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In-Person Poster presentation / poster accept

Learning Math Reasoning from Self-Sampled Correct and Partially-Correct Solutions

Ansong Ni · Jeevana Priya Inala · Chenglong Wang · Alex Polozov · Christopher Meek · Dragomir Radev · Jianfeng Gao

MH1-2-3-4 #26

Keywords: [ Applications ] [ multi-target learning ] [ large language models ] [ mathematical reasoning ] [ self-sampling ]


Pretrained language models have shown superior performance on many natural language processing tasks, yet they still struggle at multi-step formal reasoning tasks like grade school math problems. One key challenge of finetuning them to solve such math reasoning problems is that many existing datasets only contain one reference solution for each problem, despite the fact that there are often alternative solutions resembling different reasoning paths to the final answer. This way, the finetuned models are biased towards the limited reference solutions, which limits their generalization to unseen examples. To mitigate this issue, we propose to let the model perform sampling during training and learn from both self-sampled fully-correct solutions, which yield the correct answer upon execution, and partially-correct solutions, whose intermediate state matches an intermediate state of a known correct solution. We show that our use of self-sampled correct and partially-correct solutions can benefit learning and help guide the sampling process, leading to more efficient exploration of the solution space. Additionally, we explore various training objectives to support learning from multiple solutions per example and find they greatly affect the performance. Experiments on two math reasoning datasets show the effectiveness of our method compared to learning from a single reference solution with MLE, where we improve PASS@100 from 35.5% to 44.5% for GSM8K, and 27.6% to 36.2% PASS@80 for MathQA. Such improvements are also consistent across different model sizes.

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