Pathways Language Model (PaLM)

Scaling to 540 Billion Parameters for Breakthrough Performance

About Pathways Language Model (PaLM)

Today's AI models are typically trained to do only one thing. Pathways will enable us to train a single model to do thousands or millions of things.

Today’s AI systems are often trained from scratch for each new problem – the mathematical model’s parameters are initiated literally with random numbers. Imagine if, every time you learned a new skill (jumping rope, for example), you forgot everything you’d learned – how to balance, how to leap, how to coordinate the movement of your hands – and started learning each new skill from nothing.

That’s more or less how we train most machine learning models today. Rather than extending existing models to learn new tasks, we train each new model from nothing to do one thing and one thing only (or we sometimes specialize a general model to a specific task). The result is that we end up developing thousands of models for thousands of individual tasks. Not only does learning each new task take longer this way, but it also requires much more data to learn each new task, since we’re trying to learn everything about the world and the specifics of that task from nothing (completely unlike how people approach new tasks).

Instead, we’d like to train one model that can not only handle many separate tasks, but also draw upon and combine its existing skills to learn new tasks faster and more effectively. That way what a model learns by training on one task – say, learning how aerial images can predict the elevation of a landscape – could help it learn another task -- say, predicting how flood waters will flow through that terrain.

We want a model to have different capabilities that can be called upon as needed, and stitched together to perform new, more complex tasks – a bit closer to the way the mammalian brain generalizes across tasks.

Today's models mostly focus on one sense. Pathways will enable multiple senses.


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