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Llama2.c — The rise of micro-LLMs (Large Language Models)

Llama2.c — The rise of micro-LLMs (Large Language Models)

Status: Draft

A glimpse into the future of smaller, better models.

I like llama2.c contributing guide. It motivates me to write this post.

Below is a copy of it.

A few words on this repo and the kinds of PRs that are likely to be accepted. What is the goal of this repo? Basically I think there will be a lot of interest in training or finetuning custom micro-LLMs (think ~100M - ~1B params, but let's say up to ~10B params) across a large diversity of applications, and deploying them in edge-adjacent environments (think MCUs, phones, web browsers, laptops, etc.). I'd like this repo to be the simplest, smallest, most hackable repo to support this workflow, both training and inference. In particular, this repo is not a complex framework with a 1000 knobs controlling inscrutible code across a nested directory structure of hundreds of files. Instead, I expect most applications will wish to create a fork of this repo and hack it to their specific needs and deployment platforms.

People who care about deployment efficiency above all else should look at llama.cpp. This repo still cares about efficiency, but not at the cost of simplicity, readability or portability. Basically, I expect that a lot of people come to this repo because the training code is 2 readable .py files and the inference code is 500 lines of C. So I'd like this to continue to be a kind of simplest "reference implementation" that can be easily hacked in a separate fork into whatever downstream application people are excited about. It shouldn't be full-featured. It shouldn't take 100 different options or settings. It shouldn't be the most efficient. A few examples:

  • someone re-ordered two loops to improve data locality for a small efficieny win => instant merge.
  • someone added the one line "pragma omp parallel for", which allows you to compile with OpenMP and dramatically speed up the code, or acts as just a comment if you don't compile it that way => instant merge.
  • bug fixes and touchups etc. => happy to merge

Emphasis mine.


The tiny model paradigm with Ronen Eldan and Yuanzhi Li of MSR.

Paper: TinyStories: How Small Can Language Models Be and Still Speak Coherent English?, 2023.

Quoting the abstract:

We hope that TinyStories can facilitate the development, analysis and research of LMs, especially for low-resource or specialized domains, and shed light on the emergence of language capabilities in LMs.

Related video: Internal presentation with Sebastien Bubeck at MSR

The authors also recently published Textbooks are All You Need paper.

Quoting the abstract:

phi-1, a new large language model for code, with significantly smaller size than competing models: phi-1 is a Transformer-based model with 1.3B parameters, trained for 4 days on 8 A100s, using a selection of ``textbook quality" data from the web ...

As an aside, apparently, C's death has been greatly exaggerated.

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