The leading approaches in language modeling are all obsessed with TV shows of my youth - namely Transformers and Sesame Street. Transformers this, Transformers that, and over here a bonfire worth of GPU-TPU-neuromorphic wafer scale silicon. We opt for the lazy path of old and proven techniques with a fancy crypto inspired acronym: the Single Headed Attention RNN (SHA-RNN). The author's lone goal is to show that the entire field might have evolved a different direction if we had instead been obsessed with a slightly different acronym and slightly different result. We take a previously strong language model based only on boring LSTMs and get it to within a stone's throw of a stone's throw of state-of-the-art byte level language model results on enwik8. This work has undergone no intensive hyperparameter optimization and lived entirely on a commodity desktop machine that made the author's small studio apartment far too warm in the midst of a San Franciscan summer. The final results are achievable in plus or minus 24 hours on a single GPU as the author is impatient. The attention mechanism is also readily extended to large contexts with minimal computation. Take that Sesame Street.
- Pub Date:
- November 2019
- Computer Science - Computation and Language;
- Computer Science - Artificial Intelligence;
- Computer Science - Neural and Evolutionary Computing
- Addition of citations and contextual results (no attention head, single attention head, attention per layer), removal of wordpiece WikiText-103 numbers due to normalization issues, fix of SHA attention figure Q arrow, other minor fixes