Eric Mitchell


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Meta-Learning Online Adaptation of Language Models
Nathan Hu | Eric Mitchell | Christopher Manning | Chelsea Finn
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Large language models encode impressively broad world knowledge in their parameters. However, the knowledge in static language models falls out of date, limiting the model’s effective “shelf life.” While online fine-tuning can reduce this degradation, we find that naively fine-tuning on a stream of documents leads to a low level of information uptake. We hypothesize that online fine-tuning does not sufficiently attend to important information. That is, the gradient signal from important tokens representing factual information is drowned out by the gradient from inherently noisy tokens, suggesting that a dynamic, context-aware learning rate may be beneficial. We therefore propose learning which tokens to upweight. We meta-train a small, autoregressive model to reweight the language modeling loss for each token during online fine-tuning, with the objective of maximizing the out-of-date base question-answering model’s ability to answer questions about a document after a single weighted gradient step. We call this approach Context-aware Meta-learned Loss Scaling (CaMeLS). Across three different distributions of documents, our experiments find that CaMeLS provides substantially improved information uptake on streams of thousands of documents compared with standard fine-tuning and baseline heuristics for reweighting token losses.

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Just Ask for Calibration: Strategies for Eliciting Calibrated Confidence Scores from Language Models Fine-Tuned with Human Feedback
Katherine Tian | Eric Mitchell | Allan Zhou | Archit Sharma | Rafael Rafailov | Huaxiu Yao | Chelsea Finn | Christopher Manning
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

A trustworthy real-world prediction system should produce well-calibrated confidence scores; that is, its confidence in an answer should be indicative of the likelihood that the answer is correct, enabling deferral to an expert in cases of low-confidence predictions. Recent studies have shown that unsupervised pre-training produces large language models (LMs) whose conditional probabilities are remarkably well-calibrated. However, the most widely-used LMs are fine-tuned with reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF-LMs), and some studies have suggested that RLHF-LMs produce conditional probabilities that are very poorly calibrated. In light of this perceived weakness, we conduct a broad evaluation of methods for extracting confidence scores from RLHF-LMs. For RLHF-LMs such as ChatGPT, GPT-4, and Claude, we find that verbalized confidences emitted as output tokens are typically better-calibrated than the model’s conditional probabilities on the TriviaQA, SciQ, and TruthfulQA benchmarks, often reducing the expected calibration error by a relative 50%.


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Enhancing Self-Consistency and Performance of Pre-Trained Language Models through Natural Language Inference
Eric Mitchell | Joseph Noh | Siyan Li | Will Armstrong | Ananth Agarwal | Patrick Liu | Chelsea Finn | Christopher Manning
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

While large pre-trained language models are powerful, their predictions often lack logical consistency across test inputs. For example, a state-of-the-art Macaw question-answering (QA) model answers <i>Yes</i> to <i>Is a sparrow a bird?</i> and <i>Does a bird have feet?</i> but answers <i>No</i> to <i>Does a sparrow have feet?</i>. To address this failure mode, we propose a framework, Consistency Correction through Relation Detection, or <b>ConCoRD</b>, for boosting the consistency and accuracy of pre-trained NLP models using pre-trained natural language inference (NLI) models without fine-tuning or re-training. Given a batch of test inputs, ConCoRD samples several candidate outputs for each input and instantiates a factor graph that accounts for both the model’s belief about the likelihood of each answer choice in isolation and the NLI model’s beliefs about pair-wise answer choice compatibility. We show that a weighted MaxSAT solver can efficiently compute high-quality answer choices under this factor graph, improving over the raw model’s predictions. Our experiments demonstrate that ConCoRD consistently boosts accuracy and consistency of off-the-shelf closed-book QA and VQA models using off-the-shelf NLI models, notably increasing accuracy of LXMERT on ConVQA by 5% absolute. See the project website ( for code and data.