Large language models (LLMs) like OpenAI's GPT series have been trained on a diverse range of publicly accessible data, demonstrating remarkable capabilities in text generation, summarization, question answering, and planning. Despite their versatility, a frequently posed question revolves around the seamless integration of these models with custom, private or proprietary data.
Businesses and individuals are flooded with unique and custom data, often housed in various applications such as Notion, Slack, and Salesforce, or stored in personal files. To leverage LLMs for this specific data, several methodologies have been proposed and experimented with.
Fine-tuning represents one such approach, it consist adjustment of the model's weights to incorporate knowledge from particular datasets. However, this process isn't without its challenges. It demands substantial effort in data preparation, coupled with a difficult optimization procedure, necessitating a certain level of machine learning expertise. Moreover, the financial implications can be significant, particularly when dealing with large datasets.
In-context learning has emerged as an alternative, prioritizing the crafting of inputs and prompts to provide the LLM with the necessary context for generating accurate outputs. This approach mitigates the need for extensive model retraining, offering a more efficient and accessible means of integrating private data.
But the drawback for this is its reliance on the skill and expertise of the user in prompt engineering. Additionally, in-context learning may not always be as precise or reliable as fine-tuning, especially when dealing with highly specialized or technical data. The model's pre-training on a broad range of internet text does not guarantee an understanding of specific jargon or context, which can lead to inaccurate or irrelevant outputs. This is particularly problematic when the private data is from a niche domain or industry.
Moreover, the amount of context that can be provided in a single prompt is limited, and the LLM’s performance may degrade as the complexity of the task increases. There is also the challenge of privacy and data security, as the information provided in the prompt could potentially be sensitive or confidential.
As the community explores these techniques, tools like LlamaIndex are now gaining attention.
It was started by Jerry Liu, a former Uber research scientist. While experimenting around with GPT-3 last fall, Liu noticed the model's limitations concerning handling private data, such as personal files. This observation led to the start of the open-source project LlamaIndex.
The initiative has attracted investors, securing $8.5 million in a recent seed funding round.
LlamaIndex facilitates the augmentation of LLMs with custom data, bridging the gap between pre-trained models and custom data use-cases. Through LlamaIndex, users can leverage their own data with LLMs, unlocking knowledge generation and reasoning with personalized insights.
Users can seamlessly provide LLMs with their own data, fostering an environment where knowledge generation and reasoning are deeply personalized and insightful. LlamaIndex addresses the limitations of in-context learning by providing a more user-friendly and secure platform for data interaction, ensuring that even those with limited machine learning expertise can leverage the full potential of LLMs with their private data.
High-Level Concepts & some Insights
1. Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG):
RAG is a two-fold process designed to couple LLMs with custom data, thereby enhancing the model's capacity to deliver more precise and informed responses. The process comprises:
- Indexing Stage: This is the preparatory phase where the groundwork for knowledge base creation is laid.
- Querying Stage: Here, the knowledge base is scoured for relevant context to assist LLMs in answering queries.
Indexing Journey with LlamaIndex:
- Data Connectors: Think of data connectors as your data’s passport to LlamaIndex. They help in importing data from varied sources and formats, encapsulating them into a simplistic ‘Document' representation. Data connectors can be found within LlamaHub, an open-source repository filled with data loaders. These loaders are crafted for easy integration, enabling a plug-and-play experience with any LlamaIndex application.
- Documents / Nodes: A Document is like a generic suitcase that can hold diverse data types—be it a PDF, API output, or database entries. On the other hand, a Node is a snippet or “chunk” from a Document, enriched with metadata and relationships to other nodes, ensuring a robust foundation for precise data retrieval later on.
- Data Indexes: Post data ingestion, LlamaIndex assists in indexing this data into a retrievable format. Behind the scenes, it dissects raw documents into intermediate representations, computes vector embeddings, and deduces metadata. Among the indexes, ‘VectorStoreIndex' is often the go-to choice.
Types of Indexes in LlamaIndex: Key to Organized Data
LlamaIndex offers different types of index, each for different needs and use cases. At the core of these indices lie “nodes” as discussed above. Let's try to understand LlamaIndex indices with their mechanics and applications.
1. List Index:
- Mechanism: A List Index aligns nodes sequentially like a list. Post chunking the input data into nodes, they are arranged in a linear fashion, ready to be queried either sequentially or via keywords or embeddings.
- Advantage: This index type shines when the need is for sequential querying. LlamaIndex ensures utilization of your entire input data, even if it surpasses the LLM’s token limit, by smartly querying text from each node and refining answers as it navigates down the list.
2. Vector Store Index:
- Mechanism: Here, nodes transform into vector embeddings, stored either locally or in a specialized vector database like Milvus. When queried, it fetches the top_k most similar nodes, channeling them to the response synthesizer.
- Advantage: If your workflow depends on text comparison for semantic similarity via vector search, this index can be used.
3. Tree Index:
- Mechanism: In a Tree Index, the input data evolves into a tree structure, built bottom-up from leaf nodes (the original data chunks). Parent nodes emerge as summaries of leaf nodes, crafted using GPT. During a query, the tree index can traverse from the root node to leaf nodes or construct responses directly from selected leaf nodes.
- Advantage: With a Tree Index, querying long text chunks becomes more efficient, and extracting information from various text segments is simplified.
4. Keyword Index:
- Mechanism: A map of keywords to nodes forms the core of a Keyword Index.When queried, keywords are plucked from the query, and only the mapped nodes are brought into the spotlight.
- Advantage: When you have a clear user queries, a Keyword Index can be used. For example, sifting through healthcare documents becomes more efficient when only zeroing in on documents pertinent to COVID-19.
Installing LlamaIndex is a straightforward process. You can choose to install it either directly from Pip or from the source. ( Make sure to have python installed in your system or you can use Google Colab)
1. Installation from Pip:
- Execute the following command:
pip install llama-index
- Note: During installation, LlamaIndex may download and store local files for certain packages like NLTK and HuggingFace. To specify a directory for these files, use the “LLAMA_INDEX_CACHE_DIR” environment variable.
2. Installation from Source:
- First, clone the LlamaIndex repository from GitHub:
git clone https://github.com/jerryjliu/llama_index.git
- Once cloned, navigate to the project directory.
- You will need Poetry for managing package dependencies.
- Now, create a virtual environment using Poetry:
- Lastly, install the core package requirements with:
Setting Up Your Environment for LlamaIndex
1. OpenAI Setup:
- By default, LlamaIndex utilizes OpenAI's
gpt-3.5-turbofor text generation and
text-embedding-ada-002for retrieval and embeddings.
- To use this setup, you'll need to have an
OPENAI_API_KEY. Get one by registering at OpenAI's website and creating a new API token.
- You have the flexibility to customize the underlying Large Language Model (LLM) as per your project needs. Depending on your LLM provider, you might need additional environment keys and tokens.
2. Local Environment Setup:
- If you prefer not to use OpenAI, LlamaIndex automatically switches to local models –
llama2-chat-13Bfor text generation, and
BAAI/bge-small-enfor retrieval and embeddings.
- To use
LlamaCPP, follow the provided installation guide. Ensure to install the
llama-cpp-pythonpackage, ideally compiled to support your GPU. This setup will utilize around 11.5GB of memory across the CPU and GPU.
- For local embeddings, execute
pip install sentence-transformers. This local setup will use about 500MB of memory.
With these setups, you can tailor your environment to either leverage the power of OpenAI or run models locally, aligning with your project requirements and resources.
A simple Usecase: Querying Webpages with LlamaIndex and OpenAI
Here's a simple Python script to demonstrate how you can query a webpage for specific insights:
!pip install llama-index html2text
import os from llama_index import VectorStoreIndex, SimpleWebPageReader # Enter your OpenAI key below: os.environ["OPENAI_API_KEY"] = "" # URL you want to load into your vector store here: url = "http://www.paulgraham.com/fr.html" # Load the URL into documents (multiple documents possible) documents = SimpleWebPageReader(html_to_text=True).load_data([url]) # Create vector store from documents index = VectorStoreIndex.from_documents(documents) # Create query engine so we can ask it questions: query_engine = index.as_query_engine() # Ask as many questions as you want against the loaded data: response = query_engine.query("What are the 3 best advise by Paul to raise money?") print(response)
The three best pieces of advice by Paul to raise money are: 1. Start with a low number when initially raising money. This allows for flexibility and increases the chances of raising more funds in the long run. 2. Aim to be profitable if possible. Having a plan to reach profitability without relying on additional funding makes the startup more attractive to investors. 3. Don't optimize for valuation. While valuation is important, it is not the most crucial factor in fundraising. Focus on getting the necessary funds and finding good investors instead.
With this script, you’ve created a powerful tool to extract specific information from a webpage by simply asking a question. This is just a glimpse of what can be achieved with LlamaIndex and OpenAI when querying web data.
LlamaIndex vs Langchain: Choosing Based on Your Goal
Your choice between LlamaIndex and Langchain will depend on your project's objective. If you want to develop an intelligent search tool, LlamaIndex is a solid pick, excelling as a smart storage mechanism for data retrieval. On the flip side, if you want to create a system like ChatGPT with plugin capabilities, Langchain is your go-to. It not only facilitates multiple instances of ChatGPT and LlamaIndex but also expands functionality by allowing the construction of multi-task agents. For instance, with Langchain, you can create agents capable of executing Python code while conducting a Google search simultaneously. In short, while LlamaIndex excels at data handling, Langchain orchestrates multiple tools to deliver a holistic solution.
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