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The development of generative AI relies on important machine-learning techniques in today’s technological advancement. It makes machine learning (ML) a critical component of data science where algorithms are statistically trained on data.


An ML model learns iteratively to make accurate predictions and take actions. It enables computer programs to perform tasks without depending on programming. Today’s recommendation engines are one of the most innovative products based on machine learning.


Exploring important machine-learning techniques


The realm of ML is defined by several learning methods, each aiming to improve the overall performance of a model. Technological advancement has resulted in highly sophisticated algorithms that require enhanced strategies for training models.


Let’s look at some of the critical and cutting-edge machine-learning techniques of today.


Transfer learning


This technique is based on training a neural network on a base model and using the learning to apply the same model to a new task of interest. Here, the base model represents a task similar to that of interest, enabling the model to learn the major data patterns.


one of the machine-learning techniques
A visual understanding of transfer learning – Source: Medium


  • Why use transfer learning?It leverages knowledge gained from the first (source) task to improve the performance of the second (target) task. As a result, you can avoid training a model from scratch for related tasks. It is also a useful machine-learning technique when data for the task of interest is limited.


  • ProsTransfer learning enhances the efficiency of computational resources as the model trains on target tasks with pre-learned patterns. Moreover, it offers improved model performance and allows the reusability of features in similar tasks.


  • ConsThis machine-learning technique is highly dependent on the similarity of two tasks. Hence, it cannot be used for extremely dissimilar and if applied to such tasks, it risks overfitting the source task during the model training phase.


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Fine-tuning is a machine-learning technique that aims to support the process of transfer learning. It updates the weights of a model trained on a source task to enhance its adaptability to the new target task. While it looks similar to transfer learning, it does not involve replacing all the layers of a pre-trained network.


Empower your understanding of important machine-learning techniques | Data Science Dojo
Fine-tuning: Improving model performance in transfer learning – Source: Analytics Yogi


  • Why use fine-tuning?It is useful to enhance the adaptability of a pre-trained model on a new task. It enables the ML model to refine its parameters and learn task-specific patterns needed for improved performance on the target task.


  • ProsThis machine-learning technique is computationally efficient and offers improved adaptability to an ML model when dealing with transfer learning. The utilization of pre-learned features becomes beneficial when the target task has a limited amount of data.


  • ConsFine-tuning is sensitive to the choice of hyperparameters and you cannot find the optimal settings right away. It requires experimenting with the model training process to ensure optimal results. Moreover, it also has the risk of overfitting and limited adaptation in case of high dissimilarity in source and target tasks.


Multitask learning


As the name indicates, the multitask machine-learning technique unlocks the power of simultaneity.  Here, a model is trained to perform multiple tasks at the same time, sharing the knowledge across these tasks.


multitask learning - a type of machine-learning technique
Understanding multitask learning – Source: ResearchGate


  • Why use multitask learning?It is useful in sharing common representations across multiple tasks, offering improved generalization. You can use it in cases where several related ML tasks can benefit from shared representations.


  • ProsThe enhanced generalization capability of models ensures the efficient use of data. Leveraging information results in improved model performance and regularization of training. Hence, it results in the creation of more robust training models.


  • ConsThe increased complexity of this machine-learning technique requires advanced architecture and informed weightage of different tasks. It also depends on the availability of large and diverse datasets for effective results. Moreover, the dissimilarity of tasks can result in unwanted interference in the model performance of other tasks.


Federated learning


It is one of the most advanced machine-learning techniques that focuses on decentralized model training. As a result, the data remains on the user-end devices, and the model is trained locally. It is a revolutionized ML methodology that enhances collaboration among decentralized devices.


federated learning
Federated learning: A revolutionary ML technique – Source: Sony AI


  • Why use federated learning?Federated learning is focused on locally trained models that do not require the sharing of raw data of end-user devices. It enables the sharing of key parameters through ML models while not requiring an exchange of sensitive data.


  • ProsThis machine-learning technique addresses the privacy concerns in ML training. The decentralized approach enables increased collaborative learning with reduced reliance on central servers for ML processes. Moreover, this method is energy-efficient as models are trained locally.


  • ConsIt cannot be implemented in resource-constrained environments due to large communication overhead. Moreover, it requires compatibility between local data and the global model at the central server, limiting its ability to handle heterogeneous datasets.


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Factors determining the best machine-learning technique


While there are numerous machine-learning techniques available for model training today, it is crucial to make the right choice for your business. Below is a list of important factors that you must consider when selecting an ML method for your processes.



Context matters!


Context refers to the type of problem or task at hand. The requirements and constraints of the model-training process is pivotal in choosing an ML technique. For instance, transfer learning and fine-tuning promote knowledge sharing, multitask learning promotes simultaneity, and federated learning supports decentralization.


Data availability and complexity


ML processes require large datasets to develop high-performing models. Hence, the amount and complexity of data determine the choice of method. While transfer learning and multitask learning need large amounts of data, fine-tuning is suitable for a limited dataset. Moreover, data complexity determines knowledge sharing and feature interactions.


Computational resources


Large neural networks and complex machine-learning techniques require large computational power. The availability of hardware resources and time required for training are important measures of consideration when making your choice of the right ML method.


Data privacy considerations


With rapidly advancing technological processes, ML and AI have emerged as major tools that heavily rely on available datasets. It makes data a highly important part of the process, leading to an increase in privacy concerns and protection of critical information. Hence, your choice of machine-learning technique must fulfill your data privacy demands.


Make an informed choice!


Important machine-learning techniques
An outlook of important machine-learning techniques


In conclusion, it is important to understand the specifications of the four important machine-learning techniques before making a choice. Each method has its requirements and offers unique benefits. It is crucial to understand the dimensions of each technique in the light of key considerations discussed above. Hence, make an informed choice for your ML training processes.

February 7, 2024

With the introduction of LLaMA v1, we witnessed a surge in customized models like Alpaca, Vicuna, and WizardLM. This surge motivated various businesses to launch their own foundational models, such as OpenLLaMA, Falcon, and XGen, with licenses suitable for commercial purposes. LLaMA 2, the latest release, now combines the strengths of both approaches, offering an efficient foundational model with a more permissive license. 


In the first half of 2023, the software landscape underwent a significant transformation with the widespread adoption of APIs like OpenAI API to build infrastructures based on Large Language Models (LLMs). Libraries like LangChain and LlamaIndex played crucial roles in this evolution.  

Large language model bootcamp



As we move into the latter part of the year, fine-tuning or instruction tuning of these models is becoming a standard practice in the LLMOps workflow. This trend is motivated by several factors, including  


  • Potential cost savings 
  • The capacity to handle sensitive data 
  • The opportunity to develop models that can outperform well-known models like ChatGPT and GPT-4 in specific tasks. 



Fine-tuning methods refer to various techniques used to enhance the performance of a pre-trained model by adapting it to a specific task or domain. These methods are valuable for optimizing a model’s weights and parameters to excel in the target task. Here are different fine-tuning methods: 




  • Supervised Fine-Tuning: This method involves further training a pre-trained language model (LLM) on a specific downstream task using labeled data. The model’s parameters are updated to excel in this task, such as text classification, named entity recognition, or sentiment analysis. 


  • Transfer Learning: Transfer learning involves repurposing a pre-trained model’s architecture and weights for a new task or domain. Typically, the model is initially trained on a broad dataset and is then fine-tuned to adapt to specific tasks or domains, making it an efficient approach. 


  • Sequential Fine-tuning: Sequential fine-tuning entails the gradual adaptation of a pre-trained model on multiple related tasks or domains in succession. This sequential learning helps the model capture intricate language patterns across various tasks, leading to improved generalization and performance. 


  • Task-specific Fine-tuning: Task-specific fine-tuning is a method where the pre-trained model undergoes further training on a dedicated dataset for a particular task or domain. While it demands more data and time than transfer learning, it can yield higher performance tailored to the specific task. 


  • Multi-task Learning: Multi-task learning involves fine-tuning the pre-trained model on several tasks simultaneously. This strategy enables the model to learn and leverage common features and representations across different tasks, ultimately enhancing its ability to generalize and perform well. 


  • Adapter Training: Adapter training entails training lightweight modules that are integrated into the pre-trained model. These adapters allow for fine-tuning on specific tasks without interfering with the original model’s performance on other tasks. This approach maintains efficiency while adapting to task-specific requirements. 


Why fine-tune LLM? 


Fine tuning LLM

Source: DeepLearningAI 


The figure discusses the allocation of AI tasks within organizations, taking into account the amount of available data. On the left side of the spectrum, having a substantial amount of data allows organizations to train their own models from scratch, albeit at a high cost.

Alternatively, if an organization possesses a moderate amount of data, it can fine-tune pre-existing models to achieve excellent performance. For those with limited data, the recommended approach is in-context learning, specifically through techniques like retrieval augmented generation using general models.

However, our focus will be on the fine-tuning aspect, as it offers a favorable balance between accuracy, performance, and speed compared to larger, more general models. 


Pre-trained LLM

Source: Intuitive Tutorials 


Why LLaMA 2? 

Before we dive into the detailed guide, let’s take a quick look at the benefits of Llama 2. 

 Read more about Palm 2 vs Llama 2 in this blog


  • Diverse range: Llama 2 comes in various sizes, from 7 billion to a massive 70 billion parameters. It shares a similar architecture with Llama 1 but boasts improved capabilities.
  • Extensive training ata: This model has been trained on a massive dataset of 2 trillion tokens, demonstrating its vast exposure to a wide range of information. 
  • Enhanced context: With an extended context length of 4,000 tokens, the model can better understand and generate extensive content. 
  • Grouped query attention (GQA): GQA has been introduced to enhance inference scalability, making attention calculations faster by storing previous token pair information. 
  • Performance excellence: Llama 2 models consistently outperform their predecessors, particularly the Llama 2 70B version. They excel in various benchmarks, competing strongly with models like Llama 1 65B and even Falcon models. 
  •  Open source vs. closed source LLMs: When compared to models like GPT-3.5 or PaLM (540B), Llama 2 70B demonstrates impressive performance. While there may be a slight gap in certain benchmarks when compared to GPT-4 and PaLM-2, the model’s potential is evident. 

Parameter efficient fine-tuning (PEFT) 

Parameter Efficient Fine-Tuning involves adapting pre-trained models to new tasks while making minimal changes to the model’s parameters. This is especially important for large neural network models like BERT, GPT, and similar ones. Let’s delve into why PEFT is so significant:


  • Reduced overfitting: Limited datasets can be problematic. Making too many parameter adjustments can lead to model overfitting. PEFT allows us to strike a balance between the model’s flexibility and tailoring it to new tasks. 
  • Faster training: Making fewer parameter changes results in fewer computations, which in turn leads to faster training sessions. 
  • Resource efficiency: Training deep neural networks requires substantial computational resources. PEFT minimizes the computational and memory demands, making it more practical to deploy in resource-constrained environments.  
  • Knowledge preservation: Extensive pretraining on diverse datasets equips models with valuable general knowledge. PEFT ensures that this wealth of knowledge is retained when adapting the model to new tasks. 

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PEFT technique 

The most popular PEFT technique is LoRA. Let’s see what it offers: 


  • LoRA 

LoRA, or Low Rank Adaptation, represents a groundbreaking advancement in the realm of large language models. At the beginning of the year, these models seemed accessible only to wealthy companies. However, LoRA has changed the landscape. 

LoRA has made the use of large language models accessible to a wider audience. Its low-rank adaptation approach has significantly reduced the number of trainable parameters by up to 10,000 times. This results in:  

  • A threefold reduction in GPU requirements, which is typically a major bottleneck. 
  • Comparable, if not superior, performance even without fine-tuning the entire model. 

In traditional fine-tuning, we modify the existing weights of a pre-trained model using new examples. Conventionally, this required a matrix of the same size. However, by employing creative methods and the concept of rank factorization, a matrix can be split into two smaller matrices. When multiplied together, they approximate the original matrix. 

To illustrate, imagine a 1000×1000 matrix with 1,000,000 parameters. Through rank factorization, if the rank is, for instance, five, we could have two matrices, each sized 1000×5. When combined, they represent just 10,000 parameters, resulting in a significant reduction. 

In recent days, researchers have introduced an extension of LoRA known as QLoRA. 

  • QLoRA 

QLoRA is an extension of LoRA that further introduces quantization to enhance parameter efficiency during fine-tuning. It builds on the principles of LoRA while introducing 4-bit NormalFloat (NF4) quantization and Double Quantization techniques. 


Quantization + LoRA

Environment setup 

About dataset 

 The dataset has undergone special processing to ensure a seamless match with Llama 2’s prompt format, making it ready for training without the need for additional modifications. 



Since the data has already been adapted to Llama 2’s prompt format, it can be directly employed to tune the model for particular applications. 



Configuring the model and tokenizer 

We start by specifying the pre-trained Llama 2 model and prepare for an improved version called “llama-2-7b-enhanced“. We load the tokenizer and make slight adjustments to ensure compatibility with half-precision floating-point numbers (fp16) operations. Working with fp16 can offer various advantages, including reduced memory usage and faster model training. However, it’s important to note that not all operations work seamlessly with this lower precision format, and tokenization, a crucial step in preparing text data for model training, is one of them. 


Next, we load the pre-trained Llama 2 model with our quantization configurations. We then deactivate caching and configure a pretraining temperature parameter. 


In order to shrink the model’s size and boost inference speed, we employ 4-bit quantization provided by the BitsAndBytesConfig. Quantization involves representing the model’s weights in a way that consumes less memory. 


The configuration mentioned here uses the ‘nf4‘ type for quantization. You can experiment with different quantization types to explore potential performance variations. 



Quantization configuration 

In the context of training a machine learning model using Low-Rank Adaptation (LoRA), several parameters play a significant role. Here’s a simplified explanation of each: 



Parameters specific to LoRA: 


  • Dropout Rate (lora_dropout): This parameter represents the probability that the output of each neuron is set to zero during training. It is used to prevent overfitting, which occurs when the model becomes too tailored to the training data. 


  • Rank (r): Rank measures how the original weight matrices are decomposed into simpler, smaller matrices. This decomposition reduces computational demands and memory usage. Lower ranks can make the model faster but may impact its performance. The original LoRA paper suggests starting with a rank of 8, but for QLoRA, a rank of 64 is recommended. 


  • Lora_alpha: This parameter controls the scaling of the low-rank approximation. It’s like finding the right balance between the original model and the low-rank approximation. Higher values can make the approximation more influential during the fine-tuning process, which can affect both performance and computational cost. 


By adjusting these parameters, particularly lora_alpha and r, you can observe how the model’s performance and resource utilization change. This allows you to fine-tune the model for your specific task and find the optimal configuration. 



You can find the code of this notebook here. 


I asked both the fine-tuned and unfine-tuned models of LLaMA 2 about a university, and the fine-tuned model provided the correct result. The unfine-tuned model does not know about the query therefore it hallucinated the response. 

Unfine tuned


fine tuned