We present a series of long-context LLMs that support effective context windows of up to 32,768 tokens. Our model series are built through continual pretraining from Llama 2 with longer training sequences and on a dataset where long texts are upsampled. We perform extensive evaluation on language modeling, synthetic context probing tasks, and a wide range of research benchmarks. On research benchmarks, our models achieve consistent improvements on most regular tasks and significant improvements on long-context tasks over Llama 2. Notably, with a cost-effective instruction tuning procedure that does not require human-annotated long instruction data, the 70B variant can already surpass gpt-3.5-turbo-16k's overall performance on a suite of long-context tasks. Alongside these results, we provide an in-depth analysis on the individual components of our method. We delve into Llama's position encodings and discuss its limitation in modeling long dependencies. We also examine the impact of various design choices in the pretraining process, including the data mix and the training curriculum of sequence lengths -- our ablation experiments suggest that having abundant long texts in the pretrain dataset is not the key to achieving strong performance, and we empirically verify that long context continual pretraining is more efficient and similarly effective compared to pretraining from scratch with long sequences.
In this work, we develop and release Llama 2, a collection of pretrained and fine-tuned large language models (LLMs) ranging in scale from 7 billion to 70 billion parameters. Our fine-tuned LLMs, called Llama 2-Chat, are optimized for dialogue use cases. Our models outperform open-source chat models on most benchmarks we tested, and based on our human evaluations for helpfulness and safety, may be a suitable substitute for closed-source models. We provide a detailed description of our approach to fine-tuning and safety improvements of Llama 2-Chat in order to enable the community to build on our work and contribute to the responsible development of LLMs.
We present a theory for the previously unexplained divergent behavior noticed in the training of large language models. We argue that the phenomenon is an artifact of the dominant optimization algorithm used for training, called Adam. We observe that Adam can enter a state in which the parameter update vector has a relatively large norm and is essentially uncorrelated with the direction of descent on the training loss landscape, leading to divergence. This artifact is more likely to be observed in the training of a deep model with a large batch size, which is the typical setting of large-scale language model training. To argue the theory, we present observations from the training runs of the language models of different scales: 7 billion, 30 billion, 65 billion, and 546 billion parameters.
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.
Current image generation models struggle to reliably produce well-formed visual text. In this paper, we investigate a key contributing factor: popular text-to-image models lack character-level input features, making it much harder to predict a word's visual makeup as a series of glyphs. To quantify the extent of this effect, we conduct a series of controlled experiments comparing character-aware vs. character-blind text encoders. In the text-only domain, we find that character-aware models provide large gains on a novel spelling task (WikiSpell). Transferring these learnings onto the visual domain, we train a suite of image generation models, and show that character-aware variants outperform their character-blind counterparts across a range of novel text rendering tasks (our DrawText benchmark). Our models set a much higher state-of-the-art on visual spelling, with 30+ point accuracy gains over competitors on rare words, despite training on far fewer examples.
Large language models (LLM) trained using the next-token-prediction objective, such as GPT3 and PaLM, have revolutionized natural language processing in recent years by showing impressive zero-shot and few-shot capabilities across a wide range of tasks. In this work, we propose a simple technique that significantly boosts the performance of LLMs without adding computational cost. Our key observation is that, by performing the next token prediction task with randomly selected past tokens masked out, we can improve the quality of the learned representations for downstream language understanding tasks. We hypothesize that randomly masking past tokens prevents over-attending to recent tokens and encourages attention to tokens in the distant past. By randomly masking input tokens in the PaLM model, we show that we can significantly improve 1B and 8B PaLM's zero-shot performance on the SuperGLUE benchmark from 55.7 to 59.2 and from 61.6 to 64.0, respectively. Our largest 8B model matches the score of PaLM with an average score of 64, despite the fact that PaLM is trained on a much larger dataset (780B tokens) of high-quality conversation and webpage data, while ours is trained on the smaller C4 dataset (180B tokens). Experimental results show that our method also improves PaLM's zero and few-shot performance on a diverse suite of tasks, including commonsense reasoning, natural language inference and cloze completion. Moreover, we show that our technique also helps representation learning, significantly improving PaLM's finetuning results.
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.
Large language models (LLMs) have shown exceptional performance on a variety of natural language tasks. Yet, their capabilities for HTML understanding -- i.e., parsing the raw HTML of a webpage, with applications to automation of web-based tasks, crawling, and browser-assisted retrieval -- have not been fully explored. We contribute HTML understanding models (fine-tuned LLMs) and an in-depth analysis of their capabilities under three tasks: (i) Semantic Classification of HTML elements, (ii) Description Generation for HTML inputs, and (iii) Autonomous Web Navigation of HTML pages. While previous work has developed dedicated architectures and training procedures for HTML understanding, we show that LLMs pretrained on standard natural language corpora transfer remarkably well to HTML understanding tasks. For instance, fine-tuned LLMs are 12% more accurate at semantic classification compared to models trained exclusively on the task dataset. Moreover, when fine-tuned on data from the MiniWoB benchmark, LLMs successfully complete 50% more tasks using 192x less data compared to the previous best supervised model. Out of the LLMs we evaluate, we show evidence that T5-based models are ideal due to their bidirectional encoder-decoder architecture. To promote further research on LLMs for HTML understanding, we create and open-source a large-scale HTML dataset distilled and auto-labeled from CommonCrawl.
There have been a lot of interest in the scaling properties of Transformer models. However, not much has been done on the front of investigating the effect of scaling properties of different inductive biases and model architectures. Do model architectures scale differently? If so, how does inductive bias affect scaling behaviour? How does this influence upstream (pretraining) and downstream (transfer)? This paper conducts a systematic study of scaling behaviour of ten diverse model architectures such as Transformers, Switch Transformers, Universal Transformers, Dynamic convolutions, Performers, and recently proposed MLP-Mixers. Via extensive experiments, we show that (1) architecture is an indeed an important consideration when performing scaling and (2) the best performing model can fluctuate at different scales. We believe that the findings outlined in this work has significant implications to how model architectures are currently evaluated in the community.