Teaching Large Language Models to Reason with Reinforcement Learning

Published on Mar 7
· Featured in Daily Papers on Mar 8


Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback (RLHF) has emerged as a dominant approach for aligning LLM outputs with human preferences. Inspired by the success of RLHF, we study the performance of multiple algorithms that learn from feedback (Expert Iteration, Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO), Return-Conditioned RL) on improving LLM reasoning capabilities. We investigate both sparse and dense rewards provided to the LLM both heuristically and via a learned reward model. We additionally start from multiple model sizes and initializations both with and without supervised fine-tuning (SFT) data. Overall, we find all algorithms perform comparably, with Expert Iteration performing best in most cases. Surprisingly, we find the sample complexity of Expert Iteration is similar to that of PPO, requiring at most on the order of 10^6 samples to converge from a pretrained checkpoint. We investigate why this is the case, concluding that during RL training models fail to explore significantly beyond solutions already produced by SFT models. Additionally, we discuss a trade off between maj@1 and pass@96 metric performance during SFT training and how conversely RL training improves both simultaneously. We then conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for RLHF and the future role of RL in LLM fine-tuning.


This is an automated message from the Librarian Bot. I found the following papers similar to this paper.

The following papers were recommended by the Semantic Scholar API

Please give a thumbs up to this comment if you found it helpful!

If you want recommendations for any Paper on Hugging Face checkout this Space

You can directly ask Librarian Bot for paper recommendations by tagging it in a comment: @librarian-bot recommend

It seems natural, that current LLMs are mediocre in specific reasoning skills, as their training datasets are not created with reasoning capability in mind. So, similarly to humans, the reasoning skills are by product of learning another more factual information

That leads to two “what if” questions:

  1. what would be good dataset to create LLM specialized in “reasoning” in from the scratch?
  2. shall we not change our own schools to have different priorities in education - focusing on reasoning, communication, self-management and it’s application in doing things (including science, arts, etc.)) ?

Sign up or log in to comment

Models citing this paper 0

No model linking this paper

Cite in a model to link it from this page.

Datasets citing this paper 0

No dataset linking this paper

Cite in a dataset to link it from this page.

Spaces citing this paper 0

No Space linking this paper

Cite in a Space to link it from this page.

Collections including this paper 23