Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology backbone of the Chinese tech giant, Alibaba Group Holding, has open-sourced two of its large language models (LLMs). With this move, Alibaba intends to expand its influence in the generative AI field.
The two open-source models, Qwen-7B and Qwen-7B-Chat, are smaller versions of Tongyi Qianwen, which is Alibaba’s largest language model. Roughly translated to “seeking truth by asking a thousand questions,” Tongyi Qianwen is the LLM launched by Alibaba’s cloud computing service unit in April.
Both open-source models have each been trained on 7 billion parameters. Qwen-7B-Chat is a fine-tuned version of Qwen-7B and can conduct human-like conversations.
As per the company’s statement, the models’ internal mechanisms, including the codes and documentation, will be made freely accessible to scholars, researchers, and commercial institutions worldwide. They can access it through Alibaba Cloud’s AI model repository ModelScope, and the US collaborative AI platform Hugging Face.
This development comes after Meta released its open-source LLM—Llama 2—with Microsoft on July 16.
While companies with fewer than 100 million monthly active users can deploy the open-source models for commercial use free of charge, those with more users will have to request a license from Alibaba Cloud. This is similar to Meta’s Llama 2, which requires a license from companies with more than 700 million users.
Set to be spun off from its parent company next year to become a publicly listed company, Alibaba Cloud has been doubling down on generative AI development and commercialization amid the global frenzy around ChatGPT.
Zhou Jingren, chief technology officer of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, said, “We aim to promote inclusive technologies and enable more developers and small and medium-sized enterprises to reap the benefits of generative AI.”