Microsoft Unveils Phi-3 Mini, a Compact Yet Powerful AI Model 

Maryan Duritan
Maryan Duritan
IT Writer
Last updated: May 9, 2024
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Microsoft has released Phi-3 Mini, the first of three smaller AI models that will be coming out soon. It is the newest addition to Microsoft’s small AI models. Even though it’s smaller, the Phi-3 Mini is intended to be very efficient and features 3.8 billion parameters. This makes it a significant boost in efficiency especially when compared to larger models like OpenAI‘s GPT-4 and Meta’s Llama.

Microsoft says that Phi-3 Mini is better than Phi-2, which came out in December 2023 and had 2.7 billion parameters and a speed that was on par with much bigger models. The company says that Phi-3 Mini can give answers that are on par with models ten times its size, which shows big improvements in AI’s ability and efficiency.

New series of Microsoft compact AI models

AI computer chip with Microsoft logo

Microsoft unveiled the Phi-3 Mini on Tuesday, marking the beginning of a new series of compact AI models set to launch in the upcoming months. The Phi-3 Mini is the smallest of the three. It has 3.8 billion parameters, refining its ability to perform complex computational tasks efficiently. The Phi-3 Small has 7 billion parameters, whereas the Phi-3 Medium has 14 billion parameters. Microsoft has not yet announced when these other models will be available.

The corporate vice president of Microsoft Azure AI Platform, Eric Boyd, told The Verge that the Phi-3 Mini can compete with bigger language models like GPT-3.5, even though it is smaller. It offers powerful performance in a more manageable form.

Microsoft’s move into smaller AI models is in line with what other companies in the same field are doing, which is to focus on specialized models that can do specific jobs like summarizing documents and helping with coding. For example, Google’s Gemma models and Anthropic’s Claude 3 Haiku are great at processing language and summarizing long documents, respectively. Meta’s new Llama 3 8B model helps with chatbot functions and coding.

The appeal of smaller AI models lies in their cost efficiency and enhanced functionality on personal devices such as smartphones and laptops. These models are especially helpful for small businesses that don’t have a lot of money because they are cheaper and can be tweaked to fit specific needs.

Sonali Yadav, Microsoft’s principal product manager for Generative AI, highlights the shifting landscape from a singular model approach to a diversified portfolio, offering businesses tailored solutions according to their specific needs. Luis Vargas, vice president of AI at Microsoft, further notes that the choice between small and large models depends significantly on the complexity of the tasks and the operational resources available.

Small language models can run directly on local devices and give quick answers without needing extensive reasoning. This makes them perfect for organizations that need results right away but don’t need to process a lot of data. Large models, on the other hand, work better for jobs that require complex reasoning and a better understanding of the context. Small models are also a good choice for regulated fields that care a lot about data protection and processing on-site.

How to Access Microsoft’s latest AI, Phi-3-Mini

The Phi-3-Mini newest AI project, is now open for everyone to try. You can now find Phi-3-Mini in the Microsoft Azure AI Model Catalog. You can also use it on well-known platforms such as Hugging Face, which has a lot of machine learning models, and Ollama which makes it easy to run models on your own devices.

Phi-3-Mini is available as an NVIDIA NIM microservice for people who would rather add it straight to their systems. Because this service has a standard API interface, you can easily use it in different settings.

Microsoft is planning to add more Phi-3 models in the future. Soon, the Phi-3-Small and Phi-3-Medium models, which have 7 billion and 14 billion parameters, respectively, will also be added to the Azure AI Model Catalog and other platforms. This expansion gives users more choices to find the best balance between speed and cost. 

In short 

Microsoft has introduced the Phi-3 Mini, a new small AI model with 3.8 billion parameters, designed to deliver fast and efficient computing. This model is the first in a series of three, including the upcoming Phi-3 Small and Phi-3 Medium, which promise to improve AI accessibility and utility across various platforms. With capabilities comparable to larger models but tailored for more efficient operation on personal devices, Phi-3 Mini addresses the needs of businesses looking for cost-effective AI solutions. Microsoft’s strategic move expands its AI offerings, providing users with versatile tools for a wide range of applications.

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Maryan Duritan
Maryan Duritan
Maryan Duritan, a seasoned U.S.-based copywriter and SEO specialist, excels in making complex ideas accessible. She crafts compelling website content, blogs, articles, ebooks, press releases, and newsletters, tailoring tone and voice to match client goals and audience needs. Her creative precision transforms ideas into impactful content.

Why Trust Us

Our editorial policy emphasizes accuracy, relevance, and impartiality, with content crafted by experts and rigorously reviewed by seasoned editors for top-notch reporting and publishing standards.

Purchases via our affiliate links may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you, and by using this site, you agree to our terms and privacy policy.

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