Simon Willison’s Weblog


If a LLM is like a database of millions of vector programs, then a prompt is like a search query in that database [...] this “program database” is continuous and interpolative — it’s not a discrete set of programs. This means that a slightly different prompt, like “Lyrically rephrase this text in the style of x” would still have pointed to a very similar location in program space, resulting in a program that would behave pretty closely but not quite identically. [...] Prompt engineering is the process of searching through program space to find the program that empirically seems to perform best on your target task.

François Chollet