Li Shen


Improving Sharpness-Aware Minimization with Fisher Mask for Better Generalization on Language Models
Qihuang Zhong | Liang Ding | Li Shen | Peng Mi | Juhua Liu | Bo Du | Dacheng Tao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Fine-tuning large pretrained language models on a limited training corpus usually suffers from poor generalization. Prior works show that the recently-proposed sharpness-aware minimization (SAM) optimization method can improve the model generalization. However, SAM adds a perturbation to each model parameter equally (but not all parameters contribute equally to the optimization of training), which we argue is sub-optimal and will lead to excessive computation. In this paper, we propose a novel optimization procedure, namely FSAM, which introduces a Fisher mask to improve the efficiency and performance of SAM. In short, instead of adding perturbation to all parameters, FSAM uses the Fisher information to identity the important parameters and formulates a Fisher mask to obtain the sparse perturbation, i.e., making the optimizer focus on these important parameters. Experiments on various tasks in GLUE and SuperGLUE benchmarks show that FSAM consistently outperforms the vanilla SAM by 0.67 1.98 average score among four different pretrained models. We also empirically show that FSAM works well in other complex scenarios, e.g., fine-tuning on generation tasks or limited training data. Encouragingly, when training data is limited, FSAM improves the SAM by a large margin, i.e., up to 15.1.

On the Complementarity between Pre-Training and Random-Initialization for Resource-Rich Machine Translation
Changtong Zan | Liang Ding | Li Shen | Yu Cao | Weifeng Liu | Dacheng Tao
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Pre-Training (PT) of text representations has been successfully applied to low-resource Neural Machine Translation (NMT). However, it usually fails to achieve notable gains (some- times, even worse) on resource-rich NMT on par with its Random-Initialization (RI) counterpart. We take the first step to investigate the complementarity between PT and RI in resource-rich scenarios via two probing analyses, and find that: 1) PT improves NOT the accuracy, but the generalization by achieving flatter loss landscapes than that of RI; 2) PT improves NOT the confidence of lexical choice, but the negative diversity by assigning smoother lexical probability distributions than that of RI. Based on these insights, we propose to combine their complementarities with a model fusion algorithm that utilizes optimal transport to align neurons between PT and RI. Experiments on two resource-rich translation benchmarks, WMT’17 English-Chinese (20M) and WMT’19 English-German (36M), show that PT and RI could be nicely complementary to each other, achieving substantial improvements considering both translation accuracy, generalization, and negative diversity. Probing tools and code are released at: