Extractive opinion summarization involves automatically producing a summary of text about an entity (e.g., a product's reviews) by extracting representative sentences that capture prevalent opinions in the review set. Typically, in online marketplaces user reviews accrue over time, and opinion summaries need to be updated periodically to provide customers with up-to-date information. In this work, we study the task of extractive opinion summarization in an incremental setting, where the underlying review set evolves over time. Many of the state-of-the-art extractive opinion summarization approaches are centrality-based, such as CentroidRank. CentroidRank performs extractive summarization by selecting a subset of review sentences closest to the centroid in the representation space as the summary. However, these methods are not capable of operating efficiently in an incremental setting, where reviews arrive one at a time. In this paper, we present an efficient algorithm for accurately computing the CentroidRank summaries in an incremental setting. Our approach, CoverSumm, relies on indexing review representations in a cover tree and maintaining a reservoir of candidate summary review sentences. CoverSumm's efficacy is supported by a theoretical and empirical analysis of running time. Empirically, on a diverse collection of data (both real and synthetically created to illustrate scaling considerations), we demonstrate that CoverSumm is up to 25x faster than baseline methods, and capable of adapting to nuanced changes in data distribution. We also conduct human evaluations of the generated summaries and find that CoverSumm is capable of producing informative summaries consistent with the underlying review set.
Answering complex natural language questions often necessitates multi-step reasoning and integrating external information. Several systems have combined knowledge retrieval with a large language model (LLM) to answer such questions. These systems, however, suffer from various failure cases, and we cannot directly train them end-to-end to fix such failures, as interaction with external knowledge is non-differentiable. To address these deficiencies, we define a ReAct-style LLM agent with the ability to reason and act upon external knowledge. We further refine the agent through a ReST-like method that iteratively trains on previous trajectories, employing growing-batch reinforcement learning with AI feedback for continuous self-improvement and self-distillation. Starting from a prompted large model and after just two iterations of the algorithm, we can produce a fine-tuned small model that achieves comparable performance on challenging compositional question-answering benchmarks with two orders of magnitude fewer parameters.
Preventing the performance decay of Transformers on inputs longer than those used for training has been an important challenge in extending the context length of these models. Though the Transformer architecture has fundamentally no limits on the input sequence lengths it can process, the choice of position encoding used during training can limit the performance of these models on longer inputs. We propose a novel functional relative position encoding with progressive interpolation, FIRE, to improve Transformer generalization to longer contexts. We theoretically prove that this can represent some of the popular relative position encodings, such as T5's RPE, Alibi, and Kerple. We next empirically show that FIRE models have better generalization to longer contexts on both zero-shot language modeling and long text benchmarks.
When writing programs, people have the ability to tackle a new complex task by decomposing it into smaller and more familiar subtasks. While it is difficult to measure whether neural program synthesis methods have similar capabilities, we can measure whether they compositionally generalize, that is, whether a model that has been trained on the simpler subtasks is subsequently able to solve more complex tasks. In this paper, we characterize several different forms of compositional generalization that are desirable in program synthesis, forming a meta-benchmark which we use to create generalization tasks for two popular datasets, RobustFill and DeepCoder. We then propose ExeDec, a novel decomposition-based synthesis strategy that predicts execution subgoals to solve problems step-by-step informed by program execution at each step. ExeDec has better synthesis performance and greatly improved compositional generalization ability compared to baselines.
* arXiv admin note: text overlap with arXiv:2204.03758
We present an accurate and interpretable method for answer extraction in machine reading comprehension that is reminiscent of case-based reasoning (CBR) from classical AI. Our method (CBR-MRC) builds on the hypothesis that contextualized answers to similar questions share semantic similarities with each other. Given a target question, CBR-MRC retrieves a set of similar questions from a memory of observed cases and predicts an answer by selecting the span in the target context that is most similar to the contextualized representations of answers in the retrieved cases. The semi-parametric nature of our approach allows CBR-MRC to attribute a prediction to the specific set of cases used during inference, making it a desirable choice for building reliable and debuggable QA systems. We show that CBR-MRC achieves high test accuracy comparable with large reader models, outperforming baselines by 11.5 and 8.4 EM on NaturalQuestions and NewsQA, respectively. Further, we also demonstrate the ability of CBR-MRC in identifying not just the correct answer tokens but also the span with the most relevant supporting evidence. Lastly, we observe that contexts for certain question types show higher lexical diversity than others and find CBR-MRC to be robust to these variations while performance using fully-parametric methods drops.
We study (differentially) private federated learning (FL) of language models. The language models in cross-device FL are relatively small, which can be trained with meaningful formal user-level differential privacy (DP) guarantees when massive parallelism in training is enabled by the participation of a moderate size of users. Recently, public data has been used to improve privacy-utility trade-offs for both large and small language models. In this work, we provide a systematic study of using large-scale public data and LLMs to help differentially private training of on-device FL models, and further improve the privacy-utility tradeoff by techniques of distillation. Moreover, we propose a novel distribution matching algorithm with theoretical grounding to sample public data close to private data distribution, which significantly improves the sample efficiency of (pre-)training on public data. The proposed method is efficient and effective for training private model by taking advantage of public data, especially for customized on-device architectures that do not have ready-to-use pre-trained models.
Cross-encoder models, which jointly encode and score a query-item pair, are typically prohibitively expensive for k-nearest neighbor search. Consequently, k-NN search is performed not with a cross-encoder, but with a heuristic retrieve (e.g., using BM25 or dual-encoder) and re-rank approach. Recent work proposes ANNCUR (Yadav et al., 2022) which uses CUR matrix factorization to produce an embedding space for efficient vector-based search that directly approximates the cross-encoder without the need for dual-encoders. ANNCUR defines this shared query-item embedding space by scoring the test query against anchor items which are sampled uniformly at random. While this minimizes average approximation error over all items, unsuitably high approximation error on top-k items remains and leads to poor recall of top-k (and especially top-1) items. Increasing the number of anchor items is a straightforward way of improving the approximation error and hence k-NN recall of ANNCUR but at the cost of increased inference latency. In this paper, we propose a new method for adaptively choosing anchor items that minimizes the approximation error for the practically important top-k neighbors for a query with minimal computational overhead. Our proposed method incrementally selects a suitable set of anchor items for a given test query over several rounds, using anchors chosen in previous rounds to inform selection of more anchor items. Empirically, our method consistently improves k-NN recall as compared to both ANNCUR and the widely-used dual-encoder-based retrieve-and-rerank approach.
Dual encoder models are ubiquitous in modern classification and retrieval. Crucial for training such dual encoders is an accurate estimation of gradients from the partition function of the softmax over the large output space; this requires finding negative targets that contribute most significantly ("hard negatives"). Since dual encoder model parameters change during training, the use of traditional static nearest neighbor indexes can be sub-optimal. These static indexes (1) periodically require expensive re-building of the index, which in turn requires (2) expensive re-encoding of all targets using updated model parameters. This paper addresses both of these challenges. First, we introduce an algorithm that uses a tree structure to approximate the softmax with provable bounds and that dynamically maintains the tree. Second, we approximate the effect of a gradient update on target encodings with an efficient Nystrom low-rank approximation. In our empirical study on datasets with over twenty million targets, our approach cuts error by half in relation to oracle brute-force negative mining. Furthermore, our method surpasses prior state-of-the-art while using 150x less accelerator memory.
The impressive generalization performance of modern neural networks is attributed in part to their ability to implicitly memorize complex training patterns. Inspired by this, we explore a novel mechanism to improve model generalization via explicit memorization. Specifically, we propose the residual-memorization (ResMem) algorithm, a new method that augments an existing prediction model (e.g. a neural network) by fitting the model's residuals with a $k$-nearest neighbor based regressor. The final prediction is then the sum of the original model and the fitted residual regressor. By construction, ResMem can explicitly memorize the training labels. Empirically, we show that ResMem consistently improves the test set generalization of the original prediction model across various standard vision and natural language processing benchmarks. Theoretically, we formulate a stylized linear regression problem and rigorously show that ResMem results in a more favorable test risk over the base predictor.
Large neural models (such as Transformers) achieve state-of-the-art performance for information retrieval (IR). In this paper, we aim to improve distillation methods that pave the way for the deployment of such models in practice. The proposed distillation approach supports both retrieval and re-ranking stages and crucially leverages the relative geometry among queries and documents learned by the large teacher model. It goes beyond existing distillation methods in the IR literature, which simply rely on the teacher's scalar scores over the training data, on two fronts: providing stronger signals about local geometry via embedding matching and attaining better coverage of data manifold globally via query generation. Embedding matching provides a stronger signal to align the representations of the teacher and student models. At the same time, query generation explores the data manifold to reduce the discrepancies between the student and teacher where training data is sparse. Our distillation approach is theoretically justified and applies to both dual encoder (DE) and cross-encoder (CE) models. Furthermore, for distilling a CE model to a DE model via embedding matching, we propose a novel dual pooling-based scorer for the CE model that facilitates a distillation-friendly embedding geometry, especially for DE student models.