Big tech firms Meta and Microsoft have teamed up to launch Llama 2, an open source large language model of Meta that will be featured on Microsoft’s Windows and Azure cloud computing platform.

The pair announced the collaboration on July 18, saying that Llama 2 has been made free for research and commercial use, while also being optimized to run on Windows.

The announcement confirmed rumors from last week that Llama 2 would be created for companies and researchers to build applications on Meta’s AI technology stack.

Meta claimed that Llama 2 was trained on 40% more publicly available online data sources and can process twice as much context compared to Llama 1.

The firm said that Llama 2 outperforms many competing open source LLMs when it comes to coding, proficiency, reasoning, and performance on knowledge tests. However, Meta admitted that it is not as efficient compared to its closed-source competitors like OpenAI’s GPT-4, according to one of its research papers.

In a July 18 Instagram post, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Llama 2 “gives researchers and companies access to build with our next-generation large language model as the foundation of their work.”

Mark Zuckerberg with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Source: Instagram

Meta said it was “blown away” by the demand for Llama 1 following its limited version release in February, which received more than 100,000 access requests. The model was soon leaked online by a user of the image website 4chan.

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However, Llama 1’s numbers were a far cry from those of ChatGPT, where an estimated 100 million or more users signed up to use the model in the first three months, according to a Reuters report in February.

With the partnership, Microsoft now backs two big players in the AI ​​space, having invested a cumulative $13 million in OpenAI over the course of 2023, according to a January report by Fortune.

Meta’s decision to open source code for Llama was criticized by two United States senators in June, who asserted that the “seemingly minimal” protections in the first version of Llama potentially opened doors for malicious users to participate in ” criminal tasks”.

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