PEER: Pre-training ELECTRA Extended by Ranking


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The BERT model and its variants have made great achievements in many downstream natural language processing tasks. The achievements of these models, however, demand highly expensive pre-training computation cost. To address this pre-training efficiency issue, the ELECTRA model is proposed to use a discriminator to perform replaced token detection (RTD) task, that is, to classify whether each input token is original or replaced by a generator. The RTD task performed by the ELECTRA accelerates pre-training so substantially, such that it is very challenging to further improve the pre-training efficiency established by the ELECTRA by using or adding other pre-training tasks, as the recent comprehensive study of Bajaj et al. (2022) summarizes. To further advance this pre-training efficiency frontier, in this paper we propose to extend the RTD task into a task of ranking input tokens according to K different quality levels. Essentially, we generalize the binary classifier in the ELECTRA into a K-level ranker to undertake a more precise task with negligible additional computation cost. Our extensive experiments show that our proposed method is able to outperform the state-of-the-art pre-training efficient models including ELECTRA in downstream GLUE tasks given the same computation cost.
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