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Text Generation by Learning from Demonstrations

The latest major update of README was on March 7, 2021. The repo is based on fairseq (v0.9.?).




Per fairseq usage, we need to install this particular modifed version fairseq. The simplest way: pip install --editable ./.

UPDATE (03/07/2021): Due to pytorch changes, and given that we're using a slightly older version of fairseq (see below), please use pytorch version <= 1.6.0. However, the GOLD algorithm can be easily implemented on top of the latest fairseq (or most text generation codebases).

UPDATE (11/06/2021): Unfortunately in late 2021, the latest packages do not work with the old versions of fairseq anymore. There are two solutions. The first solution is to downgrade the packages to the following versions but keep using fairseq v0.9.

cffi                               1.12.3     
Cython                             0.29.12    
numpy                              1.20.1     
regex                              2019.8.19  
sacrebleu                          1.4.3      
torch                              1.7.1      
torchtext                          0.4.0      
torchvision                        0.8.2      
tqdm                               4.32.1     
setuptools                         41.0.1     
(Python 3.7.3)

The second solution is to use the exact same checkpoints, but on the latest version of fairseq (verified to work on 11/06/2021). If you only need to do inference, then you only need to fix the fairseq bugs related to BART (see the section "BART summarization generation fairseq issue"). If you need to rerun GOLD, Please refer to the paragraph "how to implement in the latest version of fairseq" as well as commit histories.


For downloading CNN/DM and XSum datasets, we follow the instructions here; note that this link does not correspond to the latest fairseq. Our version of the CNN/DM input articles include the prepended "(CNN)" tags. For downloading IWSLT14 De-En dataset, we follow the instructions here. The binary files are provided in our repo, in the directory data-bin. For downloading the particular version of our NQG dataset, we follow the instructions here. The binary files are provided upon request.

Code: experiments on transformer models using fairseq

For reproducibility, the code is based on a April 2020 version of fairseq (based on release v0.9.0). However, it is easy to reimplement the GOLD algorithm in the latest version of fairseq and in another frameworks.

How to implement GOLD in the latest version of fairseq?

  • If your GPUs "have large memory", then most of the implementation happens around the criterion code (for question generation, summarization, translation, the py file is ./fairseq/criterions/ in the April 2020 version of fairseq). Note that the implementation in this repo uses this approach.
    • "Have large memory": Meaning the GPUs can store pi, pi-tilde, p_MLE at the same time; see Algorithm 1 in the paper. In our experiments (using the same datasets, same batch size, etc.), this would imply that the GPUs have ~24G of memory for NQG, CNN/DM, and XSum. For ISWLT14 De-En, GPUs with ~12G of memory should be enough.
    • We also need to modify ./fairseq_cli/ so that we can load more than one model at the same time (i.e., pi, pi-tilde, p_MLE).
    • You can refer to the commit history here. Many minor changes (on irrelevant files) are due to version inconsistencies so feel free to ignore them, if you're implementing on the latest version of fairseq.
  • If your GPUs cannot fit the above models, then you may need to input p_MLE probabilities as features. This can be done by first saving the probabilities into a text file or pickle file, and then loading them in the load_langpair_dataset function of ./fairseq/tasks/ (or other corresponding files for other tasks).

How to implement in other codebase?

  • See Algorithm 1 in the paper. The majority of the work will happen around the loss computation. We need to have three different models ready when computing losses: (1) pi, the network we're training; (2) pi-tilde, a slightly older version of pi (created to ensure training stability, similar to the periodic synchronization in deep Q-learning; (3) p_MLE, to compute rewards (but this can be pre-loaded in the form of input features, in case the GPU cannot fit the third model).

BART summarization generation fairseq issue

Given that there has been minor bugs with the fairseq BART summarization code (details on original fairseq github), we make the corresponding changes according to the fairseq authors' recommendation. (1) In ./fairseq/, see the modification here. (2) In ./fairseq/tasks/, see the modification here. (3) In ./fairseq/models/bart/, see the modification here. The above is already implemented in this repo. But if we're reimplementing the GOLD code in the latest fairseq, we need to beware of this issue (and keep the three modifications in mind).

Note: These changes should ONLY be made for BART models.

How to run?


The entry point for training is ./fairseq_cli/ See ./fairseq/ for possible flags. For CNN/DM, the script for running GOLD-p is provided in; the script for running GOLD-s (which often performs better than GOLD-p) is provided in Some other scripts for other tasks are also provided. For explanations of flags, please refer to ./fairseq/ as well as Algorithm 1 in the paper.


Note that to validate, one possibility is to find the checkpoint that corresponds to highest BLEU/ROUGE-2 score on dev set. We cannot validate according to NLL loss, given that in the paper, we showed that our models achieve higher accuracy but higher perplexity (and NLL loss). Do not use IWSLT14 De-En validation is implemented. For summarization, please use (similar to as an example to loop through all checkpoints. Then, compute the ROUGE based on (perhaps with small modifications).


For BART evaluation, we use the inference scripts provided in,, For IWSLT14 De-En inference, the following few lines will do.

python -W ignore [path-to-fairseq_cli/] data-bin/ \
    --path [] \
    --batch-size 128 --beam 5 --remove-bpe --gen-subset test  > [path-to-save-to-file]

Transformer models

Please ensure the data is processed appropriately before using the models.

MLE model checkpoints

GOLD-s model checkpoints

Not a lot of hyperparameter search was done for the transformer models, so it is likely that more search (on hyperparameters, on architecture) could reach better performance.

Moreover, for summarization models, we use pyrouge+files2rouge to evaluate, based on the fairseq instructions after pyrouge+files2rouge installation. The package files2rouge has a common WordNet-2.0.exc.db error; see this link for the fix.

Citation, authors, and contact

The bibtex entry

Richard Yuanzhe Pang

He He


No description, website, or topics provided.



Code of conduct





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