Skip to yearly menu bar Skip to main content

Workshop: MATH-AI: Toward Human-Level Mathematical Reasoning

Overcoming Barriers to Skill Injection in Language Modeling: Case Study in Arithmetic

Mandar Sharma · Nikhil Muralidhar · Naren Ramakrishnan


Through their transfer learning abilities, highly-parameterized large pre-trained language models have dominated the NLP landscape for a multitude of downstream language tasks. Though linguistically proficient, the inability of these models to incorporate the learning of non-linguistic entities (numerals and arithmetic reasoning) limits their usage for tasks that require numeric comprehension or strict mathematical reasoning. However, as we illustrate in this paper, building a general purpose language model that also happens to be proficient in mathematical reasoning is not as straight-forward as training it on a numeric dataset. In this work, we develop a novel framework that enables language models to be mathematically proficient while retaining their linguistic prowess. Specifically, we offer information-theoretic interventions to overcome the catastrophic forgetting of linguistic skills that occurs while injecting non-linguistic skills into language models.

Chat is not available.