Pioneering Advanced RAG: Paving the Way for AI’s Next Era

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Mastering Sophisticated RAG: The Key to Unlocking Next-Generation AI Applications


Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG) marks a groundbreaking leap in generative AI technology, merging effective data search with the capabilities of expansive language models.

At its heart, RAG utilizes vector-based search to sift through relevant and pre-existing data, merging this information with the user’s request, and then guiding it through a vast language model like ChatGPT.

This RAG technique ensures that the output is not only accurate but also incorporates up-to-date information, significantly minimizing errors or “hallucinations” in the results.

Yet, as the domain of AI applications widens, the expectations from RAG are escalating, becoming more intricate and diverse. The foundational RAG framework, while effective, might not suffice for the complex requirements of various sectors and emerging applications. This is where sophisticated RAG methods come into significance. These advanced techniques are designed to meet specific challenges, providing greater accuracy, flexibility, and efficiency in processing information.

Grasping RAG Methods

The Core of Basic RAG

Retrieval-augmented generation (RAG) merges data handling with smart querying to boost the precision of AI’s responses.

  • Data organization: It initiates with the user inputting data, which is subsequently segmented and stored alongside embeddings, laying the groundwork for retrieval.
  • Retrieval: Upon posing a query, the system uses vector-based search mechanisms to navigate through the stored data, identifying pertinent information.
  • LLM query: The gathered information then serves as context for the Language Model (LLM), which formulates the final query by blending the context with the question. The outcome is a response crafted from the rich, contextualized data supplied, showcasing RAG’s capacity to deliver dependable, knowledgeable answers.

This entire methodology, depicted in this diagram, highlights RAG’s focus on secure data management and context-sensitive response generation, crucial for sophisticated AI solutions.

As AI technology evolved, so did the potential of RAG. Advanced RAG strategies have been developed, extending the capabilities of these models beyond their initial scope. These enhancements are not merely about improved retrieval or smoother generation. They include a spectrum of upgrades, such as a deeper comprehension of context, refined approaches to handling complex inquiries, and the capacity to incorporate varied data sources effortlessly.

Technique 1: Self-Querying Retrieval

Self-querying retrieval stands at the forefront of AI-powered database systems, augmenting data querying with an understanding of natural language. For instance, if you possess a product catalog dataset and wish to search “a black leather mini skirt under 20 dollars,” it’s not only about conducting a semantic search for the product description but also about applying a filter on the subcategory and price of the product.

  1. Natural Language Query Interpretation: The procedure commences with an LLM interpreting the user’s natural language query, deciphering intent and context.
  2. Metadata Field Data: For this to work, it’s imperative to initially provide details about the metadata fields within the documents. This metadata, outlining the structure and attributes of the data, aids in crafting effective queries and filters, ensuring the search results are accurate and pertinent.
  3. Query Formulation: Subsequently, the LLM formulates a structured query that integrates semantic elements for vector search with metadata filters for specificity.
  4. Query Implementation: This structured query is then executed through MongoDB’s vector search, sorting results by both semantic likeness and metadata relevance.

Through constructing organized queries from human language, self-querying recovery guarantees both effectiveness and accuracy in data retrieval, as it is capable of analyzing semantic components and metadata concurrently.

    import openai  
    import pymongo  
    from bson.json_util import dumps  

    # OpenAI API key setup  
    openai.api_key = 'your-api-key'  

    # Connect to MongoDB  
    client = pymongo.MongoClient('mongodb://localhost:27017/')  
    db = client['your_database']  
    collection = db['your_collection']  

    # Function to use GPT-3.5 for interpreting natural language query and outputting a structured query  
    def interpret_query_with_gpt(query):  
        response = openai.Completion.create(  
            prompt=f"Translate the following natural language query into a MongoDB vector search query:\n\n'{query}'",  
        return response.choices[0].message.content  

    # Function to execute MongoDB vector search query  
    def execute_query(query):  
        structured_query = eval(query)  # Caution: Use eval carefully  
        results = collection.aggregate([structured_query])  
        return dumps(list(results), indent=4)  

    # Example usage  
    natural_language_query = "Find documents related to AI advancements"  
    structured_query = interpret_query_with_gpt(natural_language_query)  
    results = execute_query(structured_query)  

In sophisticated RAG setups, the utilization of parent-child connections enhances the efficiency of data extraction significantly. This method divides large texts into smaller, more digestible segments — namely, the parent texts and their corresponding child texts.

  1. Dynamics of Parent-Child Texts: Big documents are segmented into parent and child texts. The parent texts encompass a general overview, whereas the child texts provide detailed insights.
  2. Vectorization for Accuracy: Each child text is transformed into vectors, crafting a distinct digital identity that supports accurate data retrieval.
  3. Handling of Queries and Providing Contextual Answers: Upon receiving a query, it’s compared with these vectorized child texts. The system not only fetches the most pertinent child text but also incorporates the parent text for added context. This method guarantees that the answers are not just accurate but also embedded with contextual depth.
  4. Advanced Integration with LLMs: The in-depth data from both the child and parent texts is then integrated into a Large Language Model (LLM), such as ChatGPT, to produce responses that are precise and aware of the context.
  5. Adoption in MongoDB: By exploiting MongoDB’s capabilities for vector search, this strategy provides a sophisticated technique for managing extensive datasets, ensuring rapid and context-rich answers.

This method surpasses the basic limitations of conventional RAG by offering a more detailed and context-sensitive approach to data retrieval, which is essential for complex inquiries that necessitate an understanding of the larger context.

    from langchain.document_loaders import PyPDFLoader  
    from langchain.text_splitter import RecursiveCharacterTextSplitter  
    # Initialize the text splitters for parent and child documents  
    parent_splitter = RecursiveCharacterTextSplitter(chunk_size=2000)  
    child_splitter = RecursiveCharacterTextSplitter(chunk_size=200)  
    # Function to process PDF document and split it into chunks  
    def process_pdf(file):  
        loader = PyPDFLoader(  
        docs = loader.load()  
        parent_docs = parent_splitter.split_documents(docs)  

        # Process parent documents  
        for parent_doc in parent_docs:  
            parent_doc_content = parent_doc.page_content.replace('\n', ' ')  
            parent_id = collection.insert_one({  
                'document_type': 'parent',  
                'content': parent_doc_content  

            # Process child documents  
            child_docs = child_splitter.split_documents([parent_doc])  
            for child_doc in child_docs:  
                child_doc_content = child_doc.page_content.replace('\n', ' ')  
                child_embedding = embeddings.embed_documents([child_doc_content])[0]  
                    'document_type': 'child',  
                    'content': child_doc_content,  
                    'embedding': child_embedding,  
                    'parent_ref': parent_id  
        return "PDF processing complete"  

    # Function to embed a query and perform a vector search  
    def query_and_display(query):  
        query_embedding = embeddings.embed_documents([query])[0]  

        # Retrieve relevant child documents based on query  
        child_docs = collection.aggregate([{  
            "$vectorSearch": {  
                "index": "vector_index",  
                "path": "embedding",  
                "queryVector": query_embedding,  
                "numCandidates": 10  

        # Fetch corresponding parent documents for additional context  
        parent_docs = [collection.find_one({"_id": doc['parent_ref']}) for doc in child_docs]  
        return parent_docs, child_docs  
    from langchain.llms import OpenAI  
    # Initialize the OpenAI client  
    openai_client = OpenAI(api_key=OPENAI_API_KEY)  

    # Function to generate a response from the LLM  
    def generate_response(query, parent_docs, child_docs):  
        response_content = " ".join([doc['content'] for doc in parent_docs if doc])  
        chat_completion =  
            messages=[{"role": "user", "content": query}],  
        return chat_completion.choices[0].message.content

Technique 3: Interactive RAG — Question-Answering

Created by Fabian Valle, MongoDB Sales Innovation Program Director, Interactive RAG is at the cutting edge of AI-powered search technologies. This approach enhances the classic RAG by enabling users to directly influence the retrieval mechanism in real-time, leading to a more customized and accurate information search.

  1. Adaptive Retrieval Tactics: Users have the capability to modify retrieval settings instantly, such as document segment size or the quantity of references, to fine-tune outcomes to their particular inquiries.
  2. API Integration for Advanced Interactivity: The incorporation of API calls permits the RAG system to connect with external databases and services, offering information that is both current and pertinent.
  3. Interactive Query-Answering: This functionality allows users to pose questions in a conversational manner, which the system addresses by employing a vector search to identify the most applicable data, followed by a linguistic model like GPT-3.5 or GPT-4 for crafting an informed reply.
  4. Ongoing Improvement: The Interactive RAG mechanism enhances its database with each user interaction, ensuring that future responses are more precise and contextually relevant.

This third method demonstrates the significance of sophisticated RAG techniques for the next generation of AI applications, presenting a flexible, user-driven, and adaptive strategy for data retrieval and analysis.

Technique 4: Contextual compression in Advanced RAG

Contextual compression addresses the issue of sifting through documents laden with irrelevant text by compressing documents in line with the query’s context. This method ensures that only significant information is relayed to the language model, improving the quality of responses and diminishing expenses.

  1. Mechanics of Contextual Compression: This technique refines the document retrieval process by condensing the documents retrieved in accordance with the query’s context. This means it delivers only the data most relevant to the user’s inquiry.
  2. Handling Data Efficiently: Contextual document compression reduces the burden on the language model, facilitating quicker and more economical operations.
  3. Utilization of Document Compressors: Employing foundational retrievers and document compressors, such as the LLMChainExtractor by Longchain, this approach screens through initial documents to either shorten the content or exclude documents altogether based on their pertinence to the query.
  4. Improved Relevance to Queries: The outcome is a collection of condensed documents that harbor only pertinent information, which the language model leverages to formulate accurate responses without navigating through unnecessary material.

This strategy, underscored in the work of Brian Leonard as a Principal Solutions Architect at MongoDB, demonstrates the effectiveness of Langchain python code in developing efficient and targeted AI retrieval frameworks. Leonard’s blog is a rich resource for exploring contextual compression, providing valuable insights and instances.

Semantic Search Made Easy With LangChain and MongoDB | MongoDB