InfoPrompt: Information-Theoretic Soft Prompt Tuning for Natural Language Understanding

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper


Junda Wu, Tong Yu, Rui Wang, Zhao Song, Ruiyi Zhang, Handong Zhao, Chaochao Lu, Shuai Li, Ricardo Henao


Soft prompt tuning achieves superior performances across a wide range of few-shot tasks. However, the performances of prompt tuning can be highly sensitive to the initialization of the prompts. We have also empirically observed that conventional prompt tuning methods cannot encode and learn sufficient task-relevant information from prompt tokens. In this work, we develop an information-theoretic framework that formulates soft prompt tuning as maximizing the mutual information between prompts and other model parameters (or encoded representations). This novel view helps us to develop a more efficient, accurate and robust soft prompt tuning method, InfoPrompt. With this framework, we develop two novel mutual information based loss functions, to (i) explore proper prompt initialization for the downstream tasks and learn sufficient task-relevant information from prompt tokens and (ii) encourage the output representation from the pretrained language model to be more aware of the task-relevant information captured in the learnt prompts. Extensive experiments validate that InfoPrompt can significantly accelerate the convergence of the prompt tuning and outperform traditional prompt tuning methods. Finally, we provide a formal theoretical result to show that a gradient descent type algorithm can be used to train our mutual information loss.