Token-level and sequence-level loss smoothing for RNN language models

ACL 2018

Token-level and sequence-level loss smoothing for RNN language models

Jan 28, 2021
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Abstract: Despite the effectiveness of recurrent neural network language models, their maximum likelihood estimation suffers from two limitations. It treats all sentences that do not match the ground truth as equally poor, ignoring the structure of the output space. Second, it suffers from ’exposure bias’: during training tokens are predicted given ground-truth sequences, while at test time prediction is conditioned on generated output sequences. To overcome these limita-tions we build upon the recent reward augmented maximum likelihood approach that encourages the model to pre-dict sentences that are close to the ground truth according to a given performance metric. We extend this approach to token-level loss smoothing, and propose improvements to the sequence-level smoothing approach. Our experi-ments on two different tasks, image captioning and machine translation, show that token-level and sequence-level loss smoothing are complementary, and significantly improve results. Authors: Maha Elbayad, Laurent Besacier, Jakob Verbeek (Univ. Grenoble Alpes)

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