Low-rank finetuning for LLMs: A fairness perspective


Low-rank approximation techniques have become the de facto standard for fine-tuning Large Language Models (LLMs) due to their reduced computational and memory requirements. This paper investigates the effectiveness of these methods in capturing the shift of fine-tuning datasets from the initial pre-trained data distribution. Our findings reveal that there are cases in which low-rank fine-tuning falls short in learning such shifts. This, in turn, produces non-negligible side effects, especially when fine-tuning is adopted for toxicity mitigation in pre-trained models, or in scenarios where it is important to provide fair models. Through comprehensive empirical evidence on several models, datasets, and tasks, we show that low-rank fine-tuning inadvertently preserves undesirable biases and toxic behaviors. We also show that this extends to sequential decision-making tasks, emphasizing the need for careful evaluation to promote responsible LLMs development.

Saswat Das
Saswat Das
PhD Student in Computer Science

My research interests include differential privacy, privacy-preserving machine learning (viz. DPML and Federated Learning), and cryptography.