Large language models (LLMs) can perform a wide range of tasks by following natural language instructions, without the necessity of task-specific fine-tuning. Unfortunately, the performance of LLMs is greatly influenced by the quality of these instructions, and manually writing effective instructions for each task is a laborious and subjective process. In this paper, we introduce Auto-Instruct, a novel method to automatically improve the quality of instructions provided to LLMs. Our method leverages the inherent generative ability of LLMs to produce diverse candidate instructions for a given task, and then ranks them using a scoring model trained on a variety of 575 existing NLP tasks. In experiments on 118 out-of-domain tasks, Auto-Instruct surpasses both human-written instructions and existing baselines of LLM-generated instructions. Furthermore, our method exhibits notable generalizability even with other LLMs that are not incorporated into its training process.
* Accepted to EMNLP 2023 Findings. Work was done before July 2023
Recent progress in Large Language Models (LLMs) has produced models that exhibit remarkable performance across a variety of NLP tasks. However, it remains unclear whether the existing focus of NLP research accurately captures the genuine requirements of human users. This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the divergence between current NLP research and the needs of real-world NLP applications via a large-scale collection of user-GPT conversations. We analyze a large-scale collection of real user queries to GPT. We compare these queries against existing NLP benchmark tasks and identify a significant gap between the tasks that users frequently request from LLMs and the tasks that are commonly studied in academic research. For example, we find that tasks such as ``design'' and ``planning'' are prevalent in user interactions but are largely neglected or different from traditional NLP benchmarks. We investigate these overlooked tasks, dissect the practical challenges they pose, and provide insights toward a roadmap to make LLMs better aligned with user needs.
Linear State Space Models (SSMs) have demonstrated strong performance in a variety of sequence modeling tasks due to their efficient encoding of the recurrent structure. However, in more comprehensive tasks like language modeling and machine translation, self-attention-based models still outperform SSMs. Hybrid models employing both SSM and self-attention generally show promising performance, but current approaches apply attention modules statically and uniformly to all elements in the input sequences, leading to sub-optimal quality-efficiency trade-offs. In this work, we introduce Sparse Modular Activation (SMA), a general mechanism enabling neural networks to sparsely and dynamically activate sub-modules for sequence elements in a differentiable manner. Through allowing each element to skip non-activated sub-modules, SMA reduces computation and memory consumption at both training and inference stages of sequence modeling. As a specific instantiation of SMA, we design a novel neural architecture, SeqBoat, which employs SMA to sparsely activate a Gated Attention Unit (GAU) based on the state representations learned from an SSM. By constraining the GAU to only conduct local attention on the activated inputs, SeqBoat can achieve linear inference complexity with theoretically infinite attention span, and provide substantially better quality-efficiency trade-off than the chunking-based models. With experiments on a wide range of tasks, including language modeling, speech classification and long-range arena, SeqBoat brings new state-of-the-art results among hybrid models with linear complexity and reveals the amount of attention needed for each task through the learned sparse activation patterns.
Large language models (LLMs) can use in-context demonstrations to improve performance on zero-shot tasks. However, selecting the best in-context examples is challenging because model performance can vary widely depending on the selected examples. We present a cross-entropy difference (CED) method for selecting in-context demonstrations. Our method is based on the observation that the effectiveness of in-context demonstrations negatively correlates with the perplexity of the test example by a language model that was finetuned on that demonstration. We utilize parameter efficient finetuning to train small models on training data that are used for computing the cross-entropy difference between a test example and every candidate in-context demonstration. This metric is used to rank and select in-context demonstrations independently for each test input. We evaluate our method on a mix-domain dataset that combines 8 benchmarks, representing 4 text generation tasks, showing that CED for in-context demonstration selection can improve performance for a variety of LLMs.
Strategies such as chain-of-thought prompting improve the performance of large language models (LLMs) on complex reasoning tasks by decomposing input examples into intermediate steps. However, it remains unclear how to apply such methods to reason over long input documents, in which both the decomposition and the output of each intermediate step are non-trivial to obtain. In this work, we propose PEARL, a prompting framework to improve reasoning over long documents, which consists of three stages: action mining, plan formulation, and plan execution. More specifically, given a question about a long document, PEARL decomposes the question into a sequence of actions (e.g., SUMMARIZE, FIND_EVENT, FIND_RELATION) and then executes them over the document to obtain the answer. Each stage of PEARL is implemented via zero-shot or few-shot prompting of LLMs (in our work, GPT-4) with minimal human input. We evaluate PEARL on a challenging subset of the QuALITY dataset, which contains questions that require complex reasoning over long narrative texts. PEARL outperforms zero-shot and chain-of-thought prompting on this dataset, and ablation experiments show that each stage of PEARL is critical to its performance. Overall, PEARL is a first step towards leveraging LLMs to reason over long documents.
Query-focused summarization (QFS) aims to extract or generate a summary of an input document that directly answers or is relevant to a given query. The lack of large-scale datasets in the form of documents, queries, and summaries has hindered model development in this area. In contrast, multiple large-scale high-quality datasets for generic summarization exist. We hypothesize that there is a hidden query for each summary sentence in a generic summarization annotation, and we utilize a large-scale pretrained language model to recover it. In this way, we convert four generic summarization benchmarks into a new QFS benchmark dataset, LMGQS, which consists of over 1 million document-query-summary samples. We thoroughly investigate the properties of our proposed dataset and establish baselines with state-of-the-art summarization models. By fine-tuning a language model on LMGQS, we achieve state-of-the-art zero-shot and supervised performance on multiple existing QFS benchmarks, demonstrating the high quality and diversity of LMGQS.
While large models such as GPT-3 demonstrate exceptional performance in zeroshot and fewshot summarization tasks, their extensive serving and fine-tuning costs hinder their utilization in various applications. Conversely, previous studies have found that although automatic metrics tend to favor smaller fine-tuned models, the quality of the summaries they generate is inferior to that of larger models like GPT-3 when assessed by human evaluators. To address this issue, we propose InheritSumm, a versatile and compact summarization model derived from GPT-3.5 through distillation. InheritSumm not only exhibits comparable zeroshot and fewshot summarization capabilities to GPT-3.5 but is also sufficiently compact for fine-tuning purposes. Experimental results demonstrate that InheritSumm achieves similar or superior performance to GPT-3.5 in zeroshot and fewshot settings. Furthermore, it outperforms the previously established best small models in both prefix-tuning and full-data fine-tuning scenarios.
Large language models (LLMs) such as GPT-3 and GPT-4 are powerful but their weights are often publicly unavailable and their immense sizes make the models difficult to be tuned with common hardware. As a result, effectively tuning these models with large-scale supervised data can be challenging. As an alternative, In-Context Learning (ICL) can only use a small number of supervised examples due to context length limits. In this paper, we propose Super In-Context Learning (SuperICL) which allows black-box LLMs to work with locally fine-tuned smaller models, resulting in superior performance on supervised tasks. Our experiments demonstrate that SuperICL can improve performance beyond state-of-the-art fine-tuned models while addressing the instability problem of in-context learning. Furthermore, SuperICL can enhance the capabilities of smaller models, such as multilinguality and interpretability.
The quality of texts generated by natural language generation (NLG) systems is hard to measure automatically. Conventional reference-based metrics, such as BLEU and ROUGE, have been shown to have relatively low correlation with human judgments, especially for tasks that require creativity and diversity. Recent studies suggest using large language models (LLMs) as reference-free metrics for NLG evaluation, which have the benefit of being applicable to new tasks that lack human references. However, these LLM-based evaluators still have lower human correspondence than medium-size neural evaluators. In this work, we present G-Eval, a framework of using large language models with chain-of-thoughts (CoT) and a form-filling paradigm, to assess the quality of NLG outputs. We experiment with two generation tasks, text summarization and dialogue generation. We show that G-Eval with GPT-4 as the backbone model achieves a Spearman correlation of 0.514 with human on summarization task, outperforming all previous methods by a large margin. We also propose preliminary analysis on the behavior of LLM-based evaluators, and highlight the potential issue of LLM-based evaluators having a bias towards the LLM-generated texts.