Google Research

DiPair: Fast and Accurate Distillation for Large-Scale Text Matching

(to appear)

Abstract

Pre-trained models like BERT have dominated NLP / IR applications such as single sentence classification, text pair classification, and question answering. However, deploying these models in real systems is highly non-trivial due to their exorbitant computational costs. A common remedy to this is knowledge distillation, leading to faster inference. However –as we show here – existing works are not optimized for dealing with pairs (or tuples) of texts. Consequently, they are either not scalable or demonstrate subpar performance. In this work,we propose DiPair— a novel framework for distilling fast and accurate models on text pair tasks. Coupled with an end-to-end training strategy, DiPair is both highly scalable and offers improved quality-speed tradeoffs. Empirical studies conducted on both academic and real-world e-commerce benchmarks demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed approach with speedups of over 350x and minimal quality drop relative to the cross-attention teacherBERT model.

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