Zichun Yu


Automatic Label Sequence Generation for Prompting Sequence-to-sequence Models
Zichun Yu | Tianyu Gao | Zhengyan Zhang | Yankai Lin | Zhiyuan Liu | Maosong Sun | Jie Zhou
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Prompting, which casts downstream applications as language modeling tasks, has shown to be sample efficient compared to standard fine-tuning with pre-trained models. However, one pitfall of prompting is the need of manually-designed patterns, whose outcome can be unintuitive and requires large validation sets to tune. To tackle the challenge, we propose AutoSeq, a fully automatic prompting method: (1) We adopt natural language prompts on sequence-to-sequence models, enabling free-form generation and larger label search space; (2) We propose label sequences – phrases with indefinite lengths to verbalize the labels – which eliminate the need of manual templates and are more expressive than single label words; (3) We use beam search to automatically generate a large amount of label sequence candidates and propose contrastive re-ranking to get the best combinations. AutoSeq significantly outperforms other no-manual-design methods, such as soft prompt tuning, adapter tuning, and automatic search on single label words; the generated label sequences are even better than curated manual ones on a variety of tasks. Our method reveals the potential of sequence-to-sequence models in few-shot learning and sheds light on a path to generic and automatic prompting. The source code of this paper can be obtained from https://github.com/thunlp/Seq2Seq-Prompt.