TernaryLLM: Ternarized Large Language Model

11 Jun 2024  ·  Tianqi Chen, Zhe Li, Weixiang Xu, Zeyu Zhu, Dong Li, Lu Tian, Emad Barsoum, Peisong Wang, Jian Cheng ·

Large language models (LLMs) have achieved remarkable performance on Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks, but they are hindered by high computational costs and memory requirements. Ternarization, an extreme form of quantization, offers a solution by reducing memory usage and enabling energy-efficient floating-point additions. However, applying ternarization to LLMs faces challenges stemming from outliers in both weights and activations. In this work, observing asymmetric outliers and non-zero means in weights, we introduce Dual Learnable Ternarization (DLT), which enables both scales and shifts to be learnable. We also propose Outlier-Friendly Feature Knowledge Distillation (OFF) to recover the information lost in extremely low-bit quantization. The proposed OFF can incorporate semantic information and is insensitive to outliers. At the core of OFF is maximizing the mutual information between features in ternarized and floating-point models using cosine similarity. Extensive experiments demonstrate that our TernaryLLM surpasses previous low-bit quantization methods on the standard text generation and zero-shot benchmarks for different LLM families. Specifically, for one of the most powerful open-source models, LLaMA-3, our approach (W1.58A16) outperforms the previous state-of-the-art method (W2A16) by 5.8 in terms of perplexity on C4 and by 8.2% in terms of average accuracy on zero-shot tasks.

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