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Large Language Models Decoded: Demystifying the Future of Language

Large Language Models (LLMs) have emerged as powerful forces, fundamentally altering the way we engage with technology and navigate the vast landscape of the internet. These remarkable creations redefine the boundaries of natural language processing, ushering in a new era of human-like language creation and human-computer interaction.

What are large language models?

Architecture: The Brains Behind LLMs

At the core of any LLM is its architectural framework, primarily based on the Transformer architecture. This design empowers the model to discern the importance and intricate correlations between words within sentences through the self-attention mechanism, similar to how our minds naturally prioritize and analyze language to understand context and meaning. 

Size: The Game Changer

LLMs are notable for their remarkable size, housing millions, or even billions, of parameters. Parameters are like the memory cells of the model, storing the knowledge it acquires during training. More parameters lead to enhanced memory, enabling the model to generate coherent, contextually accurate, and contextually relevant text.

Training Data: The Knowledge Base

Training data is essential for LLMs, consisting of large collections of text from the internet, books, articles, and more. The diversity and comprehensiveness of this data source are crucial for the model's versatility and knowledge. These extensive data sources provide the model with the ability to understand a wide array of languages, dialects, and topics, empowering it to excel in tasks like text generation, translation, summarization, and more.

The Training Process: Evolving for Task-Optimized Performance

Training an LLM from scratch is a time-consuming and computationally intensive process, taking weeks or even months to complete. During this training, the model becomes skilled at predicting the next word in a sentence, progressively refining its understanding of grammar, context, and meaning.

The crucial alignment phase - the fine-tuning (see blog article) - is fundamental in ensuring its responsible behavior and adherence to ethical and societal standards. An optional fine-tuning step for a specific downstream task, enhances the model's adaptability and utility, establishing Large Language Models as valuable tools in various applications.

Generating Language: One step after the other

The training process teaches the model to assign an accurate probability to the continuation of a text passage, given its beginning. This is achieved by always looking at the next word to generate. Every possible word or subword - token in the lingo - is assigned a chance that it will be the next. To produce coherent and meaningful text based on this manner is still not straight forward.

Taking for example always the next token with the highest chance, performs comparably poorly. Instead one might look at the joint chance of several following words or phrases for more coherence. Understanding the granular and sequential manner of generation, it is even more outstanding how well written even long answers of LLMs have become.

Limitations: With great power comes great responsibility

As the capabilities of language models grow to the point where they facilitate seamless human-like communication, the accuracy of the information they provide becomes paramount. Unfortunately, guiding an LLM in understanding and effectively communicating when it reaches the limits of its knowledge proves to be a challenging task. This often leads to the model confidently inventing facts, a phenomenon termed hallucinations.

Additionally, the sheer size of LLMs is in itself a limiting factor. It is very hard to use an LLM locally on most personal computers and typically special and expensive hardware is required. The pre-training and thus initial tool shaping is reserved for companies with large financial resources.

Applications of LLMs

Traditional NLP approaches often rely on predefined templates and rules, keyword matching and curated datasets. LLMs on the other hand have the ability to understand the intricacies and semantic relations of a text. This allows them to reason about different types of user queries and extract their meaning to provide specific and tailored results. Let's have a look at typical applications.

Interactive Tools


Chatbots have evolved from rudimentary rule-based systems to more sophisticated conversational agents, thanks to LLMs. LLM-powered chatbots can understand and generate responses to a broader range of user inputs. They make interactions more natural, engaging, and adaptable to complex, dynamic dialogues. Their ability to understand and generate human-like text responses enhances user experiences in customer support, virtual assistants, and a myriad of other applications.

Question Answering

Question answering tasks have always been a benchmark for NLP capabilities. Compared to traditional NLP, LLMs can understand and answer questions by drawing from a vast corpus of knowledge stored in the model weights. In Retrieval Augmented Generation additional knowledge is also retrieved from a pre-selected set of documents which are parsed together with the original query to the LLM to augment the context. The adaptability and the ability to reason with the text enable LLMs to provide comprehensive and context-aware answers, even in open-domain question-answering scenarios.

Information Retrieval

Information retrieval, a cornerstone of search engines, has been significantly enhanced by LLMs. Traditional search engines often struggled with ambiguous or context-dependent queries. LLMs can interpret user intent more effectively, offering context-aware search results. This leads to a vastly improved user experience, especially when dealing with complex or ambiguous search queries.


Content Creation

Content creation, whether for marketing material, product descriptions, or news articles, has been labor-intensive and time-consuming. LLMs have revolutionized content creation by enabling the automatic generation of high-quality written material. The ability of LLMs to understand context, audience, and the tone required allows to craft context-aware and engaging content that is nearly indistinguishable from human-written text. This makes them invaluable in industries where content is in high demand, such as blogging, marketing, and news reporting. This capability significantly streamlines content production and reduces the need for manual intervention.

Code Generation

In the world of software development, code generation is a crucial and often time-consuming task. LLMs are now being harnessed for code generation tasks, allowing developers to describe coding tasks in natural language, and the models generate corresponding code snippets incorporating the existing codebase as additional information. This innovation significantly improves the efficiency of software development and opens up opportunities for non-programmers to participate in coding-related tasks.


Content Summarization

Summarization has long been a critical NLP task, and LLMs have truly redefined it. Traditional NLP approaches struggle to generate coherent and contextually relevant summaries. LLMs, on the other hand, can generate abstract summaries that capture the essential information. Their ability to contextualize and paraphrase text has greatly improved the quality of summaries.

What can dida do?

dida as a provider for individual process automation software is specialized in developing tailored and client-specific applications using state-of-the-art machine learning methods. This means dida discusses together with the customer the needs and requirements of the use case to implement the most suitable automation solution and integrate it in existing workflows and IT infrastructure.

The above applications typically require experienced software engineering to make them custom in the sense that the LLM incorporates customer-specific domain knowledge. dida is an expert in fine-tuning language models on customer-specific data and developing inference strategies to improve the model’s ability to generate domain specific text. This makes it possible to use the potential of LLMs for industrial applications while minimizing the issue of inaccuracies and hallucinations.

LLMs require a lot of memory and storage due to the large number of parameters. This creates a challenge for properly hosting these models on general purpose servers. However, this might be more desirable since using models like ChatGPT requires sharing internal company data with third parties. Hosting own models means that the fine-tuned models belong to the customer and that no data is uploaded to untrusted places. ML operations (MLOps), including deployment, maintenance, and monitoring, are a critical part of bringing ML models into production. dida has always been a trusted partner in transforming state-of-the-art ML techniques into productive industrial applications, taking care of the entire MLOps lifecycle.