Reinforcement learning (RL) has been widely used to aid training in language generation. This is achieved by enhancing standard maximum likelihood objectives with user-specified reward functions that encourage global semantic consistency. We propose a principled approach to address the difficulties associated with RL-based solutions, namely, high-variance gradients, uninformative rewards and brittle training. By leveraging the optimal transport distance, we introduce a regularizer that significantly alleviates the above issues. Our formulation emphasizes the preservation of semantic features, enabling end-to-end training instead of ad-hoc fine-tuning, and when combined with RL, it controls the exploration space for more efficient model updates. To validate the effectiveness of the proposed solution, we perform a comprehensive evaluation covering a wide variety of NLP tasks: machine translation, abstractive text summarization and image caption, with consistent improvements over competing solutions.
Published Date: 2020-06-02
Registration: ISSN 2374-3468 (Online) ISSN 2159-5399 (Print) ISBN 978-1-57735-835-0 (10 issue set)
Copyright: Published by AAAI Press, Palo Alto, California USA Copyright © 2020, Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence All Rights Reserved