of summarization and machine translation. Our ternary BART base achieves an R1 score of 41 on the CNN/DailyMail benchmark, which is merely 3.9 points behind the full model while being 16x more efficient. Our binary model, while less accurate, achieves a highly non-trivial score of 35.6. For machine translation, we achieved BLEU scores of 21.7 and 17.6 on the WMT16 En-Ro benchmark, compared with a full precision mBART model score of 26.8. We also compare our approach in the 8-bit activation setting, where our ternary and even binary weight models can match or outperform the best existing 8-bit weight models in the literature. Our code and models are available at: https://github.com/facebookresearch/Ternary_Binary_Transformer.