DSPy: Compiling Declarative Language Model Calls into State-of-the-Art Pipelines

Published: 16 Jan 2024, Last Modified: 16 Mar 2024ICLR 2024 spotlightEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Code Of Ethics: I acknowledge that I and all co-authors of this work have read and commit to adhering to the ICLR Code of Ethics.
Keywords: programming models, prompting techniques, in-context learning, few-shot learning, chain of thought, multi-hop reasoning, language agents
Submission Guidelines: I certify that this submission complies with the submission instructions as described on https://iclr.cc/Conferences/2024/AuthorGuide.
TL;DR: We propose a programming model that unifies LM prompting, finetuning, and augmentation techniques. We evaluate simple strategies to bootstrap and optimize complex and multi-stage reasoning chains, establishing strong results with small and large LMs.
Abstract: The ML community is rapidly exploring techniques for prompting language models (LMs) and for stacking them into pipelines that solve complex tasks. Unfortunately, existing LM pipelines are typically implemented using hard-coded “prompt templates”, i.e. lengthy strings discovered via trial and error. Toward a more systematic approach for developing and optimizing LM pipelines, we introduce DSPy, a programming model that abstracts LM pipelines as text transformation graphs, or imperative computational graphs where LMs are invoked through declarative modules. DSPy modules are parameterized, meaning they can learn how to apply compositions of prompting, finetuning, augmentation, and reasoning techniques. We design a compiler that will optimize any DSPy pipeline to maximize a given metric, by creating and collecting demonstrations. We conduct two case studies, showing that succinct DSPy programs can express and optimize pipelines that reason about math word problems, tackle multi-hop retrieval, answer complex questions, and control agent loops. Within minutes of compiling, DSPy can automatically produce pipelines that outperform out-of-the-box few-shot prompting as well as expert-created demonstrations for GPT-3.5 and Llama2-13b-chat. On top of that, DSPy programs compiled for relatively small LMs like 770M parameter T5 and Llama2-13b-chat are competitive with many approaches that rely on large and proprietary LMs like GPT-3.5 and on expert-written prompt chains. DSPy is available at https://github.com/stanfordnlp/dspy
Anonymous Url: I certify that there is no URL (e.g., github page) that could be used to find authors' identity.
No Acknowledgement Section: I certify that there is no acknowledgement section in this submission for double blind review.
Primary Area: infrastructure, software libraries, hardware, etc.
Submission Number: 5605