Improving Sequence-to-Sequence Learning via Optimal Transport [article]

Liqun Chen, Yizhe Zhang, Ruiyi Zhang, Chenyang Tao, Zhe Gan, Haichao Zhang, Bai Li, Dinghan Shen, Changyou Chen, Lawrence Carin
2019 arXiv   pre-print
Sequence-to-sequence models are commonly trained via maximum likelihood estimation (MLE). However, standard MLE training considers a word-level objective, predicting the next word given the previous ground-truth partial sentence. This procedure focuses on modeling local syntactic patterns, and may fail to capture long-range semantic structure. We present a novel solution to alleviate these issues. Our approach imposes global sequence-level guidance via new supervision based on optimal
more » ... enabling the overall characterization and preservation of semantic features. We further show that this method can be understood as a Wasserstein gradient flow trying to match our model to the ground truth sequence distribution. Extensive experiments are conducted to validate the utility of the proposed approach, showing consistent improvements over a wide variety of NLP tasks, including machine translation, abstractive text summarization, and image captioning.
arXiv:1901.06283v1 fatcat:yttdeqp3iffjbnupp5n3esh4xi