CogLTX: Applying BERT to Long Texts

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Ming Ding, Chang Zhou, Hongxia Yang, Jie Tang


<p>BERTs are incapable of processing long texts due to its quadratically increasing memory and time consumption. The straightforward thoughts to address this problem, such as slicing the text by a sliding window or simplifying transformers, suffer from insufficient long-range attentions or need customized CUDA kernels. The limited text length of BERT reminds us the limited capacity (5∼ 9 chunks) of the working memory of humans – then how do human beings Cognize Long TeXts? Founded on the cognitive theory stemming from Baddeley, our CogLTX framework identifies key sentences by training a judge model, concatenates them for reasoning and enables multi-step reasoning via rehearsal and decay. Since relevance annotations are usually unavailable, we propose to use treatment experiments to create supervision. As a general algorithm, CogLTX outperforms or gets comparable results to SOTA models on NewsQA, HotpotQA, multi-class and multi-label long-text classification tasks with memory overheads independent of the text length.</p>