The increasing versatility of language models LMs has given rise to a new class of benchmarks that comprehensively assess a broad range of capabilities. Such benchmarks are associated with massive computational costs reaching thousands of GPU hours per model. However the efficiency aspect of these evaluation efforts had raised little discussion in the literature. In this work we present the problem of Efficient Benchmarking namely intelligently reducing the computation costs of LM evaluation without compromising reliability. Using the HELM benchmark as a test case we investigate how different benchmark design choices affect the computation-reliability tradeoff. We propose to evaluate the reliability of such decisions by using a new measure Decision Impact on Reliability DIoR for short. We find for example that the current leader on HELM may change by merely removing a low-ranked model from the benchmark and observe that a handful of examples suffice to obtain the correct benchmark ranking. Conversely a slightly different choice of HELM scenarios varies ranking widely. Based on our findings we outline a set of concrete recommendations for more efficient benchmark design and utilization practices leading to dramatic cost savings with minimal loss of benchmark reliability often reducing computation by x100 or more.
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
We propose a novel methodology (namely, MuLER) that transforms any reference-based evaluation metric for text generation, such as machine translation (MT) into a fine-grained analysis tool. Given a system and a metric, MuLER quantifies how much the chosen metric penalizes specific error types (e.g., errors in translating names of locations). MuLER thus enables a detailed error analysis which can lead to targeted improvement efforts for specific phenomena. We perform experiments in both synthetic and naturalistic settings to support MuLER's validity and showcase its usability in MT evaluation, and other tasks, such as summarization. Analyzing all submissions to WMT in 2014-2020, we find consistent trends. For example, nouns and verbs are among the most frequent POS tags. However, they are among the hardest to translate. Performance on most POS tags improves with overall system performance, but a few are not thus correlated (their identity changes from language to language). Preliminary experiments with summarization reveal similar trends.
Transformer-based language models (LMs) create hidden representations of their inputs at every layer, but only use final-layer representations for prediction. This obscures the internal decision-making process of the model and the utility of its intermediate representations. One way to elucidate this is to cast the hidden representations as final representations, bypassing the transformer computation in-between. In this work, we suggest a simple method for such casting, by using linear transformations. We show that our approach produces more accurate approximations than the prevailing practice of inspecting hidden representations from all layers in the space of the final layer. Moreover, in the context of language modeling, our method allows "peeking" into early layer representations of GPT-2 and BERT, showing that often LMs already predict the final output in early layers. We then demonstrate the practicality of our method to recent early exit strategies, showing that when aiming, for example, at retention of 95% accuracy, our approach saves additional 7.9% layers for GPT-2 and 5.4% layers for BERT, on top of the savings of the original approach. Last, we extend our method to linearly approximate sub-modules, finding that attention is most tolerant to this change.
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.
We present the call for papers for the BabyLM Challenge: Sample-efficient pretraining on a developmentally plausible corpus. This shared task is intended for participants with an interest in small scale language modeling, human language acquisition, low-resource NLP, and cognitive modeling. In partnership with CoNLL and CMCL, we provide a platform for approaches to pretraining with a limited-size corpus sourced from data inspired by the input to children. The task has three tracks, two of which restrict the training data to pre-released datasets of 10M and 100M words and are dedicated to explorations of approaches such as architectural variations, self-supervised objectives, or curriculum learning. The final track only restricts the amount of text used, allowing innovation in the choice of the data, its domain, and even its modality (i.e., data from sources other than text is welcome). We will release a shared evaluation pipeline which scores models on a variety of benchmarks and tasks, including targeted syntactic evaluations and natural language understanding.
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.
Previous studies observed that finetuned models may be better base models than the vanilla pretrained model. Such a model, finetuned on some source dataset, may provide a better starting point for a new finetuning process on a desired target dataset. Here, we perform a systematic analysis of this intertraining scheme, over a wide range of English classification tasks. Surprisingly, our analysis suggests that the potential intertraining gain can be analyzed independently for the target dataset under consideration, and for a base model being considered as a starting point. This is in contrast to current perception that the alignment between the target dataset and the source dataset used to generate the base model is a major factor in determining intertraining success. We analyze different aspects that contribute to each. Furthermore, we leverage our analysis to propose a practical and efficient approach to determine if and how to select a base model in real-world settings. Last, we release an updating ranking of best models in the HuggingFace hub per architecture https://ibm.github.io/model-recycling/.