Parrot: Efficient Serving of LLM-based Applications with Semantic Variable


Chaofan Lin, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Zhenhua Han, Chengruidong Zhang, Yuqing Yang, and Fan Yang, Microsoft Research; Chen Chen, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Lili Qiu, Microsoft Research


The rise of large language models (LLMs) has enabled LLM-based applications (a.k.a. AI agents or co-pilots), a new software paradigm that combines the strength of LLM and conventional software. Diverse LLM applications from different tenants could design complex workflows using multiple LLM requests to accomplish one task. However, they have to use the over-simplified request-level API provided by today's public LLM services, losing essential application-level information. Public LLM services have to blindly optimize individual LLM requests, leading to sub-optimal end-to-end performance of LLM applications.

This paper introduces Parrot, an LLM service system that focuses on the end-to-end experience of LLM-based applications. Parrot proposes Semantic Variable, a unified abstraction to expose application-level knowledge to public LLM services. A Semantic Variable annotates an input/output variable in the prompt of a request, and creates the data pipeline when connecting multiple LLM requests, providing a natural way to program LLM applications. Exposing Semantic Variables to the public LLM service allows it to perform conventional data flow analysis to uncover the correlation across multiple LLM requests. This correlation opens a brand-new optimization space for the end-to-end performance of LLM-based applications. Extensive evaluations demonstrate that Parrot can achieve up to an order-of-magnitude improvement for popular and practical use cases of LLM applications.

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@inproceedings {298764,
author = {Chaofan Lin and Zhenhua Han and Chengruidong Zhang and Yuqing Yang and Fan Yang and Chen Chen and Lili Qiu},
title = {Parrot: Efficient Serving of {LLM-based} Applications with Semantic Variable},
booktitle = {18th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI 24)},
year = {2024},
isbn = {978-1-939133-40-3},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
pages = {929--945},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jul