Small Language Models are Good Too: An Empirical Study of Zero-Shot Classification

17 Apr 2024  ·  Pierre Lepagnol, Thomas Gerald, Sahar Ghannay, Christophe Servan, Sophie Rosset ·

This study is part of the debate on the efficiency of large versus small language models for text classification by prompting.We assess the performance of small language models in zero-shot text classification, challenging the prevailing dominance of large models.Across 15 datasets, our investigation benchmarks language models from 77M to 40B parameters using different architectures and scoring functions. Our findings reveal that small models can effectively classify texts, getting on par with or surpassing their larger counterparts.We developed and shared a comprehensive open-source repository that encapsulates our methodologies. This research underscores the notion that bigger isn't always better, suggesting that resource-efficient small models may offer viable solutions for specific data classification challenges.

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