Skip to yearly menu bar Skip to main content

Workshop: Instruction Tuning and Instruction Following

Learning to Generate Better Than Your LLM

Jonathan Chang · Kianté Brantley · Rajkumar Ramamurthy · Dipendra Misra · Wen Sun

Keywords: [ imitation learning ] [ Reinforcement Learning ] [ Language Generation ]


Reinforcement learning (RL) has emerged as a powerful paradigm for fine-tuning Large Language Models (LLMs) for text generation. In particular, recent LLMs such as ChatGPT and GPT4 can engage in fluent conversations with users after finetuning with RL. Capitalizing on key properties of text generation, we seek to investigate RL algorithms beyond general purpose algorithms like Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO). In particular, we extend RL algorithms to allow them to interact with a dynamic black-box guide LLM and propose RL with guided feedback (RLGF), a suite of RL algorithms for LLM fine-tuning. We provide two ways for the guide LLM to interact with the LLM to be optimized for maximizing rewards. The guide LLM can generate text which serves as additional starting states for the RL optimization procedure. The guide LLM can also be used to complete the partial sentences generated by the LLM that is being optimized, treating the guide LLM as an expert to imitate and surpass eventually. We experiment on the IMDB positive sentiment, CommonGen, and TL;DR summarization tasks. We show that our RL algorithms achieve higher performance than supervised learning (SL) and the RL baseline PPO, demonstrating the benefit of interaction with the guide LLM. On both CommonGen and TL;DR, we not only outperform our SL baselines but also improve upon PPO across a variety of metrics beyond the one we optimized for. Our code can be found at

Chat is not available.