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At Which Training Stage Does Code Data Help LLMs Reasoning?

ma yingwei · Yue Liu · Yue Yu · Yuanliang Zhang · Yu Jiang · Changjian Wang · Shanshan Li

Halle B #23
[ ]
Tue 7 May 7:30 a.m. PDT — 9:30 a.m. PDT


Large Language models (LLMs) have exhibited remarkable reasoning capabilities and become the foundation of language technologies. Inspired by the great success of code data in training LLMs, we naturally wonder at which training stage introducing code data can really help LLMs reasoning. To this end, this paper systematically explores the impact of code data on LLMs at different stages. Concretely, we introduce the code data at the pre-training stage, instruction-tuning stage, and both of them, respectively. Then, the reasoning capability of LLMs is comprehensively and fairly evaluated via six reasoning tasks. We critically analyze the experimental results and provide conclusions with insights. First, pre-training LLMs with the mixture of code and text can significantly enhance LLMs' general reasoning capability almost without negative transfer on other tasks. Besides, at the instruction-tuning stage, code data endows LLMs the task-specific reasoning capability. Moreover, the dynamic mixing strategy of code and text data assists LLMs to learn reasoning capability step-by-step during training. These insights deepen the understanding of LLMs regarding reasoning ability for their application, such as scientific question answering, legal support, etc.

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