EMNLP 2023
Conference paper

Where to start? Analyzing the potential value of intermediate models

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Previous studies observed that finetuned models may be better base models than the vanilla pretrained model. Such a model, finetuned on some source dataset, may provide a better starting point for a new finetuning process on a desired target dataset. Here, we perform a systematic analysis of this intertraining scheme, over a wide range of English classification tasks. Surprisingly, our analysis suggests that the potential intertraining gain can be analyzed independently for the target dataset under consideration, and for a base model being considered as a starting point. Hence, a performant model is generally strong, even if its training data was not aligned with the target dataset. Furthermore, we leverage our analysis to propose a practical and efficient approach to determine if and how to select a base model in real-world settings. Last, we release an updating ranking of best models in the HuggingFace hub per architecture.