In BERT, multiple words in a single sentence can be masked at once. Does the model infer all of those words at once or iterate over them in either left to right or some other order?

For example:

The dog walked in the park.

Can be masked as

The [mask] walked in [mask] park.

In what order (if any) are these tokens predicted?

If you have any further reading on the topic, I'd appreciate it as well.


1 Answer 1


All the tokens are inferred at once, independently from one another.

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting... Thank you for the quick answer! $\endgroup$ Dec 31, 2020 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ Please consider upvoting the answer and marking it as correct. $\endgroup$
    – noe
    Dec 31, 2020 at 22:38
  • $\begingroup$ By the way, a nice read on BERT is this post. $\endgroup$
    – noe
    Jan 1, 2021 at 23:33

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