PANDA: Prompt Transfer Meets Knowledge Distillation for Efficient Model Adaptation

22 Aug 2022  ·  Qihuang Zhong, Liang Ding, Juhua Liu, Bo Du, DaCheng Tao ·

Prompt-tuning, which freezes pretrained language models (PLMs) and only fine-tunes few parameters of additional soft prompt, shows competitive performance against full-parameter fine-tuning (i.e.model-tuning) when the PLM has billions of parameters, but still performs poorly in the case of smaller PLMs. Hence, prompt transfer (PoT), which initializes the target prompt with the trained prompt of similar source tasks, is recently proposed to improve over prompt-tuning. However, such a vanilla PoT approach usually achieves sub-optimal performance, as (i) the PoT is sensitive to the similarity of source-target pair and (ii) directly fine-tuning the prompt initialized with source prompt on target task might lead to catastrophic forgetting of source knowledge. In response to these problems, we propose a new metric to accurately predict the prompt transferability (regarding (i)), and a novel PoT approach (namely PANDA) that leverages the knowledge distillation technique to transfer the "knowledge" from the source prompt to the target prompt in a subtle manner and alleviate the catastrophic forgetting effectively (regarding (ii)). Furthermore, to achieve adaptive prompt transfer for each source-target pair, we use our metric to control the knowledge transfer in our PANDA approach. Extensive and systematic experiments on 189 combinations of 21 source and 9 target datasets across 5 scales of PLMs demonstrate that: 1) our proposed metric works well to predict the prompt transferability; 2) our PANDA consistently outperforms the vanilla PoT approach by 2.3% average score (up to 24.1%) among all tasks and model sizes; 3) with our PANDA approach, prompt-tuning can achieve competitive and even better performance than model-tuning in various PLM scales scenarios. Code and models will be released upon acceptance.

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