Compositional De-Attention Networks

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

AuthorFeedback Bibtex MetaReview Metadata Paper Reviews Supplemental


Yi Tay, Anh Tuan Luu, Aston Zhang, Shuohang Wang, Siu Cheung Hui


Attentional models are distinctly characterized by their ability to learn relative importance, i.e., assigning a different weight to input values. This paper proposes a new quasi-attention that is compositional in nature, i.e., learning whether to \textit{add}, \textit{subtract} or \textit{nullify} a certain vector when learning representations. This is strongly contrasted with vanilla attention, which simply re-weights input tokens. Our proposed \textit{Compositional De-Attention} (CoDA) is fundamentally built upon the intuition of both similarity and dissimilarity (negative affinity) when computing affinity scores, benefiting from a greater extent of expressiveness. We evaluate CoDA on six NLP tasks, i.e. open domain question answering, retrieval/ranking, natural language inference, machine translation, sentiment analysis and text2code generation. We obtain promising experimental results, achieving state-of-the-art performance on several tasks/datasets.