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SimLM: Pre-training with Representation Bottleneck for Dense Passage Retrieval

paper available at https://arxiv.org/pdf/2207.02578

code available at https://github.com/microsoft/unilm/tree/master/simlm

Paper abstract

In this paper, we propose SimLM (Similarity matching with Language Model pre-training), a simple yet effective pre-training method for dense passage retrieval. It employs a simple bottleneck architecture that learns to compress the passage information into a dense vector through self-supervised pre-training. We use a replaced language modeling objective, which is inspired by ELECTRA, to improve the sample efficiency and reduce the mismatch of the input distribution between pre-training and fine-tuning. SimLM only requires access to unlabeled corpus, and is more broadly applicable when there are no labeled data or queries. We conduct experiments on several large-scale passage retrieval datasets, and show substantial improvements over strong baselines under various settings. Remarkably, SimLM even outperforms multi-vector approaches such as ColBERTv2 which incurs significantly more storage cost.

Results on MS-MARCO passage ranking task

Model dev MRR@10 dev R@50 dev R@1k TREC DL 2019 nDCG@10 TREC DL 2020 nDCG@10
SimLM (this model) 43.8 89.2 98.6 74.6 72.7


Since we use a listwise loss to train the re-ranker, the relevance score is not bounded to a specific numerical range. Higher scores mean more relevant between the given query and passage.

Get relevance score from our re-ranker:

import torch
from transformers import AutoModelForSequenceClassification, AutoTokenizer, BatchEncoding, PreTrainedTokenizerFast
from transformers.modeling_outputs import SequenceClassifierOutput

def encode(tokenizer: PreTrainedTokenizerFast,
           query: str, passage: str, title: str = '-') -> BatchEncoding:
    return tokenizer(query,
                     text_pair='{}: {}'.format(title, passage),

tokenizer = AutoTokenizer.from_pretrained('intfloat/simlm-msmarco-reranker')
model = AutoModelForSequenceClassification.from_pretrained('intfloat/simlm-msmarco-reranker')

with torch.no_grad():
    batch_dict = encode(tokenizer, 'how long is super bowl game', 'The Super Bowl is typically four hours long. The game itself takes about three and a half hours, with a 30 minute halftime show built in.')
    outputs: SequenceClassifierOutput = model(**batch_dict, return_dict=True)

    batch_dict = encode(tokenizer, 'how long is super bowl game', 'The cost of a Super Bowl commercial runs about $5 million for 30 seconds of airtime. But the benefits that the spot can bring to a brand can help to justify the cost.')
    outputs: SequenceClassifierOutput = model(**batch_dict, return_dict=True)


  title={SimLM: Pre-training with Representation Bottleneck for Dense Passage Retrieval},
  author={Liang Wang and Nan Yang and Xiaolong Huang and Binxing Jiao and Linjun Yang and Daxin Jiang and Rangan Majumder and Furu Wei},
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