Question-Based Retrieval using Atomic Units for Enterprise RAG

20 May 2024  ·  Vatsal Raina, Mark Gales ·

Enterprise retrieval augmented generation (RAG) offers a highly flexible framework for combining powerful large language models (LLMs) with internal, possibly temporally changing, documents. In RAG, documents are first chunked. Relevant chunks are then retrieved for a specific user query, which are passed as context to a synthesizer LLM to generate the query response. However, the retrieval step can limit performance, as incorrect chunks can lead the synthesizer LLM to generate a false response. This work proposes a zero-shot adaptation of standard dense retrieval steps for more accurate chunk recall. Specifically, a chunk is first decomposed into atomic statements. A set of synthetic questions are then generated on these atoms (with the chunk as the context). Dense retrieval involves finding the closest set of synthetic questions, and associated chunks, to the user query. It is found that retrieval with the atoms leads to higher recall than retrieval with chunks. Further performance gain is observed with retrieval using the synthetic questions generated over the atoms. Higher recall at the retrieval step enables higher performance of the enterprise LLM using the RAG pipeline.

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