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Outcome-supervised Verifiers for Planning in Mathematical Reasoning

Fei YuAnningzhe GaoBenyou Wang
Nov 2023
Large language models (LLMs) often struggle with maintaining accuracy across a sequence of intermediate reasoning steps in mathematical reasoning, leading to error propagation that undermines the final result. The current methodology to mitigate this issue primarily involves using a verifier model to assess the correctness of generated solution candidates, focusing either on the overall reasoning path or on an incomplete reasoning path. By rethinking this approach, we argue that assessing potentials of incomplete reasoning paths could be more advantageous as it guides towards correct final answers, transforming the task into a \textit{planning} problem. Our proposed verifier, the Outcome-supervision Value Model (OVM), employs outcome supervision for training, offering an efficient and intuitive method for \textit{planning} by prioritizing steps that lead to accurate conclusions over mere per-step correctness. Furthermore, the OVM eschews the need for labor-intensive annotations on step-level correctness, enhancing its scalability. Our experiments on two multi-step mathematical reasoning datasets, GSM8K and Game of 24, demonstrate the superior performance of the OVM model. Notably, in GSM8K, our \textbf{OVM-7B model achieves state-of-the-art results among LLMs up to 13B parameters}; especially it does not utilize GPT-4 or code execution. These findings offer a novel perspective on the role of outcome supervision in training verifiers for multi-step reasoning tasks and provide theoretical justification for its advantage in value estimation for planning.
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