Trending Open Source LLMs in 2024

Anson Park

5 min read

Dec 19, 2023

Open-Source LLMs: Advantages and Challenges

Open-source Large Language Models (LLMs) are significant in the field of AI for several reasons:

  1. Advancement in AI: Open-source AI, including LLMs, has played a crucial role in the advancement of AI technologies. Most of the popular LLMs are built on open-source architectures like Transformers, which have been foundational in their development. The shift to proprietary models by some companies has raised concerns about transparency and accessibility, thereby boosting the popularity of open-source alternatives.

  2. Ethical Considerations: Open-source LLMs offer more opportunities for the research community to scrutinize their training data and methods. This is vital for identifying and addressing potential biases in the training data. Additionally, open-source models provide more transparency about their data sources and methods, allowing developers to make informed decisions regarding privacy risks.

  3. Flexibility and Customization: Open-source LLMs provide the freedom for users to modify and utilize the models as per their requirements. This flexibility encourages experimentation and customization, which can be crucial for innovation and adapting the models to specific needs.

  4. Collaborative Development: The success of open-source projects often hinges on collective contributions from a global community. This shared intelligence drives rapid progress and adds to the technology's strength and variety. In some cases, such community-driven efforts can even surpass the innovation of proprietary models.

  5. Challenges and Limitations: Despite their advantages, open-source LLMs also face challenges. They may lack the consistent quality control of proprietary models and often come with limited or no formal support structure. Deploying and maintaining these models can require significant computational resources and expertise. Moreover, the open nature of these models also poses risks of misuse, as there is less control over how they are used.

  6. Impact Across Industries: Open-source LLMs have proven to be invaluable in various sectors. For instance, NASA uses these models to analyze vast amounts of textual data, while the healthcare sector employs them to extract insights from medical literature and patient interactions.

While open-source LLMs offer several benefits such as increased transparency, ethical development, flexibility, and collaborative innovation, they also present challenges related to quality, support, resource intensity, and potential for misuse. As the AI landscape continues to evolve, the balance between open-source and proprietary models will likely be crucial for the responsible development and use of AI technologies.

Trending Open Source LLMs in 2024

As of 2024, there are several notable open-source LLMs that have gained prominence. Here's an overview of some of the most popular ones:

  1. LLaMA: Developed by Meta, LLaMA is recognized for its safety-centric design and optimized versions like Llama 2 and Llama 2-Chat. It has versions ranging from 7 to 70 billion parameters and was trained on two million tokens.

  2. Mistral-8x7B-v0.1: The Mixtral-8x7B LLM is a pretrained generative Sparse Mixture of Experts. The Mistral-8x7B outperforms Llama 2 70B on most benchmarks we tested.

  3. Mistral-7B-Instruct-v0.2: Known for efficient instruction interpretation and response generation, this model is part of the Mistral family and excels in various NLP tasks.

  4. Falcon 180B: Released by the Technology Innovation Institute of the UAE, Falcon 180B has 180 billion parameters. It's known for its impressive performance in various NLP tasks, rivaling other prominent models like Google’s PaLM 2.

  5. XGen-7B: Launched by Salesforce in July 2023, XGen-7B is designed to support longer context windows. Its advanced variant allows for an 8K context window.

  6. MPT-7B: Developed by Microsoft, MPT-7B is built on the GPT architecture and has 7 billion parameters. It's versatile in handling various NLP tasks.

  7. OPT-175B: Released by Meta in 2022, OPT-175B is part of the Open Pre-trained Transformers Language Models. It's a powerful model with 175 billion parameters, but is released under a non-commercial license.

  8. Vicuna-13B: Vicuna is a chat assistant trained by fine-tuning Llama 2 on user-shared conversations collected from ShareGPT.

  9. Orca-2-7B: Orca 2 is optimized for tasks requiring high levels of reasoning and comprehension. It's based on the LLAMA-2 architecture.

  10. Amber: Part of the LLM360 family, Amber is a 7B parameter English language model built on the LLaMA architecture. It's known for its versatility in various NLP tasks.

  11. BLOOM: A collaborative project involving volunteers from over 70 countries and researchers from Hugging Face, BLOOM was launched in 2022. It has 176 billion parameters and supports 46 languages and 13 programming languages. BLOOM is known for its multilingual capabilities and autoregressive text generation.

  12. BERT: Developed by Google in 2018, BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) quickly achieved state-of-the-art performance in many NLP tasks. It is widely used for applications like sentiment analysis, clinical note analysis, and more.

Each of these models has its unique strengths and applications, making them suitable for a variety of tasks in different domains. Open-source LLMs are increasingly used for specialized tasks, multilingual capabilities, ethical AI development, advancements in NLP applications, education, and a wide range of diverse use cases.

Llama2 plays a crucial role in the open-source LLM ecosystem.

Llama 2, released by Meta, plays a significant role in the open-source LLM ecosystem due to several key features and its widespread adoption across various sectors.

  1. Technical Advancements: Llama 2 was trained on 2 trillion tokens of data, which is 40% more than its predecessor, Llama 1. It also boasts a doubled context length of 4096 tokens, allowing for more in-depth comprehension and task completion. This increased data training and context length have significantly improved its performance on common LLM benchmarks. For instance, the largest Llama 2 model, Llama 2-70B, matches or exceeds the performance of the largest Llama 1 model, while the smaller Llama 2-7B outperforms other comparably-sized open-source models in most benchmarks.

  2. Fine-tuning for Chat Applications: Llama 2-Chat, a version of Llama 2, has been fine-tuned for chat applications, a predominant interface for large language models. This fine-tuning process involved methods like reinforcement learning with human feedback (RLHF) and supervised fine-tuning (SFT), optimizing the model for helpfulness, safety, and completeness of outputs. The model has been found to approximately meet or outperform other LLMs (both open-source and closed-source) across several metrics.

  3. Widespread Adoption and Community Involvement: Llama 2 has seen significant adoption across various industries and by innovators. For example, startups and innovators like DoorDash are using Llama 2 for experimenting and developing new LLM-powered features. The open-source community has embraced the model, fine-tuning and releasing over 7,000 derivatives on Hugging Face, improving performance on benchmarks by nearly 10% on average. Additionally, over 7,000 projects on GitHub are built on or mention Llama. The community has expanded Llama to support larger context windows and additional languages, among other improvements. Major hardware platforms like AMD, Intel, Nvidia, and Google have also optimized the performance of Llama 2 through hardware and software enhancements.

  4. Cost-Efficient Model for AI Application Development: Llama 2, particularly when fine-tuned, can outperform larger models like GPT-4 in certain tasks, offering a cost-efficient path for LLM inference in AI applications. This makes Llama 2 an attractive option for application developers looking for high-quality, efficient LLMs.

  5. Licensed for Innovation: Llama 2 and its variants are licensed for both research and commercial use, setting a new standard for open-source LLMs. This permissive licensing significantly impacts the LLM landscape by allowing developers to build and run state-of-the-art LLMs in various applications and platforms.

Llama 2 represents a major advancement in the open-source LLM space, offering improved performance, flexibility for fine-tuning, widespread adoption, and a permissive license for innovation. Its role in the LLM ecosystem is marked by its technical capabilities, community involvement, and the broad range of applications it supports.


Written by Anson Park

CEO of DeepNatural. MSc in Computer Science from KAIST & TU Berlin. Specialized in Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing.