RAG and LLM: A New Frontier in Dynamic Language Modeling

Discover how RAG and LLM are revolutionizing AI language models for more dynamic, context-aware interactions. Learn more with Qwak!
Pavel Klushin
Pavel Klushin
Head of Solution Architecture at Qwak
December 28, 2023
Table of contents
RAG and LLM: A New Frontier in Dynamic Language Modeling

What challenges do LLMs bring? Traditional language models, such as GPT and Llama2, face inherent limitations. Their static nature binds them to a fixed knowledge cut-off, leaving them unaware of developments post their last training date. While they encapsulate vast amounts of data, there's a cap on their knowledge. Infusing fresh information often means an exhaustive retraining cycle - both in terms of computational resources and time. Additionally, their generalistic approach sometimes lacks the precision needed for specialized domains. This is where Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG) comes into play.

Introducing RAG (Retrieval Augmented Generation)

RAG is a revolutionary blend of two AI powerhouses: a retriever and a generator. It empowers a language model to dynamically fetch pertinent data from a vast external corpus and then craft a coherent answer based on this information.

The Power of RAG in Real-World Examples

Let’s see an example Retrieval Augmented Generation use case in real life.

Consider a customer support chatbot scenario. Initially, I query a LLM about Qwak, a simple question of “how to install the Qwak SDK?”. In the subsequent approach, I enhance this with insights from Qwak's official documentation which were ingested to a Vector Store.

As you can see, without RAG & Vector Store data the model couldn't generate a professional answer, With RAG, the answer is more detailed and enriched with additional relevant information. The combination of retrieval and generation gives the model the capability to "pull" from recent sources and provide a more comprehensive answer.

An example of this use case was deployed in Guesty, a leader in hospitality management software, Guesty built a chatbot which enhanced response efficiency and accuracy by leveraging extensive datasets and OpenAI's algorithms. The chatbot's ability to synthesize data from multiple sources, including previous guest conversations and property details, allows for personalized and context-rich interactions. improved SLA performance but also marked a leap in customer satisfaction and engagement, as reflected in the increased usage rates from 5.46% to 15.78% for the new chat app.

How Does RAG Enhance LLM?

Tackling Static Knowledge: RAG breaks free from the constraints of static knowledge by dynamically sourcing information from ever-evolving external corpora.

Knowledge Expansion: Unlike standalone models like GPT-4, RAG leverages external databases, amplifying its knowledge horizon.

Minimizing Retraining: RAG reduces the need for periodic retraining. Instead, you can refresh the external database, keeping the AI system up-to-date without overhauling the model.

Boosting Domain-Specific Responses: RAG can draw from domain-specific databases, e.g., medical repositories, to provide detailed, accurate answers.

Balancing Breadth with Depth: RAG merges the strength of retrieval and generation. While its generative side ensures contextual relevance, the retrieval facet dives deep for detailed insights.

Performance metrics enhancement:

  • Response Accuracy - Based on recent POC’s In a customer service scenario, RAG-enhanced models demonstrated a 25% increase in first-contact resolution rates, compared to traditional LLMs. This was attributed to the model's ability to pull in relevant, real-time information.
  • Processing Time Reduction: Same test showed that RAG reduced processing times by approximately 35%. This efficiency gain was due to the model's ability to quickly retrieve and synthesize pertinent customer data.

RAG vs. Fine-Tuning LLMs: A Practical Comparison

When considering advancements in language model technology, it's useful to compare RAG with fine-tuning Large Language Models (LLMs). Fine-tuning tailors an LLM for specific tasks by retraining it with niche data, like adapting a model for legal jargon or medical terminology. This method is effective but often locks the model to the knowledge it was trained on, which can become outdated. In contrast, RAG introduces a dynamic mechanism, continually integrating fresh, external information. For example, in a healthcare setting, RAG can pull the latest medical research or treatment guidelines, offering more current advice than a fine-tuned model on older data. Similarly, in customer service, RAG can access real-time product updates or company policies, providing more accurate and up-to-date responses than a static, fine-tuned model. This approach makes RAG a practical and adaptive alternative, particularly in sectors where staying informed with the latest information is crucial, simplifying the process of maintaining relevance in language models.

Retrieval Augmented Generation - Technical Requirements

Data Ingestion Pipeline Step: In this phase, the system orchestrates the gathering of relevant data and converts it into embeddings. These processed embeddings are subsequently structured to provide the LLM model with the necessary context for generating responses.

Retrieval Step: At this step, the retrieval mechanism comes into play, pinpointing the segments of data that are most relevant from the available datasets.

Generation Step: Subsequently, the generation component, utilizing models akin to LLM, synthesizes a response that is both informed and contextually aligned with the data retrieved.

Retrieval Augmented Generation Architecture

Data Pipeline

The data pipeline is the initial phase where raw data is acquired, processed, and prepared for further use in the system. This usually involves:

  1. Data Collection: Obtaining raw data from various sources.
  2. Pre-processing: Cleaning the data to remove any inconsistencies, irrelevant information, or errors. This step may involve normalization, tokenization, and other data transformation techniques.
  3. Transformation using Embedding model: Converting data into a format that's amenable for use in the subsequent layers, converting text data into numerical vectors or embeddings. The main goal is to capture semantic relationships between words/phrases so that words with similar meanings are close in the embedding space.
  4. Vector Store Insertion: Before insertion, vectors are often indexed to facilitate efficient retrieval. Finally, the indexed vectors are stored in the vector database.

Retrieval Step

  1. Query Processing: This is the initial stage where the system receives a query from the user.
  • Input: Could be text, image, etc.
  • Preprocessing: Similar to the data insertion pipeline, query data is preprocessed to match the format expected by the embedding model.
  1. Query Embedding: The preprocessed query is converted into an embedding vector using the same model (or compatible one) that was used for generating embeddings during the insertion pipeline.
  2. Similarity Search: The query embedding is then used to search the vector store for the nearest neighbors.
  3. Candidate Generation: Based on the nearest neighbors, the system generates a set of candidate data points that could be relevant to the query.
  4. Filtering & Ranking: Further filtering and ranking might be applied to the retrieved neighbors to select the best candidates.

Generation Step

In some systems, additional processing is applied to the candidates to generate the final output.

  • LLM: A model such as Llama2, GPT, Mistral could take the candidates and generate new data 
  • Aggregation: In cases like recommendations, the candidates are often aggregated to form a single coherent response.


The generated data or response might require post-processing before being presented to the user.

  • Formatting: Ensuring the data is in a user-friendly format.
  • Personalization: Tailoring the output to the user's preferences.

Chaining Prompts

This layer manages how prompts are fed into the LLM to control its output or guide its generation process.

  • Prompt Design: Designing prompts that guide the model to generate desired outputs. This can involve iterating and refining based on the model's responses.
  • Sequential Interaction: Some tasks might require multiple prompts to be sent sequentially, with the model's output from one prompt being used as input for the next. This "chaining" can help in guiding the model towards a more refined or specific output.
  • Feedback Loop: The chaining prompts layer might incorporate a feedback mechanism, where the model's output is analyzed, and subsequent prompts are adapted accordingly.

The interplay between these objects and layers forms a cohesive system where raw data is transformed into actionable insights, answers, or other desired outputs using the power of language models.

For constructing such a chaining process, platforms like Langchain, LlamaIndex, and AutoGPT are among the prevalent solutions.

Future Outlook: What's Next for RAG and LLM Technologies

Looking ahead, the evolution of RAG and LLM technologies is likely to focus on incremental improvements rather than revolutionary changes. We can expect enhancements in the accuracy and efficiency of data retrieval and processing, leading to more precise and context-aware responses. Personalization may also become more prominent, with RAG-empowered LLMs gradually adapting to user preferences and histories. In practical terms, this could mean more effective educational tools and more responsive healthcare information systems. Additionally, as the awareness around AI ethics and privacy grows, these technologies will likely incorporate more transparent and responsible AI practices. Overall, the future of RAG and LLMs appears to be one of steady advancement, bringing subtle yet impactful improvements to how we interact with and benefit from these AI systems.

If you wish to start building and deploying RAG based solution in your production platform, don't miss our practical hands-on tutorial.

Chat with us to see the platform live and discover how we can help simplify your AI/ML journey.

say goodbe to complex mlops with Qwak