Sparse models require less memory for storage and enable a faster inference by reducing the necessary number of FLOPs. This is relevant both for time-critical and on-device computations using neural networks. The stabilized lottery ticket hypothesis states that networks can be pruned after none or few training iterations, using a mask computed based on the unpruned converged model. On the transformer architecture and the WMT 2014 English-to-German and English-to-French tasks, we show that stabilized lottery ticket pruning performs similar to magnitude pruning for sparsity levels of up to 85%, and propose a new combination of pruning techniques that outperforms all other techniques for even higher levels of sparsity. Furthermore, we confirm that the parameter’s initial sign and not its specific value is the primary factor for successful training, and show that magnitude pruning cannot be used to find winning lottery tickets.
This work investigates an alternative model for neural machine translation (NMT) and proposes a novel architecture, where we employ a multi-dimensional long short-term memory (MDLSTM) for translation modelling. In the state-of-the-art methods, source and target sentences are treated as one-dimensional sequences over time, while we view translation as a two-dimensional (2D) mapping using an MDLSTM layer to define the correspondence between source and target words. We extend beyond the current sequence to sequence backbone NMT models to a 2D structure in which the source and target sentences are aligned with each other in a 2D grid. Our proposed topology shows consistent improvements over attention-based sequence to sequence model on two WMT 2017 tasks, German<->English.