Skip to yearly menu bar Skip to main content


BatchPrompt: Accomplish more with less

Jianzhe Lin · Maurice Diesendruck · Liang Du · Robin Abraham

Halle B #100
[ ]
Thu 9 May 7:30 a.m. PDT — 9:30 a.m. PDT


The ever-increasing token limits of large language models (LLMs) have enabled long context as input. Many LLMs are trained and fine-tuned to perform zero/few-shot inference using instruction-based prompts. Prompts typically include a detailed task instruction, several examples, and a single data point for inference. This baseline is referred to as “SinglePrompt” in this paper. In terms of token count, when the data input is small compared to instructions and examples, this results in lower token utilization, compared with encoder-based models like fine-tuned BERT. This cost inefficiency, affecting inference speed and compute budget, counteracts many of the benefits that LLMs offer. This paper aims to alleviate this problem by batching multiple data points in each prompt, a strategy we refer to as “BatchPrompt”. We improve token utilization by increasing the “density” of data points, however, this cannot be done naively. Simple batching can degrade performance, especially as batch size increases, and data points can yield different answers depending on their position within a prompt. To address the quality issue while retaining high token utilization, we introduce Batch Permutation and Ensembling (BPE) for BatchPrompt – a simple majority vote over repeated permutations of data, that recovers label quality at the cost of more token usage. To counterbalance this cost, we further propose Self-reflection-guided EArly Stopping (SEAS), which can terminate the voting process early for data points that the LLM handles confidently. Our comprehensive experimental evaluation demonstrates that BPE + SEAS can boost the performance of BatchPrompt by a striking margin on a range of popular NLP tasks, including question answering (Boolq), textual entailment (RTE), and duplicate questions identification (QQP). This performance is even competitive with/higher than single-data prompting (SinglePrompt), while using far fewer LLM calls and input tokens. At batch size 32, our BatchPrompt + BPE + SEAS uses 15.7% the number of LLM calls, and achieves: Boolq accuracy 90.6% → 90.9% with 27.4% tokens, QQP accuracy 87.2% → 88.4% with 18.6% tokens, RTE accuracy 91.5% → 91.1% with 30.8% tokens. We hope our simple yet effective approach will shed light on the future research of large language models. Code:

Chat is not available.