Keywords: Semi-parametric language model, text-to-text model, mixture-of-experts, natural language understanding
TL;DR: We develop a novel knowledge-rich semi-parametric model, KiC, that is able to achieve superior zeros-hot performance on unseen task with a much smaller model size.
Abstract: Fully-parametric language models generally require a huge number of model parameters to store the necessary knowledge for solving multiple natural language tasks in zero/few-shot settings. In addition, it is hard to adapt to the evolving world knowledge without the costly model re-training. In this paper, we develop a novel semi-parametric language model architecture, Knowledge-in-Context (KiC), which empowers a parametric text-to-text language model with a knowledge-rich external memory. Specifically, the external memory contains six different types of knowledge: entity, dictionary, commonsense, event, script, and causality knowledge. For each input instance, the KiC model adaptively selects a knowledge type and retrieves the most helpful pieces of knowledge. The input instance along with its knowledge augmentation is fed into a text-to-text model (e.g., T5) to generate the output answer, where both the input and the output are in natural language forms after prompting. Interestingly, we find that KiC can be identified as a special mixture-of-experts (MoE) model, where the knowledge selector plays the role of a router that is used to determine the sequence-to-expert assignment in MoE. This key observation inspires us to develop a novel algorithm for training KiC with an instance-adaptive knowledge selector. As a knowledge-rich semi-parametric language model, KiC only needs a much smaller parametric part to achieve superior zero-shot performance on unseen tasks. By evaluating on 40+ different tasks, we show that KiC-Large with 770M parameters easily outperforms large language models that are 4-39x larger. In addition, KiC also exhibits emergent abilities at a much smaller model scale compared to the fully-parametric models.
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