AI-powered large language models (LLMs) are one of the MOST happening things in tech right now. GPT, BARD, BERT, LlaMA, Palmyra– several incredibly advanced and capable large language models have made their presence known. Belonging to the generative AI category, these models can understand, process, and generate text (and even speech in certain special cases) in natural human language. Businesses across sectors have begun implementing and integrating LLMs in varied ways, from chatbots to virtual assistants, from malware analysis to grammar checkers & content generators.

An AI essay typer tool is a written content generator in the generative AI category. These typers run large language models in the background, with Open AI’s GPT being one of the most commonly implemented. GPT or Generative Pretrained Transformers are special kinds of deep learning-based neural network architecture with tremendous accuracy in text translation, classification, and generation.  

So, how does an AI essay typer produce better write-ups than any random human being? How do they work? To answer all such questions, we need to take a deep dive into the underlying architecture of GPT, that is, the transformer neural networks. And the mechanisms they employ. 

What is a transformer?

Transformers in natural language processing are nothing like the ones that transfer electrical power. NLP transformers are computer programming models used to design AI software applications. They use an aspect of AI called deep learning, specifically a deep learning mechanism called neural network. GPT is one of the most successful neural network-based applications in recent times. 

Here’s a layman’s overview of how they work.Transformer neural networks are the fundamental units of any GPT-based application. 

Transformers use a particular technique called the attention mechanism, which enables them to possess substantially large long-term memory. Long memory enables them to focus on specific word tokens and remember the tokens generated. 

The attention mechanism pays specific attention to words that it determines are important to convey the meaning and context of the string. 

The long-term memory and other design features allow transformers to reference any token entered or generated at any time. This helps to develop context and deliver a coherent & logical response. 

The encoder and the decoder are two major parts of a transformer.  

Now, to understand how encoders and decoders work together to help a computer understand how to process and produce natural human language, we need to delve deeper into the architecture. So, please take a deep breath and buckle up as we dive into the complex technicalities.

Anatomy of a Transformer

A look under the hood to understand how everything works requires some pre-existing knowledge about programming, computer science (especially data structures & algorithms), linear algebra, functions, calculus, and statistics, amongst others. We will explain everything as simply as possible.

The Python programming language leads the way as the coding language for designing AI models. Its simplistic & minimalistic syntax and several libraries for data mining, analysis, & AI, such as PyTorch, make Python an ideal choice.

Now, transformers, whether designed in Python or any other capable programming language, are based on the encoder-decoder architecture. Encoder and decoder neural networks were first used for machine translation, where strings or sequences of words of varied were translated from one language to another.

  • The encoder architecture takes a string input, that is, a sequence of tokens. These tokens are converted into a sequence of embedding vectors, referred to as the hidden state or context of the input string. 
  • The decoder architecture uses information extracted from the hidden state to produce an output token sequence, one at a time.

Before transformers, recurrent neural networks such as long short-term memory networks, running a special mechanism known as attention, acted as the basic units of the encoder-decoder architecture. The attention mechanism enables the decoder component to pay different weights or ‘attention’ to each hidden state generated by the encoder at every decoding timestep.

The attention mechanism helps encoders and decoders to pay specific focus on particular input tokens and understand alignments & relationships among different tokens. Used with substantial success for language translation, the attention-based LSTM architecture had certain flaws. The biggest limitation is the inherently sequential nature of the processing, which is less efficient and powerful than parallel processing across all the input tokens.

The transformer transforms the landscape with the parallel processing-enabled self-attention mechanism. The GPT model eschews the encoder component and has a decoder-only architecture. Nevertheless, to best understand transformers, we must look at the encoder and the decoder.

A Simple Overview of the Transformer Encoder & Decoder

ü Encoders receive a sequence of embeddings and other feeds from two key sub-layers, namely, the multi-headed self-attention and the feed-forward layers. The output embedding sequence produced by the encoder layer stack is the same size as the input sequence.


The primary role of the encoder is to add contextual information to the input embeddings and, thereby, produce more effective representations of the input. 

Every sub-layer of the encoder also comes with skip connection and layer normalization, which are sub-mechanisms for better neural network training. 

The self-attention mechanism lets the encoder focus on every word embedding and its hidden state. Every word token is compared with the others to determine their importance and the overall context of the input sequence. 

Three vectors are generated for every word token. The key, query, and value of vectors of each word token undergo dot product multiplication that produces a score matrix. 

The higher the values of a specific matrix, the more attention the transformer pays to a particular token. 

The attention scores are scaled-down and then made to go through a SoftMax function, which produces a bounded output for better accuracy. 

The output of the SoftMax function is then multiplied by a token’s value vector for an output vector. 

The self-attention mechanism is multi-headed; that is, it is applied to all the key-value-query vectors of every word token. All the outputs are then concatenated together and then passed through a linear function in the final layer. 

The final layer in the encoder stack carries out the normalized sum of the multi-headed self-attention output and the original pre-encoder input embedding of the token sequence using a feed-forward neural network. 

The result is then added to the input of the feed-forward neural network. 

  • The decoder stack uses the representations generated by the encoder to produce accurate probabilities of the most contextually & informatively appropriate and grammatically accurate word tokens for a response. 

The decoder comprises two multi-headed attention layers, a feed-forward layer, multiple residual connections (the sum of the multi-headed attention output and the positional embeddings), and normalization functions.   

After the neural network is trained, it is now a large language model and can predict the next words in sequence with exceptional accuracy. 

For a clearer (but highly technical) understanding of how the decoder produces near-human text for the encoder input & how all its different units work, check out this link. 

And that’s about it for this write-up. Hope this was an interesting read for one and all. If you wish to learn more about AI and transformers, you will have to chalk out plans, work hard, and be ready to carry out some dedicated studying & practice. 

But, if you want a superbly-written essay, use or connect with our essay writing experts today. 

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