MPNet: Masked and Permuted Pre-training for Language Understanding

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

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Kaitao Song, Xu Tan, Tao Qin, Jianfeng Lu, Tie-Yan Liu


<p>BERT adopts masked language modeling (MLM) for pre-training and is one of the most successful pre-training models. Since BERT neglects dependency among predicted tokens, XLNet introduces permuted language modeling (PLM) for pre-training to address this problem. However, XLNet does not leverage the full position information of a sentence and thus suffers from position discrepancy between pre-training and fine-tuning. In this paper, we propose MPNet, a novel pre-training method that inherits the advantages of BERT and XLNet and avoids their limitations. MPNet leverages the dependency among predicted tokens through permuted language modeling (vs. MLM in BERT), and takes auxiliary position information as input to make the model see a full sentence and thus reducing the position discrepancy (vs. PLM in XLNet). We pre-train MPNet on a large-scale dataset (over 160GB text corpora) and fine-tune on a variety of down-streaming tasks (GLUE, SQuAD, etc). Experimental results show that MPNet outperforms MLM and PLM by a large margin, and achieves better results on these tasks compared with previous state-of-the-art pre-trained methods (e.g., BERT, XLNet, RoBERTa) under the same model setting. We attach the code in the supplemental materials.</p>