Home Artificial Intelligence Rethinking the Function of PPO in RLHF – The Berkeley Synthetic Intelligence Analysis Weblog

Rethinking the Function of PPO in RLHF – The Berkeley Synthetic Intelligence Analysis Weblog

Rethinking the Function of PPO in RLHF – The Berkeley Synthetic Intelligence Analysis Weblog


Rethinking the Function of PPO in RLHF

TL;DR: In RLHF, there’s stress between the reward studying part, which makes use of human choice within the type of comparisons, and the RL fine-tuning part, which optimizes a single, non-comparative reward. What if we carried out RL in a comparative manner?

Determine 1:
This diagram illustrates the distinction between reinforcement studying from absolute suggestions and relative suggestions. By incorporating a brand new part – pairwise coverage gradient, we will unify the reward modeling stage and RL stage, enabling direct updates based mostly on pairwise responses.

Giant Language Fashions (LLMs) have powered more and more succesful digital assistants, reminiscent of GPT-4, Claude-2, Bard and Bing Chat. These programs can reply to complicated person queries, write code, and even produce poetry. The method underlying these wonderful digital assistants is Reinforcement Studying with Human Suggestions (RLHF). RLHF goals to align the mannequin with human values and remove unintended behaviors, which might typically come up as a result of mannequin being uncovered to a big amount of low-quality information throughout its pretraining part.

Proximal Coverage Optimization (PPO), the dominant RL optimizer on this course of, has been reported to exhibit instability and implementation issues. Extra importantly, there’s a persistent discrepancy within the RLHF course of: regardless of the reward mannequin being educated utilizing comparisons between varied responses, the RL fine-tuning stage works on particular person responses with out making any comparisons. This inconsistency can exacerbate points, particularly within the difficult language technology area.

Given this backdrop, an intriguing query arises: Is it doable to design an RL algorithm that learns in a comparative method? To discover this, we introduce Pairwise Proximal Coverage Optimization (P3O), a technique that harmonizes the coaching processes in each the reward studying stage and RL fine-tuning stage of RLHF, offering a passable answer to this situation.


Determine 2:
An outline of the three phases of RLHF from an OpenAI weblog put up. Be aware that the third stage falls below Reinforcement Studying with Absolute Suggestions as proven on the left aspect of Determine 1.

In conventional RL settings, the reward is specified manually by the designer or offered by a well-defined reward perform, as in Atari video games. Nonetheless, to steer a mannequin towards useful and innocent responses, defining a superb reward isn’t simple. RLHF addresses this drawback by studying the reward perform from human suggestions, particularly within the type of comparisons, after which making use of RL to optimize the realized reward perform.

The RLHF pipeline is split into a number of phases, detailed as follows:

Supervised Positive-Tuning Stage: The pre-trained mannequin undergoes the utmost chance loss on a top quality dataset, the place it learns to answer human queries by mimicking.

Reward Modeling Stage: The SFT mannequin is prompted with prompts (x) to supply pairs of solutions (y_1,y_2sim pi^{textual content{SFT}}(yvert x)). These generated responses kind a dataset. The response pairs are offered to human labellers who categorical a choice for one reply over the opposite, denoted as (y_w succ y_l). A comparative loss is then used to coach a reward mannequin (r_phi):

[mathcal{L}_R = mathbb{E}_{(x,y_l,y_w)simmathcal{D}}log sigmaleft(r_phi(y_w|x)-r_phi(y_l|x)right)]

RL Positive-Tuning Stage: The SFT mannequin serves because the initialization of this stage, and an RL algorithm optimizes the coverage in direction of maximizing the reward whereas limiting the deviation from the preliminary coverage. Formally, that is accomplished by:

[max_{pi_theta}mathbb{E}_{xsim mathcal{D}, ysim pi_theta(cdotvert x)}left[r_phi(yvert x)-beta D_{text{KL}}(pi_theta(cdotvert x)Vert pi^{text{SFT}}(cdotvert x))right]]

An inherent problem with this strategy is the non-uniqueness of the reward. As an example, given a reward perform (r(yvert x)), a easy shift within the reward of the immediate to (r(yvert x)+delta(x)) creates one other legitimate reward perform. These two reward capabilities lead to the identical loss for any response pairs, however they differ considerably when optimized in opposition to with RL. In an excessive case, if the added noise causes the reward perform to have a wide range, an RL algorithm is perhaps misled to extend the chance of responses with larger rewards, despite the fact that these rewards might not be significant. In different phrases, the coverage is perhaps disrupted by the reward scale info within the immediate (x), but fails to study the helpful half – relative choice represented by the reward distinction. To deal with this situation, our goal is to develop an RL algorithm that’s invariant to reward translation.

Derivation of P3O

Our concept stems from the vanilla coverage gradient (VPG). VPG is a broadly adopted first-order RL optimizer, favored for its simplicity and ease of implementation. In a contextual bandit (CB) setting, the VPG is formulated as:

[nabla mathcal{L}^{text{VPG}} = mathbb{E}_{ysimpi_{theta}} r(y|x)nablalogpi_{theta}(y|x)]

By way of some algebraic manipulation, we will rewrite the coverage gradient in a comparative kind that includes two responses of the identical immediate. We identify it Pairwise Coverage Gradient:

[mathbb{E}_{y_1,y_2simpi_{theta}}left(r(y_1vert x)-r(y_2vert x)right)nablaleft(logfrac{pi_theta(y_1vert x)}{pi_theta(y_2vert x)}right)/2]

In contrast to VPG, which straight depends on absolutely the magnitude of the reward, PPG makes use of the reward distinction. This permits us to bypass the aforementioned situation of reward translation. To additional enhance efficiency, we incorporate a replay buffer utilizing Significance Sampling and keep away from massive gradient updates through Clipping.

Significance sampling: We pattern a batch of responses from the replay buffer which encompass responses generated from (pi_{textual content{previous}}) after which compute the significance sampling ratio for every response pair. The gradient is the weighted sum of the gradients computed from every response pair.

Clipping: We clip the significance sampling ratio in addition to the gradient replace to penalize excessively massive updates. This system permits the algorithm to trade-off KL divergence and reward extra effectively.

There are two alternative ways to implement the clipping method, distinguished by both separate or joint clipping. The ensuing algorithm is known as Pairwise Proximal Coverage Optimization (P3O), with the variants being V1 or V2 respectively. You will discover extra particulars in our unique paper.


Determine 3:
KL-Reward frontier for TL;DR, each sequence-wise KL and reward are averaged over 200 check prompts and computed each 500 gradient steps. We discover {that a} easy linear perform matches the curve nicely. P3O has the very best KL-Reward trade-off among the many three.

We discover two totally different open-ended textual content technology duties, summarization and question-answering. In summarization, we make the most of the TL;DR dataset the place the immediate (x) is a discussion board put up from Reddit, and (y) is a corresponding abstract. For question-answering, we use Anthropic Useful and Innocent (HH), the immediate (x) is a human question from varied matters, and the coverage ought to study to supply an attractive and useful response (y).

We examine our algorithm P3O with a number of efficient and consultant approaches for LLM alignment. We begin with the SFT coverage educated by most chance. For RL algorithms, we contemplate the dominant strategy PPO and the newly proposed DPO. DPO straight optimizes the coverage in direction of the closed-form answer of the KL-constrained RL drawback. Though it’s proposed as an offline alignment technique, we make it on-line with the assistance of a proxy reward perform.

Determine 4:
KL-Reward frontier for HH, every level represents a median of outcomes over 280 check prompts and calculated each 500 gradient updates. Left two figures examine P3O-V1 and PPO with various base mannequin sizes; Proper two figures examine P3O-V2 and DPO. Outcomes displaying that P3O cannot solely obtain larger reward but in addition yield higher KL management.

Deviating an excessive amount of from the reference coverage would lead the net coverage to chop corners of the reward mannequin and produce incoherent continuations, as identified by earlier works. We’re fascinated about not solely the nicely established metric in RL literature – the reward, but in addition in how far the realized coverage deviates from the preliminary coverage, measured by KL-divergence. Due to this fact, we examine the effectiveness of every algorithm by its frontier of achieved reward and KL-divergence from the reference coverage (KL-Reward Frontier). In Determine 4 and Determine 5, we uncover that P3O has strictly dominant frontiers than PPO and DPO throughout varied mannequin sizes.

Determine 5:
Left determine shows the win fee evaluated by GPT-4. Proper determine presents the win fee based mostly on direct comparability of the proxy reward. Regardless of the excessive correlation between two figures, we discovered that the reward win fee should be adjusted in keeping with the KL to be able to align with the GPT-4 win fee.

To straight assess the standard of generated responses, we additionally carry out Head-to-Head Comparisons between each pair of algorithms within the HH dataset. We use two metrics for analysis: (1) Reward, the optimized goal throughout on-line RL, (2) GPT-4, as a trustworthy proxy for human analysis of response helpfulness. For the latter metric, we level out that earlier research present that GPT-4 judgments correlate strongly with people, with human settlement with GPT-4 sometimes comparable or larger than inter-human annotator settlement.

Determine 5 presents the excellent pairwise comparability outcomes. The common KL-divergence and reward rating of those fashions is DPO > P3O > PPO > SFT. Though DPO marginally surpasses P3O in reward, it has a significantly larger KL-divergence, which can be detrimental to the standard of technology. In consequence, DPO has a reward win fee of 49.5% in opposition to P3O, however solely 45.4% as evaluated by GPT-4. In contrast with different strategies, P3O reveals a GPT-4 win fee of 57.0% in opposition to PPO and 69.3% in opposition to SFT. This result’s in line with our findings from the KL-Reward frontier metric, affirming that P3O may higher align with human choice than earlier baselines.


On this weblog put up, we current new insights into aligning massive language fashions with human preferences through reinforcement studying. We proposed the Reinforcement Studying with Relative Suggestions framework, as depicted in Determine 1. Underneath this framework, we develop a novel coverage gradient algorithm – P3O. This strategy unifies the elemental rules of reward modeling and RL fine-tuning by comparative coaching. Our outcomes present that P3O surpasses prior strategies when it comes to the KL-Reward frontier in addition to GPT-4 win-rate.


This weblog is predicated on our current paper and weblog. If this weblog conjures up your work, please contemplate citing it with:

  title={Pairwise Proximal Coverage Optimization: Harnessing Relative Suggestions for LLM Alignment},
  writer={Wu, Tianhao and Zhu, Banghua and Zhang, Ruoyu and Wen, Zhaojin and Ramchandran, Kannan and Jiao, Jiantao},
  journal={arXiv preprint arXiv:2310.00212},
  12 months={2023}



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