EMNLP 2023
Conference paper

UDAPDR: Unsupervised Domain Adaptation via LLM Prompting and Distillation of Rerankers

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Many information retrieval tasks require large labeled datasets for fine-tuning. However, such datasets are often unavailable, and their utility for real-world applications can diminish quickly due to domain shifts. To address this challenge, we develop and motivate a method for using large language models (LLMs) to generate large numbers of synthetic queries cheaply. The method begins by generating a small number of synthetic queries using an expensive LLM. After that, a much less expensive one is used to create large numbers of synthetic queries, which are used to fine-tune a family of reranker models. These rerankers are then distilled into a single efficient retriever for use in the target domain. We show that this technique boosts zero-shot accuracy in long-tail domains and achieves substantially lower latency than standard reranking methods.