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Function Calling

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to connect large language models to external tools using our chat completions API. This includes:

  • Defining a function
  • Enabling the language model to choose the function
  • Executing the function
  • Sharing the results with the language model

Introduction

Using the tools field, you can enable a language model to choose functions to call. The chat completions API does not call the function itself. It will return the arguments you need to execute the function yourself.

Of the open-source language models hosted on Telnyx, meta-llama/Meta-Llama-3-70B-Instruct is especially good at calling functions. While we recommend you start with this model, every model in our API supports the tools interface.

Simple get_current_weather example

A popular toy example for function calls is the get_current_weather example.

The following code defines a function and passes it to the language model via the tools field.

import os

from openai import OpenAI

client = OpenAI(
api_key=os.getenv("TELNYX_API_KEY"),
base_url="https://api.telnyx.com/v2/ai",
)

tools = [
{
"type": "function",
"function": {
"name": "get_current_weather",
"description": "Get the current weather",
"parameters": {
"type": "object",
"properties": {
"location": {
"type": "string",
"description": "The city and state, e.g. San Francisco, CA",
},
"unit": {
"type": "string",
"enum": ["celsius", "fahrenheit"],
"description": "The temperature unit to use",
},
},
"required": ["location", "unit"],
},
}
}
]

messages = [
{"role": "user", "content": "How is the weather in Chicago?"}
]

chat_completion = client.chat.completions.create(
model="meta-llama/Meta-Llama-3-70B-Instruct",
messages=messages,
tools=tools,
tool_choice="auto"
)
print(chat_completion.choices[0].message)

A tool_choice of auto lets the language model decide to call a function (or not).

The options for tool_choice are:

  • required: this forces the language model to choose a tool
  • none: this forces the language model to NOT choose a tool
  • auto: this lets the language model decide

If the language model chooses a function, the above will result in a response like this, with the tool_calls field populated.

ChatCompletionMessage(content=None, role='assistant', function_call=None, tool_calls=[ChatCompletionMessageToolCall(id='call_c31258d2-78a8-4566-b716-e3b2a774cbdb', function=Function(arguments='{"location": "Chicago", "unit": "fahrenheit"}', name='get_current_weather'), type='function')])

Defining functions programmatically

In the next example, we will implement and execute get_current_weather. To do this cleanly, we are first going to define a helper function func_to_tool that extends the schema function from Jeremy Howard's A Hacker's Guide to Language Models.

import inspect
import os
import json
from typing import Literal

from openai import OpenAI
from pydantic import create_model


def func_to_tool(f):
kw = {
n: (o.annotation, ... if o.default==inspect.Parameter.empty else o.default)
for n, o in inspect.signature(f).parameters.items()
}
s = create_model(f.__name__, **kw).model_json_schema()
tool_json = {
"type": "function",
"function": {
"name": s["title"],
"description": inspect.getdoc(f),
"parameters": s
}
}
return tool_json


TempUnit = Literal['celsius', 'fahrenheit']

def get_current_weather(location: str, unit: TempUnit = 'fahrenheit'):
"""Get the current weather in a given location"""
if "tokyo" in location.lower():
return json.dumps({"location": "Tokyo", "temperature": "10", "unit": unit})
elif "san francisco" in location.lower():
return json.dumps({"location": "San Francisco", "temperature": "72", "unit": unit})
elif "chicago" in location.lower():
return json.dumps({"location": "Chicago", "temperature": "22", "unit": unit})
else:
return json.dumps({"location": location, "temperature": "unknown"})

client = OpenAI(
api_key=os.getenv("TELNYX_API_KEY"),
base_url="https://api.telnyx.com/v2/ai",
)
tools = [func_to_tool(get_current_weather)]
messages = [
{"role": "user", "content": "How is the weather in Chicago?"}
]
chat_completion = client.chat.completions.create(
model="meta-llama/Meta-Llama-3-70B-Instruct",
messages=messages,
tools=tools,
tool_choice="auto"
)
print(chat_completion.choices[0].message)

This is now functionally equivalent to the first example, but instead of writing and maintaining the verbose JSON definition ourselves, we can generate it programmatically from the executable Python function.

Executing functions

Ok, it's nice that the language model wants to execute the get_current_weather, but how do we actually do that, and incorporate the results back into the interaction?

Continuing from the chat_completion response in the previous example

assistant_message = chat_completion.choices[0].message
tool_calls = assistant_message.tool_calls
content = assistant_message.content
if tool_calls:
messages.append(assistant_message)
available_functions = {"get_current_weather": get_current_weather}
for tool_call in tool_calls:
function_name = tool_call.function.name
function_to_call = available_functions[function_name]
function_args = json.loads(tool_call.function.arguments)
function_response = function_to_call(**function_args)
messages.append(
{
"tool_call_id": tool_call.id,
"role": "tool",
"name": function_name,
"content": function_response,
}
)
second_chat_completion = client.chat.completions.create(
model="meta-llama/Meta-Llama-3-70B-Instruct",
messages=messages,
)
print(second_chat_completion.choices[0].message.content)
else:
print(content)

Now, we will get our answer from the language model, incorporating the output from the function call.

It's 22°F in Chicago.

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