The goal of text ranking is to generate an ordered list of texts retrieved from a corpus in response to a query. Although the most common formulation of text ranking is search, instances of the task can also be found in many natural language processing applications. This survey provides an overview of text ranking with neural network architectures known as transformers, of which BERT is the best-known example. The combination of transformers and self-supervised pretraining has, without exaggeration, revolutionized the fields of natural language processing (NLP), information retrieval (IR), and beyond. In this survey, we provide a synthesis of existing work as a single point of entry for practitioners who wish to gain a better understanding of how to apply transformers to text ranking problems and researchers who wish to pursue work in this area. We cover a wide range of modern techniques, grouped into two high-level categories: transformer models that perform reranking in multi-stage ranking architectures and learned dense representations that attempt to perform ranking directly. There are two themes that pervade our survey: techniques for handling long documents, beyond the typical sentence-by-sentence processing approaches used in NLP, and techniques for addressing the tradeoff between effectiveness (result quality) and efficiency (query latency). Although transformer architectures and pretraining techniques are recent innovations, many aspects of how they are applied to text ranking are relatively well understood and represent mature techniques. However, there remain many open research questions, and thus in addition to laying out the foundations of pretrained transformers for text ranking, this survey also attempts to prognosticate where the field is heading.
Large-scale pretraining and task-specific fine-tuning is now the standard methodology for many tasks in computer vision and natural language processing. Recently, a multitude of methods have been proposed for pretraining vision and language BERTs to tackle challenges at the intersection of these two key areas of AI. These models can be categorized into either single-stream or dual-stream encoders. We study the differences between these two categories, and show how they can be unified under a single theoretical framework. We then conduct controlled experiments to discern the empirical differences between five V&L BERTs. Our experiments show that training data and hyperparameters are responsible for most of the differences between the reported results, but they also reveal that the embedding layer plays a crucial role in these massive models.
Recently, the emergence of pre-trained models (PTMs) has brought natural language processing (NLP) to a new era. In this survey, we provide a comprehensive review of PTMs for NLP. We first briefly introduce language representation learning and its research progress. Then we systematically categorize existing PTMs based on a taxonomy with four perspectives. Next, we describe how to adapt the knowledge of PTMs to the downstream tasks. Finally, we outline some potential directions of PTMs for future research. This survey is purposed to be a hands-on guide for understanding, using, and developing PTMs for various NLP tasks.
One of the most remarkable properties of word embeddings is the fact that they capture certain types of semantic and syntactic relationships. Recently, pre-trained language models such as BERT have achieved groundbreaking results across a wide range of Natural Language Processing tasks. However, it is unclear to what extent such models capture relational knowledge beyond what is already captured by standard word embeddings. To explore this question, we propose a methodology for distilling relational knowledge from a pre-trained language model. Starting from a few seed instances of a given relation, we first use a large text corpus to find sentences that are likely to express this relation. We then use a subset of these extracted sentences as templates. Finally, we fine-tune a language model to predict whether a given word pair is likely to be an instance of some relation, when given an instantiated template for that relation as input.
The advent of deep neural networks pre-trained via language modeling tasks has spurred a number of successful applications in natural language processing. This work explores one such popular model, BERT, in the context of document ranking. We propose two variants, called monoBERT and duoBERT, that formulate the ranking problem as pointwise and pairwise classification, respectively. These two models are arranged in a multi-stage ranking architecture to form an end-to-end search system. One major advantage of this design is the ability to trade off quality against latency by controlling the admission of candidates into each pipeline stage, and by doing so, we are able to find operating points that offer a good balance between these two competing metrics. On two large-scale datasets, MS MARCO and TREC CAR, experiments show that our model produces results that are either at or comparable to the state of the art. Ablation studies show the contributions of each component and characterize the latency/quality tradeoff space.
Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) represents the latest incarnation of pretrained language models which have recently advanced a wide range of natural language processing tasks. In this paper, we showcase how BERT can be usefully applied in text summarization and propose a general framework for both extractive and abstractive models. We introduce a novel document-level encoder based on BERT which is able to express the semantics of a document and obtain representations for its sentences. Our extractive model is built on top of this encoder by stacking several inter-sentence Transformer layers. For abstractive summarization, we propose a new fine-tuning schedule which adopts different optimizers for the encoder and the decoder as a means of alleviating the mismatch between the two (the former is pretrained while the latter is not). We also demonstrate that a two-staged fine-tuning approach can further boost the quality of the generated summaries. Experiments on three datasets show that our model achieves state-of-the-art results across the board in both extractive and abstractive settings. Our code is available at https://github.com/nlpyang/PreSumm
We present, to our knowledge, the first application of BERT to document classification. A few characteristics of the task might lead one to think that BERT is not the most appropriate model: syntactic structures matter less for content categories, documents can often be longer than typical BERT input, and documents often have multiple labels. Nevertheless, we show that a straightforward classification model using BERT is able to achieve the state of the art across four popular datasets. To address the computational expense associated with BERT inference, we distill knowledge from BERT-large to small bidirectional LSTMs, reaching BERT-base parity on multiple datasets using 30x fewer parameters. The primary contribution of our paper is improved baselines that can provide the foundation for future work.
Entity and relation extraction is the necessary step in structuring medical text. However, the feature extraction ability of the bidirectional long short term memory network in the existing model does not achieve the best effect. At the same time, the language model has achieved excellent results in more and more natural language processing tasks. In this paper, we present a focused attention model for the joint entity and relation extraction task. Our model integrates well-known BERT language model into joint learning through dynamic range attention mechanism, thus improving the feature representation ability of shared parameter layer. Experimental results on coronary angiography texts collected from Shuguang Hospital show that the F1-score of named entity recognition and relation classification tasks reach 96.89% and 88.51%, which are better than state-of-the-art methods 1.65% and 1.22%, respectively.
Extreme multi-label text classification (XMC) aims to tag each input text with the most relevant labels from an extremely large label set, such as those that arise in product categorization and e-commerce recommendation. Recently, pretrained language representation models such as BERT achieve remarkable state-of-the-art performance across a wide range of NLP tasks including sentence classification among small label sets (typically fewer than thousands). Indeed, there are several challenges in applying BERT to the XMC problem. The main challenges are: (i) the difficulty of capturing dependencies and correlations among labels, whose features may come from heterogeneous sources, and (ii) the tractability to scale to the extreme label setting as the model size can be very large and scale linearly with the size of the output space. To overcome these challenges, we propose X-BERT, the first feasible attempt to finetune BERT models for a scalable solution to the XMC problem. Specifically, X-BERT leverages both the label and document text to build label representations, which induces semantic label clusters in order to better model label dependencies. At the heart of X-BERT is finetuning BERT models to capture the contextual relations between input text and the induced label clusters. Finally, an ensemble of the different BERT models trained on heterogeneous label clusters leads to our best final model. Empirically, on a Wiki dataset with around 0.5 million labels, X-BERT achieves new state-of-the-art results where the precision@1 reaches 67:80%, a substantial improvement over 32.58%/60.91% of deep learning baseline fastText and competing XMC approach Parabel, respectively. This amounts to a 11.31% relative improvement over Parabel, which is indeed significant since the recent approach SLICE only has 5.53% relative improvement.
Language model pre-training has proven to be useful in learning universal language representations. As a state-of-the-art language model pre-training model, BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) has achieved amazing results in many language understanding tasks. In this paper, we conduct exhaustive experiments to investigate different fine-tuning methods of BERT on text classification task and provide a general solution for BERT fine-tuning. Finally, the proposed solution obtains new state-of-the-art results on eight widely-studied text classification datasets.
We report an evaluation of the effectiveness of the existing knowledge base embedding models for relation prediction and for relation extraction on a wide range of benchmarks. We also describe a new benchmark, which is much larger and complex than previous ones, which we introduce to help validate the effectiveness of both tasks. The results demonstrate that knowledge base embedding models are generally effective for relation prediction but unable to give improvements for the state-of-art neural relation extraction model with the existing strategies, while pointing limitations of existing methods.