Workshop: Second Workshop on Efficient Natural Language and Speech Processing (ENLSP-II)

An Efficient Memory-Augmented Transformer for Knowledge-Intensive NLP Tasks

Yuxiang Wu · Yu Zhao · Baotian Hu · Pasquale Minervini · Pontus Lars Erik Saito Stenetorp · Sebastian Riedel

Keywords: [ ENLSP-Main ]


Access to external knowledge is essential for many natural language processing tasks, such as question answering and dialogue. Existing methods often rely on a parametric model that stores knowledge in its parameters, or use a retrieval-augmented model that has access to an external knowledge source. Parametric and retrieval-augmented models have complementary strengths in terms of computational efficiency and predictive accuracy. To combine the strength of both approaches, we propose the Efficient Memory-Augmented Transformer (EMAT) – it encodes external knowledge into a key-value memory and exploits the fast maximum inner product search for memory querying. Experiments on various knowledge-intensive tasks such as question answering and dialogue datasets show that, simply augmenting parametric models (T5-base) using our method produces more accurate results while retaining a high throughput. Compared to retrieval-augmented models, EMAT runs substantially faster across the board and produces more accurate results on WoW and ELI5.

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