Large language models for aspect-based sentiment analysis

Machine Learning

Paul Simmering


November 1, 2023

A finetuned GPT-3.5 Turbo model achieves state-of-the-art performance in aspect-based sentiment analysis (ABSA). Zero-shot and few-shot settings with GPT-4 and GPT-3.5 reach decent performance too.

The big picture: In August, OpenAI announced fine-tuning for GPT-3.5 Turbo. Fine-tuning enables the general model to be optimized for a specific task. My colleague Paavo Huoviala and me tested the performance of a fine-tuned GPT-3.5 Turbo on the SemEval 2014 Task 4 joint aspect term extraction and polarity classification task. We found that the model achieves state-of-the-art performance. However, this comes at the price of 1000 times more model parameters and thus increased inference cost. We also tested zero-shot and few-shot settings with GPT-4 and GPT-3.5. These models reach decent performance too, without requiring training data.

Learn more: My colleague Paavo Huoviala and me recently published an article on arXiv. The related code is available on Github.

Aspect-based sentiment analysis

In contrast to regular sentiment analysis that assigns one polarity label to an entire text, aspect-based sentiment analysis (ABSA) aims to identify the polarity of individual aspects of a text. For example, in the sentence “The food was great, but the service was terrible”, ABSA would identify the aspect “food” as positive and “service” as negative.

Implications for practitioners

  1. Fine-tuning GPT-3.5 isn’t difficult or expensive. In this case, it cost less than $30 to fine-tune on 5572 training examples.
  2. Fine-tuned large language models (LLMs) can achieve better performance in classic NLP tasks than smaller transformer models like RoBERTa.
  3. A fine-tuned model doesn’t seem to benefit from prompt engineering. This reduces the number of input tokens and thus inference cost.
  4. For ad-hoc projects, acceptable performance can be reached with just a few examples. After the proof of concept, more examples can be collected with help from the model.