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Knowledge-Augmented Reasoning Distillation for Small Language Models in Knowledge-Intensive Tasks

Minki Kang · Seanie Lee · Jinheon Baek · Kenji Kawaguchi · Sung Ju Hwang

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #513
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[ Paper [ Poster [ OpenReview
Thu 14 Dec 3 p.m. PST — 5 p.m. PST


Large Language Models (LLMs) have shown promising performance in knowledge-intensive reasoning tasks that require a compound understanding of knowledge. However, deployment of the LLMs in real-world applications can be challenging due to their high computational requirements and concerns on data privacy.Previous studies have focused on building task-specific small Language Models (LMs) by fine-tuning them with labeled data or distilling LLMs. However, these approaches are ill-suited for knowledge-intensive reasoning tasks due to the limited capacity of small LMs in memorizing the knowledge required.Motivated by our theoretical analysis on memorization, we propose Knowledge-Augmented Reasoning Distillation (KARD), a novel method that fine-tunes small LMs to generate rationales obtained from LLMs with augmented knowledge retrieved from an external knowledge base. Moreover, we further propose a neural reranker to obtain documents relevant to rationale generation. We empirically show that KARD significantly improves the performance of small T5 and GPT models on the challenging knowledge-intensive reasoning datasets, namely MedQA-USMLE, StrategyQA, and OpenbookQA.Notably, our method makes the 250M T5 models achieve superior performance against the fine-tuned 3B models, having 12 times larger parameters, on both MedQA-USMLE and StrategyQA benchmarks.

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