The landscape of AI language models is evolving rapidly, with popular models accessible through APIs. However, the concept of open models is gaining momentum. French AI firm Mistral, fresh from a significant seed funding round in June, has unveiled its inaugural model, claiming superiority over others of its size. Remarkably, Mistral 7B is not only powerful but entirely free for unrestricted use.
Open Access and Collaboration
Mistral 7B is readily available for download through various channels, including a 13.4 GB torrent shared by hundreds of users. The company has also established a GitHub repository and a Discord channel for collaborative efforts and issue resolution.
License and Accessibility
Crucially, Mistral 7B is released under the Apache 2.0 license, imposing minimal restrictions—only attribution is required. This makes it accessible to hobbyists and multibillion-dollar corporations alike, as long as they have the local infrastructure or are willing to invest in cloud resources.
Performance and Cost Efficiency
Compared to other “small” large language models like Llama 2, Mistral 7B offers similar capabilities at a considerably lower computational cost. While more advanced models like GPT-4 can do more, they come with higher costs and complexity, restricting them to API or remote access usage.
Mistral’s vision is clear: they aspire to champion the open generative AI community and elevate open models to state-of-the-art performance levels. As they release Mistral 7B, they emphasize the potential of small models with dedication, marking the culmination of three intense months of effort.
The Mistral team’s journey might seem ambitious for just three months, but they had a head start. Having previously worked on similar models at Meta and Google DeepMind, they brought invaluable experience to the project.
A Unique Model
It’s important to note that while Mistral 7B can be downloaded and used freely, it doesn’t qualify as “open source.” The model was developed privately, with private funding, and its datasets and weights remain proprietary.
Mistral’s Business Model
This uniqueness aligns with Mistral’s business strategy. Their free model is open for use, but for deeper integration, they offer a paid product. Mistral plans to distribute their commercial offering as white-box solutions, making both weights and source code available. They are actively exploring hosting solutions and custom deployments for enterprises.
NIX Solutions concludes that Mistral’s Mistral 7B opens new doors in the world of AI models, combining impressive performance with an open-access approach, while also presenting a tantalizing commercial opportunity.