Meta and Microsoft Collaborate to Unveil Llama 2: An Open-Source AI Model

Meta and Microsoft have joined forces to introduce Llama 2, an open-source AI model developed by Meta, which will be integrated into Microsoft’s Windows operating system and Azure cloud computing platform.

The collaboration between the two tech giants was officially announced on July 18. Llama 2 is now available for free use in both research and commercial applications and has been optimized specifically for Windows environments.

The announcement confirmed earlier rumors that Llama 2 would target businesses and researchers, enabling them to leverage Meta’s AI technology stack to create innovative applications.

According to Meta, Llama 2 has been trained on a larger dataset derived from publicly available online sources, amounting to a 40% increase compared to its predecessor, Llama 1. Additionally, Llama 2 boasts the capability to process double the amount of contextual information when compared to Llama 1.

Meta claims that Llama 2 outperforms many competing open-source large language models (LLMs) across various domains, including coding proficiency, reasoning, and performance on knowledge tests. However, the company acknowledges that Llama 2 may not be as efficient as closed-source counterparts like OpenAI’s GPT-4, as mentioned in one of Meta’s research papers.

In an Instagram post on July 18, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed excitement about Llama 2, highlighting its potential as a foundation for research and business applications.

Meta also revealed its surprise at the overwhelming demand for Llama 1, which garnered over 100,000 access requests after its limited release in February. Unfortunately, Llama 1 was subsequently leaked online by a user on the imageboard website 4chan.

In comparison to the user base of ChatGPT, which attracted an estimated 100 million or more users within the first three months, Llama 1 fell short, as reported by Reuters in February.

With this partnership, Microsoft now supports two major players in the AI realm, as it had previously invested a cumulative $13 million in OpenAI throughout 2023, as detailed in a Fortune report from January.

Meta’s decision to open-source Llama faced criticism in June from two U.S. senators who expressed concerns over the potential risks posed by the initial version of Llama, suggesting that its limited protective measures could facilitate malicious use for criminal activities.

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