Recoding latent sentence representations – Dynamic gradient-based activation modification in RNNs

01/03/2021 ∙ by Dennis Ulmer, et al. ∙ 6

In Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs), encoding information in a suboptimal or erroneous way can impact the quality of representations based on later elements in the sequence and subsequently lead to wrong predictions and a worse model performance. In humans, challenging cases like garden path sentences (an instance of this being the infamous "The horse raced past the barn fell") can lead their language understanding astray. However, they are still able to correct their representation accordingly and recover when new information is encountered. Inspired by this, I propose an augmentation to standard RNNs in form of a gradient-based correction mechanism: This way I hope to enable such models to dynamically adapt their inner representation of a sentence, adding a way to correct deviations as soon as they occur. This could therefore lead to more robust models using more flexible representations, even during inference time. I conduct different experiments in the context of language modeling, where the impact of using such a mechanism is examined in detail. To this end, I look at modifications based on different kinds of time-dependent error signals and how they influence the model performance. Furthermore, this work contains a study of the model's confidence in its predictions during training and for challenging test samples and the effect of the manipulation thereof. Lastly, I also study the difference in behavior of these novel models compared to a standard LSTM baseline and investigate error cases in detail to identify points of future research. I show that while the proposed approach comes with promising theoretical guarantees and an appealing intuition, it is only able to produce minor improvements over the baseline due to challenges in its practical application and the efficacy of the tested model variants.

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