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CRAFT: Customizing LLMs by Creating and Retrieving from Specialized Toolsets

Lifan Yuan · Yangyi Chen · Xingyao Wang · Yi Fung · Hao Peng · Heng Ji

Halle B #334
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Wed 8 May 1:45 a.m. PDT — 3:45 a.m. PDT


Large language models (LLMs) are often augmented with tools to solve complex tasks. By generating code snippets and executing them through task-specific Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), they can offload certain functions to dedicated external modules, such as image encoding and performing calculations. However, most existing approaches to augment LLMs with tools are constrainedby general-purpose APIs and lack the flexibility for tailoring them to specific tasks. In this work, we present CRAFT, a general tool creation and retrieval framework for LLMs. It creates toolsets specifically curated for the tasks and equips LLMs with a component that retrieves tools from these sets to enhance their capability to solve complex tasks. For each task, we collect specific code solutions by promptingGPT-4 to solve the training examples. Following a validation step ensuring the correctness, these solutions are abstracted into code snippets to enhance reusability, and deduplicated for higher quality. At inference time, the language model retrieves snippets from the toolsets and then executes them or generates the output conditioning on the retrieved snippets. Our method is designed to be flexible andoffers a plug-and-play approach to adapt off-the-shelf LLMs to unseen domains and modalities, without any finetuning. Experiments on vision-language, tabular processing, and mathematical reasoning tasks show that our approach achieves substantial improvements compared to strong baselines. In addition, our in-depth analysis reveals that: (1) consistent performance improvement can be achieved byscaling up the number of tools and the capability of the backbone models; (2) each component of our approach contributes to the performance gains; (3) the created tools are well-structured and reliable with low complexity and atomicity.

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