Measuring Memorization Effect in Word-Level Neural Networks Probing

29 Jun 2020  ·  Rudolf Rosa, Tomáš Musil, David Mareček ·

Multiple studies have probed representations emerging in neural networks trained for end-to-end NLP tasks and examined what word-level linguistic information may be encoded in the representations. In classical probing, a classifier is trained on the representations to extract the target linguistic information. However, there is a threat of the classifier simply memorizing the linguistic labels for individual words, instead of extracting the linguistic abstractions from the representations, thus reporting false positive results. While considerable efforts have been made to minimize the memorization problem, the task of actually measuring the amount of memorization happening in the classifier has been understudied so far. In our work, we propose a simple general method for measuring the memorization effect, based on a symmetric selection of comparable sets of test words seen versus unseen in training. Our method can be used to explicitly quantify the amount of memorization happening in a probing setup, so that an adequate setup can be chosen and the results of the probing can be interpreted with a reliability estimate. We exemplify this by showcasing our method on a case study of probing for part of speech in a trained neural machine translation encoder.

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