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Large Language Models (LLMs) are increasingly employed for complex multi-step planning tasks, where the Tool Retrieval (TR) step is crucial for achieving successful outcomes. Two prevalent approaches for TR are single-step retrieval, which utilizes the complete query, and sequential retrieval using Task Decomposition (TD), where a full query is segmented into discrete atomic subtasks. While single-step retrieval lacks the flexibility to handle "Inter-Tool Dependency," the TD approach necessitate maintaining “Subtask-Tool Atomicity Alignment," as the Toolbox can evolve dynamically. To address these limitations, we introduce the Progressive Tool retrieval to Improve Planning (ProTIP) framework. ProTIP is a lightweight, contrastive learning-based framework that implicitly performs TD without the explicit requirement of subtask labels, while simultaneously maintaining subtask-tool atomicity. On the ToolBench dataset, ProTIP outperforms the ChatGPT task decomposition-based approach by a remarkable margin, achieving a 24% improvement in Recall@K=10 for TR and a 41% enhancement in Tool Accuracy for Plan Generation.

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