Nevin Zhang


Improving Meta-learning for Low-resource Text Classification and Generation via Memory Imitation
Yingxiu Zhao | Zhiliang Tian | Huaxiu Yao | Yinhe Zheng | Dongkyu Lee | Yiping Song | Jian Sun | Nevin Zhang
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Building models of natural language processing (NLP) is challenging in low-resource scenarios where limited data are available. Optimization-based meta-learning algorithms achieve promising results in low-resource scenarios by adapting a well-generalized model initialization to handle new tasks. Nonetheless, these approaches suffer from the memorization overfitting issue, where the model tends to memorize the meta-training tasks while ignoring support sets when adapting to new tasks. To address this issue, we propose a memory imitation meta-learning (MemIML) method that enhances the model’s reliance on support sets for task adaptation. Specifically, we introduce a task-specific memory module to store support set information and construct an imitation module to force query sets to imitate the behaviors of support sets stored in the memory. A theoretical analysis is provided to prove the effectiveness of our method, and empirical results also demonstrate that our method outperforms competitive baselines on both text classification and generation tasks.

Adaptive Label Smoothing with Self-Knowledge in Natural Language Generation
Dongkyu Lee | Ka Chun Cheung | Nevin Zhang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Overconfidence has been shown to impair generalization and calibration of a neural network. Previous studies remedy this issue by adding a regularization term to a loss function, preventing a model from making a peaked distribution. Label smoothing smoothes target labels with a pre-defined prior label distribution; as a result, a model is learned to maximize the likelihood of predicting the soft label. Nonetheless, the amount of smoothing is the same in all samples and remains fixed in training. In other words, label smoothing does not reflect the change in probability distribution mapped by a model over the course of training. To address this issue, we propose a regularization scheme that brings dynamic nature into the smoothing parameter by taking model probability distribution into account, thereby varying the parameter per instance. A model in training self-regulates the extent of smoothing on the fly during forward propagation. Furthermore, inspired by recent work in bridging label smoothing and knowledge distillation, our work utilizes self-knowledge as a prior label distribution in softening target labels, and presents theoretical support for the regularization effect by knowledge distillation and the dynamic smoothing parameter. Our regularizer is validated comprehensively, and the result illustrates marked improvements in model generalization and calibration, enhancing robustness and trustworthiness of a model.

Hard Gate Knowledge Distillation - Leverage Calibration for Robust and Reliable Language Model
Dongkyu Lee | Zhiliang Tian | Yingxiu Zhao | Ka Chun Cheung | Nevin Zhang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

In knowledge distillation, a student model is trained with supervisions from both knowledge from a teacher and observations drawn from a training data distribution. Knowledge of a teacher is considered a subject that holds inter-class relations which send a meaningful supervision to a student; hence, much effort has been put to find such knowledge to be distilled. In this paper, we explore a question that has been given little attention: “when to distill such knowledge.” The question is answered in our work with the concept of model calibration; we view a teacher model not only as a source of knowledge but also as a gauge to detect miscalibration of a student. This simple and yet novel view leads to a hard gate knowledge distillation scheme that switches between learning from a teacher model and training data. We verify the gating mechanism in the context of natural language generation at both the token-level and the sentence-level. Empirical comparisons with strong baselines show that hard gate knowledge distillation not only improves model generalization, but also significantly lowers model calibration error.