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Towards Binary-Valued Gates for Robust LSTM Training
Zhuohan Li · Di He · Fei Tian · Wei Chen · Tao Qin · Liwei Wang · Tie-Yan Liu

Thu Jul 12 07:50 AM -- 08:00 AM (PDT) @ A3

Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) is one of the most widely used recurrent structures in sequence modeling. It aims to use gates to control information flow (e.g., whether to skip some information or not) in the recurrent computations, although its practical implementation based on soft gates only partially achieves this goal. In this paper, we propose a new way for LSTM training, which pushes the output values of the gates towards 0 or 1. By doing so, we can better control the information flow: the gates are mostly open or closed, instead of in a middle state, which makes the results more interpretable. Empirical studies show that (1) Although it seems that we restrict the model capacity, there is no performance drop: we achieve better or comparable performances due to its better generalization ability; (2) The outputs of gates are not sensitive to their inputs: we can easily compress the LSTM unit in multiple ways, e.g., low-rank approximation and low-precision approximation. The compressed models are even better than the baseline models without compression.

Author Information

Zhuohan Li (Peking University)
Di He (Peking University)
Fei Tian (Microsoft Research)
Wei Chen (Microsoft Research)
Tao Qin (Microsoft Research Asia)
Liwei Wang (Peking University)
Tie-Yan Liu (Microsoft Research Asia)

Tie-Yan Liu is a principal researcher of Microsoft Research Asia, leading the research on artificial intelligence and machine learning. He is very well known for his pioneer work on learning to rank and computational advertising, and his recent research interests include deep learning, reinforcement learning, and distributed machine learning. Many of his technologies have been transferred to Microsoft’s products and online services (such as Bing, Microsoft Advertising, and Azure), and open-sourced through Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK), Microsoft Distributed Machine Learning Toolkit (DMTK), and Microsoft Graph Engine. On the other hand, he has been actively contributing to academic communities. He is an adjunct/honorary professor at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), University of Nottingham, and several other universities in China. His papers have been cited for tens of thousands of times in refereed conferences and journals. He has won quite a few awards, including the best student paper award at SIGIR (2008), the most cited paper award at Journal of Visual Communications and Image Representation (2004-2006), the research break-through award (2012) and research-team-of-the-year award (2017) at Microsoft Research, and Top-10 Springer Computer Science books by Chinese authors (2015), and the most cited Chinese researcher by Elsevier (2017). He has been invited to serve as general chair, program committee chair, local chair, or area chair for a dozen of top conferences including SIGIR, WWW, KDD, ICML, NIPS, IJCAI, AAAI, ACL, ICTIR, as well as associate editor of ACM Transactions on Information Systems, ACM Transactions on the Web, and Neurocomputing. Tie-Yan Liu is a fellow of the IEEE, a distinguished member of the ACM, and a vice chair of the CIPS information retrieval technical committee.

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