Abu Dhabi's TII launches Falcon 180B model to boost generative AI development

It will be offered as an open access model for research and commercial purposes

A new generation of Dinsaw robot designed for health care and service business greets people at CT Asia Robotics in Bangkok. Large language models are type of generative AI that can imitate human intelligence. EPA
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Abu Dhabi government-backed research centre Technology Innovation Institute has launched Falcon 180B – an advanced iteration of its flagship language model – to boost generative artificial intelligence capabilities in the region.

Large language models are types of generative AI that can imitate human intelligence. They can distinguish, review, translate, forecast and produce new content – text, audio or visual – using large data sets.

Falcon 180B, which will be offered as an open access model for research and commercial purposes, will strengthen the UAE's dominance in AI, TII said in a statement on Wednesday.

It follows Falcon 40B, an open-source AI model launched earlier this year. Falcon 40B was one of the first open-source models for both researchers and commercial users.

Google and OpenAI, the two front runners in the burgeoning field, have maintained shut foundational models, expressing concern that large language models could be manipulated to spread misinformation or other potentially dangerous content.

But proponents of open source software say keeping these systems closed unfairly curtails innovation and hampers their potential to improve the world.

“We are committed to democratising access to advanced AI, as our privacy and the potential impact of AI on humanity should not be controlled by a select few,” Faisal Al Bannai, secretary general of Advanced Technology Research Council, which houses TII, said.

“While we may not have all the answers, our resolve remains unwavering: to collaborate and contribute to the open source community, ensuring that the benefits of AI are shared by all.”

TII said Falcon 180B soars to the top of the Hugging Face leader board for pretrained large language models. It outperformed competitors like Meta’s LLaMA 2 in various benchmarks, including reasoning, coding, proficiency and knowledge tests, it added.

Hugging Face is a collaboration platform for the global machine learning community.

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With more than 12 million developers adopting and deploying the first release of Falcon, the new upgrade is expected to become the key model for various domains, from chatbots to code generation.

Falcon 180B is compatible with major languages including English, German, Spanish and French, with limited capabilities in Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Dutch, Romanian, Czech and Swedish.

“Falcon 180B heralds a new era of generative AI, where the potential of scientific advancement is made available through open access to fuel the innovations of tomorrow,” Dr Ebtesam Almazrouei, executive director and acting chief researcher of AI cross-centre unit at TII, said.

“As we delve into frontiers of science and technology, our vision extends far beyond innovation … it's about nurturing a profound connection to address global challenges through collaborative breakthroughs.”

Updated: September 06, 2023, 4:46 PM