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Top 7 large language models evaluations methods

Data Science Dojo

Ayesha Saleem

January 2

Large Language Models (LLMs) like GPT-3 and BERT have revolutionized the field of natural language processing. However, large language models evaluation is as crucial as their development. This blog delves into the methods used to assess LLMs, ensuring they perform effectively and ethically.


How Do You Evaluate Large Language Model Apps — When 99% is just not good enough? | by Skanda Vivek | EMAlpha | Medium
     Source: EmAlpha



Evaluation metrics and methods

  1. Perplexity: Perplexity measures how well a model predicts a text sample. A lower perplexity indicates better performance, as the model is less ‘perplexed’ by the data.
  2. Accuracy, safety, and fairness: Beyond mere performance, assessing an LLM involves evaluating its accuracy in understanding and generating language, safety in avoiding harmful outputs, and fairness in treating all groups equitably.
  3. Embedding-based methods: Methods like BERTScore use embeddings (vector representations of text) to evaluate semantic similarity between the model’s output and reference texts.
  4. Human evaluation panels: Panels of human evaluators can judge the model’s output for aspects like coherence, relevance, and fluency, offering insights that automated metrics might miss.
  5. Benchmarks like MMLU and HellaSwag: These benchmarks test an LLM’s ability to handle complex language tasks and scenarios, gauging its generalizability and robustness.
  6. Holistic evaluation: Frameworks like the Holistic Evaluation of Language Models (HELM) assess models across multiple metrics, including accuracy and calibration, to provide a comprehensive view of their capabilities.
  7. Bias detection and interpretability methods: These methods evaluate how biased a model’s outputs are and how interpretable its decision-making process is, addressing ethical considerations.



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How large language models evaluation work

Evaluations of large language models (LLMs) are crucial for assessing their performance, accuracy, and alignment with desired outcomes. The evaluation process involves several key methods:

  1. Performance assessment: This involves checking how well the model predicts or generates text. A common metric used is perplexity, which measures how well a model can predict a sample of text. A lower perplexity indicates better predictive performance.
  2. Knowledge and capability evaluation: This assesses the model’s ability to provide accurate and relevant information. It might involve tasks like question-answering or text completion to see how well the model understands and generates language.
  3. Alignment and safety evaluation: These evaluations check whether the model’s outputs are safe, unbiased, and ethically aligned. It involves testing for harmful outputs, biases, or misinformation.
  4. Use of evaluation metrics like BLEU and ROUGE: BLEU (Bilingual Evaluation Understudy) and ROUGE (Recall-Oriented Understudy for Gisting Evaluation) are metrics that assess the quality of machine-translated text against a set of reference translations.
  5. Holistic evaluation methods: Frameworks like the Holistic Evaluation of Language Models (HELM) evaluate models based on multiple metrics, including accuracy and calibration, to provide a comprehensive assessment.
  6. Human evaluation panels: In some cases, human evaluators assess aspects of the model’s output, such as coherence, relevance, and fluency, providing insights that automated metrics might miss.



These evaluation methods help in refining LLMs, ensuring they are not only efficient in language understanding and generation but also safe, unbiased, and aligned with ethical standards.



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How to choose evaluation method in large language models

Deciding which evaluation method to use for large language models (LLMs) depends on the specific aspects of the model you wish to assess. Here are key considerations:

  1. Model performance: If the goal is to assess how well the model predicts or generates text, use metrics like perplexity, which quantifies the model’s predictive capabilities. Lower perplexity values indicate better performance.
  2. Adaptability to unfamiliar topics: Out-of-Distribution Testing can be used when you want to evaluate the model’s ability to handle new datasets or topics it hasn’t been trained on.
  3. Language fluency and coherence: If evaluating the fluency and coherence of the model’s generated text is essential, consider methods that measure these features directly, such as human evaluation panels or automated coherence metrics.
  4. Bias and fairness analysis: Diversity and bias analysis are critical for evaluating the ethical aspects of LLMs. Techniques like the Word Embedding Association Test (WEAT) can quantify biases in the model’s outputs.
  5. Manual human evaluation: This method is suitable for measuring the quality and performance of LLMs in terms of the naturalness and relevance of generated text. It involves having human evaluators assess the outputs manually.
  6. Zero-shot evaluation: This approach is used to measure the performance of LLMs on tasks they haven’t been explicitly trained for, which is useful for assessing the model’s generalization capabilities.

Each method addresses different aspects of LLM evaluation, so the choice should align with your specific evaluation goals and the characteristics of the model you are assessing.


Learn in detail about LLM evaluations


Evaluating LLMs is a multifaceted process requiring a combination of automated metrics and human judgment. It ensures that these models not only perform efficiently but also adhere to ethical standards, paving the way for their responsible and effective use in various applications.

Data Science Dojo

Written by Ayesha Saleem

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