Learning Distributed Representations of Symbolic Structure Using Binding and Unbinding Operations

Shuai Tang, Paul Smolensky, Virginia R. de Sa

Oct 22, 2018 NIPS 2018 Workshop IRASL Blind Submission readers: everyone
  • Abstract: Widely used recurrent units, including Long-short Term Memory (LSTM) and Gated Recurrent Unit (GRU), perform well on natural language tasks, but their ability to learn structured representations is still questionable. Exploiting Tensor Product Representations (TPRs) --- distributed representations of symbolic structure in which vector-embedded symbols are bound to vector-embedded structural positions --- we propose the TPRU, a recurrent unit that, at each time step, explicitly executes structural-role binding and unbinding operations to incorporate structural information into learning. Experiments are conducted on both the Logical Entailment task and the Multi-genre Natural Language Inference (MNLI) task, and our TPR-derived recurrent unit provides strong performance with significantly fewer parameters than LSTM and GRU baselines. Furthermore, our learnt TPRU trained on MNLI demonstrates solid generalisation ability on downstream tasks.
  • Keywords: tensor product representation, recurrent unit, binding
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