Model alignment with human preferences is an essential step in making Large Language Models (LLMs) helpful and consistent with human values. It typically consists of supervised fine-tuning (SFT) and reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF) stages. However, RLHF faces inherent limitations stemming from a complex training setup and its tendency to align the model with implicit values that end users cannot control at run-time. Moreover, reward models in RLHF stage commonly rely on single-dimensional feedback as opposed to explicit, multifaceted signals that indicate attributes such as helpfulness, humor, and toxicity. To address these limitations, we propose SteerLM, a supervised fine-tuning method that empowers end-users to control responses during inference. SteerLM conditions responses to conform to an explicitly defined multi-dimensional set of attributes, thereby empowering a steerable AI capable of generating helpful and high-quality responses while maintaining customizability. Experiments show that SteerLM trained on open source datasets generates responses that are preferred by human and automatic evaluators to many state-of-the-art baselines trained with RLHF while being much easier to train. Try SteerLM at https://huggingface.co/nvidia/SteerLM-llama2-13B
Large decoder-only language models (LMs) can be largely improved in terms of perplexity by retrieval (e.g., RETRO), but its impact on text generation quality and downstream task accuracy is unclear. Thus, it is still an open question: shall we pretrain large autoregressive LMs with retrieval? To answer it, we perform a comprehensive study on a scalable pre-trained retrieval-augmented LM (i.e., RETRO) compared with standard GPT and retrieval-augmented GPT incorporated at fine-tuning or inference stages. We first provide the recipe to reproduce RETRO up to 9.5B parameters while retrieving a text corpus with 330B tokens. Based on that, we have the following novel findings: i) RETRO outperforms GPT on text generation with much less degeneration (i.e., repetition), moderately higher factual accuracy, and slightly lower toxicity with a nontoxic retrieval database. ii) On the LM Evaluation Harness benchmark, RETRO largely outperforms GPT on knowledge-intensive tasks, but is on par with GPT on other tasks. Furthermore, we introduce a simple variant of the model, RETRO++, which largely improves open-domain QA results of original RETRO (e.g., EM score +8.6 on Natural Question) and significantly outperforms retrieval-augmented GPT across different model sizes. Our findings highlight the promising direction of pretraining autoregressive LMs with retrieval as future foundation models. We release our implementation at: https://github.com/NVIDIA/Megatron-LM/tree/main/tools/retro.