LLM Quantisation Weirdness :: Giles' blog

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2024-02-28 02:00:17

I bought myself an Nvidia RTX 3090 for Christmas to play around with local AI models. Serious work needs larger, more powerful cards, and it's easy (and not that expensive) to rent such cards by the minute from the likes of Paperspace. But the way I see it, I'm not going to be doing any serious work -- and what I really want to do is be able to run little experiments quickly and easily without worrying about spinning up a machine, getting stuff onto it, and so on.

One experiment that I tried the other day was to try to get a mental model of how model size and quantisation affect the quality of responses from LLMs. Quantisation is the process of running a model that has, say, 16 bits for each of its parameters with the parameters clipped to eight bits, four bits, or even less -- people have found that it often has a surprisingly small effect on output quality, and I wanted to play with that. Nothing serious or in-depth -- just trying stuff out with different model sizes and quantisations, and running a few prompts through them to see how the outputs differed.

Code Llama is a model from Meta, and the HF version ("Human Feedback") is designed to receive questions about programming (with specific formatting), and to reply with code. I chose those particular quantisations because the 13b model wouldn't fit in the 3090's 24GiB RAM without quantisation to a least 8-bit, and the 34b model would only fit if it was 4-bit quantised.

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