On the Domain Adaptation and Generalization of Pretrained Language Models: A Survey




Recent advances in NLP are brought by a range of large-scale pretrained language models (PLMs). These PLMs have brought significant performance gains for a range of NLP tasks, circumventing the need to customize complex designs for specific tasks. However, most current work focus on finetuning PLMs on a domain-specific datasets, ignoring the fact that the domain gap can lead to overfitting and even performance drop. Therefore, it is practically important to find an appropriate method to effectively adapt PLMs to a target domain of interest. Recently, a range of methods have been proposed to achieve this purpose. Early surveys on domain adaptation are not suitable for PLMs due to the sophisticated behavior exhibited by PLMs from traditional models trained from scratch and that domain adaptation of PLMs need to be redesigned to take effect. This paper aims to provide a survey on these newly proposed methods and shed light in how to apply traditional machine learning methods to newly evolved and future technologies. By examining the issues of deploying PLMs for downstream tasks, we propose a taxonomy of domain adaptation approaches from a machine learning system view, covering methods for input augmentation, model optimization and personalization. We discuss and compare those methods and suggest promising future research directions.