Depthwise Separable Convolutions for Neural Machine Translation

Lukasz Kaiser, Aidan N. Gomez, Francois Chollet

Feb 15, 2018 (modified: Feb 24, 2018) ICLR 2018 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Depthwise separable convolutions reduce the number of parameters and computation used in convolutional operations while increasing representational efficiency. They have been shown to be successful in image classification models, both in obtaining better models than previously possible for a given parameter count (the Xception architecture) and considerably reducing the number of parameters required to perform at a given level (the MobileNets family of architectures). Recently, convolutional sequence-to-sequence networks have been applied to machine translation tasks with good results. In this work, we study how depthwise separable convolutions can be applied to neural machine translation. We introduce a new architecture inspired by Xception and ByteNet, called SliceNet, which enables a significant reduction of the parameter count and amount of computation needed to obtain results like ByteNet, and, with a similar parameter count, achieves better results. In addition to showing that depthwise separable convolutions perform well for machine translation, we investigate the architectural changes that they enable: we observe that thanks to depthwise separability, we can increase the length of convolution windows, removing the need for filter dilation. We also introduce a new super-separable convolution operation that further reduces the number of parameters and computational cost of the models.
  • TL;DR: Depthwise separable convolutions improve neural machine translation: the more separable the better.
  • Keywords: convolutions, neural machine translation