Strategies for Enhancing LLM's Understanding of a Complex Novel for Improved Question Answering

Hello DeepLearning.AI Community,

I am engaged in an ambitious project with a large and intricate English novel. The narrative of this novel is complex, with elements on one page often intricately linked to content in distant chapters. My goal is to enhance a Large Language Model’s (like GPT-3.5/GPT-4 or LLAMA2) understanding of this text, enabling it to accurately respond to detailed queries, particularly those that involve nuanced interrelationships.

My initial approach involved a Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG) setup using LLamaIndex, VectorDB, and a knowledge graph. While this proved somewhat effective, it was also time-consuming and resource-intensive due to the need for scanning multiple text chunks for each query.

I am now considering fine-tuning or pre-training a model specifically with my novel to improve its contextual understanding and recall. My queries are as follows:

  1. Fine-Tuning vs. Pre-Training for Novel-Specific Adaptation: In enhancing a model’s ability to understand and recall detailed plot elements and their connections within my novel, how effective is fine-tuning a model like GPT-3.5/GPT-4? Alternatively, would pre-training be a more appropriate approach, despite its higher resource demands?
  2. Effectiveness of Pre-Training Smaller LLMs: Would pre-training smaller language models be an effective strategy for this purpose? If so, what are the trade-offs compared to using larger models?
  3. Focused Learning on Specific Chapters: If I aim to have the model learn a specific chapter of about 10,000 tokens, would fine-tuning enable the model to precisely memorize and recall details from this chapter?
  4. Limitations and Expectations: Considering the memory constraints of current LLMs, to what extent can fine-tuning aid in accurately answering questions that require understanding complex interrelations throughout the novel?
  5. Alternative Strategies: Are there other approaches or combinations, such as merging fine-tuning with a retrieval method, that I should consider to enhance the model’s understanding and question-answering accuracy?
  6. Practical Considerations: What are the practical aspects (such as computational resources and time investment) of fine-tuning versus pre-training a model for this kind of task?

I seek your insights, experiences, and advice on the most effective approach to achieve profound understanding and efficient question-answering capabilities for my novel. Any guidance or suggestions you can provide would be immensely valuable.

Thank you in advance for your assistance and insights.

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Also, I’d like to add that the answers I received using the RAG approach were notably accurate. However, this method involved processing large chunks of text, each over 1000 tokens in size. The optimal results emerged when using a similarity_top_k of 8, leading to a total of approximately 8000 tokens (1000 tokens per chunk) being analyzed. Additionally, when factoring in the extra tokens required for prompt templates, plus around 2000 tokens for the completion responses, the total token count necessary to obtain a satisfactory answer ranged from 10,000 to 15,000. This process also typically took around a minute to generate a response.

My hope in exploring pre-training or fine-tuning is anchored in the belief that it would represent a one-time cost, in contrast to the recurring token expenditure with each RAG-based query. Therefore, any guidance or suggestions from the community on how to effectively implement pre-training or fine-tuning for my novel, in light of these considerations, would be immensely valuable. I am particularly interested in understanding if these methods can reduce the token usage per query while maintaining or improving the accuracy and speed of responses.

Thank you for considering my situation. I eagerly await any insights or advice you can provide.

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