Lossless Acceleration for Seq2seq Generation with Aggressive Decoding

Tao Ge, Heming Xia, Xin Sun, Si-Qing Chen, Furu Wei
arXiv:2205.10350 [cs.CL], (20 May 2022)




   author={Ge, Tao and Xia, Heming and Sun, Xin and Chen, Si-Qing and Wei, Furu},

   keywords={Computation and Language (cs.CL), Machine Learning (cs.LG), FOS: Computer and information sciences, FOS: Computer and information sciences},

   title={Lossless Acceleration for Seq2seq Generation with Aggressive Decoding},



   copyright={Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International}


We study lossless acceleration for seq2seq generation with a novel decoding algorithm — Aggressive Decoding. Unlike the previous efforts (e.g., non-autoregressive decoding) speeding up seq2seq generation at the cost of quality loss, our approach aims to yield the identical (or better) generation compared with autoregressive decoding but in a significant speedup, achieved by innovative cooperation of aggressive decoding and verification that are both efficient due to parallel computing. We propose two Aggressive Decoding paradigms for 2 kinds of seq2seq tasks: 1) For the seq2seq tasks whose inputs and outputs are highly similar (e.g., Grammatical Error Correction), we propose Input-guided Aggressive Decoding (IAD) that aggressively copies from the input sentence as drafted decoded tokens to verify in parallel; 2) For other general seq2seq tasks (e.g., Machine Translation), we propose Generalized Aggressive Decoding (GAD) that first employs an additional non-autoregressive decoding model for aggressive decoding and then verifies in parallel in the autoregressive manner. We test Aggressive Decoding on the most popular 6-layer Transformer model on GPU in multiple seq2seq tasks: 1) For IAD, we show that it can introduce a 7x-9x speedup for the Transformer in Grammatical Error Correction and Text Simplification tasks with the identical results as greedy decoding; 2) For GAD, we observe a 3x-5x speedup with the identical or even better quality in two important seq2seq tasks: Machine Translation and Abstractive Summarization. Moreover, Aggressive Decoding can benefit even more from stronger computing devices that are better at parallel computing. Given the lossless quality as well as significant and promising speedup, we believe Aggressive Decoding may potentially evolve into a de facto standard for efficient and lossless seq2seq generation in the near future.
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