Scalable Ensembling For Mitigating Reward Overoptimisation

Ahmed M. Ahmed,Rafael Rafailov, Stepan Sharkov,Xuechen Li, Sanmi Koyejo


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Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback (RLHF) has enabled significant advancements within language modeling for powerful, instruction-following models. However, the alignment of these models remains a pressing challenge as the policy tends to overfit the learned ``proxy" reward model past an inflection point of utility as measured by a ``gold" reward model that is more performant -- a phenomenon known as \textit{over-optimization}. Prior work has mitigated this issue by computing a pessimistic statistic over an ensemble of reward models, which is common in Offline Reinforcement Learning but incredibly costly for language models with high memory requirements, making such approaches infeasible for sufficiently large models. To this end, we propose using a shared encoder but separate linear heads. We find this leads to similar performance as the full ensemble while allowing tremendous savings in memory and time required for training for models of similar size. \end{abstract}
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