EM-Network: Oracle Guided Self-distillation for Sequence Learning

14 Jun 2023  ·  Ji Won Yoon, Sunghwan Ahn, Hyeonseung Lee, Minchan Kim, Seok Min Kim, Nam Soo Kim ·

We introduce EM-Network, a novel self-distillation approach that effectively leverages target information for supervised sequence-to-sequence (seq2seq) learning. In contrast to conventional methods, it is trained with oracle guidance, which is derived from the target sequence. Since the oracle guidance compactly represents the target-side context that can assist the sequence model in solving the task, the EM-Network achieves a better prediction compared to using only the source input. To allow the sequence model to inherit the promising capability of the EM-Network, we propose a new self-distillation strategy, where the original sequence model can benefit from the knowledge of the EM-Network in a one-stage manner. We conduct comprehensive experiments on two types of seq2seq models: connectionist temporal classification (CTC) for speech recognition and attention-based encoder-decoder (AED) for machine translation. Experimental results demonstrate that the EM-Network significantly advances the current state-of-the-art approaches, improving over the best prior work on speech recognition and establishing state-of-the-art performance on WMT'14 and IWSLT'14.

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