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Microsoft Research presents this talk on pretraining large neural language models, such as BERT, has led to impressive gains on many natural language processing (NLP) tasks.  However, most pretraining efforts focus on general-domain corpora, such as in newswire and web text. Biomedical text is very different from general-domain text, yet biomedical NLP has been relatively underexplored.

A prevailing assumption is that even domain-specific pretraining can benefit by starting from general-domain language models.

In this webinar, Microsoft researchers Hoifung Poon, Senior Director of Biomedical NLP, and Jianfeng Gao, Distinguished Scientist, will challenge this assumption by showing that for domains with abundant unlabeled text, such as biomedicine, pretraining language models from scratch results in substantial gains over continual pretraining of general-domain language models.

You will begin with understanding how biomedical text differs from general-domain text and how biomedical NLP poses substantial challenges that are not present in mainstream NLP. You will also learn about the two paradigms for domain-specific language model pretraining and see how pretraining from scratch significantly outperforms mixed-domain pretraining in a wide range of biomedical NLP tasks. Finally, find out about our comprehensive benchmark and leaderboard created specifically for biomedical NLP, called BLURB, and see how our biomedical language model, PubMedBERT, sets a new state of the art.

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