- Abstract: Neural approaches to sequence labeling often use a Conditional Random Field (CRF) to model their output dependencies, while Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN) are used for the same purpose in other tasks. We set out to establish RNNs as an attractive alternative to CRFs for sequence labeling. To do so, we address one of the RNN’s most prominent shortcomings, the fact that it is not exposed to its own errors with the maximum-likelihood training. We frame the prediction of the output sequence as a sequential decision-making process, where we train the network with an adjusted actor-critic algorithm (AC-RNN). We comprehensively compare this strategy with maximum-likelihood training for both RNNs and CRFs on three structured-output tasks. The proposed AC-RNN efficiently matches the performance of the CRF on NER and CCG tagging, and outperforms it on Machine Transliteration. We also show that our training strategy is significantly better than other techniques for addressing RNN’s exposure bias, such as Scheduled Sampling, and Self-Critical policy training.
- Keywords: Structured Prediction, Reinforcement Learning, NLP