ReadOnce Transformers: Reusable Representations of Text for Transformers

ACL 2021  ·  Shih-ting Lin, Ashish Sabharwal, Tushar Khot ·

We present ReadOnce Transformers, an approach to convert a transformer-based model into one that can build an information-capturing, task-independent, and compressed representation of text. The resulting representation is reusable across different examples and tasks, thereby requiring a document shared across many examples or tasks to only be \emph{read once}. This leads to faster training and evaluation of models. Additionally, we extend standard text-to-text transformer models to Representation+Text-to-text models, and evaluate on multiple downstream tasks: multi-hop QA, abstractive QA, and long-document summarization. Our one-time computed representation results in a 2x-5x speedup compared to standard text-to-text models, while the compression also allows existing language models to handle longer documents without the need for designing new pre-trained models.

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