Arash Ardakani


pdf bib
Efficient Two-Stage Progressive Quantization of BERT
Charles Le | Arash Ardakani | Amir Ardakani | Hang Zhang | Yuyan Chen | James Clark | Brett Meyer | Warren Gross
Proceedings of The Third Workshop on Simple and Efficient Natural Language Processing (SustaiNLP)

The success of large BERT models has raised the demand for model compression methods to reduce model size and computational cost. Quantization can reduce the model size and inference latency, making inference more efficient, without changing its stucture, but it comes at the cost of performance degradation. Due to the complex loss landscape of ternarized/binarized BERT, we present an efficient two-stage progressive quantization method in which we fine tune the model with quantized weights and progressively lower its bits, and then we fine tune the model with quantized weights and activations. At the same time, we strategically choose which bitwidth to fine-tune on and to initialize from, and which bitwidth to fine-tune under augmented data to outperform the existing BERT binarization methods without adding an extra module, compressing the binary model 18% more than previous binarization methods or compressing BERT by 31x w.r.t. to the full-precision model. Our method without data augmentation can outperform existing BERT ternarization methods.

Partially-Random Initialization: A Smoking Gun for Binarization Hypothesis of BERT
Arash Ardakani
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

In the past few years, pre-trained BERT has become one of the most popular deep-learning language models due to their remarkable performance in natural language processing (NLP) tasks. However, the superior performance of BERT comes at the cost of high computational and memory complexity, hindering its envisioned widespread deployment in edge devices with limited computing resources. Binarization can alleviate these limitations by reducing storage requirements and improving computing performance. However, obtaining a comparable accuracy performance for binary BERT w.r.t. its full-precision counterpart is still a difficult task. We observe that direct binarization of pre-trained BERT provides a poor initialization during the fine-tuning phase, making the model incapable of achieving a decent accuracy on downstream tasks. Based on this observation, we put forward the following hypothesis: partially randomly-initialized BERT with binary weights and activations can reach to a decent accuracy performance by distilling knowledge from the its full-precision counterpart. We show that BERT with pre-trained embedding layer and randomly-initialized encoder is a smoking gun for this hypothesis. We identify the smoking gun through a series of experiments and show that it yields a new set of state-of-the-art results on the GLUE and SQuAD benchmarks.