Why does the median cross entropy loss change when I change the random seed?

I’ve noticed that, when I use the pre-trained GPT2DoubleHeadsModel to process multiple choice questions, the median of the cross entropy loss generated for the same set of multiple choice questions change when I change the type of my random seed (NOTE: I changed my random seed before loading the pre-trained BTP GPT-2 tokenizer and loading the pre-trained GPT2DoubleHeadsModel … I also did my_gpt2_model.eval() before evaluating the loss to prevent dropout).

Why does this occur? I thought the parameters of both the pre-trained model and the tokenizer are fixed, so to me, the cross entropy loss should be the same regardless of the type of random seed?

For more information, below are my code:

# for our main experiment, we use G1G2, G4G5, G7G8, G10G12 files   
def fill_MC_loss_tensor( ...):
    for m in range(num_mc_questions):
        # make an empty list to store the mc_loss
        mc_loss_list = []
        # Turn on the evaluation mode
        # for each layer j = 1,...,12, extract the hidden states at the layer j
        input_hidden_state = best_model_gpt2DoubleHeadsModel(input_ids, 
                       token_type_ids = token_type_ids, 
                       attention_mask = attention_mask)[3][0][:,:,:].detach()            
        for j in range(nlayer):
            # Turn on the evaluation mode
            layer_hidden_state = 
            # feed the hidden states from each layer directly into the multiple-choice head
            mc_logits = 
            del layer_hidden_state
            # define the loss function
            loss_fct = CrossEntropyLoss()
            # calculate the mc_loss
            mc_loss = loss_fct(mc_logits.view(-1, mc_logits.size(-1)), 
            # store the mc_loss in a list
            mc_loss_list = mc_loss_list + [mc_loss.tolist()]
            del mc_logits

        mc_loss_tensor[m,:] = torch.tensor(mc_loss_list)
    return mc_loss_tensor

# main function for analysis
def main_function(...):
    # set initial seed
    num_iter = 200

    # define mc_loss_tensor_num_iter
    mc_loss_tensor_num_iter = torch.zeros(num_iter, int(num_mc_questions), 
    mc_loss_tensor_num_iter[mc_loss_tensor_num_iter == 0] = nan
    for i in range(num_iter):
        # change seed at each iteration
        s = randint(1,999999)
        # import the pre-trained HuggingFace GPT2Tokenizer
        gpt2_tokenizer = GPT2Tokenizer.from_pretrained('gpt2')

        # make a dictionary of special tokens
        special_tokens_dict = {'pad_token': '<pad>'}

        # add the special tokens to the tokenizer
        assert gpt2_tokenizer.pad_token == '<pad>'

        # get the encoding for the special tokens
        pub2_pad_token_id = gpt2_tokenizer.convert_tokens_to_ids('<pad>')
        pub2_eos_token_id = gpt2_tokenizer.convert_tokens_to_ids(gpt2_tokenizer.eos_token)

        # sanity check
        len(gpt2_tokenizer) # note: original size of the tokenizer is 50257 + <pad> = 50258

        # get the pre-trained HuggingFace GPT2DoubleHeadsModel and 
        # resize the token embeddings after adding the special token
        best_model_gpt2DoubleHeadsModel = GPT2DoubleHeadsModel.from_pretrained('gpt2', 
                                               output_hidden_states = True)
        # make an empty tensor to store mc loss
        mc_loss_tensor = torch.zeros(num_mc_questions, nlayer).float()
        mc_loss_tensor[mc_loss_tensor == 0] = nan

        mc_loss_tensor = fill_MC_loss_tensor(...)
        if torch.isnan(mc_loss_tensor).any().tolist():
            sys.exit('nan found in mc_loss_tensor')
        mc_loss_tensor_num_iter[i,:,:] = mc_loss_tensor

    return mc_loss_tensor_num_iter

# for each of the 200 iteration, the computed median
# (median over all questions)
# cross entropy loss are different,
# for the same layer. 
>>> main_function(...)

Thank you,

How do you set your seed? There’s a few things that you should set to a fixed value to be sure. I always use the following, which has worked consistently.

    def set_seed(seed: Optional[int]):
        """ Set all seeds to make results reproducible (deterministic mode).
             When seed is None, disables deterministic mode. """
        if seed is not None:
            torch.backends.cudnn.deterministic = True
            torch.backends.cudnn.benchmark = False
            os.environ['PYTHONHASHSEED'] = str(seed)

But even then, I don’th think variance is to be expected in inference mode. Not sure what is happening here.

referring the docs I think the second classification head is randomly initialised, which could be the reason for this. pinging @patrickvonplaten .

I confirm that the (second) classification head is randomly initialized (should be visible as a warning in the logs when you initialize the model)

In that case, setting the seed as I propose should give you deterministic results across different runs.