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    Microsoft announces new Small Language Model ‘Phi-3’

    Microsoft has announced the launch of ‘Phi-3-mini’ a lightweight AI model on April 23. The small language model aims to provide AI capabilities to users at a lower cost. The AI model will be available on Microsoft Azure AI Model Catalog,  Hugging FaceOllama and NVIDIA NIM . Phi-3-mini is the first of a series of open Small Language Models that Microsoft announced.

    In a blog post, Microsoft said, “Choosing the right language model depends on an organization’s specific needs, the complexity of the task and available resources. Small language models are well suited for organizations looking to build applications that can run locally on a device (as opposed to the cloud) and where a task doesn’t require extensive reasoning or a quick response is needed.”

    What is a small language model?

    Small language models (SLMS) are a type of Artificial Intelligence model, just like more widely known Large Language Models (LLMs). While both are trained on billions of datasets, SLMS require fewer parameters.  Unlike LLMs, SLMs are not connected to the cloud and can work offline. This makes its response time faster than LLMs. However, SLMs are best suited to perform simple tasks as opposed to complex computational abilities of LLMs. SLMs can also be easily fine-tuned to meet specific needs. These factors make SLMs well-suited to function on devices with lower computational abilities. This also means that they are far more cost-effective than LLMs.

    According to Microsoft, SLMs can be used to perform simple tasks such as “summarize the main points of a long document or extract relevant insights and industry trends from market research reports.” They also claim that SLMs like Phi-3-mini can be used in “scenarios where fast response times are critical”, as SLMs can offer quick solutions when it comes to simple tasks.

    Microsoft first announced ‘Phi’, a suite of SLMS in December 2023. Ece Kamar, a Microsoft vice president who leads the Microsoft Research AI Frontiers Lab said, “The claim here is not that SLMs are going to substitute or replace large language models.” Instead, he said, “[SLMs] are uniquely positioned for computation on the edge, computation on the device, computations where you don’t need to go to the cloud to get things done. That’s why it is important for us to understand the strengths and weaknesses of this model portfolio.”

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    The post Microsoft announces new Small Language Model ‘Phi-3’ appeared first on MediaNama.

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