Stacking Diverse Architectures to Improve Machine Translation

Published: 24 Feb 2023, Last Modified: 28 Feb 2023Accepted by TMLREveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Abstract: Repeated applications of the same neural block primarily based on self-attention characterize the current state-of-the-art in neural architectures for machine translation. In such architectures the decoder adopts a masked version of the same encoding block. Although simple this strategy doesn't encode the various inductive biases such as locality that arise from alternative architectures and that are central to the modelling of translation. We propose Lasagna, an encoder-decoder model that aims to combine the inductive benefits of different architectures by layering multiple instances of different blocks. Lasagna’s encoder first grows the representation from local to mid-sized using convolutional blocks and only then applies a pair of final self-attention blocks. Lasagna’s decoder uses only convolutional blocks that attend to the encoder representation. On a large suit of machine translation tasks, we find that Lasagna not only matches or outperforms the Transformer baseline, but it does so more efficiently thanks to widespread use of the efficient convolutional blocks. These findings suggest that the widespread use of uniform architectures may be suboptimal in certain scenarios and exploiting the diversity of inductive architectural biases can lead to substantial gains.
License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Submission Length: Regular submission (no more than 12 pages of main content)
Assigned Action Editor: ~Xu_Tan1
Submission Number: 538