The explosive growth of language models and their applications have led to an increased demand for efficient and scalable methods. In this paper, we introduce Flan-MoE, a set of Instruction-Finetuned Sparse Mixture-of-Expert (MoE) models. We show that naively finetuning MoE models on a task-specific dataset (in other words, no instruction-finetuning) often yield worse performance compared to dense models of the same computational complexity. However, our Flan-MoE outperforms dense models under multiple experiment settings: instruction-finetuning only and instruction-finetuning followed by task-specific finetuning. This shows that instruction-finetuning is an essential stage for MoE models. Specifically, our largest model, Flan-MoE-32B, surpasses the performance of Flan-PaLM-62B on four benchmarks, while utilizing only one-third of the FLOPs. The success of Flan-MoE encourages rethinking the design of large-scale, high-performance language models, under the setting of task-agnostic learning.
Pretrained multilingual large language models have typically used heuristic temperature-based sampling to balance between different languages. However previous work has not systematically evaluated the efficacy of different pretraining language distributions across model scales. In this paper, we propose a new sampling method, UniMax, that delivers more uniform coverage of head languages while mitigating overfitting on tail languages by explicitly capping the number of repeats over each language's corpus. We perform an extensive series of ablations testing a range of sampling strategies on a suite of multilingual benchmarks, while varying model scale. We find that UniMax outperforms standard temperature-based sampling, and the benefits persist as scale increases. As part of our contribution, we release: (i) an improved and refreshed mC4 multilingual corpus consisting of 29 trillion characters across 107 languages, and (ii) a suite of pretrained umT5 model checkpoints trained with UniMax sampling.
We study the design decisions of publicly available instruction tuning methods, and break down the development of Flan 2022 (Chung et al., 2022). Through careful ablation studies on the Flan Collection of tasks and methods, we tease apart the effect of design decisions which enable Flan-T5 to outperform prior work by 3-17%+ across evaluation settings. We find task balancing and enrichment techniques are overlooked but critical to effective instruction tuning, and in particular, training with mixed prompt settings (zero-shot, few-shot, and chain-of-thought) actually yields stronger (2%+) performance in all settings. In further experiments, we show Flan-T5 requires less finetuning to converge higher and faster than T5 on single downstream tasks, motivating instruction-tuned models as more computationally-efficient starting checkpoints for new tasks. Finally, to accelerate research on instruction tuning, we make the Flan 2022 collection of datasets, templates, and methods publicly available at https://github.com/google-research/FLAN/tree/main/flan/v2.
Large language models (LLMs) have demonstrated impressive capabilities in natural language understanding and generation, but the quality bar for medical and clinical applications is high. Today, attempts to assess models' clinical knowledge typically rely on automated evaluations on limited benchmarks. There is no standard to evaluate model predictions and reasoning across a breadth of tasks. To address this, we present MultiMedQA, a benchmark combining six existing open question answering datasets spanning professional medical exams, research, and consumer queries; and HealthSearchQA, a new free-response dataset of medical questions searched online. We propose a framework for human evaluation of model answers along multiple axes including factuality, precision, possible harm, and bias. In addition, we evaluate PaLM (a 540-billion parameter LLM) and its instruction-tuned variant, Flan-PaLM, on MultiMedQA. Using a combination of prompting strategies, Flan-PaLM achieves state-of-the-art accuracy on every MultiMedQA multiple-choice dataset (MedQA, MedMCQA, PubMedQA, MMLU clinical topics), including 67.6% accuracy on MedQA (US Medical License Exam questions), surpassing prior state-of-the-art by over 17%. However, human evaluation reveals key gaps in Flan-PaLM responses. To resolve this we introduce instruction prompt tuning, a parameter-efficient approach for aligning LLMs to new domains using a few exemplars. The resulting model, Med-PaLM, performs encouragingly, but remains inferior to clinicians. We show that comprehension, recall of knowledge, and medical reasoning improve with model scale and instruction prompt tuning, suggesting the potential utility of LLMs in medicine. Our human evaluations reveal important limitations of today's models, reinforcing the importance of both evaluation frameworks and method development in creating safe, helpful LLM models for clinical applications.
Large language models (LLMs) have been shown to be able to perform new tasks based on a few demonstrations or natural language instructions. While these capabilities have led to widespread adoption, most LLMs are developed by resource-rich organizations and are frequently kept from the public. As a step towards democratizing this powerful technology, we present BLOOM, a 176B-parameter open-access language model designed and built thanks to a collaboration of hundreds of researchers. BLOOM is a decoder-only Transformer language model that was trained on the ROOTS corpus, a dataset comprising hundreds of sources in 46 natural and 13 programming languages (59 in total). We find that BLOOM achieves competitive performance on a wide variety of benchmarks, with stronger results after undergoing multitask prompted finetuning. To facilitate future research and applications using LLMs, we publicly release our models and code under the Responsible AI License.
Finetuning language models on a collection of datasets phrased as instructions has been shown to improve model performance and generalization to unseen tasks. In this paper we explore instruction finetuning with a particular focus on (1) scaling the number of tasks, (2) scaling the model size, and (3) finetuning on chain-of-thought data. We find that instruction finetuning with the above aspects dramatically improves performance on a variety of model classes (PaLM, T5, U-PaLM), prompting setups (zero-shot, few-shot, CoT), and evaluation benchmarks (MMLU, BBH, TyDiQA, MGSM, open-ended generation). For instance, Flan-PaLM 540B instruction-finetuned on 1.8K tasks outperforms PALM 540B by a large margin (+9.4% on average). Flan-PaLM 540B achieves state-of-the-art performance on several benchmarks, such as 75.2% on five-shot MMLU. We also publicly release Flan-T5 checkpoints, which achieve strong few-shot performance even compared to much larger models, such as PaLM 62B. Overall, instruction finetuning is a general method for improving the performance and usability of pretrained language models.
Scaling language models improves performance but comes with significant computational costs. This paper proposes UL2R, a method that substantially improves existing language models and their scaling curves with a relatively tiny amount of extra compute. The key idea is to continue training a state-of-the-art large language model (e.g., PaLM) on a few more steps with UL2's mixture-of-denoiser objective. We show that, with almost negligible extra computational costs and no new sources of data, we are able to substantially improve the scaling properties of large language models on downstream metrics. In this paper, we continue training PaLM with UL2R, introducing a new set of models at 8B, 62B, and 540B scale which we call U-PaLM. Impressively, at 540B scale, we show an approximately 2x computational savings rate where U-PaLM achieves the same performance as the final PaLM 540B model at around half its computational budget (i.e., saving $\sim$4.4 million TPUv4 hours). We further show that this improved scaling curve leads to 'emergent abilities' on challenging BIG-Bench tasks -- for instance, U-PaLM does much better than PaLM on some tasks or demonstrates better quality at much smaller scale (62B as opposed to 540B). Overall, we show that U-PaLM outperforms PaLM on many few-shot setups, i.e., English NLP tasks (e.g., commonsense reasoning, question answering), reasoning tasks with chain-of-thought (e.g., GSM8K), multilingual tasks (MGSM, TydiQA), MMLU and challenging BIG-Bench tasks. Finally, we provide qualitative examples showing the new capabilities of U-PaLM for single and multi-span infilling.
BIG-Bench (Srivastava et al., 2022) is a diverse evaluation suite that focuses on tasks believed to be beyond the capabilities of current language models. Language models have already made good progress on this benchmark, with the best model in the BIG-Bench paper outperforming average reported human-rater results on 65% of the BIG-Bench tasks via few-shot prompting. But on what tasks do language models fall short of average human-rater performance, and are those tasks actually unsolvable by current language models? In this work, we focus on a suite of 23 challenging BIG-Bench tasks which we call BIG-Bench Hard (BBH). These are the task for which prior language model evaluations did not outperform the average human-rater. We find that applying chain-of-thought (CoT) prompting to BBH tasks enables PaLM to surpass the average human-rater performance on 10 of the 23 tasks, and Codex (code-davinci-002) to surpass the average human-rater performance on 17 of the 23 tasks. Since many tasks in BBH require multi-step reasoning, few-shot prompting without CoT, as done in the BIG-Bench evaluations (Srivastava et al., 2022), substantially underestimates the best performance and capabilities of language models, which is better captured via CoT prompting. As further analysis, we explore the interaction between CoT and model scale on BBH, finding that CoT enables emergent task performance on several BBH tasks with otherwise flat scaling curves.
We evaluate the reasoning abilities of large language models in multilingual settings. We introduce the Multilingual Grade School Math (MGSM) benchmark, by manually translating 250 grade-school math problems from the GSM8K dataset (Cobbe et al., 2021) into ten typologically diverse languages. We find that the ability to solve MGSM problems via chain-of-thought prompting emerges with increasing model scale, and that models have strikingly strong multilingual reasoning abilities, even in underrepresented languages such as Bengali and Swahili. Finally, we show that the multilingual reasoning abilities of language models extend to other tasks such as commonsense reasoning and word-in-context semantic judgment. The MGSM benchmark is publicly available at https://github.com/google-research/url-nlp.