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[R] “Single Headed Attention RNN: Stop Thinking With Your Head”: Take that Sesame Street!

One of THE Best Papers that I’ve ever read (Both in terms of the research and the paper-writeup itself):

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1911.11423.pdf

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. We also achieve state-of-the-art on WikiText-103 – or do we? 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 and requires minimal computation. Take that Sesame Street.

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Toronto AI is a social and collaborative hub to unite AI innovators of Toronto and surrounding areas. We explore AI technologies in digital art and music, healthcare, marketing, fintech, vr, robotics and more. Toronto AI was founded by Dave MacDonald and Patrick O'Mara.