TextGrad: Automatic "Differentiation" via Text

AI is undergoing a paradigm shift, with breakthroughs achieved by systems orchestrating multiple large language models (LLMs) and other complex components. As a result, developing principled and automated optimization methods for compound AI systems is one of the most important new challenges. Neural networks faced a similar challenge in its early days until backpropagation and automatic differentiation transformed the field by making optimization turn-key. Inspired by this, we introduce TextGrad, a powerful framework performing automatic ``differentiation'' via text. TextGrad backpropagates textual feedback provided by LLMs to improve individual components of a compound AI system. In our framework, LLMs provide rich, general, natural language suggestions to optimize variables in computation graphs, ranging from code snippets to molecular structures. TextGrad follows PyTorch's syntax and abstraction and is flexible and easy-to-use. It works out-of-the-box for a variety of tasks, where the users only provide the objective function without tuning components or prompts of the framework. We showcase TextGrad's effectiveness and generality across a diverse range of applications, from question answering and molecule optimization to radiotherapy treatment planning. Without modifying the framework, TextGrad improves the zero-shot accuracy of GPT-4o in Google-Proof Question Answering from $51\%$ to $55\%$, yields $20\%$ relative performance gain in optimizing LeetCode-Hard coding problem solutions, improves prompts for reasoning, designs new druglike small molecules with desirable in silico binding, and designs radiation oncology treatment plans with high specificity. TextGrad lays a foundation to accelerate the development of the next-generation of AI systems.

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 Ranked #1 on on GPQA

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Task Dataset Model Metric Name Metric Value Global Rank Result Benchmark
GPQA GPT4o+TextGrad Accuracy 55 # 1
GPQA GPT4o Accuracy 53.6 # 2

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