Linear Connectivity Reveals Generalization StrategiesDownload PDF

Published: 01 Feb 2023, Last Modified: 12 Mar 2024ICLR 2023 posterReaders: Everyone
Keywords: loss landscapes, OOD generalization, NLI, text classification, loss surfaces, transfer learning, challenge sets, NLP
TL;DR: Basins on the in-domain test loss surface predict generalization strategies for NLI, paraphrase, and CoLA tasks.
Abstract: In the mode connectivity literature, it is widely accepted that there are common circumstances in which two neural networks, trained similarly on the same data, will maintain loss when interpolated in the weight space. In particular, transfer learning is presumed to ensure the necessary conditions for linear mode connectivity across training runs. In contrast to existing results from image classification, we find that among text classifiers (trained on MNLI, QQP, and CoLA), some pairs of finetuned models have large barriers of increasing loss on the linear paths between them. On each task, we find distinct clusters of models which are linearly connected on the test loss surface, but are disconnected from models outside the cluster---models that occupy separate basins on the surface. By measuring performance on specially-crafted diagnostic datasets, we find that these clusters correspond to different generalization strategies. For example, on MNLI, one cluster behaves like a bag of words model under domain shift, while another cluster uses syntactic heuristics. Our work demonstrates how the geometry of the loss surface can guide models towards different heuristic functions in standard finetuning settings.
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