iRAG: An Incremental Retrieval Augmented Generation System for Videos

Retrieval augmented generation (RAG) systems combine the strengths of language generation and information retrieval to power many real-world applications like chatbots. Use of RAG for combined understanding of multimodal data such as text, images and videos is appealing but two critical limitations exist: one-time, upfront capture of all content in large multimodal data as text descriptions entails high processing times, and not all information in the rich multimodal data is typically in the text descriptions. Since the user queries are not known apriori, developing a system for multimodal to text conversion and interactive querying of multimodal data is challenging.To address these limitations, we propose iRAG, which augments RAG with a novel incremental workflow to enable interactive querying of large corpus of multimodal data. Unlike traditional RAG, iRAG quickly indexes large repositories of multimodal data, and in the incremental workflow, it uses the index to opportunistically extract more details from select portions of the multimodal data to retrieve context relevant to an interactive user query. Such an incremental workflow avoids long multimodal to text conversion times, overcomes information loss issues by doing on-demand query-specific extraction of details in multimodal data, and ensures high quality of responses to interactive user queries that are often not known apriori. To the best of our knowledge, iRAG is the first system to augment RAG with an incremental workflow to support efficient interactive querying of large, real-world multimodal data. Experimental results on real-world long videos demonstrate 23x to 25x faster video to text ingestion, while ensuring that quality of responses to interactive user queries is comparable to responses from a traditional RAG where all video data is converted to text upfront before any querying.

LeanContext: Cost-Efficient Domain-Specific Question Answering using LLMs

Question-answering (QA) is a significant application of Large Language Models (LLMs), shaping chatbot capabilities across healthcare, education, and customer service. However, widespread LLM integration presents a challenge for small businesses due to the high expenses of LLM API usage. Costs rise rapidly when domain-specific data (context) is used alongside queries for accurate domain-specific LLM responses. One option is to summarize the context by using LLMs and reduce the context. However, this can also filter out useful information that is necessary to answer some domain-specific queries. In this paper, we shift from human-oriented summarizers to AI model-friendly summaries. Our approach, LeanContext, efficiently extracts k key sentences from the context that are closely aligned with the query. The choice of k is neither static nor random; we introduce a reinforcement learning technique that dynamically determines k based on the query and context. The rest of the less important sentences are reduced using a free open source text reduction method. We evaluate LeanContext against several recent query-aware and query-unaware context reduction approaches on prominent datasets (arxiv papers and BBC news articles). Despite cost reductions of 37.29% to 67.81%, LeanContext’s ROUGE-1 score decreases only by 1.41% to 2.65% compared to a baseline that retains the entire context (no summarization). Additionally, if free pretrained LLM-based summarizers are used to reduce context (into human consumable summaries), LeanContext can further modify the reduced context to enhance the accuracy (ROUGE-1 score) by 13.22% to 24.61%.