Closed-Book Training to Improve Summarization Encoder Memory

EMNLP 2018  ·  Yichen Jiang, Mohit Bansal ·

A good neural sequence-to-sequence summarization model should have a strong encoder that can distill and memorize the important information from long input texts so that the decoder can generate salient summaries based on the encoder's memory. In this paper, we aim to improve the memorization capabilities of the encoder of a pointer-generator model by adding an additional 'closed-book' decoder without attention and pointer mechanisms. Such a decoder forces the encoder to be more selective in the information encoded in its memory state because the decoder can't rely on the extra information provided by the attention and possibly copy modules, and hence improves the entire model. On the CNN/Daily Mail dataset, our 2-decoder model outperforms the baseline significantly in terms of ROUGE and METEOR metrics, for both cross-entropy and reinforced setups (and on human evaluation). Moreover, our model also achieves higher scores in a test-only DUC-2002 generalizability setup. We further present a memory ability test, two saliency metrics, as well as several sanity-check ablations (based on fixed-encoder, gradient-flow cut, and model capacity) to prove that the encoder of our 2-decoder model does in fact learn stronger memory representations than the baseline encoder.

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Task Dataset Model Metric Name Metric Value Global Rank Result Benchmark
Abstractive Text Summarization CNN / Daily Mail RL + pg + cbdec ROUGE-1 40.66 # 27
ROUGE-2 17.87 # 28
ROUGE-L 37.06 # 29


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