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Oral Session

Oral 3B NLP/Tools

La Nouvelle Orleans Ballroom A-C (level 2)
Wed 13 Dec 8 a.m. PST — 8:45 a.m. PST


Wed 13 Dec. 8:00 - 8:15 PST

ToolkenGPT: Augmenting Frozen Language Models with Massive Tools via Tool Embeddings

Shibo Hao · Tianyang Liu · Zhen Wang · Zhiting Hu

Integrating large language models (LLMs) with various tools has led to increased attention in the field. Existing approaches either involve fine-tuning the LLM, which is both computationally costly and limited to a fixed set of tools, or prompting LLMs by in-context tool demonstrations. Although the latter method offers adaptability to new tools, it struggles with the inherent context length constraint of LLMs when many new tools are presented, and mastering a new set of tools with few-shot examples remains challenging, resulting in suboptimal performance. To address these limitations, we propose a novel solution, named ToolkenGPT, wherein LLMs effectively learn to master tools as predicting tokens through tool embeddings for solving complex tasks. In this framework, each tool is transformed into vector embeddings and plugged into the language model head. Once the function is triggered during text generation, the LLM enters a special function mode to execute the tool calls. Our experiments show that function embeddings effectively help LLMs understand tool use and improve on several tasks, including numerical reasoning, knowledge-based question answering and embodied decision-making.

Wed 13 Dec. 8:15 - 8:30 PST

Toolformer: Language Models Can Teach Themselves to Use Tools

Timo Schick · Jane Dwivedi-Yu · Roberto Dessi · Roberta Raileanu · Maria Lomeli · Eric Hambro · Luke Zettlemoyer · Nicola Cancedda · Thomas Scialom

Language models (LMs) exhibit remarkable abilities to solve new tasks from just a few examples or textual instructions, especially at scale. They also, paradoxically, struggle with basic functionality, such as arithmetic or factual lookup, where much simpler and smaller specialized models excel. In this paper, we show that LMs can teach themselves to use external tools via simple APIs and achieve the best of both worlds. We introduce Toolformer, a model trained to decide which APIs to call, when to call them, what arguments to pass, and how to best incorporate the results into future token prediction. This is done in a self-supervised way, requiring nothing more than a handful of demonstrations for each API. We incorporate a range of tools, including a calculator, a Q&A system, a search engine, a translation system, and a calendar. Toolformer achieves substantially improved zero-shot performance across a variety of downstream tasks, often competitive with much larger models, without sacrificing its core language modeling abilities.

Wed 13 Dec. 8:30 - 8:45 PST

Learning Transformer Programs

Dan Friedman · Alexander Wettig · Danqi Chen

Recent research in mechanistic interpretability has attempted to reverse-engineer Transformer models by carefully inspecting network weights and activations. However, these approaches require considerable manual effort and still fall short of providing complete, faithful descriptions of the underlying algorithms. In this work, we introduce a procedure for training Transformers that are mechanistically interpretable by design. We build on RASP [Weiss et al., 2021], a programming language that can be compiled into Transformer weights. Instead of compiling human-written programs into Transformers, we design a modified Transformer that can be trained using gradient-based optimization and then automatically converted into a discrete, human-readable program. We refer to these models as Transformer Programs. To validate our approach, we learn Transformer Programs for a variety of problems, including an in-context learning task, a suite of algorithmic problems (e.g. sorting, recognizing Dyck languages), and NLP tasks including named entity recognition and text classification. The Transformer Programs can automatically find reasonable solutions, performing on par with standard Transformers of comparable size; and, more importantly, they are easy to interpret. To demonstrate these advantages, we convert Transformers into Python programs and use off-the-shelf code analysis tools to debug model errors and identify the “circuits” used to solve different sub-problems. We hope that Transformer Programs open a new path toward the goal of intrinsically interpretable machine learning.