bert2BERT: Towards Reusable Pretrained Language Models

In recent years, researchers tend to pre-train ever-larger language models to explore the upper limit of deep models. However, large language model pre-training costs intensive computational resources and most of the models are trained from scratch without reusing the existing pre-trained models, which is wasteful. In this paper, we propose bert2BERT, which can effectively transfer the knowledge of an existing smaller pre-trained model (e.g., BERT_BASE) to a large model (e.g., BERT_LARGE) through parameter initialization and significantly improve the pre-training efficiency of the large model. Specifically, we extend the previous function-preserving on Transformer-based language model, and further improve it by proposing advanced knowledge for large model's initialization. In addition, a two-stage pre-training method is proposed to further accelerate the training process. We did extensive experiments on representative PLMs (e.g., BERT and GPT) and demonstrate that (1) our method can save a significant amount of training cost compared with baselines including learning from scratch, StackBERT and MSLT; (2) our method is generic and applicable to different types of pre-trained models. In particular, bert2BERT saves about 45% and 47% computational cost of pre-training BERT_BASE and GPT_BASE by reusing the models of almost their half sizes. The source code will be publicly available upon publication.

PDF Abstract ACL 2022 PDF ACL 2022 Abstract

Results from the Paper

  Submit results from this paper to get state-of-the-art GitHub badges and help the community compare results to other papers.