Language models (LMs) have become ubiquitous in both NLP research and in commercial product offerings. As their commercial importance has surged, the most powerful models have become closed off, gated behind proprietary interfaces, with important details of their training data, architectures, and development undisclosed. Given the importance of these details in scientifically studying these models, including their biases and potential risks, we believe it is essential for the research community to have access to powerful, truly open LMs. To this end, this technical report details the first release of OLMo, a state-of-the-art, truly Open Language Model and its framework to build and study the science of language modeling. Unlike most prior efforts that have only released model weights and inference code, we release OLMo and the whole framework, including training data and training and evaluation code. We hope this release will empower and strengthen the open research community and inspire a new wave of innovation.
Language models have become a critical technology to tackling a wide range of natural language processing tasks, yet many details about how the best-performing language models were developed are not reported. In particular, information about their pretraining corpora is seldom discussed: commercial language models rarely provide any information about their data; even open models rarely release datasets they are trained on, or an exact recipe to reproduce them. As a result, it is challenging to conduct certain threads of language modeling research, such as understanding how training data impacts model capabilities and shapes their limitations. To facilitate open research on language model pretraining, we release Dolma, a three trillion tokens English corpus, built from a diverse mixture of web content, scientific papers, code, public-domain books, social media, and encyclopedic materials. In addition, we open source our data curation toolkit to enable further experimentation and reproduction of our work. In this report, we document Dolma, including its design principles, details about its construction, and a summary of its contents. We interleave this report with analyses and experimental results from training language models on intermediate states of Dolma to share what we have learned about important data curation practices, including the role of content or quality filters, deduplication, and multi-source mixing. Dolma has been used to train OLMo, a state-of-the-art, open language model and framework designed to build and study the science of language modeling.
Large language models' (LLMs) abilities are drawn from their pretraining data, and model development begins with data curation. However, decisions around what data is retained or removed during this initial stage is under-scrutinized. In our work, we ground web text, which is a popular pretraining data source, to its social and geographic contexts. We create a new dataset of 10.3 million self-descriptions of website creators, and extract information about who they are and where they are from: their topical interests, social roles, and geographic affiliations. Then, we conduct the first study investigating how ten "quality" and English language identification (langID) filters affect webpages that vary along these social dimensions. Our experiments illuminate a range of implicit preferences in data curation: we show that some quality classifiers act like topical domain filters, and langID can overlook English content from some regions of the world. Overall, we hope that our work will encourage a new line of research on pretraining data curation practices and its social implications.
Large Language Models (LLMs) trained with self-supervision on vast corpora of web text fit to the social biases of that text. Without intervention, these social biases persist in the model's predictions in downstream tasks, leading to representational harm. Many strategies have been proposed to mitigate the effects of inappropriate social biases learned during pretraining. Simultaneously, methods for model compression have become increasingly popular to reduce the computational burden of LLMs. Despite the popularity and need for both approaches, little work has been done to explore the interplay between these two. We perform a carefully controlled study of the impact of model compression via quantization and knowledge distillation on measures of social bias in LLMs. Longer pretraining and larger models led to higher social bias, and quantization showed a regularizer effect with its best trade-off around 20% of the original pretraining time.
Recent years have seen a surge in the popularity of commercial AI products based on generative, multi-purpose AI systems promising a unified approach to building machine learning (ML) models into technology. However, this ambition of "generality" comes at a steep cost to the environment, given the amount of energy these systems require and the amount of carbon that they emit. In this work, we propose the first systematic comparison of the ongoing inference cost of various categories of ML systems, covering both task-specific (i.e. finetuned models that carry out a single task) and `general-purpose' models, (i.e. those trained for multiple tasks). We measure deployment cost as the amount of energy and carbon required to perform 1,000 inferences on representative benchmark dataset using these models. We find that multi-purpose, generative architectures are orders of magnitude more expensive than task-specific systems for a variety of tasks, even when controlling for the number of model parameters. We conclude with a discussion around the current trend of deploying multi-purpose generative ML systems, and caution that their utility should be more intentionally weighed against increased costs in terms of energy and emissions. All the data from our study can be accessed via an interactive demo to carry out further exploration and analysis.
Despite the popularity of the `pre-train then fine-tune' paradigm in the NLP community, existing work quantifying energy costs and associated carbon emissions has largely focused on language model pre-training. Although a single pre-training run draws substantially more energy than fine-tuning, fine-tuning is performed more frequently by many more individual actors, and thus must be accounted for when considering the energy and carbon footprint of NLP. In order to better characterize the role of fine-tuning in the landscape of energy and carbon emissions in NLP, we perform a careful empirical study of the computational costs of fine-tuning across tasks, datasets, hardware infrastructure and measurement modalities. Our experimental results allow us to place fine-tuning energy and carbon costs into perspective with respect to pre-training and inference, and outline recommendations to NLP researchers and practitioners who wish to improve their fine-tuning energy efficiency.
* EMNLP 2023 Findings; First two authors contributed equally; 12 pages
Despite its flexibility to learn diverse inductive biases in machine learning programs, meta learning (i.e., learning to learn) has long been recognized to suffer from poor scalability due to its tremendous compute/memory costs, training instability, and a lack of efficient distributed training support. In this work, we focus on making scalable meta learning practical by introducing SAMA, which combines advances in both implicit differentiation algorithms and systems. Specifically, SAMA is designed to flexibly support a broad range of adaptive optimizers in the base level of meta learning programs, while reducing computational burden by avoiding explicit computation of second-order gradient information, and exploiting efficient distributed training techniques implemented for first-order gradients. Evaluated on multiple large-scale meta learning benchmarks, SAMA showcases up to 1.7/4.8x increase in throughput and 2.0/3.8x decrease in memory consumption respectively on single-/multi-GPU setups compared to other baseline meta learning algorithms. Furthermore, we show that SAMA-based data optimization leads to consistent improvements in text classification accuracy with BERT and RoBERTa large language models, and achieves state-of-the-art results in both small- and large-scale data pruning on image classification tasks, demonstrating the practical applicability of scalable meta learning across language and vision domains.
NLP is in a period of disruptive change that is impacting our methodologies, funding sources, and public perception. In this work, we seek to understand how to shape our future by better understanding our past. We study factors that shape NLP as a field, including culture, incentives, and infrastructure by conducting long-form interviews with 26 NLP researchers of varying seniority, research area, institution, and social identity. Our interviewees identify cyclical patterns in the field, as well as new shifts without historical parallel, including changes in benchmark culture and software infrastructure. We complement this discussion with quantitative analysis of citation, authorship, and language use in the ACL Anthology over time. We conclude by discussing shared visions, concerns, and hopes for the future of NLP. We hope that this study of our field's past and present can prompt informed discussion of our community's implicit norms and more deliberate action to consciously shape the future.