Distilling state-of-the-art transformer models into lightweight student models is an effective way to reduce computation cost at inference time. The student models are typically compact transformers with fewer parameters, while expensive operations such as self-attention persist. Therefore, the improved inference speed may still be unsatisfactory for real-time or high-volume use cases. In this paper, we aim to further push the limit of inference speed by distilling teacher models into bigger, sparser student models – bigger in that they scale up to billions of parameters; sparser in that most of the model parameters are n-gram embeddings. Our experiments on six single-sentence text classification tasks show that these student models retain 97% of the RoBERTa-Large teacher performance on average, and meanwhile achieve up to 600x speed-up on both GPUs and CPUs at inference time. Further investigation reveals that our pipeline is also helpful for sentence-pair classification tasks, and in domain generalization settings.
Standard autoregressive language models perform only polynomial-time computation to compute the probability of the next symbol. While this is attractive, it means they cannot model distributions whose next-symbol probability is hard to compute. Indeed, they cannot even model them well enough to solve associated easy decision problems for which an engineer might want to consult a language model. These limitations apply no matter how much computation and data are used to train the model, unless the model is given access to oracle parameters that grow superpolynomially in sequence length. Thus, simply training larger autoregressive language models is not a panacea for NLP. Alternatives include energy-based models (which give up efficient sampling) and latent-variable autoregressive models (which give up efficient scoring of a given string). Both are powerful enough to escape the above limitations.
A context-aware language model uses location, user and/or domain metadata (context) to adapt its predictions. In neural language models, context information is typically represented as an embedding and it is given to the RNN as an additional input, which has been shown to be useful in many applications. We introduce a more powerful mechanism for using context to adapt an RNN by letting the context vector control a low-rank transformation of the recurrent layer weight matrix. Experiments show that allowing a greater fraction of the model parameters to be adjusted has benefits in terms of perplexity and classification for several different types of context.
This paper addresses the problem of community membership detection using only text features in a scenario where a small number of positive labeled examples defines the community. The solution introduces an unsupervised proxy task for learning user embeddings: user re-identification. Experiments with 16 different communities show that the resulting embeddings are more effective for community membership identification than common unsupervised representations.
Query auto-completion is a search engine feature whereby the system suggests completed queries as the user types. Recently, the use of a recurrent neural network language model was suggested as a method of generating query completions. We show how an adaptable language model can be used to generate personalized completions and how the model can use online updating to make predictions for users not seen during training. The personalized predictions are significantly better than a baseline that uses no user information.