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Decomposed Prompting: A Modular Approach for Solving Complex Tasks

Khot, T., Trivedi, H., Finlayson, M., Fu, Y., Richardson, K., Clark, P. and Sabharwal, A. (2023). Decomposed Prompting: A Modular Approach for Solving Complex Tasks. [online] doi: METHODOLOGY:

General Annotation #

The research proposes a method to break down complex tasks into simpler sub-tasks through a process called Decomposed Prompting (DECOMP). This approach leverages a shared library of LLMs, each optimized for a specific sub-task, allowing for modular construction and flexibility in solving intricate problems. The methodology demonstrates an ability to outperform standard few-shot prompting techniques on various symbolic reasoning and textual multi-step reasoning tasks.

Methodologies Used #

  • Decomposed Prompting (DECOMP): A technique that divides complex tasks into simpler, solvable sub-tasks, with each sub-task handled by a specific LLM optimized for that task.
  • Hierarchical Decomposition: For sub-tasks that are too complex for LLMs, DECOMP further decomposes them into even simpler tasks.
  • Recursive Decomposition: Allows DECOMP to handle tasks that can be naturally divided into smaller instances of the same problem, enabling a scale-invariant approach.

Key Contributions #

  • The development of the DECOMP approach marks a significant advancement in utilizing LLMs for complex task solving.
  • DECOMP’s modular structure significantly enhances the flexibility and efficiency of task-solving processes, allowing for easier optimization and replacement of sub-task modules.
  • Empirical evaluations across a variety of tasks demonstrate DECOMP’s superior performance over traditional few-shot prompting methods.

Main Arguments #

  • Complex tasks often exceed the capability of LLMs trained via standard few-shot prompting methods due to the intricate reasoning required.
  • By decomposing complex tasks into simpler sub-tasks, DECOMP enables LLMs to effectively leverage their existing capabilities, resulting in improved performance.
  • The modular nature of DECOMP allows for targeted optimization of each sub-task, further enhancing overall task-solving efficiency and effectiveness.

Gaps #

  • While DECOMP shows promising results, its application is primarily demonstrated on symbolic reasoning and textual multi-step reasoning tasks. Its effectiveness across a broader range of tasks and domains remains to be fully explored.
  • The process of decomposing tasks and optimizing sub-task specific LLMs may require substantial manual effort and domain knowledge.

Relevance to Prompt Engineering & Architecture #

DECOMP’s modular approach to solving complex tasks through decomposed prompting significantly contributes to the field of prompt engineering and architecture. It highlights the importance of task decomposition in enhancing LLMs’ problem-solving capabilities and offers a flexible, efficient framework for developing more sophisticated AI systems capable of tackling a wider range of complex tasks. This research potentially paves the way for future advancements in AI, where models can more intuitively understand and address complex, multi-faceted problems.

In conclusion, “Decomposed Prompting: A Modular Approach for Solving Complex Tasks” presents a compelling methodology for enhancing the problem-solving capabilities of LLMs, offering valuable insights and a solid foundation for future research in the field.

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Updated on March 31, 2024