Loading Pre-Trained Adapters

Finding pre-trained adapters

AdapterHub.ml provides a central collection of all pre-trained adapters uploaded via our Hub repository or Hugging Face’s Model Hub. You can easily find pre-trained adapters for your task of interest along with all relevant information and code snippets to get started (also see below).

Alternatively, list_adapters() provides a programmatical way of accessing all available pre-trained adapters. This will return an AdapterInfo object for each retrieved adapter. E.g., we can use it to retrieve information for all adapters trained for a specific model:

from adapters import list_adapters

# source can be "ah" (AdapterHub), "hf" (huggingface.co) or None (for both, default)
adapter_infos = list_adapters(source="ah", model_name="bert-base-uncased")

for adapter_info in adapter_infos:
    print("Id:", adapter_info.adapter_id)
    print("Model name:", adapter_info.model_name)
    print("Uploaded by:", adapter_info.username)

In case the adapter ID is known, information for a single adapter can also be retrieved via get_adapter_info():

adapter_info = get_adapter_info("@ukp/bert-base-uncased_sentiment_sst-2_pfeiffer", source="ah")

print("Id:", adapter_info.adapter_id)
print("Model name:", adapter_info.model_name)
print("Uploaded by:", adapter_info.username)

Using pre-trained adapters in your code

Suppose we have loaded a pre-trained transformer model from Hugging Face, e.g. BERT, and initialized it for adding adapters:

from transformers import BertModel
import adapters

model = BertModel.from_pretrained('bert-base-uncased')

We can now easily load a pre-trained adapter module from Adapter Hub by its identifier using the load_adapter() method:

adapter_name = model.load_adapter('sst-2')

In the minimal case, that’s everything we need to specify to load a pre-trained task adapter for sentiment analysis, trained on the sst-2 dataset using BERT base and a suitable adapter configuration. The name of the adapter is returned by load_adapter(), so we can activate it in the next step:


As the second example, let’s have a look at how to load an adapter based on the AdapterInfo returned by the list_adapters() method from above:

from adapters import AutoAdapterModel, list_available_adapters

adapter_infos = list_available_adapters(source="ah")
# Take the first adapter info as an example
adapter_info = adapter_infos[0]

model = AutoAdapterModel.from_pretrained(adapter_info.model_name)
model.load_adapter(adapter_info.adapter_id, source=adapter_info.source)

Advanced usage of load_adapter()

To examine what’s happening underneath in a bit more detail, let’s first write out the full method call with all relevant arguments explicitly stated:


We will go through the different arguments and their meaning one by one:

  • The first argument passed to the method specifies the name of the adapter we want to load from Adapter-Hub. The library will search for an available adapter module with this name that matches the model architecture as well as the adapter type and configuration we requested. As the identifier sst-2 resolves to a unique entry in the Hub, the corresponding adapter can be successfully loaded based on this information. To get an overview of all available adapter identifiers, please refer to the Adapter-Hub website. The different format options of the identifier string are further described in How adapter resolving works.

  • The config argument defines the adapter architecture the loaded adapter should have. The value of this parameter can be either a string identifier for one of the predefined architectures, the identifier of an architecture available in the Hub or a dictionary representing a full adapter configuration. Based on this information, the library will only search for pre-trained adapter modules having the same configuration.

  • Adapter modules trained on different pre-trained language models in general can not be used interchangeably. Therefore, we need to make sure to load an adapter matching the language model we are using. If possible, the library will infer the name of the pre-trained model automatically (e.g. when we use from_pretrained('identifier') to load a model from Hugging Face). However, if this is not the case, we must specify the name of the host model in the model_name parameter.

  • There could be multiple versions of the same adapter available. To load a specific version, use the version parameter.

  • By default, the load_adapter() method will add the loaded adapter using the identifier string given as the first argument. To load the adapter using a custom name, we can use the load_as parameter.

  • Finally the source parameter provides the possibility to load adapters from alternative adapter repositories. Besides the default value ah, referring to AdapterHub, it’s also possible to pass hf to load adapters from Hugging Face’s Model Hub.

How adapter resolving works

As described in the previous section, the methods for loading adapters are able to resolve the correct adapter weights based on the given identifier string, the model name and the adapter configuration. Using this information, the adapters library searches for a matching entry in the index of the Hub GitHub repo.

The identifier string used to find a matching adapter follows a format consisting of three components:

  • <task>: A generic task identifier referring to a category of similar tasked (e.g. sentiment, nli)

  • <subtask>: A dataset or domain, on which the adapter was trained (e.g. multinli, wiki)

  • <username>: The name of the user or organization that uploaded the pre-trained adapter

An example of a full identifier following this format might look like qa/squad1.1@example-org.


In many cases, you don’t have to give the full string identifier with all three components to successfully load an adapter from the Hub. You can drop the <username> you don’t care about the uploader of the adapter. Also, if the resulting identifier is still unique, you can drop the <task> or the <subtask>. So, qa/squad1.1, squad1.1 or squad1.1@example-org all may be valid identifiers.

An alternative adapter identifier format is given by:


where <filename> refers to the name of a adapter file in the Hub repo. In contrast to the previous three-component identifier, this identifier is guaranteed to be unique.