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Augmenting Language Models with Long-Term Memory

Weizhi Wang · Li Dong · Hao Cheng · Xiaodong Liu · Xifeng Yan · Jianfeng Gao · Furu Wei

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #317
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Tue 12 Dec 3:15 p.m. PST — 5:15 p.m. PST


Existing large language models (LLMs) can only afford fix-sized inputs due to the input length limit, preventing them from utilizing rich long-context information from past inputs. To address this, we propose a framework, Language Models Augmented with Long-Term Memory (LongMem), which enables LLMs to memorize long history. We design a novel decoupled network architecture with the original backbone LLM frozen as a memory encoder and an adaptive residual side-network as a memory retriever and reader. Such a decoupled memory design can easily cache and update long-term past contexts for memory retrieval without suffering from memory staleness. Enhanced with memory-augmented adaptation training, LongMem can thus memorize long past context and use long-term memory for language modeling. The proposed memory retrieval module can handle unlimited-length context in its memory bank to benefit various downstream tasks. Typically, LongMem can enlarge the long-form memory to 65k tokens and thus cache many-shot extra demonstration examples as long-form memory for in-context learning. Experiments show that our method outperforms strong long-context models on ChapterBreak, a challenging long-context modeling benchmark, and achieves remarkable improvements on memory-augmented in-context learning over LLMs. The results demonstrate that the proposed method is effective in helping language models to memorize and utilize long-form contents.

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