Open Source LLMs

Open Source LLMs

I am currently working on an AI project and have been paying very close attention to the developments in open source LLMs since March of this year when Meta’s LLM “Llama” was leaked. I was able to get the small 7B model to run locally on my PC on an RTX 3080 10GB video card. While the 7B model leaves a lot to be desired I had something that felt like ChatGPT running locally. Incredible.

Meta has since formally released a second version of the Llama model along with a code generating model and a lot more ceremony and documentation. It’s a smart strategy. Meta is looking to influence the majority of the LLM market through a bold open source strategy. Everyone is using Llama as a foundation to build and train their models. Meta stands to benefit not only from the outsourced development but also from its position as a resourceful leader in the space.

Things have cooled off a bit since the summer but it is still extremely hard to find instances that can run the largest Llama 2 70B model. I was able to get access to an instance large enough on AWS SageMaker this week luckily to do some evaluations. Across the cloud services it can cost between $5k-$15k per month for an instance large enough to run the Llama 2 70B model. Microsoft Azure currently has the most competitive value in terms of pricing along with Google. Locking in reserved instances for 1 year can bring down the cost to $4k/month.

AWS and Google tend to have service quota limits set at zero for all GPU related services. If you just setup a new cloud account for a startup you will not have access to any GPU resources and will need to explicitly ask for service quota increases. This can be really frustrating and there is a chance your increase request will not be honored.

I’ll have a lot more to say about these open source LLMs in the near future as I attempt to use them in production.