Task-agnostic Distillation of Encoder-Decoder Language Models

Chen Zhang, Yang Yang, Jingang Wang, Dawei Song

Finetuning pretrained language models (LMs) have enabled appealing performance on a diverse array of tasks. The intriguing task-agnostic property has driven a shifted focus from task-specific to task-agnostic distillation of LMs. While task-agnostic, compute-efficient, performance-preserved LMs can be yielded by task-agnostic distillation, previous studies mainly sit in distillation of either encoder-only LMs (e.g., BERT) or decoder-only ones (e.g., GPT) yet largely neglect that distillation of encoder-decoder LMs (e.g., T5) can posit very distinguished behaviors. Frustratingly, we discover that existing task-agnostic distillation methods can fail to handle the distillation of encoder-decoder LMs. To the demand, we explore a few paths and uncover a path named as MiniEnD that successfully tackles the distillation of encoder-decoder LMs in a task-agnostic fashion. We examine MiniEnD on language understanding and abstractive summarization. The results showcase that MiniEnD is generally effective and is competitive compared to other alternatives. We further scale MiniEnD up to distillation of 3B encoder-decoder language models with interpolated distillation. The results imply the opportunities and challenges in distilling large language models (e.g., LLaMA).

Knowledge Graph



Sign up or login to leave a comment