ABU DHABI, 25th May, 2023 (WAM) — The Technology Innovation Institute (TII) today strengthened its growing international influence in the field of artificial intelligence by announcing that “Falcon 40B,” the UAE’s first large-scale AI model, is now open source for research and commercial use.
This pioneering move demonstrates Abu Dhabi’s commitment to fostering collaboration across sectors and driving advancements in generative AI.
Falcon, a foundational large language model (LLM) with 40 billion parameters, trained on one trillion tokens, grants unprecedented access to researchers and small and medium-sized entreprise (SME) innovators alike.
TII – a leading global scientific research centre and the applied research pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) – is providing access to the model’s weights as a more comprehensive open-source package, with the aim of enabling access to powerful LLM capabilities, promoting transparency and accountability, and supporting innovation and research in the field.
In the current AI ecosystem, developers are finding LLMs that provide access to model weights more appealing due to the enhanced capabilities they offer for fine-tuning compared to those without.
While the majority of LLMs have granted exclusive licenses solely to non-commercial users, TII has taken a key stride in offering researchers and commercial users access to the Falcon 40B LLM.
In conjunction with the release of Falcon 40B as an open-source model, TII has launched a call for proposals, inviting scientists, researchers, and visionaries who are enthusiastic about harnessing the potential of the foundation model.
They are encouraged to contribute their innovative ideas and leverage the model to build inspiring use cases or explore further possibilities for its application to cover areas like engineering, healthcare, sustainability, coding, and much more.
As an incentive for exceptional research proposals, selected projects will receive “training compute power” in the form of investment, enabling innovators to leverage robust computational resources for accelerated data analysis, complex modeling, and new discoveries.
This support will nurture and accelerate the development of novel ideas, providing the necessary resources to turn them into impactful AI solutions with commercial viability and societal benefits.
VentureOne, the commercialisation arm of ATRC, will facilitate computation power to productize the most innovative solutions.
“Making Falcon 40B open source represents a critical milestone in our commitment to fostering AI innovation,” said Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary-General of ATRC. “We are disrupting LLM access and enabling researchers and entrepreneurs to come up with the most innovative use cases. We will further support these submissions with computation power as funding through VentureOne, helping to advance a thriving research ecosystem.”
Falcon, first unveiled in March 2023, showcased exceptional performance and underscored the UAE’s commitment to technological progress. Based on Stanford University’s HELM LLM benchmarking tool, Falcon 40B outperformed its renowned counterparts in utilizing significantly less training compute power.
With only 75 percent of the training compute of OpenAI’s GPT-3, 40 percent of DeepMind’s Chinchilla AI, and 80 percent of the training compute of Google’s PaLM-62B, the tool substantiated TII’s commitment to advancing developments in generative AI.
Dr. Ray O. Johnson, CEO of TII, said, “Computing power plays a pivotal role in expediting AI system training and enabling faster implementation of use cases. As the new fuel that drives technological innovation, the move to offer such support will be game-changing in enhancing the capabilities of innovators, and enabling them to push the boundaries of their projects to achieve remarkable advancements.”
Falcon 40B is a breakthrough led by TII’s AI and Digital Science Research Centre (AIDRC). The same team also launched NOOR, the world’s largest Arabic NLP model last year, and is on track to develop and announce Falcon 180B soon.
Dr. Ebtesam Almazrouei, Director, AI Cross-Centre Unit, TII, said, “The open-source release of Falcon 40B, 7.5B, and 1.3B parameter AI models and our high-quality REFINEDWEB dataset, exemplifies the profound scientific contributions of the UAE. With each breakthrough, we defy limitations, reshape the realm of possibilities, and pave the way for collaborative efforts with transformative impact.”
The UAE recently moved up five places to rank as the top Arab country and the 37th out of 166 countries in the UN Frontier Technologies Readiness Index 2023. Complementing a long list of progressive technology milestones, the open-source generative AI model is set to boost the UAE’s credentials as a mainstream AI player.
For accessing the Falcon AI models or submitting for the use case call for proposal, users can visit FalconLLM.TII.ae. Falcon LLMs open sourced to date, will be made available under a license built upon the principles of open-source Apache 2.0 software, which allows for a wide range of free use.