Currently, most machine learning models are trained by centralized teams and are rarely updated. In contrast, open-source software development involves the iterative development of a shared artifact through distributed collaboration using a version control system. In the interest of enabling collaborative and continual improvement of machine learning models, we introduce Git-Theta, a version control system for machine learning models. Git-Theta is an extension to Git, the most widely used version control software, that allows fine-grained tracking of changes to model parameters alongside code and other artifacts. Unlike existing version control systems that treat a model checkpoint as a blob of data, Git-Theta leverages the structure of checkpoints to support communication-efficient updates, automatic model merges, and meaningful reporting about the difference between two versions of a model. In addition, Git-Theta includes a plug-in system that enables users to easily add support for new functionality. In this paper, we introduce Git-Theta's design and features and include an example use-case of Git-Theta where a pre-trained model is continually adapted and modified. We publicly release Git-Theta in hopes of kickstarting a new era of collaborative model development.
Sparsely activated neural networks with conditional computation learn to route their inputs through different "expert" subnetworks, providing a form of modularity that densely activated models lack. Despite their possible benefits, models with learned routing often underperform their parameter-matched densely activated counterparts as well as models that use non-learned heuristic routing strategies. In this paper, we hypothesize that these shortcomings stem from the gradient estimation techniques used to train sparsely activated models that use non-differentiable discrete routing decisions. To address this issue, we introduce Soft Merging of Experts with Adaptive Routing (SMEAR), which avoids discrete routing by using a single "merged" expert constructed via a weighted average of all of the experts' parameters. By routing activations through a single merged expert, SMEAR does not incur a significant increase in computational costs and enables standard gradient-based training. We empirically validate that models using SMEAR outperform models that route based on metadata or learn sparse routing through gradient estimation. Furthermore, we provide qualitative analysis demonstrating that the experts learned via SMEAR exhibit a significant amount of specialization. All of the code used in our experiments is publicly available.
Transfer learning - i.e., further fine-tuning a pre-trained model on a downstream task - can confer significant advantages, including improved downstream performance, faster convergence, and better sample efficiency. These advantages have led to a proliferation of task-specific fine-tuned models, which typically can only perform a single task and do not benefit from one another. Recently, model merging techniques have emerged as a solution to combine multiple task-specific models into a single multitask model without performing additional training. However, existing merging methods often ignore the interference between parameters of different models, resulting in large performance drops when merging multiple models. In this paper, we demonstrate that prior merging techniques inadvertently lose valuable information due to two major sources of interference: (a) interference due to redundant parameter values and (b) disagreement on the sign of a given parameter's values across models. To address this, we propose our method, TrIm, Elect Sign & Merge (TIES-Merging), which introduces three novel steps when merging models: (1) resetting parameters that only changed a small amount during fine-tuning, (2) resolving sign conflicts, and (3) merging only the parameters that are in alignment with the final agreed-upon sign. We find that TIES-Merging outperforms several existing methods in diverse settings covering a range of modalities, domains, number of tasks, model sizes, architectures, and fine-tuning settings. We further analyze the impact of different types of interference on model parameters, highlight the importance of resolving sign interference. Our code is available at https://github.com/prateeky2806/ties-merging
The current trend of scaling language models involves increasing both parameter count and training dataset size. Extrapolating this trend suggests that training dataset size may soon be limited by the amount of text data available on the internet. Motivated by this limit, we investigate scaling language models in data-constrained regimes. Specifically, we run a large set of experiments varying the extent of data repetition and compute budget, ranging up to 900 billion training tokens and 9 billion parameter models. We find that with constrained data for a fixed compute budget, training with up to 4 epochs of repeated data yields negligible changes to loss compared to having unique data. However, with more repetition, the value of adding compute eventually decays to zero. We propose and empirically validate a scaling law for compute optimality that accounts for the decreasing value of repeated tokens and excess parameters. Finally, we experiment with approaches mitigating data scarcity, including augmenting the training dataset with code data or removing commonly used filters. Models and datasets from our 400 training runs are publicly available at https://github.com/huggingface/datablations.
Research on neural networks has largely focused on understanding a single model trained on a single dataset. However, relatively little is known about the relationships between different models, especially those trained or tested on different datasets. We address this by studying how the weight space and underlying loss landscape of different models are interconnected. Specifically, we demonstrate that fine-tuned models that were optimized for high performance, reside in well-defined regions in weight space, and vice versa -- that any model that resides anywhere in those regions also has high performance. Specifically, we show that language models that have been fine-tuned on the same dataset form a tight cluster in the weight space and that models fine-tuned on different datasets from the same underlying task form a looser cluster. Moreover, traversing around the region between the models reaches new models that perform comparably or even better than models found via fine-tuning, even on tasks that the original models were not fine-tuned on. Our findings provide insight into the relationships between models, demonstrating that a model positioned between two similar models can acquire the knowledge of both. We leverage this finding and design a method to pick a better model for efficient fine-tuning. Specifically, we show that starting from the center of the region is as good or better than the pre-trained model in 11 of 12 datasets and improves accuracy by 3.06 on average.
Few-shot learning involves learning an effective model from only a few labeled datapoints. The use of a small training set makes it difficult to avoid overfitting but also makes few-shot learning applicable to many important real-world settings. In this work, we focus on Few-shot Learning with Auxiliary Data (FLAD), a training paradigm that assumes access to auxiliary data during few-shot learning in hopes of improving generalization. Introducing auxiliary data during few-shot learning leads to essential design choices where hand-designed heuristics can lead to sub-optimal performance. In this work, we focus on automated sampling strategies for FLAD and relate them to the explore-exploit dilemma that is central in multi-armed bandit settings. Based on this connection we propose two algorithms -- EXP3-FLAD and UCB1-FLAD -- and compare them with methods that either explore or exploit, finding that the combination of exploration and exploitation is crucial. Using our proposed algorithms to train T5 yields a 9% absolute improvement over the explicitly multi-task pre-trained T0 model across 11 datasets.
Pretraining has been shown to scale well with compute, data size and data diversity. Multitask learning trains on a mixture of supervised datasets and produces improved performance compared to self-supervised pretraining. Until now, massively multitask learning required simultaneous access to all datasets in the mixture and heavy compute resources that are only available to well-resourced teams. In this paper, we propose ColD Fusion, a method that provides the benefits of multitask learning but leverages distributed computation and requires limited communication and no sharing of data. Consequentially, ColD Fusion can create a synergistic loop, where finetuned models can be recycled to continually improve the pretrained model they are based on. We show that ColD Fusion yields comparable benefits to multitask pretraining by producing a model that (a) attains strong performance on all of the datasets it was multitask trained on and (b) is a better starting point for finetuning on unseen datasets. We find ColD Fusion outperforms RoBERTa and even previous multitask models. Specifically, when training and testing on 35 diverse datasets, ColD Fusion-based model outperforms RoBERTa by 2.45 points in average without any changes to the architecture.
While large language models (LLMs) have proven to be effective on a large variety of tasks, they are also known to hallucinate information. To measure whether an LLM prefers factually consistent continuations of its input, we propose a new benchmark called FIB(Factual Inconsistency Benchmark) that focuses on the task of summarization. Specifically, our benchmark involves comparing the scores an LLM assigns to a factually consistent versus a factually inconsistent summary for an input news article. For factually consistent summaries, we use human-written reference summaries that we manually verify as factually consistent. To generate summaries that are factually inconsistent, we generate summaries from a suite of summarization models that we have manually annotated as factually inconsistent. A model's factual consistency is then measured according to its accuracy, i.e.\ the proportion of documents where it assigns a higher score to the factually consistent summary. To validate the usefulness of FIB, we evaluate 23 large language models ranging from 1B to 176B parameters from six different model families including BLOOM and OPT. We find that existing LLMs generally assign a higher score to factually consistent summaries than to factually inconsistent summaries. However, if the factually inconsistent summaries occur verbatim in the document, then LLMs assign a higher score to these factually inconsistent summaries than factually consistent summaries. We validate design choices in our benchmark including the scoring method and source of distractor summaries. Our code and benchmark data can be found at https://github.com/r-three/fib.