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Minjoon Seo

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Back to Basics: A Simple Recipe for Improving Out-of-Domain Retrieval in Dense Encoders

Nov 16, 2023
Hyunji Lee, Luca Soldaini, Arman Cohan, Minjoon Seo, Kyle Lo

Prevailing research practice today often relies on training dense retrievers on existing large datasets such as MSMARCO and then experimenting with ways to improve zero-shot generalization capabilities to unseen domains. While prior work has tackled this challenge through resource-intensive steps such as data augmentation, architectural modifications, increasing model size, or even further base model pretraining, comparatively little investigation has examined whether the training procedures themselves can be improved to yield better generalization capabilities in the resulting models. In this work, we recommend a simple recipe for training dense encoders: Train on MSMARCO with parameter-efficient methods, such as LoRA, and opt for using in-batch negatives unless given well-constructed hard negatives. We validate these recommendations using the BEIR benchmark and find results are persistent across choice of dense encoder and base model size and are complementary to other resource-intensive strategies for out-of-domain generalization such as architectural modifications or additional pretraining. We hope that this thorough and impartial study around various training techniques, which augments other resource-intensive methods, offers practical insights for developing a dense retrieval model that effectively generalizes, even when trained on a single dataset.

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KTRL+F: Knowledge-Augmented In-Document Search

Nov 16, 2023
Hanseok Oh, Haebin Shin, Miyoung Ko, Hyunji Lee, Minjoon Seo

We introduce a new problem KTRL+F, a knowledge-augmented in-document search task that necessitates real-time identification of all semantic targets within a document with the awareness of external sources through a single natural query. This task addresses following unique challenges for in-document search: 1) utilizing knowledge outside the document for extended use of additional information about targets to bridge the semantic gap between the query and the targets, and 2) balancing between real-time applicability with the performance. We analyze various baselines in KTRL+F and find there are limitations of existing models, such as hallucinations, low latency, or difficulties in leveraging external knowledge. Therefore we propose a Knowledge-Augmented Phrase Retrieval model that shows a promising balance between speed and performance by simply augmenting external knowledge embedding in phrase embedding. Additionally, we conduct a user study to verify whether solving KTRL+F can enhance search experience of users. It demonstrates that even with our simple model users can reduce the time for searching with less queries and reduced extra visits to other sources for collecting evidence. We encourage the research community to work on KTRL+F to enhance more efficient in-document information access.

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How Well Do Large Language Models Truly Ground?

Nov 15, 2023
Hyunji Lee, Sejune Joo, Chaeeun Kim, Joel Jang, Doyoung Kim, Kyoung-Woon On, Minjoon Seo

Reliance on the inherent knowledge of Large Language Models (LLMs) can cause issues such as hallucinations, lack of control, and difficulties in integrating variable knowledge. To mitigate this, LLMs can be probed to generate responses by grounding on external context, often given as input (knowledge-augmented models). Yet, previous research is often confined to a narrow view of the term "grounding", often only focusing on whether the response contains the correct answer or not, which does not ensure the reliability of the entire response. To address this limitation, we introduce a strict definition of grounding: a model is considered truly grounded when its responses (1) fully utilize necessary knowledge from the provided context, and (2) don't exceed the knowledge within the contexts. We introduce a new dataset and a grounding metric to assess this new definition and perform experiments across 13 LLMs of different sizes and training methods to provide insights into the factors that influence grounding performance. Our findings contribute to a better understanding of how to improve grounding capabilities and suggest an area of improvement toward more reliable and controllable LLM applications.

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Volcano: Mitigating Multimodal Hallucination through Self-Feedback Guided Revision

Nov 14, 2023
Seongyun Lee, Sue Hyun Park, Yongrae Jo, Minjoon Seo

Large multimodal models (LMMs) suffer from multimodal hallucination, where they provide incorrect responses misaligned with the given visual information. Recent works have conjectured that one of the reasons behind multimodal hallucination might be due to the vision encoder failing to ground on the image properly. To mitigate this issue, we propose a novel approach that leverages self-feedback as visual cues. Building on this approach, we introduce Volcano, a multimodal self-feedback guided revision model. Volcano generates natural language feedback to its initial response based on the provided visual information and utilizes this feedback to self-revise its initial response. Volcano effectively reduces multimodal hallucination and achieves state-of-the-art on MMHal-Bench, POPE, and GAVIE. It also improves on general multimodal abilities and outperforms previous models on MM-Vet and MMBench. Through a qualitative analysis, we show that Volcano's feedback is properly grounded on the image than the initial response. This indicates that Volcano can provide itself with richer visual information, helping alleviate multimodal hallucination. We publicly release Volcano models of 7B and 13B sizes along with the data and code at

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Prometheus: Inducing Fine-grained Evaluation Capability in Language Models

Oct 12, 2023
Seungone Kim, Jamin Shin, Yejin Cho, Joel Jang, Shayne Longpre, Hwaran Lee, Sangdoo Yun, Seongjin Shin, Sungdong Kim, James Thorne, Minjoon Seo

Recently, using a powerful proprietary Large Language Model (LLM) (e.g., GPT-4) as an evaluator for long-form responses has become the de facto standard. However, for practitioners with large-scale evaluation tasks and custom criteria in consideration (e.g., child-readability), using proprietary LLMs as an evaluator is unreliable due to the closed-source nature, uncontrolled versioning, and prohibitive costs. In this work, we propose Prometheus, a fully open-source LLM that is on par with GPT-4's evaluation capabilities when the appropriate reference materials (reference answer, score rubric) are accompanied. We first construct the Feedback Collection, a new dataset that consists of 1K fine-grained score rubrics, 20K instructions, and 100K responses and language feedback generated by GPT-4. Using the Feedback Collection, we train Prometheus, a 13B evaluator LLM that can assess any given long-form text based on customized score rubric provided by the user. Experimental results show that Prometheus scores a Pearson correlation of 0.897 with human evaluators when evaluating with 45 customized score rubrics, which is on par with GPT-4 (0.882), and greatly outperforms ChatGPT (0.392). Furthermore, measuring correlation with GPT-4 with 1222 customized score rubrics across four benchmarks (MT Bench, Vicuna Bench, Feedback Bench, Flask Eval) shows similar trends, bolstering Prometheus's capability as an evaluator LLM. Lastly, Prometheus achieves the highest accuracy on two human preference benchmarks (HHH Alignment & MT Bench Human Judgment) compared to open-sourced reward models explicitly trained on human preference datasets, highlighting its potential as an universal reward model. We open-source our code, dataset, and model at

* Work in Progress 
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FLASK: Fine-grained Language Model Evaluation based on Alignment Skill Sets

Jul 20, 2023
Seonghyeon Ye, Doyoung Kim, Sungdong Kim, Hyeonbin Hwang, Seungone Kim, Yongrae Jo, James Thorne, Juho Kim, Minjoon Seo

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Evaluation of Large Language Models (LLMs) is challenging because aligning to human values requires the composition of multiple skills and the required set of skills varies depending on the instruction. Recent studies have evaluated the performance of LLMs in two ways, (1) automatic evaluation on several independent benchmarks and (2) human or machined-based evaluation giving an overall score to the response. However, both settings are coarse-grained evaluations, not considering the nature of user instructions that require instance-wise skill composition, which limits the interpretation of the true capabilities of LLMs. In this paper, we introduce FLASK (Fine-grained Language Model Evaluation based on Alignment SKill Sets), a fine-grained evaluation protocol that can be used for both model-based and human-based evaluation which decomposes coarse-level scoring to an instance-wise skill set-level. Specifically, we define 12 fine-grained skills needed for LLMs to follow open-ended user instructions and construct an evaluation set by allocating a set of skills for each instance. Additionally, by annotating the target domains and difficulty level for each instance, FLASK provides a holistic view with a comprehensive analysis of a model's performance depending on skill, domain, and difficulty. Through using FLASK, we compare multiple open-sourced and proprietary LLMs and observe highly-correlated findings between model-based and human-based evaluations. FLASK enables developers to more accurately measure the model performance and how it can be improved by analyzing factors that make LLMs proficient in particular skills. For practitioners, FLASK can be used to recommend suitable models for particular situations through comprehensive comparison among various LLMs. We release the evaluation data and code implementation at

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Zero-Shot Dense Video Captioning by Jointly Optimizing Text and Moment

Jul 11, 2023
Yongrae Jo, Seongyun Lee, Aiden SJ Lee, Hyunji Lee, Hanseok Oh, Minjoon Seo

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Dense video captioning, a task of localizing meaningful moments and generating relevant captions for videos, often requires a large, expensive corpus of annotated video segments paired with text. In an effort to minimize the annotation cost, we propose ZeroTA, a novel method for dense video captioning in a zero-shot manner. Our method does not require any videos or annotations for training; instead, it localizes and describes events within each input video at test time by optimizing solely on the input. This is accomplished by introducing a soft moment mask that represents a temporal segment in the video and jointly optimizing it with the prefix parameters of a language model. This joint optimization aligns a frozen language generation model (i.e., GPT-2) with a frozen vision-language contrastive model (i.e., CLIP) by maximizing the matching score between the generated text and a moment within the video. We also introduce a pairwise temporal IoU loss to let a set of soft moment masks capture multiple distinct events within the video. Our method effectively discovers diverse significant events within the video, with the resulting captions appropriately describing these events. The empirical results demonstrate that ZeroTA surpasses zero-shot baselines and even outperforms the state-of-the-art few-shot method on the widely-used benchmark ActivityNet Captions. Moreover, our method shows greater robustness compared to supervised methods when evaluated in out-of-domain scenarios. This research provides insight into the potential of aligning widely-used models, such as language generation models and vision-language models, to unlock a new capability: understanding temporal aspects of videos.

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Gradient Ascent Post-training Enhances Language Model Generalization

Jun 12, 2023
Dongkeun Yoon, Joel Jang, Sungdong Kim, Minjoon Seo

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In this work, we empirically show that updating pretrained LMs (350M, 1.3B, 2.7B) with just a few steps of Gradient Ascent Post-training (GAP) on random, unlabeled text corpora enhances its zero-shot generalization capabilities across diverse NLP tasks. Specifically, we show that GAP can allow LMs to become comparable to 2-3x times larger LMs across 12 different NLP tasks. We also show that applying GAP on out-of-distribution corpora leads to the most reliable performance improvements. Our findings indicate that GAP can be a promising method for improving the generalization capability of LMs without any task-specific fine-tuning.

* ACL 2023 Main Conference (Short Paper) 
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A Bayesian Perspective On Training Data Attribution

May 31, 2023
Elisa Nguyen, Minjoon Seo, Seong Joon Oh

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Training data attribution (TDA) techniques find influential training data for the model's prediction on the test data of interest. They approximate the impact of down- or up-weighting a particular training sample. While conceptually useful, they are hardly applicable in practice, particularly because of their sensitivity to different model initialisation. In this paper, we introduce a Bayesian perspective on the TDA task, where the learned model is treated as a Bayesian posterior and the TDA estimates as random variables. From this novel viewpoint, we observe that the influence of an individual training sample is often overshadowed by the noise stemming from model initialisation and SGD batch composition. Based on this observation, we argue that TDA can only be reliably used for explaining model predictions that are consistently influenced by certain training data, independent of other noise factors. Our experiments demonstrate the rarity of such noise-independent training-test data pairs but confirm their existence. We recommend that future researchers and practitioners trust TDA estimates only in such cases. Further, we find a disagreement between ground truth and estimated TDA distributions and encourage future work to study this gap. Code is provided at

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Continually Updating Generative Retrieval on Dynamic Corpora

May 27, 2023
Soyoung Yoon, Chaeeun Kim, Hyunji Lee, Joel Jang, Minjoon Seo

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Generative retrieval has recently been gaining a lot of attention from the research community for its simplicity, high performance, and the ability to fully leverage the power of deep autoregressive models. However, prior work on generative retrieval has mostly investigated on static benchmarks, while realistic retrieval applications often involve dynamic environments where knowledge is temporal and accumulated over time. In this paper, we introduce a new benchmark called STREAMINGIR, dedicated to quantifying the generalizability of retrieval methods to dynamically changing corpora derived from StreamingQA, that simulates realistic retrieval use cases. On this benchmark, we conduct an in-depth comparative evaluation of bi-encoder and generative retrieval in terms of performance as well as efficiency under varying degree of supervision. Our results suggest that generative retrieval shows (1) detrimental performance when only supervised data is used for fine-tuning, (2) superior performance over bi-encoders when only unsupervised data is available, and (3) lower performance to bi-encoders when both unsupervised and supervised data is used due to catastrophic forgetting; nevertheless, we show that parameter-efficient measures can effectively mitigate the issue and result in competitive performance and efficiency with respect to the bi-encoder baseline. Our results open up a new potential for generative retrieval in practical dynamic environments. Our work will be open-sourced.

* Work in progress 
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