Prompt engineering is a task best left to AI models

Large language models (LLMs) have sparked a new focus on prompt engineering, a technique to craft prompts that yield better AI responses. Research by Rick Battle and Teja Gollapudi from VMware has highlighted the significant impact of subtle prompt variations on AI performance. They argue against the common trial-and-error approach, suggesting instead the use of automatic prompt optimization, where an LLM refines prompts to enhance performance on benchmark tests.

Their research tested whether smaller, open-source models could also serve as effective optimizers. Using models like Mistral-7B and Llama2-70B, they demonstrated that even with limited data samples, automatic optimizers can improve LLM performance. Interestingly, these optimizations can lead to unexpected strategies, such as a model’s mathematical reasoning being improved by expressing a liking for Star Trek. This finding underscores the potential of LLMs to develop prompt strategies beyond human intuition.
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