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Using logit bias to alter token probability with the OpenAI API
Using logit bias to alter token probability with the OpenAI API

Learn how to use the logit bias parameter to modify model outputs

Updated over a week ago

Logit_bias is an optional parameter that modifies the likelihood of specified tokens appearing in a model generated output.

This parameter accepts a JSON object that maps tokens to an associated bias value from -100 (which will in most cases block that token from being generated) to 100 (exclusive selection of the token which makes it more likely to be generated). Moderate values like -1 and 1 will change the probability of a token being selected to a lesser degree.

Since the parameter takes in tokens, not text, you’ll want to use a tokenizer tool to convert text to token IDs. Let’s go through a few examples.

Example 1: Remove 'time'

If we call the Completions endpoint with the prompt “Once upon a,” the completion is very likely going to start with “ time.”

The word “time” tokenizes to the ID 2435 and the word “ time” (which has a space at the start) tokenizes to the ID 640. We can pass these through logit_bias with -100 to ban them from appearing in the completion, like so:

completion = 
messages=[{"role": "system", "content": "You finish user's sentences."},
"role": "user", "content": "Once upon a"} ]
logit_bias={2435:-100, 640:-100}

Now, the prompt “Once upon a” generates the completion “midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary.”

Notice that the word “time” is nowhere to be found, because we’ve effectively banned that token using logit_bias.

Example 2: Give direction with targeted logit bias values

Let’s go through another example, using a recipe generator prompt.

Many recipes suggest using pots, but suppose we don't have a pot. We'll want to remove the word pot from being generated as part of our completion. 'Pot' tokenizes to 1787 so we can remove it from our generation by setting our logit_bias as below.


Now, our completion might include the word “saucepan” instead. Perfect!

Example 3: Increase the odds of a word appearing

Suppose that we want to increase the likelihood of a word appearing.

For example, maybe we’re running a site that offers recipes that you can make with a microwave, so we want to be sure that the word “microwave” appears in the recipe. Microwave tokenizes to ID 27000. We can increase the likelihood that this token appears by setting a positive logit_bias, like so:


Now, our completion is more likely to include the word 'microwave'.

We set the logit_bias to 5, as we found that setting logit_bias to 1 often did not result in the word “microwave” appearing in the completion, while higher logit_bias values like 10 resulted in the word “ microwave” appearing in the completion too often.

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