Google Research

Teacher Guided Training: An Efficient Framework for Knowledge Transfer

International Conference on Learning Representations (2023) (to appear)


The remarkable performance gains realized by large pretrained models, e.g., GPT-3, hinge on the massive amounts of data they are exposed to during training. Analogously, distilling such large models to compact models for efficient deployment also necessitates a large amount of (labeled or unlabeled) training data. In this paper, we devise teacher-guided training (TGT) framework for training a high-quality compact model that leverages the knowledge acquired by pre-trained \emph{generative} models while obviating the need to go through a large volume of data. TGT exploits the fact that the teacher has acquired a good representation of the underlying data domain, which typically corresponds to a much lower dimensional manifold than the ambient space. Furthermore, we can use the teacher to explore the instance space more efficiently through sampling or gradient-based methods; thus, making TGT especially attractive for limited data or long-tail settings. We formally capture this benefit of proposed data-domain exploration in our generalization bounds. Among our empirical evaluations, we find that TGT can improve accuracy on ImageNet-LT by 10% compared to natural baseline and match accuracy on sentiment analysis on Amazon reviews without the need for pretraining.

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