How to use XLNet in Transformers

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by gayathrimohan dot icon Updated: Aug 2, 2023

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XLNet is a state-of-the-art language model developed by Google Research. It depends on the Transformer architecture. It is designed to understand and generate human language text. XLNet stands for "eXtreme Learning Network". It introduces a new training aim called permutation-based training. It helps the model overcome the limitations of traditional left-to-right or autoregressive models. XLNet can help with various NLP tasks, including but it is not limited.  


Here are some different ways you can use XLNet in Python:  

  • Text generation: XLNet can generate coherent and relevant text. That text depends on a given prompt or input.  
  • Machine/Language Translation: It can help with machine translation tasks. That task is to translate text from one language to another.  
  • Sentiment analysis: XLNet can analyze the sentiment in each text. It includes classifying whether a movie review is positive or negative.  
  • Named Entity Recognition (NER): It identifies and classifies named entities in a text. It includes recognizing names of people, organizations, or locations.  
  • Question answering: XLNet can answer questions based on a given context. It makes it useful for tasks like reading comprehension.  
  • Text classification: It can classify text into predefined categories. It includes spam detection, topic classification, or sentiment classification.  
  • Text Summarization: XLNet can generate concise summaries of longer texts. It helps in extracting the most important information.  
  • Chatbots and Virtual Assistants: We can integrate XLNet into chatbot assistant systems. It enables natural language understanding and response generation.  

XLNet is a powerful tool for NLP tasks. It is due to its ability to model bidirectional dependencies. It can capture long-range dependencies in the input text. It has achieved state-of-the-art results on various benchmarks. It helps with both research and industry applications. In Python, we can use XLNet through libraries. That library is the Hugging Face Transformers library. It provides pre-trained models and an easy-to-use API. It helps with fine-tuning and using XLNet for specific NLP tasks. XLNet is a powerful language model. This model offers a unique approach to natural language processing tasks.  


Here are some tips for mastering the basics and utilizing its full potential:  

  • Install XLNet: Begin by installing the required Python packages. You can use the Transformers library developed by Hugging Face. It provides a simple API for interacting with various transformer models, including XLNet.  
  • Load XLNet: Import the XLNet model into your Python script after installation.  
  • Tokenization: It helps break down the text into smaller units or tokens.  
  • Input Formatting: XLNet models expect input in a specific format. It would help if you converted your tokenized text into tensors that we can feed into the model.  
  • Load and use the XLNet Model: Load the pre-trained XLNet model using the XLNetModel class. It passes your input tensor to get the model's output.  
  • Accessing Outputs: The model outputs a tuple containing various elements. The first element, outputs [0], represents the last hidden state of the XLNet model. You can use this for further analysis or downstream tasks.  
  • Fine-Tuning: If you want to fine-tune XLNet on a specific task, such as text classification. You can build a task-specific model on top of the XLNet base model and train it on your labeled data.  
  • GPU Acceleration: To leverage GPU acceleration for faster inference. To do this, ensure you have a compatible GPU and the required CUDA drivers installed.  
  • Experiment with Hyperparameters: Experiment with different values. It helps with batch size, learning rate, and number of attention heads. We can do it by finding the optimal configuration for your specific task.  
  • Model Optimization: You can optimize the performance and memory footprint of XLNet models. We can do it using model quantization, distillation, or pruning techniques.  


XLNet operates on textual data and can perform tasks. It includes text classification, sentiment analysis, and question answering.  


We can categorize the data processed by XLNet into the following types:  

  • Text files: XLNet can process plain text files containing unstructured text data. These files have a .txt extension; we can read them using Python's file I/O operations.  
  • CSV files: CSV files are a popular format for storing structured data, including text. CSV files often contain more columns we can use as labels or features for NLP tasks.  
  • Databases: XLNet can process data stored in databases. It includes SQL-based relational databases or NoSQL databases. Python provides libraries like SQLAlchemy and psycopg2 for interacting with databases.  
  • Web scraping: XLNet can process data obtained through web scraping. We can do it where it can extract text from websites, blogs, forums, or any other online sources. Python offers powerful libraries like BeautifulSoup or Scrapy for web scraping. XLNet can use the extracted text data for analysis, classification, or other NLP tasks.  
  • APIs and web services: XLNet can process data from APIs and web services. These services may provide textual data through endpoints or responses in JSON format.  
  • Social media data: XLNet can handle text data from social media platforms. It includes Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Python libraries like Tweepy or Facebook Graph API enable accessing social media data.  
  • Preprocessed datasets: XLNet can process preprocessed datasets prepared for NLP tasks. These datasets are usually available in JSON and XML formats like spaCy or NLTK.  

In Conclusion, XLNet is a powerful tool for data analysis and scripting in Python. This is due to the unique aspects that set it apart from other models.  


Here are some key features of XLNet Python that make it an exceptional choice:  

  • Transformer architecture  
  • Autoregressive language modeling  
  • Permutation-based training  
  • No order biases  
  • Fine-tuning capabilities  
  • Multilingual support  
  • Various applications