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Workshop: Socially Responsible Language Modelling Research (SoLaR)

Dissecting Large Language Models

Nicky Pochinkov · Nandi Schoots


Understanding and shaping the behaviour of Large Language Models (LLMs) is increasingly important as applications become more powerful and more frequently adopted. This paper introduces a machine unlearning method specifically designed for LLMs. We introduce a selective pruning method for LLMs that removes neurons based on their relative importance on a targeted capability compared to overall network performance. This approach is a compute- and data-efficient method for identifying and removing neurons that enable specific behaviours. Our findings reveal that both feed-forward and attention neurons in LLMs are specialized; that is, for specific tasks, certain neurons are more crucial than others.

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