SBERT-WK: A Sentence Embedding Method by Dissecting BERT-based Word Models

16 Feb 2020  ·  Bin Wang, C. -C. Jay Kuo ·

Sentence embedding is an important research topic in natural language processing (NLP) since it can transfer knowledge to downstream tasks. Meanwhile, a contextualized word representation, called BERT, achieves the state-of-the-art performance in quite a few NLP tasks. Yet, it is an open problem to generate a high quality sentence representation from BERT-based word models. It was shown in previous study that different layers of BERT capture different linguistic properties. This allows us to fusion information across layers to find better sentence representation. In this work, we study the layer-wise pattern of the word representation of deep contextualized models. Then, we propose a new sentence embedding method by dissecting BERT-based word models through geometric analysis of the space spanned by the word representation. It is called the SBERT-WK method. No further training is required in SBERT-WK. We evaluate SBERT-WK on semantic textual similarity and downstream supervised tasks. Furthermore, ten sentence-level probing tasks are presented for detailed linguistic analysis. Experiments show that SBERT-WK achieves the state-of-the-art performance. Our codes are publicly available.

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