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BayesPrompt: Prompting Large-Scale Pre-Trained Language Models on Few-shot Inference via Debiased Domain Abstraction

Jiangmeng Li · Fei Song · Yifan Jin · Wenwen Qiang · Changwen Zheng · Fuchun Sun · Hui Xiong

Halle B #104
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Thu 9 May 7:30 a.m. PDT — 9:30 a.m. PDT


As a novel and effective fine-tuning paradigm based on large-scale pre-trained language models (PLMs), prompt-tuning aims to reduce the gap between downstream tasks and pre-training objectives. While prompt-tuning has yielded continuous advancements in various tasks, such an approach still remains a persistent defect: prompt-tuning methods fail to generalize to specific few-shot patterns. From the perspective of distribution analyses, we disclose that the intrinsic issues behind the phenomenon are the over-multitudinous conceptual knowledge contained in PLMs and the abridged knowledge for target downstream domains, which jointly result in that PLMs mis-locate the knowledge distributions corresponding to the target domains in the universal knowledge embedding space. To this end, we intuitively explore to approximate the unabridged target domains of downstream tasks in a debiased manner, and then abstract such domains to generate discriminative prompts, thereby providing the de-ambiguous guidance for PLMs. Guided by such an intuition, we propose a simple yet effective approach, namely BayesPrompt, to learn prompts that contain the domain discriminative information against the interference from domain-irrelevant knowledge. BayesPrompt primitively leverages known distributions to approximate the debiased factual distributions of target domains and further uniformly samples certain representative features from the approximated distributions to generate the ultimate prompts for PLMs. We provide theoretical insights with the connection to domain adaptation. Empirically, our method achieves state-of-the-art performance on benchmarks.

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