XPROMPT: Exploring the Extreme of Prompt Tuning

ACL Rolling Review (ARR) at EMNLP


Prompt tuning learns soft prompts to condition the frozen Pre-trained Language Models (PLMs) for performing downstream tasks in a parameter-efficient manner. While prompt tuning has gradually reached the performance level of fine-tuning as the model scale increases, there is still a large performance gap between prompt tuning and fine-tuning for models of moderate and small scales (typically less than 11B parameters). In this paper, we empirically show that the trained prompt tokens can have a negative impact on a downstream task and thus degrade its performance. To bridge the gap, we propose a novel PROMPT tuning model with an eXtremely small scale (XPROMPT) under the regime of lottery tickets hypothesis. Specifically, XPROMPT eliminates the negative prompt tokens at different granularity levels through a hierarchical structured pruning, yielding a more parameter-efficient prompt yet with a competitive performance. Comprehensive experiments are carried out on the SuperGLUE tasks, and the results indicate that XPROMPT is able to close the performance gap at smaller model scales. The code is available at https://github.com/BD-MF/.

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