For a long time, humanity has pursued artificial intelligence (AI) equivalent to or surpassing the human level, with AI agents considered a promising vehicle for this pursuit. AI agents are artificial entities that sense their environment, make decisions, and take actions. Many efforts have been made to develop intelligent agents, but they mainly focus on advancement in algorithms or training strategies to enhance specific capabilities or performance on particular tasks. Actually, what the community lacks is a general and powerful model to serve as a starting point for designing AI agents that can adapt to diverse scenarios. Due to the versatile capabilities they demonstrate, large language models (LLMs) are regarded as potential sparks for Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), offering hope for building general AI agents. Many researchers have leveraged LLMs as the foundation to build AI agents and have achieved significant progress. In this paper, we perform a comprehensive survey on LLM-based agents. We start by tracing the concept of agents from its philosophical origins to its development in AI, and explain why LLMs are suitable foundations for agents. Building upon this, we present a general framework for LLM-based agents, comprising three main components: brain, perception, and action, and the framework can be tailored for different applications. Subsequently, we explore the extensive applications of LLM-based agents in three aspects: single-agent scenarios, multi-agent scenarios, and human-agent cooperation. Following this, we delve into agent societies, exploring the behavior and personality of LLM-based agents, the social phenomena that emerge from an agent society, and the insights they offer for human society. Finally, we discuss several key topics and open problems within the field. A repository for the related papers at https://github.com/WooooDyy/LLM-Agent-Paper-List.
We investigate how to enhance answer precision in frequently asked questions posed by distributed users using cloud-based Large Language Models (LLMs). Our study focuses on a typical situations where users ask similar queries that involve identical mathematical reasoning steps and problem-solving procedures. Due to the unsatisfactory accuracy of LLMs' zero-shot prompting with standalone questions, we propose to improve the distributed synonymous questions using Self-Consistency (SC) and Chain-of-Thought (CoT) techniques. Specifically, we first retrieve synonymous questions from a crowd-sourced database and create a federated question pool. We call these federated synonymous questions with the same or different parameters SP-questions or DP-questions, respectively. We refer to our methods as Fed-SP-SC and Fed-DP-CoT, which can generate significantly more accurate answers for all user queries without requiring sophisticated model-tuning. Through extensive experiments, we demonstrate that our proposed methods can significantly enhance question accuracy by fully exploring the synonymous nature of the questions and the consistency of the answers.
Automated machine learning (AutoML) seeks to build ML models with minimal human effort. While considerable research has been conducted in the area of AutoML in general, aiming to take humans out of the loop when building artificial intelligence (AI) applications, scant literature has focused on how AutoML works well in open-environment scenarios such as the process of training and updating large models, industrial supply chains or the industrial metaverse, where people often face open-loop problems during the search process: they must continuously collect data, update data and models, satisfy the requirements of the development and deployment environment, support massive devices, modify evaluation metrics, etc. Addressing the open-environment issue with pure data-driven approaches requires considerable data, computing resources, and effort from dedicated data engineers, making current AutoML systems and platforms inefficient and computationally intractable. Human-computer interaction is a practical and feasible way to tackle the problem of open-environment AI. In this paper, we introduce OmniForce, a human-centered AutoML (HAML) system that yields both human-assisted ML and ML-assisted human techniques, to put an AutoML system into practice and build adaptive AI in open-environment scenarios. Specifically, we present OmniForce in terms of ML version management; pipeline-driven development and deployment collaborations; a flexible search strategy framework; and widely provisioned and crowdsourced application algorithms, including large models. Furthermore, the (large) models constructed by OmniForce can be automatically turned into remote services in a few minutes; this process is dubbed model as a service (MaaS). Experimental results obtained in multiple search spaces and real-world use cases demonstrate the efficacy and efficiency of OmniForce.
Prompt tuning is a parameter-efficient tuning (PETuning) method for utilizing pre-trained models (PTMs) that simply prepends a soft prompt to the input and only optimizes the prompt to adapt PTMs to downstream tasks. Although it is parameter- and deployment-efficient, its performance still lags behind other state-of-the-art PETuning methods. Besides, the training cost of prompt tuning is not significantly reduced due to the back-propagation through the entire model. Through empirical analyses, we shed some light on the lagging performance of prompt tuning and recognize a trade-off between the propagation distance from label signals to the inserted prompt and the influence of the prompt on model outputs. Further, we present Late Prompt Tuning (LPT) that inserts a late prompt into an intermediate layer of the PTM instead of the input layer or all layers. The late prompt is obtained by a neural prompt generator conditioned on the hidden states before the prompt insertion layer and therefore is instance-dependent. Through extensive experimental results across various tasks and PTMs, we show that LPT can achieve competitive performance to full model tuning and other PETuning methods under both full-data and few-shot scenarios while possessing faster training speed and lower memory cost.
Early exiting allows instances to exit at different layers according to the estimation of difficulty. Previous works usually adopt heuristic metrics such as the entropy of internal outputs to measure instance difficulty, which suffers from generalization and threshold-tuning. In contrast, learning to exit, or learning to predict instance difficulty is a more appealing way. Though some effort has been devoted to employing such "learn-to-exit" modules, it is still unknown whether and how well the instance difficulty can be learned. As a response, we first conduct experiments on the learnability of instance difficulty, which demonstrates that modern neural models perform poorly on predicting instance difficulty. Based on this observation, we propose a simple-yet-effective Hash-based Early Exiting approach (HashEE) that replaces the learn-to-exit modules with hash functions to assign each token to a fixed exiting layer. Different from previous methods, HashEE requires no internal classifiers nor extra parameters, and therefore is more efficient. Experimental results on classification, regression, and generation tasks demonstrate that HashEE can achieve higher performance with fewer FLOPs and inference time compared with previous state-of-the-art early exiting methods.
Supersized pre-trained language models have pushed the accuracy of various NLP tasks to a new state-of-the-art (SOTA). Rather than pursuing the reachless SOTA accuracy, most works are pursuing improvement on other dimensions such as efficiency, leading to "Pareto SOTA". Different from accuracy, the metric for efficiency varies across different studies, making them hard to be fairly compared. To that end, this work presents ELUE (Efficient Language Understanding Evaluation), a standard evaluation, and a public leaderboard for efficient NLP models. ELUE is dedicated to depicting the Pareto Front for various language understanding tasks, such that it can tell whether and how much a method achieves Pareto improvement. Along with the benchmark, we also pre-train and release a strong baseline, ElasticBERT, whose elasticity is both static and dynamic. ElasticBERT is static in that it allows reducing model layers on demand. ElasticBERT is dynamic in that it selectively executes parts of model layers conditioned on the input. We demonstrate the ElasticBERT, despite its simplicity, outperforms or performs on par with SOTA compressed and early exiting models. The ELUE benchmark is publicly available at http://eluebenchmark.fastnlp.top/.
In the era of deep learning, modeling for most NLP tasks has converged to several mainstream paradigms. For example, we usually adopt the sequence labeling paradigm to solve a bundle of tasks such as POS-tagging, NER, Chunking, and adopt the classification paradigm to solve tasks like sentiment analysis. With the rapid progress of pre-trained language models, recent years have observed a rising trend of Paradigm Shift, which is solving one NLP task by reformulating it as another one. Paradigm shift has achieved great success on many tasks, becoming a promising way to improve model performance. Moreover, some of these paradigms have shown great potential to unify a large number of NLP tasks, making it possible to build a single model to handle diverse tasks. In this paper, we review such phenomenon of paradigm shifts in recent years, highlighting several paradigms that have the potential to solve different NLP tasks.
Transformers have achieved great success in many artificial intelligence fields, such as natural language processing, computer vision, and audio processing. Therefore, it is natural to attract lots of interest from academic and industry researchers. Up to the present, a great variety of Transformer variants (a.k.a. X-formers) have been proposed, however, a systematic and comprehensive literature review on these Transformer variants is still missing. In this survey, we provide a comprehensive review of various X-formers. We first briefly introduce the vanilla Transformer and then propose a new taxonomy of X-formers. Next, we introduce the various X-formers from three perspectives: architectural modification, pre-training, and applications. Finally, we outline some potential directions for future research.