Skip to yearly menu bar Skip to main content


Thrust: Adaptively Propels Large Language Models with External Knowledge

Xinran Zhao · Hongming Zhang · Xiaoman Pan · Wenlin Yao · Dong Yu · Jianshu Chen

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #2028
[ ] [ Project Page ]
[ Paper [ Poster [ OpenReview
Tue 12 Dec 8:45 a.m. PST — 10:45 a.m. PST


Although large-scale pre-trained language models (PTLMs) are shown to encode rich knowledge in their model parameters, the inherent knowledge in PTLMs can be opaque or static, making external knowledge necessary. However, the existing information retrieval techniques could be costly and may even introduce noisy and sometimes misleading knowledge. To address these challenges, we propose the instance-level adaptive propulsion of external knowledge (IAPEK), where we only conduct the retrieval when necessary. To achieve this goal, we propose to model whether a PTLM contains enough knowledge to solve an instance with a novel metric, Thrust, which leverages the representation distribution of a small amount of seen instances. Extensive experiments demonstrate that Thrust is a good measurement of models' instance-level knowledgeability. Moreover, we can achieve higher cost-efficiency with the Thrust score as the retrieval indicator than the naive usage of external knowledge on 88% of the evaluated tasks with 26% average performance improvement. Such findings shed light on the real-world practice of knowledge-enhanced LMs with a limited budget for knowledge seeking due to computation latency or costs.

Chat is not available.