What is Mixture of Experts and How Can They Boost LLMs? What is Mixture of Experts and How Can They Boost LLMs?
Large language models seem to be the main thing that everyone in AI is talking about lately. But with great power... What is Mixture of Experts and How Can They Boost LLMs?

Large language models seem to be the main thing that everyone in AI is talking about lately. But with great power comes great computational cost. Training these beasts requires massive resources. This is where a not-so-new technique called Mixture of Experts (MoE) comes in.

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What is Mixture of Experts?

Imagine a team of specialists. An MoE model is like that, but for machine learning. It uses multiple, smaller models (the experts) to tackle different parts of a problem. A gating network then figures out which expert is best suited for each input,  distributing the workload efficiently.

Here’s the magic: unlike traditional ensembles where all models run on every input, MoE only activates a select few experts. This dramatically reduces computational cost while maintaining (or even improving) accuracy.

Why is MoE a game-changer for LLMs?

LLMs are notorious for their massive size and complex architecture. MoE offers a way to scale these models up without blowing the training budget. Here’s how:

  • Reduced Training Costs: By using smaller experts, MoE brings down the computational power needed for training. This allows researchers to create even more powerful LLMs without breaking the bank.
  • Improved Efficiency: MoE focuses the LLM’s resources on the most relevant parts of the input, making the learning process more efficient.
  • Modular Design: MoE’s architecture allows for easier customization. New expert models can be added to address specific tasks, making the LLM more versatile.

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The Rise of MoE-powered LLMs

The potential of Mixture of Experts for LLMs is being actively explored. Recent projects like Grok-1 and Mistral’s MoE model have shown promising results. These LLMs achieve state-of-the-art performance while requiring less training compared to traditional architectures.

Databricks Joins the MoE Party: Introducing DBRX

Leading the charge in open-source LLMs, Databricks recently unveiled DBRX. This powerhouse LLM leverages a fine-grained MoE architecture, built upon their open-source MegaBlocks project. DBRX boasts impressive benchmarks, outperforming established open-source models and even matching or exceeding the performance of proprietary models like GPT-3.5 in some areas. Notably, DBRX achieves this with significantly lower compute requirements thanks to its efficient MoE design.

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The Future of Mixture of Experts and LLMs

MoE is poised to be a key ingredient in the future of LLMs. As researchers like Databricks continue to refine the technique and explore its possibilities, we can expect even more powerful and efficient language models that can handle a wider range of tasks. This opens doors for exciting advancements in natural language processing and artificial intelligence as a whole.

If you want to keep up on the latest in language models, and not be left in the dust, then you don’t want to miss the NLP & LLM track as part of ODSC East this April.

Connect with some of the most innovative people and ideas in the world of data science, while learning first-hand from core practitioners and contributors. Learn about the latest advancements and trends in NLP & LLMs, including pre-trained models, with use cases focusing on deep learning, training and finetuning, speech-to-text, and semantic search.

Confirmed sessions include, with many more to come:

  • NLP with GPT-4 and other LLMs: From Training to Deployment with Hugging Face and PyTorch Lightning
  • Enabling Complex Reasoning and Action with ReAct, LLMs, and LangChain
  • Ben Needs a Friend – An intro to building Large Language Model applications
  • Data Synthesis, Augmentation, and NLP Insights with LLMs
  • Building Using Llama 2
  • Quick Start Guide to Large Language Models
  • LLM Best Practises: Training, Fine-Tuning and Cutting Edge Tricks from Research
  • LLMs Meet Google Cloud: A New Frontier in Big Data Analytics
  • Operationalizing Local LLMs Responsibly for MLOps
  • LangChain on Kubernetes: Cloud-Native LLM Deployment Made Easy & Efficient
  • Tracing In LLM Applications


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