Measuring Distributional Shifts in Text: The Advantage of Language Model-Based Embeddings

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Authors: Gyandev Gupta, Bashir Rastegarpanah, Amalendu Iyer, Joshua Rubin, Krishnaram Kenthapadi

Abstract: An essential part of monitoring machine learning models in production is measuring input and output data drift. In this paper, we present a system for measuring distributional shifts in natural language data and highlight and investigate the potential advantage of using large language models (LLMs) for this problem. Recent advancements in LLMs and their successful adoption in different domains indicate their effectiveness in capturing semantic relationships for solving various natural language processing problems. The power of LLMs comes largely from the encodings (embeddings) generated in the hidden layers of the corresponding neural network. First we propose a clustering-based algorithm for measuring distributional shifts in text data by exploiting such embeddings. Then we study the effectiveness of our approach when applied to text embeddings generated by both LLMs and classical embedding algorithms. Our experiments show that general-purpose LLM-based embeddings provide a high sensitivity to data drift compared to other embedding methods. We propose drift sensitivity as an important evaluation metric to consider when comparing language models. Finally, we present insights and lessons learned from deploying our framework as part of the Fiddler ML Monitoring platform over a period of 18 months.


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