Transformer over Pre-trained Transformer for Neural Text Segmentation with Enhanced Topic Coherence

This paper proposes a transformer over transformer framework, called Transformer$^2$, to perform neural text segmentation. It consists of two components: bottom-level sentence encoders using pre-trained transformers, and an upper-level transformer-based segmentation model based on the sentence embeddings. The bottom-level component transfers the pre-trained knowledge learned from large external corpora under both single and pair-wise supervised NLP tasks to model the sentence embeddings for the documents. Given the sentence embeddings, the upper-level transformer is trained to recover the segmentation boundaries as well as the topic labels of each sentence. Equipped with a multi-task loss and the pre-trained knowledge, Transformer$^2$ can better capture the semantic coherence within the same segments. Our experiments show that (1) Transformer$^2$ manages to surpass state-of-the-art text segmentation models in terms of a commonly-used semantic coherence measure; (2) in most cases, both single and pair-wise pre-trained knowledge contribute to the model performance; (3) bottom-level sentence encoders pre-trained on specific languages yield better performance than those pre-trained on specific domains.

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