《Auto-Sizing the Transformer Network: Improving Speed, Efficiency, and Performance for Low-Resource Machine Translation》K Murray, J Kinnison, T Q. Nguyen, W Scheirer, D Chiang [University of Notre Dame] (2019)

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Although end-to-end neural text-to-speech (TTS) methods (such as Tacotron2) are proposed and achieve state-of-the-art performance, they still suffer from two problems: 1) low efficiency during training and inference; 2) hard to model long dependency using current recurrent neural networks (RNNs). Inspired by the success of Transformer network in neural machine translation (NMT), in this paper, we introduce and adapt the multi-head attention mechanism to replace the RNN structures and also the original attention mechanism in Tacotron2. With the help of multi-head self-attention, the hidden states in the encoder and decoder are constructed in parallel, which improves the training efficiency. Meanwhile, any two inputs at different times are connected directly by self-attention mechanism, which solves the long range dependency problem effectively. Using phoneme sequences as input, our Transformer TTS network generates mel spectrograms, followed by a WaveNet vocoder to output the final audio results. Experiments are conducted to test the efficiency and performance of our new network. For the efficiency, our Transformer TTS network can speed up the training about 4.25 times faster compared with Tacotron2. For the performance, rigorous human tests show that our proposed model achieves state-of-the-art performance (outperforms Tacotron2 with a gap of 0.048) and is very close to human quality (4.39 vs 4.44 in MOS).

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Although end-to-end neural text-to-speech (TTS) methods (such as Tacotron2) are proposed and achieve state-of-the-art performance, they still suffer from two problems: 1) low efficiency during training and inference; 2) hard to model long dependency using current recurrent neural networks (RNNs). Inspired by the success of Transformer network in neural machine translation (NMT), in this paper, we introduce and adapt the multi-head attention mechanism to replace the RNN structures and also the original attention mechanism in Tacotron2. With the help of multi-head self-attention, the hidden states in the encoder and decoder are constructed in parallel, which improves the training efficiency. Meanwhile, any two inputs at different times are connected directly by self-attention mechanism, which solves the long range dependency problem effectively. Using phoneme sequences as input, our Transformer TTS network generates mel spectrograms, followed by a WaveNet vocoder to output the final audio results. Experiments are conducted to test the efficiency and performance of our new network. For the efficiency, our Transformer TTS network can speed up the training about 4.25 times faster compared with Tacotron2. For the performance, rigorous human tests show that our proposed model achieves state-of-the-art performance (outperforms Tacotron2 with a gap of 0.048) and is very close to human quality (4.39 vs 4.44 in MOS).

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This work investigates the alignment problem in state-of-the-art multi-head attention models based on the transformer architecture. We demonstrate that alignment extraction in transformer models can be improved by augmenting an additional alignment head to the multi-head source-to-target attention component. This is used to compute sharper attention weights. We describe how to use the alignment head to achieve competitive performance. To study the effect of adding the alignment head, we simulate a dictionary-guided translation task, where the user wants to guide translation using pre-defined dictionary entries. Using the proposed approach, we achieve up to $3.8$ % BLEU improvement when using the dictionary, in comparison to $2.4$ % BLEU in the baseline case. We also propose alignment pruning to speed up decoding in alignment-based neural machine translation (ANMT), which speeds up translation by a factor of $1.8$ without loss in translation performance. We carry out experiments on the shared WMT 2016 English$\to$Romanian news task and the BOLT Chinese$\to$English discussion forum task.

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Using pre-trained word embeddings as input layer is a common practice in many natural language processing (NLP) tasks, but it is largely neglected for neural machine translation (NMT). In this paper, we conducted a systematic analysis on the effect of using pre-trained source-side monolingual word embedding in NMT. We compared several strategies, such as fixing or updating the embeddings during NMT training on varying amounts of data, and we also proposed a novel strategy called dual-embedding that blends the fixing and updating strategies. Our results suggest that pre-trained embeddings can be helpful if properly incorporated into NMT, especially when parallel data is limited or additional in-domain monolingual data is readily available.

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Sequence to sequence learning models still require several days to reach state of the art performance on large benchmark datasets using a single machine. This paper shows that reduced precision and large batch training can speedup training by nearly 5x on a single 8-GPU machine with careful tuning and implementation. On WMT'14 English-German translation, we match the accuracy of (Vaswani et al 2017) in under 5 hours when training on 8 GPUs and we obtain a new state of the art of 29.3 BLEU after training for 91 minutes on 128 GPUs. We further improve these results to 29.8 BLEU by training on the much larger Paracrawl dataset.

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Machine translation has recently achieved impressive performance thanks to recent advances in deep learning and the availability of large-scale parallel corpora. There have been numerous attempts to extend these successes to low-resource language pairs, yet requiring tens of thousands of parallel sentences. In this work, we take this research direction to the extreme and investigate whether it is possible to learn to translate even without any parallel data. We propose a model that takes sentences from monolingual corpora in two different languages and maps them into the same latent space. By learning to reconstruct in both languages from this shared feature space, the model effectively learns to translate without using any labeled data. We demonstrate our model on two widely used datasets and two language pairs, reporting BLEU scores of 32.8 and 15.1 on the Multi30k and WMT English-French datasets, without using even a single parallel sentence at training time.

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Monolingual data have been demonstrated to be helpful in improving translation quality of both statistical machine translation (SMT) systems and neural machine translation (NMT) systems, especially in resource-poor or domain adaptation tasks where parallel data are not rich enough. In this paper, we propose a novel approach to better leveraging monolingual data for neural machine translation by jointly learning source-to-target and target-to-source NMT models for a language pair with a joint EM optimization method. The training process starts with two initial NMT models pre-trained on parallel data for each direction, and these two models are iteratively updated by incrementally decreasing translation losses on training data. In each iteration step, both NMT models are first used to translate monolingual data from one language to the other, forming pseudo-training data of the other NMT model. Then two new NMT models are learnt from parallel data together with the pseudo training data. Both NMT models are expected to be improved and better pseudo-training data can be generated in next step. Experiment results on Chinese-English and English-German translation tasks show that our approach can simultaneously improve translation quality of source-to-target and target-to-source models, significantly outperforming strong baseline systems which are enhanced with monolingual data for model training including back-translation.

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In spite of the recent success of neural machine translation (NMT) in standard benchmarks, the lack of large parallel corpora poses a major practical problem for many language pairs. There have been several proposals to alleviate this issue with, for instance, triangulation and semi-supervised learning techniques, but they still require a strong cross-lingual signal. In this work, we completely remove the need of parallel data and propose a novel method to train an NMT system in a completely unsupervised manner, relying on nothing but monolingual corpora. Our model builds upon the recent work on unsupervised embedding mappings, and consists of a slightly modified attentional encoder-decoder model that can be trained on monolingual corpora alone using a combination of denoising and backtranslation. Despite the simplicity of the approach, our system obtains 15.56 and 10.21 BLEU points in WMT 2014 French-to-English and German-to-English translation. The model can also profit from small parallel corpora, and attains 21.81 and 15.24 points when combined with 100,000 parallel sentences, respectively. Our implementation is released as an open source project.

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While end-to-end neural machine translation (NMT) has achieved notable success in the past years in translating a handful of resource-rich language pairs, it still suffers from the data scarcity problem for low-resource language pairs and domains. To tackle this problem, we propose an interactive multimodal framework for zero-resource neural machine translation. Instead of being passively exposed to large amounts of parallel corpora, our learners (implemented as encoder-decoder architecture) engage in cooperative image description games, and thus develop their own image captioning or neural machine translation model from the need to communicate in order to succeed at the game. Experimental results on the IAPR-TC12 and Multi30K datasets show that the proposed learning mechanism significantly improves over the state-of-the-art methods.

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Attention mechanism has been used as an ancillary means to help RNN or CNN. However, the Transformer (Vaswani et al., 2017) recently recorded the state-of-the-art performance in machine translation with a dramatic reduction in training time by solely using attention. Motivated by the Transformer, Directional Self Attention Network (Shen et al., 2017), a fully attention-based sentence encoder, was proposed. It showed good performance with various data by using forward and backward directional information in a sentence. But in their study, not considered at all was the distance between words, an important feature when learning the local dependency to help understand the context of input text. We propose Distance-based Self-Attention Network, which considers the word distance by using a simple distance mask in order to model the local dependency without losing the ability of modeling global dependency which attention has inherent. Our model shows good performance with NLI data, and it records the new state-of-the-art result with SNLI data. Additionally, we show that our model has a strength in long sentences or documents.

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