Recent breakthroughs in large language models (LLMs) have centered around a handful of data-rich languages. What does it take to broaden access to breakthroughs beyond first-class citizen languages? Our work introduces Aya, a massively multilingual generative language model that follows instructions in 101 languages of which over 50% are considered as lower-resourced. Aya outperforms mT0 and BLOOMZ on the majority of tasks while covering double the number of languages. We introduce extensive new evaluation suites that broaden the state-of-art for multilingual eval across 99 languages -- including discriminative and generative tasks, human evaluation, and simulated win rates that cover both held-out tasks and in-distribution performance. Furthermore, we conduct detailed investigations on the optimal finetuning mixture composition, data pruning, as well as the toxicity, bias, and safety of our models. We open-source our instruction datasets and our model at https://hf.co/CohereForAI/aya-101
Ensembling independent deep neural networks (DNNs) is a simple and effective way to improve top-line metrics and to outperform larger single models. In this work, we go beyond top-line metrics and instead explore the impact of ensembling on subgroup performances. Surprisingly, even with a simple homogenous ensemble -- all the individual models share the same training set, architecture, and design choices -- we find compelling and powerful gains in worst-k and minority group performance, i.e. fairness naturally emerges from ensembling. We show that the gains in performance from ensembling for the minority group continue for far longer than for the majority group as more models are added. Our work establishes that simple DNN ensembles can be a powerful tool for alleviating disparate impact from DNN classifiers, thus curbing algorithmic harm. We also explore why this is the case. We find that even in homogeneous ensembles, varying the sources of stochasticity through parameter initialization, mini-batch sampling, and the data-augmentation realizations, results in different fairness outcomes.
As machine learning models are increasingly employed to assist human decision-makers, it becomes critical to communicate the uncertainty associated with these model predictions. However, the majority of work on uncertainty has focused on traditional probabilistic or ranking approaches - where the model assigns low probabilities or scores to uncertain examples. While this captures what examples are challenging for the model, it does not capture the underlying source of the uncertainty. In this work, we seek to identify examples the model is uncertain about and characterize the source of said uncertainty. We explore the benefits of designing a targeted intervention - targeted data augmentation of the examples where the model is uncertain over the course of training. We investigate whether the rate of learning in the presence of additional information differs between atypical and noisy examples? Our results show that this is indeed the case, suggesting that well-designed interventions over the course of training can be an effective way to characterize and distinguish between different sources of uncertainty.
* Preliminary results accepted to Workshop on Uncertainty and
Robustness in Deep Learning (UDL), ICML, 2021
We take a step towards addressing the under-representation of the African continent in NLP research by creating the first large publicly available high-quality dataset for named entity recognition (NER) in ten African languages, bringing together a variety of stakeholders. We detail characteristics of the languages to help researchers understand the challenges that these languages pose for NER. We analyze our datasets and conduct an extensive empirical evaluation of state-of-the-art methods across both supervised and transfer learning settings. We release the data, code, and models in order to inspire future research on African NLP.