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Enabling Lanuguage Models to Implicitly Learn Self-Improvement

Ziqi Wang · Le Hou · Tianjian Lu · Yuexin Wu · Yunxuan Li · Hongkun Yu · Heng Ji

Halle B #240
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Tue 7 May 7:30 a.m. PDT — 9:30 a.m. PDT


Large Language Models (LLMs) have demonstrated remarkable capabilities in open-ended text generation tasks. However, the inherent open-ended nature of these tasks implies that there is always room for improvement in the quality of model responses. To address this challenge, various approaches have been proposed to enhance the performance of LLMs. There has been a growing focus on enabling LLMs to self-improve their response quality, thereby reducing the reliance on extensive human annotation efforts for collecting diverse and high-quality training data. Recently, prompting-based methods have been widely explored among self-improvement methods owing to their effectiveness, efficiency, and convenience. However, those methods usually require explicitly and thoroughly written rubrics as inputs to LLMs. It is expensive and challenging to manually derive and provide all necessary rubrics with a real-world complex goal for improvement (e.g., being more helpfulness and less harmful). To this end, we propose an imPlicit self-ImprovemenT (PIT) framework that implicitly learns the improvement goal from human preference data. PIT only requires preference data that are used to train reward models with no extra human efforts. Specifically, we reformulate the training objective of reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF) -- instead of maximizing response quality for a given input, we maximize the quality gap of the response conditioned on a reference response. In this way, PIT is implicitly trained with the improvement goal of better aligning with human preferences. Experiments on two real-world datasets and one synthetic dataset show that our method significantly outperforms prompting-based methods.

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