Unsupervised Domain Adaptation of Contextualized Embeddings for Sequence Labeling

EMNLP/IJCNLP (1), pp.4237-4247, (2019)

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Abstract

Contextualized word embeddings such as ELMo and BERT provide a foundation for strong performance across a wide range of natural language processing tasks by pretraining on large corpora of unlabeled text. However, the applicability of this approach is unknown when the target domain varies substantially from the pretraining corpus. We are ...More

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Introduction
  • Contextualized word embeddings are becoming a ubiquitous component of natural language processing (Dai and Le, 2015; Devlin et al, 2019; Howard and Ruder, 2018; Radford et al, 2018; Peters et al, 2018).
  • All three corpora consist exclusively of text written since the late 20th century; Wikipedia and newstext are subject to restrictive stylistic constraints (Bryant et al, 2005).2 It is crucial to determine whether these pretrained models are transferable to texts from other periods or other stylistic traditions, such as historical documents, technical research papers, and social media
Highlights
  • Contextualized word embeddings are becoming a ubiquitous component of natural language processing (Dai and Le, 2015; Devlin et al, 2019; Howard and Ruder, 2018; Radford et al, 2018; Peters et al, 2018)
  • We show that a BERT-based partof-speech tagger outperforms the state-of-the-art unsupervised domain adaptation method (Yang and Eisenstein, 2016), without taking any explicit steps to adapt to the target domain of Early Modern English
  • We evaluate on the task of part-of-speech tagging in the Penn Parsed Corpus of Early Modern English (PPCEME)
  • Because we focus on unsupervised domain adaptation, it is not possible to produce tags in the historical English (PPCHE) tagset, which is not encountered at training time
  • AdaptaBERT yields marginal improvements when domain-adaptive fine-tuning is performed on the Workshop on Noisy User Text (WNUT) training set; expanding the target domain data with an additional million unlabeled tweets yields a 2.3% improvement over the BERT baseline
  • This paper demonstrates the applicability of contextualized word embeddings to two difficult unsupervised domain adaptation tasks
Results
  • Fine-tuning to the task and domain each yield significant improvements in performance over the Frozen BERT baseline (Table 2, line 1).
  • It is unsurprising that test set adaptation yields significant improvements, since it can yield useful representations of the names of the relevant entities, which might not appear in a random sample of tweets.
  • This is a plausible approach for researchers who are interested in finding the key entities participating in such events in an pre-selected corpus of text
Conclusion
  • This paper demonstrates the applicability of contextualized word embeddings to two difficult unsupervised domain adaptation tasks.
  • A potentially interesting side note is that while supervised fine-tuning in the target domain results in catastrophic forgetting of the source domain, unsupervised target domain tuning does not.
  • This suggests the intriguing possibility of training a single contextualized embedding model that works well across a wide range of domains, genres, and writing styles.
  • The authors are interested to more thoroughly explore how to combine domain-adaptive and task-specific fine-tuning within the framework of continual learning (Yogatama et al, 2019), with the goal of balancing between these apparently conflicting objectives
Tables
  • Table1: Overview of domain tuning and task tuning
  • Table2: Tagging accuracy on PPCEME, using the coarse-grained tagset. The unsupervised systems never see labeled data in the target domain of Early Modern English. † in line 4, “in-vocab” and “out-of-vocab” refer to the PPCEME training set vocabulary; for lines 1-3, this refers the PTB training set
  • Table3: Tagging accuracy on PPCEME, using the full PTB tagset to compare with <a class="ref-link" id="cYang_2016_a" href="#rYang_2016_a">Yang and Eisenstein (2016</a>)
  • Table4: Named entity segmentation performance on the WNUT test set and CONLL test set A. <a class="ref-link" id="cLimsopatham_2016_a" href="#rLimsopatham_2016_a">Limsopatham and Collier (2016</a>) had the winning system at the 2016 WNUT shared task. Their results are reprinted from their paper, which did not report performance on the CONLL dataset
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Related work
  • Adaptation in neural sequence labeling. Most prior work on adapting neural networks for NLP has focused on supervised domain adaptation, in which a labeled data is available in the target domain (Mou et al, 2016). RNN-based models for sequence labeling can be adapted across domains by manipulating the input or output layers individually (e.g., Yang et al, 2016) or simultaneously (Lin and Lu, 2018). Unlike these approaches, we tackle unsupervised domain adaptation, which assumes only unlabeled instances in the target domain. In this setting, prior work has focused on domain-adversarial objectives, which construct an auxiliary loss based on the capability of an adversary to learn to distinguish the domains based on a shared encoding of the input (Ganin et al, 2016; Purushotham et al, 2017). However, adversarial methods require balancing between at least two and as many as six different objectives (Kim et al, 2017), which can lead to instability (Arjovsky et al, 2017) unless the objectives are carefully balanced (Alam et al, 2018).
Funding
  • The research was supported by the National Science Foundation under award RI-1452443
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