This technical note describes a new baseline for the Natural Questions. Our model is based on BERT and reduces the gap between the model F1 scores reported in the original dataset paper and the human upper bound by 30% and 50% relative for the long and short answer tasks respectively. This baseline has been submitted to the official NQ leaderboard at ai.google.com/research/NaturalQuestions. Code, preprocessed data and pretrained model are available at https://github.com/google-research/language/tree/master/language/question_answering/bert_joint.
Increasing model size when pretraining natural language representations often results in improved performance on downstream tasks. However, at some point further model increases become harder due to GPU/TPU memory limitations, longer training times, and unexpected model degradation. To address these problems, we present two parameter-reduction techniques to lower memory consumption and increase the training speed of BERT. Comprehensive empirical evidence shows that our proposed methods lead to models that scale much better compared to the original BERT. We also use a self-supervised loss that focuses on modeling inter-sentence coherence, and show it consistently helps downstream tasks with multi-sentence inputs. As a result, our best model establishes new state-of-the-art results on the GLUE, RACE, and SQuAD benchmarks while having fewer parameters compared to BERT-large.The code and the pretrained models are available at https://github.com/google-research/google-research/tree/master/albert.
Transformer based architectures have become de-facto models used for a range of Natural Language Processing tasks. In particular, the BERT based models achieved significant accuracy gain for GLUE tasks, CoNLL-03 and SQuAD. However, BERT based models have a prohibitive memory footprint and latency. As a result, deploying BERT based models in resource constrained environments has become a challenging task. In this work, we perform an extensive analysis of fine-tuned BERT models using second order Hessian information, and we use our results to propose a novel method for quantizing BERT models to ultra low precision. In particular, we propose a new group-wise quantization scheme, and we use a Hessian based mix-precision method to compress the model further. We extensively test our proposed method on BERT downstream tasks of SST-2, MNLI, CoNLL-03, and SQuAD. We can achieve comparable performance to baseline with at most $2.3\%$ performance degradation, even with ultra-low precision quantization down to 2 bits, corresponding up to $13\times$ compression of the model parameters, and up to $4\times$ compression of the embedding table as well as activations. Among all tasks, we observed the highest performance loss for BERT fine-tuned on SQuAD. By probing into the Hessian based analysis as well as visualization, we show that this is related to the fact that current training/fine-tuning strategy of BERT does not converge for SQuAD.
Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) reach state-of-the-art results in a variety of Natural Language Processing tasks. However, understanding of their internal functioning is still insufficient and unsatisfactory. In order to better understand BERT and other Transformer-based models, we present a layer-wise analysis of BERT's hidden states. Unlike previous research, which mainly focuses on explaining Transformer models by their attention weights, we argue that hidden states contain equally valuable information. Specifically, our analysis focuses on models fine-tuned on the task of Question Answering (QA) as an example of a complex downstream task. We inspect how QA models transform token vectors in order to find the correct answer. To this end, we apply a set of general and QA-specific probing tasks that reveal the information stored in each representation layer. Our qualitative analysis of hidden state visualizations provides additional insights into BERT's reasoning process. Our results show that the transformations within BERT go through phases that are related to traditional pipeline tasks. The system can therefore implicitly incorporate task-specific information into its token representations. Furthermore, our analysis reveals that fine-tuning has little impact on the models' semantic abilities and that prediction errors can be recognized in the vector representations of even early layers.
BERT, a pre-trained Transformer model, has achieved ground-breaking performance on multiple NLP tasks. In this paper, we describe BERTSUM, a simple variant of BERT, for extractive summarization. Our system is the state of the art on the CNN/Dailymail dataset, outperforming the previous best-performed system by 1.65 on ROUGE-L. The codes to reproduce our results are available at https://github.com/nlpyang/BertSum
Recent progress in pretraining language models on large textual corpora led to a surge of improvements for downstream NLP tasks. Whilst learning linguistic knowledge, these models may also be storing relational knowledge present in the training data, and may be able to answer queries structured as "fill-in-the-blank" cloze statements. Language models have many advantages over structured knowledge bases: they require no schema engineering, allow practitioners to query about an open class of relations, are easy to extend to more data, and require no human supervision to train. We present an in-depth analysis of the relational knowledge already present (without fine-tuning) in a wide range of state-of-the-art pretrained language models. We find that (i) without fine-tuning, BERT contains relational knowledge competitive with traditional NLP methods that have some access to oracle knowledge, (ii) BERT also does remarkably well on open-domain question answering against a supervised baseline, and (iii) certain types of factual knowledge are learned much more readily than others by standard language model pretraining approaches. The surprisingly strong ability of these models to recall factual knowledge without any fine-tuning demonstrates their potential as unsupervised open-domain QA systems. The code to reproduce our analysis is available at https://github.com/facebookresearch/LAMA.
Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) has shown marvelous improvements across various NLP tasks. Recently, an upgraded version of BERT has been released with Whole Word Masking (WWM), which mitigate the drawbacks of masking partial WordPiece tokens in pre-training BERT. In this technical report, we adapt whole word masking in Chinese text, that masking the whole word instead of masking Chinese characters, which could bring another challenge in Masked Language Model (MLM) pre-training task. The model was trained on the latest Chinese Wikipedia dump. We aim to provide easy extensibility and better performance for Chinese BERT without changing any neural architecture or even hyper-parameters. The model is verified on various NLP tasks, across sentence-level to document-level, including sentiment classification (ChnSentiCorp, Sina Weibo), named entity recognition (People Daily, MSRA-NER), natural language inference (XNLI), sentence pair matching (LCQMC, BQ Corpus), and machine reading comprehension (CMRC 2018, DRCD, CAIL RC). Experimental results on these datasets show that the whole word masking could bring another significant gain. Moreover, we also examine the effectiveness of Chinese pre-trained models: BERT, ERNIE, BERT-wwm. We release the pre-trained model (both TensorFlow and PyTorch) on GitHub: https://github.com/ymcui/Chinese-BERT-wwm
We introduce a new language representation model called BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Unlike recent language representation models, BERT is designed to pre-train deep bidirectional representations by jointly conditioning on both left and right context in all layers. As a result, the pre-trained BERT representations can be fine-tuned with just one additional output layer to create state-of-the-art models for a wide range of tasks, such as question answering and language inference, without substantial task-specific architecture modifications. BERT is conceptually simple and empirically powerful. It obtains new state-of-the-art results on eleven natural language processing tasks, including pushing the GLUE benchmark to 80.4% (7.6% absolute improvement), MultiNLI accuracy to 86.7 (5.6% absolute improvement) and the SQuAD v1.1 question answering Test F1 to 93.2 (1.5% absolute improvement), outperforming human performance by 2.0%.
We present QuAC, a dataset for Question Answering in Context that contains 14K information-seeking QA dialogs (100K questions in total). The interactions involve two crowd workers: (1) a student who poses a sequence of freeform questions to learn as much as possible about a hidden Wikipedia text, and (2) a teacher who answers the questions by providing short excerpts from the text. QuAC introduces challenges not found in existing machine comprehension datasets: its questions are often more open-ended, unanswerable, or only meaningful within the dialog context, as we show in a detailed qualitative evaluation. We also report results for a number of reference models, including a recently state-of-the-art reading comprehension architecture extended to model dialog context. Our best model underperforms humans by 20 F1, suggesting that there is significant room for future work on this data. Dataset, baseline, and leaderboard are available at quac.ai.
Answering complex questions is a time-consuming activity for humans that requires reasoning and integration of information. Recent work on reading comprehension made headway in answering simple questions, but tackling complex questions is still an ongoing research challenge. Conversely, semantic parsers have been successful at handling compositionality, but only when the information resides in a target knowledge-base. In this paper, we present a novel framework for answering broad and complex questions, assuming answering simple questions is possible using a search engine and a reading comprehension model. We propose to decompose complex questions into a sequence of simple questions, and compute the final answer from the sequence of answers. To illustrate the viability of our approach, we create a new dataset of complex questions, ComplexWebQuestions, and present a model that decomposes questions and interacts with the web to compute an answer. We empirically demonstrate that question decomposition improves performance from 20.8 precision@1 to 27.5 precision@1 on this new dataset.
We introduce MilkQA, a question answering dataset from the dairy domain dedicated to the study of consumer questions. The dataset contains 2,657 pairs of questions and answers, written in the Portuguese language and originally collected by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa). All questions were motivated by real situations and written by thousands of authors with very different backgrounds and levels of literacy, while answers were elaborated by specialists from Embrapa's customer service. Our dataset was filtered and anonymized by three human annotators. Consumer questions are a challenging kind of question that is usually employed as a form of seeking information. Although several question answering datasets are available, most of such resources are not suitable for research on answer selection models for consumer questions. We aim to fill this gap by making MilkQA publicly available. We study the behavior of four answer selection models on MilkQA: two baseline models and two convolutional neural network archictetures. Our results show that MilkQA poses real challenges to computational models, particularly due to linguistic characteristics of its questions and to their unusually longer lengths. Only one of the experimented models gives reasonable results, at the cost of high computational requirements.