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Spotlight Poster

Towards Understanding Factual Knowledge of Large Language Models

Xuming Hu · Junzhe Chen · Xiaochuan Li · Yufei Guo · Lijie Wen · Philip Yu · Zhijiang Guo

Halle B #239
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Thu 9 May 1:45 a.m. PDT — 3:45 a.m. PDT


Large language models (LLMs) have recently driven striking performance improvements across a range of natural language processing tasks. The factual knowledge acquired during pretraining and instruction tuning can be useful in various downstream tasks, such as question answering, and language generation. Unlike conventional Knowledge Bases (KBs) that explicitly store factual knowledge, LLMs implicitly store facts in their parameters. Content generated by the LLMs can often exhibit inaccuracies or deviations from the truth, due to facts that can be incorrectly induced or become obsolete over time. To this end, we aim to explore the extent and scope of factual knowledge within LLMs by designing the benchmark Pinocchio. Pinocchio contains 20K diverse factual questions that span different sources, timelines, domains, regions, and languages. Furthermore, we investigate whether LLMs can compose multiple facts, update factual knowledge temporally, reason over multiple pieces of facts, identify subtle factual differences, and resist adversarial examples. Extensive experiments on different sizes and types of LLMs show that existing LLMs still lack factual knowledge and suffer from various spurious correlations. We believe this is a critical bottleneck for realizing trustworthy artificial intelligence. The dataset Pinocchio and our codes are publicly available at:

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