Cross-Lingual Transfer with MAML on Trees


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In meta-learning, the knowledge learned from previous tasks is transferred to new ones, but this transfer only works if tasks are related. Sharing information between unrelated tasks might hurt performance, and it is unclear how to transfer knowledge across tasks that have a hierarchical structure. Our research extends a meta-learning model, MAML, by exploiting hierarchical task relationships. Our algorithm, TreeMAML, adapts the model to each task with a few gradient steps, but the adaptation follows the hierarchical tree structure: in each step, gradients are pooled across tasks clusters and subsequent steps follow down the tree. We also implement a clustering algorithm that generates the tasks tree without previous knowledge of the task structure, allowing us to make use of implicit relationships between the tasks. We show that TreeMAML successfully trains natural language processing models for cross-lingual Natural Language Inference by taking advantage of the language phylogenetic tree. This result is useful since most languages in the world are under-resourced and the improvement on cross-lingual transfer allows the internationalization of NLP models.
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