Unpacking Meta’s Llama 2: The Next Leap in Generative AI


Pavan Belagatti

Developer Evangelist

Unpacking Meta’s Llama 2: The Next Leap in Generative AI

Want to know more about Meta’s Llama 2? Here’s a comprehensive beginner’s guide with everything you need to know — from the basics to advanced specifications.

The world of artificial intelligence is seeing rapid advancements, with language models at the forefront of this technological renaissance. These models have revolutionized the way we interact with machines, turning sci-fi dreams into everyday reality. As we step into an era where conversational AI becomes increasingly sophisticated, a new contender has emerged in the AI arena: Llama 2. Developed by Meta AI, Llama 2 is setting the stage for the next wave of innovation in generative AI. Let’s dive into the details of this groundbreaking model.

what-is-l-la-maWhat is LLaMA?

LLaMA (Large Language Model Meta AI) is a collection of foundation language models ranging from 7B to 65B parameters, which are smaller in size than other state-of-the-art models, like GPT-3 (175B parameters) and PaLM (540B parameters). Despite their smaller size, LLaMA models deliver exceptional performance on a variety of benchmarks including reasoning, coding, proficiency and knowledge tests.

LLaMA models are also more efficient in terms of computational power and resources. This makes them more accessible to researchers and developers who do not have access to large amounts of infrastructure.

Let’s take a step back, and talk a little bit about the background story of LlaMa.

With all the hype from the AI tools and community, Meta came up with their own model in February 2023 and named it LlaMa.

The interesting fact was, unlike other AI giants, they wanted to keep the model private and share it with the known researchers to optimize it even more.

Yet somehow the model got leaked to the public and the AI community started experimenting with the model, optimizing it so well that in a matter of weeks, they managed to get LLaMA running on a phone. People were training LLaMa variations like Vicuna that rival Google’s Bard, spending just a few hundred bucks.

Image credits: lmsys.org

what-is-llama-2-how-does-it-workWhat is Llama 2 + how does it work?

Llama 2 is a state-of-the-art language model developed by Meta. It is the successor to the original LLaMA, offering enhancements in terms of scale, efficiency and performance. Llama 2 models range from 7B to 70B parameters, catering to diverse computing capabilities and applications. Tailored for chatbot integration, Llama 2 shines in dialogue use cases, offering nuanced and coherent responses that  push the boundaries of what conversational AI can achieve.

Image credits: Meta

Llama 2 is pre-trained using publicly available online data. This involves exposing the model to a large corpus of text data like books, articles and other sources of written content. The goal of this pre-training is to help the model learn general language patterns and acquire a broad understanding of language structure. It also involves supervised fine-tuning and reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF).

One component of the RLHF is rejection sampling, which involves selecting a response from the model and either accepting or rejecting it based on human feedback. Another component of RLHF is proximal policy optimization (PPO) that involves updating the model's policy directly based on human feedback. Finally, iterative refinement ensures the model reaches the desired level of performance with supervised iterations and corrections.

llama-2-benefitsLlama 2 benefits

Here are some notable benefits of Llama 2 — further demonstrating why it’s a good  choice for organizations building generative AI-powered applications.

  • Open. The model and its weights are available for download under a community license. This allows businesses to integrate the model with their internal data and fine-tune it for specific use cases while preserving privacy.
  • Free. Businesses can use the model to build their own chatbots and other use cases without large initial costs or having to pay licensing fees to Meta — making it  an economical option for companies looking to incorporate AI without a significant financial burden.
  • Versatile. The model offers a range of sizes to fit different use cases and platforms, indicating flexibility and adaptability to various requirements.
  • Safety. Llama 2 has been tested both internally and externally to identify issues including toxicity and bias, which are important considerations in AI deployment. The Responsible Use Guide that comes with it provides developers with best practices for safe and responsible AI development and evaluation.

llama-2-training-and-datasetLlama 2 training and dataset

LlamA 2 is grounded in the transformer architecture, renowned for its effectiveness in processing sequential data. It incorporates several innovative elements, including RMSNorm pre-normalization, SwiGLU activation and Rotary embeddings. These contribute to its ability to maintain context over longer stretches of conversation and offer more precise attention to relevant details in dialogue. It is pre-trained on a vast corpus of data, ensuring a broad understanding of language nuances before being fine-tuned through supervised learning and reinforcement learning with human feedback.

Image credits: Meta

Llama 2 has been trained with a reinforcement learning approach to produce/generate non-toxic and family friendly output to the users. This way, the aim is to become human friendly, getting familiar with human choices and preferences.

Llama 2 has been trained on a massive dataset:

The Llama 2 model suite, with its variants of 7B, 13B and 70B parameters, offers a range of capabilities suited to different needs and computational resources. These sizes represent the number of parameters in each model, with parameters being the aspects of the model that are learned from the training data. In the context of language models, more parameters typically mean a greater ability to understand and generate human-like text because the model has a larger capacity to learn from a wider variety of data.

advantages-and-use-cases-of-llama-2Advantages and use cases of Llama 2

One of the key advantages of Llama 2 is its open-source nature, which fosters a collaborative environment for developers and researchers worldwide. Moreover, its flexible architecture allows for customization, making it a versatile tool for a range of applications. Llama 2 also touts a high safety standard, having undergone rigorous testing against adversarial prompts to minimize harmful outputs.

Its training methodology — focusing on up-sampling factual sources — is a stride towards reducing hallucinations, where AI generates misleading information. Llama 2 has a good grip over the output it generates, and is much more accurate and contextual than other similar models in the market.

Image credits: Meta

Llama 2’s capabilities extend beyond chatbot applications. It can be fine-tuned for specific tasks including summarization, translation and content generation, making it an invaluable asset across sectors. In coding, 'Code Llama' is fine-tuned to assist with programming tasks, potentially revolutionizing how developers write and review code.

llama-2-vs-open-a-is-chat-gptLlama 2 vs. OpenAI's ChatGPT

While OpenAI's ChatGPT has captured more public attention, Llama 2 brings formidable competition. Llama 2's models are specifically optimized for dialogue, potentially giving them an edge in conversational contexts. Additionally, Llama 2's open-source license and customizable nature offer an alternative for those seeking to develop on a platform that supports modification and redistribution.

While ChatGPT has the advantage of being a part of the larger GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 ecosystems known for their impressive generative capabilities, Llama 2's transparency in model training may appeal to those in the academic and research communities seeking to push the limits of what AI can learn and create.

In my opinion, Llama 2 represents not just a step forward in AI but a leap into a future where the collaboration between human and machine intelligence becomes more integrated and seamless. Its introduction is a testament to the dynamic nature of the AI field and its unwavering push towards innovation, safety and the democratization of technology. As we continue to explore the vast potential of generative AI, Llama 2 is a beacon of what's possible and a preview of the exciting advancements still to come.

single-store-db-with-llama-2SingleStoreDB with Llama 2

Integrating Llama 2 with SingleStoreDB offers a synergistic blend of advanced AI capabilities and robust data management. SingleStoreDB’s prowess in handling large-scale datasets complements Llama 2’s varied model sizes, ranging from 7B to 70B parameters, ensuring efficient data access and processing. This combination enhances scalability, making it ideal for dynamic AI applications.

The setup promises improved real-time AI performance, with SingleStoreDB’s rapid querying — complementing Llama 2’s need for quick data retrieval and analysis. This integration paves the way for innovative AI solutions, especially in scenarios requiring quick decision-making and sophisticated data interpretation.


As the AI landscape continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, the launch of Llama 2 and Meta's partnership with Microsoft represent a significant turning point for the industry. This strategic move marks a transition toward increased transparency and collaborative development, paving the way for more accessible and advanced AI solutions. Llama 2 stands out for its balance between performance and accessibility. It is designed to be as safe or safer than other models in the market, a critical factor given the potential impact of AI outputs.