Get our free extension to see links to code for papers anywhere online!Free extension: code links for papers anywhere!Free add-on: See code for papers anywhere!

Matteo Pagliardini, Amirkeivan Mohtashami, Francois Fleuret, Martin Jaggi

The transformer architecture from Vaswani et al. (2017) is now ubiquitous across application domains, from natural language processing to speech processing and image understanding. We propose DenseFormer, a simple modification to the standard architecture that improves the perplexity of the model without increasing its size -- adding a few thousand parameters for large-scale models in the 100B parameters range. Our approach relies on an additional averaging step after each transformer block, which computes a weighted average of current and past representations -- we refer to this operation as Depth-Weighted-Average (DWA). The learned DWA weights exhibit coherent patterns of information flow, revealing the strong and structured reuse of activations from distant layers. Experiments demonstrate that DenseFormer is more data efficient, reaching the same perplexity of much deeper transformer models, and that for the same perplexity, these new models outperform transformer baselines in terms of memory efficiency and inference time.

Via

Zeming Chen, Alejandro Hernández Cano, Angelika Romanou, Antoine Bonnet, Kyle Matoba, Francesco Salvi, Matteo Pagliardini, Simin Fan, Andreas Köpf, Amirkeivan Mohtashami, Alexandre Sallinen, Alireza Sakhaeirad, Vinitra Swamy, Igor Krawczuk, Deniz Bayazit, Axel Marmet, Syrielle Montariol, Mary-Anne Hartley, Martin Jaggi, Antoine Bosselut

Large language models (LLMs) can potentially democratize access to medical knowledge. While many efforts have been made to harness and improve LLMs' medical knowledge and reasoning capacities, the resulting models are either closed-source (e.g., PaLM, GPT-4) or limited in scale (<= 13B parameters), which restricts their abilities. In this work, we improve access to large-scale medical LLMs by releasing MEDITRON: a suite of open-source LLMs with 7B and 70B parameters adapted to the medical domain. MEDITRON builds on Llama-2 (through our adaptation of Nvidia's Megatron-LM distributed trainer), and extends pretraining on a comprehensively curated medical corpus, including selected PubMed articles, abstracts, and internationally-recognized medical guidelines. Evaluations using four major medical benchmarks show significant performance gains over several state-of-the-art baselines before and after task-specific finetuning. Overall, MEDITRON achieves a 6% absolute performance gain over the best public baseline in its parameter class and 3% over the strongest baseline we finetuned from Llama-2. Compared to closed-source LLMs, MEDITRON-70B outperforms GPT-3.5 and Med-PaLM and is within 5% of GPT-4 and 10% of Med-PaLM-2. We release our code for curating the medical pretraining corpus and the MEDITRON model weights to drive open-source development of more capable medical LLMs.

Via

Simin Fan, Matteo Pagliardini, Martin Jaggi

The coverage and composition of the pretraining data corpus significantly impacts the generalization ability of large language models. Conventionally, the pretraining corpus is composed of various source domains (e.g. CommonCrawl, Wikipedia, Github etc.) according to certain sampling probabilities (domain weights). However, current methods lack a principled way to optimize domain weights for ultimate goal for generalization. We propose DOmain reweighting with Generalization Estimation (DoGE), where we reweigh the sampling probability from each domain based on its contribution to the final generalization objective assessed by a gradient-based generalization estimation function. First, we train a small-scale proxy model with a min-max optimization to obtain the reweighted domain weights. At each step, the domain weights are updated to maximize the overall generalization gain by mirror descent. Finally we use the obtained domain weights to train a larger scale full-size language model. On SlimPajama-6B dataset, with universal generalization objective, DoGE achieves better average perplexity and zero-shot reasoning accuracy. On out-of-domain generalization tasks, DoGE reduces perplexity on the target domain by a large margin. We further apply a parameter-selection scheme which improves the efficiency of generalization estimation.

Via

Amirkeivan Mohtashami, Matteo Pagliardini, Martin Jaggi

The race to continually develop ever larger and deeper foundational models is underway. However, techniques like the Chain-of-Thought (CoT) method continue to play a pivotal role in achieving optimal downstream performance. In this work, we establish an approximate parallel between using chain-of-thought and employing a deeper transformer. Building on this insight, we introduce CoTFormer, a transformer variant that employs an implicit CoT-like mechanism to achieve capacity comparable to a deeper model. Our empirical findings demonstrate the effectiveness of CoTFormers, as they significantly outperform larger standard transformers.

Via

Matteo Pagliardini, Daniele Paliotta, Martin Jaggi, François Fleuret

Transformer-based language models have found many diverse applications requiring them to process sequences of increasing length. For these applications, the causal self-attention -- which is the only component scaling quadratically w.r.t. the sequence length -- becomes a central concern. While many works have proposed schemes to sparsify the attention patterns and reduce the computational overhead of self-attention, those are often limited by implementations concerns and end up imposing a simple and static structure over the attention matrix. Conversely, implementing more dynamic sparse attentions often results in runtimes significantly slower than computing the full attention using the Flash implementation from Dao et al. (2022). We extend FlashAttention to accommodate a large class of attention sparsity patterns that, in particular, encompass key/query dropping and hashing-based attention. This leads to implementations with no computational complexity overhead and a multi-fold runtime speedup on top of FlashAttention. Even with relatively low degrees of sparsity, our method improves visibly upon FlashAttention as the sequence length increases. Without sacrificing perplexity, we increase the training speed of a transformer language model by $2.0\times$ and $3.3\times$ for sequences of respectively $8k$ and $16k$ tokens.

Via

Tatjana Chavdarova, Matteo Pagliardini, Tong Yang, Michael I. Jordan

ACVI is a recently proposed first-order method for solving variational inequalities (VIs) with general constraints. Yang et al. (2022) showed that the gap function of the last iterate decreases at a rate of $\mathcal{O}(\frac{1}{\sqrt{K}})$ when the operator is $L$-Lipschitz, monotone, and at least one constraint is active. In this work, we show that the same guarantee holds when only assuming that the operator is monotone. To our knowledge, this is the first analytically derived last-iterate convergence rate for general monotone VIs, and overall the only one that does not rely on the assumption that the operator is $L$-Lipschitz. Furthermore, when the sub-problems of ACVI are solved approximately, we show that by using a standard warm-start technique the convergence rate stays the same, provided that the errors decrease at appropriate rates. We further provide empirical analyses and insights on its implementation for the latter case.

Via

Matteo Pagliardini, Gilberto Manunza, Martin Jaggi, Michael I. Jordan, Tatjana Chavdarova

Recently Shah et al., 2020 pointed out the pitfalls of the simplicity bias - the tendency of gradient-based algorithms to learn simple models - which include the model's high sensitivity to small input perturbations, as well as sub-optimal margins. In particular, while Stochastic Gradient Descent yields max-margin boundary on linear models, such guarantee does not extend to non-linear models. To mitigate the simplicity bias, we consider uncertainty-driven perturbations (UDP) of the training data points, obtained iteratively by following the direction that maximizes the model's estimated uncertainty. The uncertainty estimate does not rely on the input's label and it is highest at the decision boundary, and - unlike loss-driven perturbations - it allows for using a larger range of values for the perturbation magnitude. Furthermore, as real-world datasets have non-isotropic distances between data points of different classes, the above property is particularly appealing for increasing the margin of the decision boundary, which in turn improves the model's generalization. We show that UDP is guaranteed to achieve the maximum margin decision boundary on linear models and that it notably increases it on challenging simulated datasets. For nonlinear models, we show empirically that UDP reduces the simplicity bias and learns more exhaustive features. Interestingly, it also achieves competitive loss-based robustness and generalization trade-off on several datasets.

Via

Matteo Pagliardini, Martin Jaggi, François Fleuret, Sai Praneeth Karimireddy

Gradient-based learning algorithms have an implicit simplicity bias which in effect can limit the diversity of predictors being sampled by the learning procedure. This behavior can hinder the transferability of trained models by (i) favoring the learning of simpler but spurious features -- present in the training data but absent from the test data -- and (ii) by only leveraging a small subset of predictive features. Such an effect is especially magnified when the test distribution does not exactly match the train distribution -- referred to as the Out of Distribution (OOD) generalization problem. However, given only the training data, it is not always possible to apriori assess if a given feature is spurious or transferable. Instead, we advocate for learning an ensemble of models which capture a diverse set of predictive features. Towards this, we propose a new algorithm D-BAT (Diversity-By-disAgreement Training), which enforces agreement among the models on the training data, but disagreement on the OOD data. We show how D-BAT naturally emerges from the notion of generalized discrepancy, as well as demonstrate in multiple experiments how the proposed method can mitigate shortcut-learning, enhance uncertainty and OOD detection, as well as improve transferability.

Via

Yehao Liu, Matteo Pagliardini, Tatjana Chavdarova, Sebastian U. Stich

Uncertainty estimation (UE) techniques -- such as the Gaussian process (GP), Bayesian neural networks (BNN), Monte Carlo dropout (MCDropout) -- aim to improve the interpretability of machine learning models by assigning an estimated uncertainty value to each of their prediction outputs. However, since too high uncertainty estimates can have fatal consequences in practice, this paper analyzes the above techniques. Firstly, we show that GP methods always yield high uncertainty estimates on out of distribution (OOD) data. Secondly, we show on a 2D toy example that both BNNs and MCDropout do not give high uncertainty estimates on OOD samples. Finally, we show empirically that this pitfall of BNNs and MCDropout holds on real world datasets as well. Our insights (i) raise awareness for the more cautious use of currently popular UE methods in Deep Learning, (ii) encourage the development of UE methods that approximate GP-based methods -- instead of BNNs and MCDropout, and (iii) our empirical setups can be used for verifying the OOD performances of any other UE method. The source code is available at https://github.com/epfml/uncertainity-estimation.

Via