Large Language Models (LLMs) have found several use cases in education, ranging from automatic question generation to essay evaluation. In this paper, we explore the potential of using Large Language Models (LLMs) to author Intelligent Tutoring Systems. A common pitfall of LLMs is their straying from desired pedagogical strategies such as leaking the answer to the student, and in general, providing no guarantees. We posit that while LLMs with certain guardrails can take the place of subject experts, the overall pedagogical design still needs to be handcrafted for the best learning results. Based on this principle, we create a sample end-to-end tutoring system named MWPTutor, which uses LLMs to fill in the state space of a pre-defined finite state transducer. This approach retains the structure and the pedagogy of traditional tutoring systems that has been developed over the years by learning scientists but brings in additional flexibility of LLM-based approaches. Through a human evaluation study on two datasets based on math word problems, we show that our hybrid approach achieves a better overall tutoring score than an instructed, but otherwise free-form, GPT-4. MWPTutor is completely modular and opens up the scope for the community to improve its performance by improving individual modules or using different teaching strategies that it can follow
There is increasing interest in employing large language models (LLMs) as cognitive models. For such purposes, it is central to understand which cognitive properties are well-modeled by LLMs, and which are not. In this work, we study the biases of LLMs in relation to those known in children when solving arithmetic word problems. Surveying the learning science literature, we posit that the problem-solving process can be split into three distinct steps: text comprehension, solution planning and solution execution. We construct tests for each one in order to understand which parts of this process can be faithfully modeled by current state-of-the-art LLMs. We generate a novel set of word problems for each of these tests, using a neuro-symbolic method that enables fine-grained control over the problem features. We find evidence that LLMs, with and without instruction-tuning, exhibit human-like biases in both the text-comprehension and the solution-planning steps of the solving process, but not during the final step which relies on the problem's arithmetic expressions (solution execution).
The ability to perform causal reasoning is widely considered a core feature of intelligence. In this work, we investigate whether large language models (LLMs) can coherently reason about causality. Much of the existing work in natural language processing (NLP) focuses on evaluating commonsense causal reasoning in LLMs, thus failing to assess whether a model can perform causal inference in accordance with a set of well-defined formal rules. To address this, we propose a new NLP task, causal inference in natural language, inspired by the "causal inference engine" postulated by Judea Pearl et al. We compose a large dataset, CLadder, with 10K samples: based on a collection of causal graphs and queries (associational, interventional, and counterfactual), we obtain symbolic questions and ground-truth answers, through an oracle causal inference engine. These are then translated into natural language. We evaluate multiple LLMs on our dataset, and we introduce and evaluate a bespoke chain-of-thought prompting strategy, CausalCoT. We show that our task is highly challenging for LLMs, and we conduct an in-depth analysis to gain deeper insight into the causal reasoning abilities of LLMs. Our data is open-sourced at https://huggingface.co/datasets/causalNLP/cladder, and our code can be found at https://github.com/causalNLP/cladder.
Large Language Models (LLMs) are notorious for blending fact with fiction and generating non-factual content, known as hallucinations. To tackle this challenge, we propose an interactive system that helps users obtain insights into the reliability of the generated text. Our approach is based on the idea that the self-consistency of multiple samples generated by the same LLM relates to its confidence in individual claims in the generated texts. Using this idea, we design RELIC, an interactive system that enables users to investigate and verify semantic-level variations in multiple long-form responses. This allows users to recognize potentially inaccurate information in the generated text and make necessary corrections. From a user study with ten participants, we demonstrate that our approach helps users better verify the reliability of the generated text. We further summarize the design implications and lessons learned from this research for inspiring future studies on reliable human-LLM interactions.
The rapid advancement of Large Language Models (LLMs) has sparked intense debate regarding their ability to perceive and interpret complex socio-political landscapes. In this study, we undertake an exploration of decision-making processes and inherent biases within LLMs, exemplified by ChatGPT, specifically contextualizing our analysis within political debates. We aim not to critique or validate LLMs' values, but rather to discern how they interpret and adjudicate "good arguments." By applying Activity Dependency Networks (ADNs), we extract the LLMs' implicit criteria for such assessments and illustrate how normative values influence these perceptions. We discuss the consequences of our findings for human-AI alignment and bias mitigation. Our code and data at https://github.com/david-jenny/LLM-Political-Study.
In recent years, Large Language Models (LLMs) have demonstrated remarkable generative abilities, but can they judge the quality of their own generations? A popular concept, referred to as self-refinement, postulates that LLMs can detect and correct the errors in their generations when asked to do so. However, recent empirical evidence points in the opposite direction, suggesting that LLMs often struggle to accurately identify errors when reasoning is involved. To address this, we propose a reasoning with refinement objective called ART: Ask, Refine, and Trust, which asks necessary questions to decide when an LLM should refine its output, and either affirm or withhold trust in its refinement by ranking the refinement and the initial prediction. On two multistep reasoning tasks of mathematical word problems (GSM8K) and question answering (StrategyQA), ART achieves a performance gain of +5 points over self-refinement baselines, while using a much smaller model as the decision maker. We also demonstrate the benefit of using smaller models to make refinement decisions as a cost-effective alternative to fine-tuning a larger model.
Evaluating the significance of a paper is pivotal yet challenging for the scientific community. While the citation count is the most commonly used proxy for this purpose, they are widely criticized for failing to accurately reflect a paper's true impact. In this work, we propose a causal inference method, TextMatch, which adapts the traditional matching framework to high-dimensional text embeddings. Specifically, we encode each paper using the text embeddings by large language models (LLMs), extract similar samples by cosine similarity, and synthesize a counterfactual sample by the weighted average of similar papers according to their similarity values. We apply the resulting metric, called CausalCite, as a causal formulation of paper citations. We show its effectiveness on various criteria, such as high correlation with paper impact as reported by scientific experts on a previous dataset of 1K papers, (test-of-time) awards for past papers, and its stability across various sub-fields of AI. We also provide a set of findings that can serve as suggested ways for future researchers to use our metric for a better understanding of a paper's quality. Our code and data are at https://github.com/causalNLP/causal-cite.
Recent work has shown that language models (LMs) have strong multi-step (i.e., procedural) reasoning capabilities. However, it is unclear whether LMs perform these tasks by cheating with answers memorized from pretraining corpus, or, via a multi-step reasoning mechanism. In this paper, we try to answer this question by exploring a mechanistic interpretation of LMs for multi-step reasoning tasks. Concretely, we hypothesize that the LM implicitly embeds a reasoning tree resembling the correct reasoning process within it. We test this hypothesis by introducing a new probing approach (called MechanisticProbe) that recovers the reasoning tree from the model's attention patterns. We use our probe to analyze two LMs: GPT-2 on a synthetic task (k-th smallest element), and LLaMA on two simple language-based reasoning tasks (ProofWriter & AI2 Reasoning Challenge). We show that MechanisticProbe is able to detect the information of the reasoning tree from the model's attentions for most examples, suggesting that the LM indeed is going through a process of multi-step reasoning within its architecture in many cases.
*Data Synthesis* is a promising way to train a small model with very little labeled data. One approach for data synthesis is to leverage the rich knowledge from large language models to synthesize pseudo training examples for small models, making it possible to achieve both data and compute efficiency at the same time. However, a key challenge in data synthesis is that the synthesized dataset often suffers from a large distributional discrepancy from the *real task* data distribution. Thus, in this paper, we propose *Synthesis Step by Step* (**S3**), a data synthesis framework that shrinks this distribution gap by iteratively extrapolating the errors made by a small model trained on the synthesized dataset on a small real-world validation dataset using a large language model. Extensive experiments on multiple NLP tasks show that our approach improves the performance of a small model by reducing the gap between the synthetic dataset and the real data, resulting in significant improvement compared to several baselines: 9.48% improvement compared to ZeroGen and 2.73% compared to GoldGen, and at most 15.17% improvement compared to the small model trained on human-annotated data.
In a human-AI collaboration, users build a mental model of the AI system based on its reliability and how it presents its decision, e.g. its presentation of system confidence and an explanation of the output. Modern NLP systems are often uncalibrated, resulting in confidently incorrect predictions that undermine user trust. In order to build trustworthy AI, we must understand how user trust is developed and how it can be regained after potential trust-eroding events. We study the evolution of user trust in response to these trust-eroding events using a betting game. We find that even a few incorrect instances with inaccurate confidence estimates damage user trust and performance, with very slow recovery. We also show that this degradation in trust reduces the success of human-AI collaboration and that different types of miscalibration -- unconfidently correct and confidently incorrect -- have different negative effects on user trust. Our findings highlight the importance of calibration in user-facing AI applications and shed light on what aspects help users decide whether to trust the AI system.