Autoregressive Transformers

XLNet is an autoregressive Transformer that leverages the best of both autoregressive language modeling and autoencoding while attempting to avoid their limitations. Instead of using a fixed forward or backward factorization order as in conventional autoregressive models, XLNet maximizes the expected log likelihood of a sequence w.r.t. all possible permutations of the factorization order. Thanks to the permutation operation, the context for each position can consist of tokens from both left and right. In expectation, each position learns to utilize contextual information from all positions, i.e., capturing bidirectional context.

Additionally, inspired by the latest advancements in autogressive language modeling, XLNet integrates the segment recurrence mechanism and relative encoding scheme of Transformer-XL into pretraining, which empirically improves the performance especially for tasks involving a longer text sequence.

Source: XLNet: Generalized Autoregressive Pretraining for Language Understanding

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