Comparing Neural Language Models for Classification, in Spanish

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We are seeing a huge increase in the use of Natural Language Processing techniques, but there is still even a bigger potential that will be harnessed in the upcoming months and years. As Sebastian Ruder has said we are living NLP’s ImageNet moment. It seems that new and better Language Models are coming from research teams every week from the deep learning community.

As Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence practitioners our jobs is to create real world applications considering both latest advances and practical implementation issues to solve business needs. Maybe we will not use the latest, biggest, state-of-the-art model as soon as it’s out on Github or Tensorflow Hub but rather use some other easier to implement, faster and/or lighter model until using a more complex model makes sense. Saying this, it’s helpful to have a method that enables us faster and easier evaluation of models for our specific business tasks. Also some results can be considered as general guidelines on the performance of the models hoping those can be generalized to other tasks.

I’ve been working on such a method and I’ll like to share what I’ve found from comparing several models based on the Neural-Network Language Model made available by Google at Tensorflow Hub focusing on Spanish. There are fewer resources for Spanish than other languages so I hope this may help. Most important results I found:

  • NNLM models trained in Spanish have a better performance than those trained in English.
  • Normalized models have better performance than non-normalized models.
  • In general 50 and 128 dimensions model performed similarly although it seems that hyperparameter optimization may improve both models, specially the later.

Please look at this Github repository for details and full results. I hope to be able to add more results with other models.

MeLi Data Challenge 2019 – Multiclass Classification in Keras

The MercadoLibre Data Challenge 2019 was a great competition Kaggle’s style with an awsome prize consisting on tickets (and accomodation & air tickets) to Khipu Latin American conference on Artificial Intelligence.

I gave it a try implementing several ideas I already had in my head. First I tried a standard BERT embeddings classifier which proved harder to implement in Keras with all the current changes that have been going on with Tensorflow 2.0. Next I tried a Multi Layer Perceptron (MLP) fed with fixed BERT precalculated sentence embeddings. These two approaches didn’t traveled too far but may be interesting starting points to try in the future.

Finally a simpler model gave me the best results I could get, with a Balanced Accuracy Score of 0.87, which put me in the 45st place in the leaderboard. The model uses a Tensorflow Hub Keras layer fine tunned from Neural Probabilistic Language Model described here, followed by a MLP, trained with Adam and Sparse Categorical Crossentropy loss. Check the Github repository for details and code.

Some interesting findings:

  • The language model that I used was spanish based but performed almost equally well in portuguese (nnlm-es-128dim-with-normalization)
  • I got slightly better results by training the same model separetly on both languages and merging the results. But a single model trained on the whole dataset perfomed almost as well

The kind guys at MercadoLibre did a kickstart workshop and gave away a model that uses ULMFiT and reaches also 0.87. I think it’s very interesting that my model, using a different approach reaches a very similar result, and that’s why I’m pretty happy with it despite being very far from the first places!