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Workshop: Foundation Models for Decision Making

On the Tool Manipulation Capability of Open-sourced Large Language Models

Qiantong Xu · Fenglu Hong · Bo Li · Changran Hu · Zhengyu Chen · Jian Zhang

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presentation: Foundation Models for Decision Making
Fri 15 Dec 6:15 a.m. PST — 3:30 p.m. PST


Recent studies on software tool manipulation with large language models (LLMs) mostly rely on closed model APIs. The industrial adoption of these models is substantially constrained due to the security and robustness risks in exposing information to closed LLM API services. In this paper, we ask can we enhance open-source LLMs to be competitive to leading closed LLM APIs in tool manipulation, with practical amount of human supervision. By analyzing common tool manipulation failures, we first demonstrate that open-source LLMs may require training with usage examples, in-context demonstration and generation style regulation to resolve failures. These insights motivate us to revisit classical methods in LLM literature, and demonstrate that we can adapt them as model alignment with programmatic data generation, system prompts and in-context demonstration retrievers to enhance open-source LLMs for tool manipulation. To evaluate these techniques, we create ToolBench, a tool manipulation benchmark consisting of diverse software tools for real-world tasks. We demonstrate that our techniques can boost leading open-source LLMs by up to 94% success rate, showing capabilities competitive to OpenAI GPT-4 in 4 out of 8 ToolBench tasks. We show that such enhancement typically requires about one developer day to curate data for each tool, rendering a recipe with practical amount of human supervision.

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