In human-written articles, we often leverage the subtleties of text style, such as bold and italics, to guide the attention of readers. These textual emphases are vital for the readers to grasp the conveyed information. When interacting with large language models (LLMs), we have a similar need - steering the model to pay closer attention to user-specified information, e.g., an instruction. Existing methods, however, are constrained to process plain text and do not support such a mechanism. This motivates us to introduce PASTA - Post-hoc Attention STeering Approach, a method that allows LLMs to read text with user-specified emphasis marks. To this end, PASTA identifies a small subset of attention heads and applies precise attention reweighting on them, directing the model attention to user-specified parts. Like prompting, PASTA is applied at inference time and does not require changing any model parameters. Experiments demonstrate that PASTA can substantially enhance an LLM's ability to follow user instructions or integrate new knowledge from user inputs, leading to a significant performance improvement on a variety of tasks, e.g., an average accuracy improvement of 22% for LLAMA-7B. Our code is publicly available at https://github.com/QingruZhang/PASTA .
Prompting language models (LMs) is the main interface for applying them to new tasks. However, for smaller LMs, prompting provides low accuracy compared to gradient-based finetuning. Tree Prompting is an approach to prompting which builds a decision tree of prompts, linking multiple LM calls together to solve a task. At inference time, each call to the LM is determined by efficiently routing the outcome of the previous call using the tree. Experiments on classification datasets show that Tree Prompting improves accuracy over competing methods and is competitive with fine-tuning. We also show that variants of Tree Prompting allow inspection of a model's decision-making process.
Extracting patient information from unstructured text is a critical task in health decision-support and clinical research. Large language models (LLMs) have shown the potential to accelerate clinical curation via few-shot in-context learning, in contrast to supervised learning which requires much more costly human annotations. However, despite drastic advances in modern LLMs such as GPT-4, they still struggle with issues regarding accuracy and interpretability, especially in mission-critical domains such as health. Here, we explore a general mitigation framework using self-verification, which leverages the LLM to provide provenance for its own extraction and check its own outputs. This is made possible by the asymmetry between verification and generation, where the latter is often much easier than the former. Experimental results show that our method consistently improves accuracy for various LLMs in standard clinical information extraction tasks. Additionally, self-verification yields interpretations in the form of a short text span corresponding to each output, which makes it very efficient for human experts to audit the results, paving the way towards trustworthy extraction of clinical information in resource-constrained scenarios. To facilitate future research in this direction, we release our code and prompts.
Large language models (LLMs) have demonstrated remarkable prediction performance for a growing array of tasks. However, their rapid proliferation and increasing opaqueness have created a growing need for interpretability. Here, we ask whether we can automatically obtain natural language explanations for black box text modules. A "text module" is any function that maps text to a scalar continuous value, such as a submodule within an LLM or a fitted model of a brain region. "Black box" indicates that we only have access to the module's inputs/outputs. We introduce Summarize and Score (SASC), a method that takes in a text module and returns a natural language explanation of the module's selectivity along with a score for how reliable the explanation is. We study SASC in 3 contexts. First, we evaluate SASC on synthetic modules and find that it often recovers ground truth explanations. Second, we use SASC to explain modules found within a pre-trained BERT model, enabling inspection of the model's internals. Finally, we show that SASC can generate explanations for the response of individual fMRI voxels to language stimuli, with potential applications to fine-grained brain mapping. All code for using SASC and reproducing results is made available on Github.
Large language models (LLMs) have displayed an impressive ability to harness natural language to perform complex tasks. In this work, we explore whether we can leverage this learned ability to find and explain patterns in data. Specifically, given a pre-trained LLM and data examples, we introduce interpretable autoprompting (iPrompt), an algorithm that generates a natural-language string explaining the data. iPrompt iteratively alternates between generating explanations with an LLM and reranking them based on their performance when used as a prompt. Experiments on a wide range of datasets, from synthetic mathematics to natural-language understanding, show that iPrompt can yield meaningful insights by accurately finding groundtruth dataset descriptions. Moreover, the prompts produced by iPrompt are simultaneously human-interpretable and highly effective for generalization: on real-world sentiment classification datasets, iPrompt produces prompts that match or even improve upon human-written prompts for GPT-3. Finally, experiments with an fMRI dataset show the potential for iPrompt to aid in scientific discovery. All code for using the methods and data here is made available on Github.
Deep learning models have achieved impressive prediction performance but often sacrifice interpretability, a critical consideration in high-stakes domains such as healthcare or policymaking. In contrast, generalized additive models (GAMs) can maintain interpretability but often suffer from poor prediction performance due to their inability to effectively capture feature interactions. In this work, we aim to bridge this gap by using pre-trained neural language models to extract embeddings for each input before learning a linear model in the embedding space. The final model (which we call Emb-GAM) is a transparent, linear function of its input features and feature interactions. Leveraging the language model allows Emb-GAM to learn far fewer linear coefficients, model larger interactions, and generalize well to novel inputs (e.g. unseen ngrams in text). Across a variety of natural-language-processing datasets, Emb-GAM achieves strong prediction performance without sacrificing interpretability. All code is made available on Github.
The convolutional layers of standard convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are equivariant to translation. However, the convolution and fully-connected layers are not equivariant or invariant to other affine geometric transformations. Recently, a new class of CNNs is proposed in which the conventional layers of CNNs are replaced with equivariant convolution, pooling, and batch-normalization layers. The final classification layer in equivariant neural networks is invariant to different affine geometric transformations such as rotation, reflection and translation, and the scalar value is obtained by either eliminating the spatial dimensions of filter responses using convolution and down-sampling throughout the network or average is taken over the filter responses. In this work, we propose to integrate the orthogonal moments which gives the high-order statistics of the function as an effective means for encoding global invariance with respect to rotation, reflection and translation in fully-connected layers. As a result, the intermediate layers of the network become equivariant while the classification layer becomes invariant. The most widely used Zernike, pseudo-Zernike and orthogonal Fourier-Mellin moments are considered for this purpose. The effectiveness of the proposed work is evaluated by integrating the invariant transition and fully-connected layer in the architecture of group-equivariant CNNs (G-CNNs) on rotated MNIST and CIFAR10 datasets.
Language models demonstrate both quantitative improvement and new qualitative capabilities with increasing scale. Despite their potentially transformative impact, these new capabilities are as yet poorly characterized. In order to inform future research, prepare for disruptive new model capabilities, and ameliorate socially harmful effects, it is vital that we understand the present and near-future capabilities and limitations of language models. To address this challenge, we introduce the Beyond the Imitation Game benchmark (BIG-bench). BIG-bench currently consists of 204 tasks, contributed by 442 authors across 132 institutions. Task topics are diverse, drawing problems from linguistics, childhood development, math, common-sense reasoning, biology, physics, social bias, software development, and beyond. BIG-bench focuses on tasks that are believed to be beyond the capabilities of current language models. We evaluate the behavior of OpenAI's GPT models, Google-internal dense transformer architectures, and Switch-style sparse transformers on BIG-bench, across model sizes spanning millions to hundreds of billions of parameters. In addition, a team of human expert raters performed all tasks in order to provide a strong baseline. Findings include: model performance and calibration both improve with scale, but are poor in absolute terms (and when compared with rater performance); performance is remarkably similar across model classes, though with benefits from sparsity; tasks that improve gradually and predictably commonly involve a large knowledge or memorization component, whereas tasks that exhibit "breakthrough" behavior at a critical scale often involve multiple steps or components, or brittle metrics; social bias typically increases with scale in settings with ambiguous context, but this can be improved with prompting.
Machine learning in high-stakes domains, such as healthcare, faces two critical challenges: (1) generalizing to diverse data distributions given limited training data while (2) maintaining interpretability. To address these challenges, we propose an instance-weighted tree-sum method that effectively pools data across diverse groups to output a concise, rule-based model. Given distinct groups of instances in a dataset (e.g., medical patients grouped by age or treatment site), our method first estimates group membership probabilities for each instance. Then, it uses these estimates as instance weights in FIGS (Tan et al. 2022), to grow a set of decision trees whose values sum to the final prediction. We call this new method Group Probability-Weighted Tree Sums (G-FIGS). G-FIGS achieves state-of-the-art prediction performance on important clinical datasets; e.g., holding the level of sensitivity fixed at 92%, G-FIGS increases specificity for identifying cervical spine injury by up to 10% over CART and up to 3% over FIGS alone, with larger gains at higher sensitivity levels. By keeping the total number of rules below 16 in FIGS, the final models remain interpretable, and we find that their rules match medical domain expertise. All code, data, and models are released on Github.