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October 9, 2023
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 min read

SlimPajama-DC: Understanding Data Combinations for LLM Training

This paper aims to understand the impacts of various data combinations (e.g., web text, wikipedia, github, books) on the training of large language models using SlimPajama. SlimPajama is a rigorously deduplicated, multi-source dataset, which has been refined and further deduplicated to 627B tokens from the extensive 1.2T tokens RedPajama dataset contributed by Together. We've termed our research as SlimPajama-DC, an empirical analysis designed to uncover fundamental characteristics and best practices associated with employing SlimPajama in the training of large language models. During our research with SlimPajama, two pivotal observations emerged: (1) Global deduplication vs. local deduplication. We analyze and discuss how global (across different sources of datasets) and local (within the single source of dataset) deduplications affect the performance of trained models. (2) Proportions of high-quality/highly-deduplicated multi-source datasets in the combination. To study this, we construct six configurations of SlimPajama dataset and train individual ones using 1.3B Cerebras-GPT model with Alibi and SwiGLU. Our best configuration outperforms the 1.3B model trained on RedPajama using the same number of training tokens by a significant margin. All our 1.3B models are trained on Cerebras 16× CS-2 cluster with a total of 80 PFLOP/s in bf16 mixed precision. We further extend our discoveries (such as increasing data diversity is crucial after global deduplication) on a 7B model with large batch-size training. Our models and the separate SlimPajama-DC datasets are available at: this https URL and this https URL.

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