Mirroring the success of masked language models, vision-and-language counterparts like VILBERT, LXMERT and UNITER have achieved state of the art performance on a variety of multimodal discriminative tasks like visual question answering and visual grounding. Recent work has also successfully adapted such models towards the generative task of image captioning. This begs the question: Can these models go the other way and generate images from pieces of text? Our analysis of a popular representative from this model family – LXMERT – finds that it is unable to generate rich and semantically meaningful imagery with its current training setup. We introduce X-LXMERT, an extension to LXMERT with training refinements including: discretizing visual representations, using uniform masking with a large range of masking ratios and aligning the right pre-training datasets to the right objectives which enables it to paint. X-LXMERT’s image generation capabilities rival state of the art generative models while its question answering and captioning abilities remains comparable to LXMERT. Finally, we demonstrate the generality of these training refinements by adding image generation capabilities into UNITER to produce X-UNITER.
Generating diverse sequences is important in many NLP applications such as question generation or summarization that exhibit semantically one-to-many relationships between source and the target sequences. We present a method to explicitly separate diversification from generation using a general plug-and-play module (called SELECTOR) that wraps around and guides an existing encoder-decoder model. The diversification stage uses a mixture of experts to sample different binary masks on the source sequence for diverse content selection. The generation stage uses a standard encoder-decoder model given each selected content from the source sequence. Due to the non-differentiable nature of discrete sampling and the lack of ground truth labels for binary mask, we leverage a proxy for ground truth mask and adopt stochastic hard-EM for training. In question generation (SQuAD) and abstractive summarization (CNN-DM), our method demonstrates significant improvements in accuracy, diversity and training efficiency, including state-of-the-art top-1 accuracy in both datasets, 6% gain in top-5 accuracy, and 3.7 times faster training over a state-of-the-art model. Our code is publicly available at https://github.com/clovaai/FocusSeq2Seq.
Variational autoencoders (VAE) combined with hierarchical RNNs have emerged as a powerful framework for conversation modeling. However, they suffer from the notorious degeneration problem, where the decoders learn to ignore latent variables and reduce to vanilla RNNs. We empirically show that this degeneracy occurs mostly due to two reasons. First, the expressive power of hierarchical RNN decoders is often high enough to model the data using only its decoding distributions without relying on the latent variables. Second, the conditional VAE structure whose generation process is conditioned on a context, makes the range of training targets very sparse; that is, the RNN decoders can easily overfit to the training data ignoring the latent variables. To solve the degeneration problem, we propose a novel model named Variational Hierarchical Conversation RNNs (VHCR), involving two key ideas of (1) using a hierarchical structure of latent variables, and (2) exploiting an utterance drop regularization. With evaluations on two datasets of Cornell Movie Dialog and Ubuntu Dialog Corpus, we show that our VHCR successfully utilizes latent variables and outperforms state-of-the-art models for conversation generation. Moreover, it can perform several new utterance control tasks, thanks to its hierarchical latent structure.