Empirical observations on the instability of aligning word vector spaces with GANs

Mareike Hartmann, Yova Kementchedjhieva, Anders Søgaard

Sep 27, 2018 (modified: Nov 16, 2018) ICLR 2019 Conference Withdrawn Submission readers: everyone
  • Abstract: Unsupervised bilingual dictionary induction (UBDI) is useful for unsupervised machine translation and for cross-lingual transfer of models into low-resource languages. One approach to UBDI is to align word vector spaces in different languages using Generative adversarial networks (GANs) with linear generators, achieving state-of-the-art performance for several language pairs. For some pairs, however, GAN-based induction is unstable or completely fails to align the vector spaces. We focus on cases where linear transformations provably exist, but the performance of GAN-based UBDI depends heavily on the model initialization. We show that the instability depends on the shape and density of the vector sets, but not on noise; it is the result of local optima, but neither over-parameterization nor changing the batch size or the learning rate consistently reduces instability. Nevertheless, we can stabilize GAN-based UBDI through best-of-N model selection, based on an unsupervised stopping criterion.
  • Keywords: natural language processing, bilingual dictionary induction, unsupervised learning, generative adversarial networks
  • TL;DR: An empirical investigation of GAN-based alignment of word vector spaces, focusing on cases, where linear transformations provably exist, but training is unstable.
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