The Growth of Small Language Models The Growth of Small Language Models
In an age where transformation via data and algorithms is not just a trend but a necessity, the role of artificial... The Growth of Small Language Models

In an age where transformation via data and algorithms is not just a trend but a necessity, the role of artificial intelligence, particularly language models, has become increasingly pivotal. Traditionally dominated by behemoths requiring substantial computational resources, the landscape is now seeing a pivotal shift towards smaller, more efficient small language models that handle computational resources with scarcity in mind. 

These models are not just a nod towards democratization but a leap forward in making AI accessible and sustainable. So we’re going to deep into the essence of small language models, and their benefits, especially within the open-source realm, and introduce some of the leading examples that are making waves.

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What is a Small Language Model?

At its core, a small language model is a scaled-down version of larger AI models designed to understand, interpret, and generate human language. These models are trained on vast datasets but are optimized to require less computational power and data to operate effectively. As you can imagine, this optimization opens up a plethora of opportunities, making AI tools more accessible to smaller enterprises and individual developers who might not have the resources to harness larger models.

In short, the ability to innovate without tens of millions of dollars of capital in the AI field is within reach for those who may have the ideas and technical expertise, but not the funding.

Open Source Language Models: A Leap Towards Efficiency

It can’t be understated how open-source models are changing the game. That’s due to the ecosystem’s moves towards an open-source language model, which is representing a significant stride towards efficiency and inclusivity. Open-source models are freely available for anyone to use, modify, and distribute, fostering a community of collaboration and innovation. This transparency not only accelerates the pace of technological advancement but also ensures that the benefits of AI are not confined to entities with deep pockets. Furthermore, these models, with their streamlined architectures, offer a sustainable alternative by reducing the environmental footprint associated with running large-scale AI operations.


Google’s Gemma

Google’s Gemma stands out as a prime example of efficiency and versatility in the realm of small language models. Designed to deliver high-quality linguistic capabilities without the heft of its larger counterparts, Gemma provides developers and businesses the opportunity to integrate advanced AI functionalities into their applications, enhancing user experiences while maintaining a low operational overhead.

Llama 2 7B

Meta’s Llama 2 7B is another major player in the evolving landscape of AI, balancing the scales between performance and accessibility. Tailored to be both powerful and practical, it empowers a broader range of applications, from automated content generation to sophisticated language understanding tasks, all the while ensuring that the barriers to entry for leveraging AI are significantly lowered.


Mistral, as detailed on their documentation site, wants to push forward and become a leader in the open-source community. The company’s work exemplifies the philosophy that advanced AI should be within reach of everyone. Currently, there are three types of access to their LLMs, through API, could-based deployments, and open source models available on Hugging Face. 

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Stable Beluga 7B

Stable Beluga 7B is a noteworthy entrant in the small language model arena, characterized by its fine balance between size and capability. This model is a go-to choice for those seeking to deploy AI features that require deep linguistic analysis and generation without the computational and financial burden typically associated with such tasks.

Hugging Face’s Zephyr

Rounding out today’s dive is Hugging Face’s Zephyr. Zephyr is designed not just for efficiency and scalability but also for adaptability, allowing it to be fine-tuned for a wide array of applications that can be focused on domain needs. Its presence underscores the vibrant community of developers and researchers committed to pushing the boundaries of what small, open-source language models can achieve.


There are some amazing models that are poised to reshape the landscape of AI. With these smaller, and open-source models, firms without tremendous capital or major funders, are able to participate in the innovation game with large enterprises. Now if you want to know more about how open-source small LLMs are at the forefront of AI innovation, then you’ll want to attend ODSC East. 

If you want to keep up on the latest in language models, and not be left in the dust, then you don’t want to miss the NLP & LLM track as part of ODSC East this April.

Connect with some of the most innovative people and ideas in the world of data science, while learning first-hand from core practitioners and contributors. Learn about the latest advancements and trends in NLP & LLMs, including pre-trained models, with use cases focusing on deep learning, training and finetuning, speech-to-text, and semantic search.

Confirmed sessions include, with many more to come:

  • NLP with GPT-4 and other LLMs: From Training to Deployment with Hugging Face and PyTorch Lightning
  • Enabling Complex Reasoning and Action with ReAct, LLMs, and LangChain
  • Ben Needs a Friend – An intro to building Large Language Model applications
  • Data Synthesis, Augmentation, and NLP Insights with LLMs
  • Building Using Llama 2
  • Quick Start Guide to Large Language Models
  • LLM Best Practises: Training, Fine-Tuning and Cutting Edge Tricks from Research
  • LLMs Meet Google Cloud: A New Frontier in Big Data Analytics
  • Operationalizing Local LLMs Responsibly for MLOps
  • LangChain on Kubernetes: Cloud-Native LLM Deployment Made Easy & Efficient
  • Tracing In LLM Applications


ODSC gathers the attendees, presenters, and companies that are shaping the present and future of data science and AI. ODSC hosts one of the largest gatherings of professional data scientists with major conferences in USA, Europe, and Asia.