ORCA: Interpreting Prompted Language Models via Locating Supporting Evidence in the Ocean of Pretraining DataDownload PDF


22 Sept 2022, 12:41 (modified: 26 Oct 2022, 14:19)ICLR 2023 Conference Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
Keywords: interpretability, prompting language models, pretraining data as evidence
TL;DR: We find supporting data evidence from pretraining data to interpret prompted language models.
Abstract: Prompting large pretrained language models leads to strong performance in a variety of downstream tasks. However, it is still unclear from where the model learns task-specific knowledge, especially in zero-shot setups. In this work, we propose a novel method ORCA to identify evidence of the model's task-specific competence in prompt-based learning. Through an instance attribution approach to model interpretability, by iteratively using gradient information related to the downstream task, ORCA locates a very small subset of pretraining data that directly supports the model's predictions in a given task; we call this subset supporting data evidence. We show that supporting data evidence offers new insights about the prompted language models. For example, in the tasks of sentiment analysis and textual entailment, BERT shows a substantial reliance on BookCorpus---the smaller corpus of BERT's two pretraining corpora---as well as on pretraining examples that mask out synonyms to the task labels used in prompts.
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