Multi-task learning for natural language processing in the 2020s: where are we going?

Joseph Worsham, Jugal Kalita
2020 Pattern Recognition Letters  
Multi-task learning (MTL) significantly pre-dates the deep learning era, and it has seen a resurgence in the past few years as researchers have been applying MTL to deep learning solutions for natural language tasks. While steady MTL research has always been present, there is a growing interest driven by the impressive successes published in the related fields of transfer learning and pre-training, such as BERT, and the release of new challenge problems, such as GLUE and the NLP Decathlon
more » ... LP). These efforts place more focus on how weights are shared across networks, evaluate the re-usability of network components and identify use cases where MTL can significantly outperform single-task solutions. This paper strives to provide a comprehensive survey of the numerous recent MTL contributions to the field of natural language processing and provide a forum to focus efforts on the hardest unsolved problems in the next decade. While novel models that improve performance on NLP benchmarks are continually produced, lasting MTL challenges remain unsolved which could hold the key to better language understanding, knowledge discovery and natural language interfaces.
doi:10.1016/j.patrec.2020.05.031 fatcat:duze6ovk5fauxfn6vsbn5bgrbq