Enriching Transformers with Structured Tensor-Product Representations for Abstractive Summarization

06/02/2021 ∙ by Yichen Jiang, et al. ∙ 13

Abstractive summarization, the task of generating a concise summary of input documents, requires: (1) reasoning over the source document to determine the salient pieces of information scattered across the long document, and (2) composing a cohesive text by reconstructing these salient facts into a shorter summary that faithfully reflects the complex relations connecting these facts. In this paper, we adapt TP-TRANSFORMER (Schlag et al., 2019), an architecture that enriches the original Transformer (Vaswani et al., 2017) with the explicitly compositional Tensor Product Representation (TPR), for the task of abstractive summarization. The key feature of our model is a structural bias that we introduce by encoding two separate representations for each token to represent the syntactic structure (with role vectors) and semantic content (with filler vectors) separately. The model then binds the role and filler vectors into the TPR as the layer output. We argue that the structured intermediate representations enable the model to take better control of the contents (salient facts) and structures (the syntax that connects the facts) when generating the summary. Empirically, we show that our TP-TRANSFORMER outperforms the Transformer and the original TP-TRANSFORMER significantly on several abstractive summarization datasets based on both automatic and human evaluations. On several syntactic and semantic probing tasks, we demonstrate the emergent structural information in the role vectors and improved syntactic interpretability in the TPR layer outputs. Code and models are available at https://github.com/jiangycTarheel/TPT-Summ.

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