Model Compression and Efficient Inference for Large Language Models: A Survey

Transformer based large language models have achieved tremendous success. However, the significant memory and computational costs incurred during the inference process make it challenging to deploy large models on resource-constrained devices. In this paper, we investigate compression and efficient inference methods for large language models from an algorithmic perspective. Regarding taxonomy, similar to smaller models, compression and acceleration algorithms for large language models can still be categorized into quantization, pruning, distillation, compact architecture design, dynamic networks. However, Large language models have two prominent characteristics compared to smaller models: (1) Most of compression algorithms require finetuning or even retraining the model after compression. The most notable aspect of large models is the very high cost associated with model finetuning or training. Therefore, many algorithms for large models, such as quantization and pruning, start to explore tuning-free algorithms. (2) Large models emphasize versatility and generalization rather than performance on a single task. Hence, many algorithms, such as knowledge distillation, focus on how to preserving their versatility and generalization after compression. Since these two characteristics were not very pronounced in early large models, we further distinguish large language models into medium models and ``real'' large models. Additionally, we also provide an introduction to some mature frameworks for efficient inference of large models, which can support basic compression or acceleration algorithms, greatly facilitating model deployment for users.

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