I’m currently trying to train a BART, which is a denoising Transformer created by Facebook researchers. Here’s my Transformer code

import math
import torch
from torch import nn
from Constants import *

class Transformer(nn.Module):
    def __init__(self, input_dim: int, output_dim: int, d_model: int = 200, num_head: int = 8, num_e_layer: int = 6,
                 num_d_layer: int = 6, ff_dim: int = 1024, drop_out: float = 0.1):
            input_dim: Size of the vocab of the input
            output_dim: Size of the vocab for output
            num_head: Number of heads in mutliheaded attention models
            num_e_layer: Number of sub-encoder layers
            num_d_layer: Number of sub-decoder layers
            ff_dim: Dimension of feedforward network in mulihead models
            d_model: The dimension to embed input and output features into
            drop_out: The drop out percentage
        super(Transformer, self).__init__()
        self.d_model = d_model
        self.transformer = nn.Transformer(d_model, num_head, num_e_layer, num_d_layer, ff_dim, drop_out,
        self.decoder_embedder = nn.Embedding(output_dim, d_model)
        self.encoder_embedder = nn.Embedding(input_dim, d_model)
        self.fc1 = nn.Linear(d_model, output_dim)
        self.softmax = nn.Softmax(dim=2)
        self.positional_encoder = PositionalEncoding(d_model, drop_out)

    def forward(self, src: torch.Tensor, trg: torch.Tensor, src_mask: torch.Tensor = None,
                trg_mask: torch.Tensor = None):
        embedded_src = self.positional_encoder(self.encoder_embedder(src) * math.sqrt(self.d_model))
        embedded_trg = self.positional_encoder(self.decoder_embedder(trg) * math.sqrt(self.d_model))
        output = self.transformer.forward(embedded_src, embedded_trg, src_mask, trg_mask)
        return self.softmax(self.fc1(output))

class PositionalEncoding(nn.Module):
    def __init__(self, d_model, dropout=0.1, max_len=5000):
        super(PositionalEncoding, self).__init__()
        self.dropout = nn.Dropout(p=dropout)
        pe = torch.zeros(max_len, d_model)
        position = torch.arange(0, max_len, dtype=torch.float).unsqueeze(1)
        div_term = torch.exp(torch.arange(0, d_model, 2).float() * (-math.log(10000.0) / d_model))
        pe[:, 0::2] = torch.sin(position * div_term)
        pe[:, 1::2] = torch.cos(position * div_term)
        pe = pe.unsqueeze(0).transpose(0, 1)    
        self.register_buffer('pe', pe)

and here’s my training code

def train(x: list):
    loss = 0.
    batch_sz = len(x)
    max_len = len(max(x, key=len)) + 1  # +1 for EOS xor SOS
    noise_x = noise(x)
    src_x = list(map(lambda s: [SOS] + [char for char in s] + [PAD] * ((max_len - len(s)) - 1), noise_x))
    trg_x = list(map(lambda s: [char for char in s] + [EOS] + [PAD] * ((max_len - len(s)) - 1), x))
    src = indexTensor(src_x, max_len, IN_CHARS).to(DEVICE)
    trg = targetsTensor(trg_x, max_len, OUT_CHARS).to(DEVICE)
    names = [''] * batch_sz

    for i in range(src.shape[0]):
        probs = transformer(src, trg[:i + 1])
        loss += criterion(probs, trg[i])


    return names, loss.item()

As you can see in the train code. I am training it "sequentially" by inputting the first letter of the data then computing the loss with the output then inputting the first and second character and doing the same thing, so on and so forth.

This doesn’t seem to be training properly though as the denoising is totally off. I thought maybe there’s something wrong with my code or you can’t train Transformers this way.

I'm taking first name data then noising it then training the Transformer to denoise it, but the output to the Transformers doesn't look remotely like the denoised version or even the noised version of the name. I built a denoising autoencoder using LSTMs and it did way better, but I feel like BART should be way out performing LSTMs cause it's supposedly state of the art NLP neural network model.

  • $\begingroup$ I think you should be more specific when you say "My Transformer is not training well at all". $\endgroup$
    – nbro
    Mar 24, 2020 at 20:19
  • $\begingroup$ The loss which is cross entropy is going all over the place, it's not decreasing at all. $\endgroup$ Mar 24, 2020 at 20:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What exactly do you mean by "sequentially"? Do you mean "online" (i.e. you will train it a little bit more as more data arrives) or you will train it with "sequences", or maybe something else? $\endgroup$
    – nbro
    Mar 24, 2020 at 22:38

1 Answer 1


I assume you're referring to this paper, which basically "reuses" the same architecture as the original "Attention is all you need" paper for machine translation; the difference being that source and target are noisy and original sentences.

I can't figure the for loop logic inside your train function; but reading your comment, you don't have to traverse the target sequentially. Instead, we rely on masks which exclude paddings, and most importantly help with implementing teacher forcing for the decoder stack. Check this post and how it creates the three types of masks needed (src, target, no_peek).

Having said that, you will need a for loop when serving your model (inference), because you will have to decode autoregressively. That is, you'll have to decode a token first, and feed it back to the decoder to generate the next token (until you reach EOS). Check "Testing the model" section in this article.


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