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Beyond Scale: the Diversity Coefficient as a Data Quality Metric Demonstrates LLMs are Pre-trained on Formally Diverse Data
Alycia Lee · Brando Miranda · Brando Miranda · Sanmi Koyejo

Current trends to pre-train capable Large Language Models (LLMs) mostly focus on scaling of model and dataset size.However, the quality of pre-training data is an important factor for training powerful LLMs, yet it is a nebulous concept that has not been fully characterized.Therefore, we use the recently proposed Task2Vec diversity coefficient to ground and understand formal aspects of data quality, to go beyond scale alone.Specifically, we measure the diversity coefficient of publicly available pre-training datasets to demonstrate that their formal diversity is high when compared to theoretical lower and upper bounds.In addition, to build confidence in the diversity coefficient, we conduct interpretability experiments and find that the coefficient aligns with intuitive properties of diversity,e.g., it increases as the number of latent concepts increases. We conclude the diversity coefficient is reliable, show it's high for publicly available LLM datasets, and conjecture it can be used to build useful diverse datasets for LLMs.

Author Information

Alycia Lee (Stanford University)
Brando Miranda (Stanford University)
Brando Miranda (Stanford University)
Sanmi Koyejo (Stanford University)

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