Unveiling Minerva: Italy’s Leap into Generative AI

Apr 25, 2024 | News

While technological advancements are continuously reshaping our world, Italy has made a significant mark with its latest innovation in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Researchers at Sapienza University of Rome have developed a series of advanced generative AI models, named Minerva. These models are a part of the Fair – Future Artificial Intelligence Research project and represent a significant leap forward in AI development.

 

Minerva: A Unique Approach to AI Development

 

Unlike conventional methods that often rely on adapting pre-existing models, the Minerva initiative stands out by building completely new models from the ground up. This approach has been meticulously executed under the leadership of Professor Roberto Navigli, head of Sapienza’s Natural Language Processing (NLP) group, with the help of two brilliant young researchers, Edoardo Barba and Simone Conia

 

From Scratch to Revolutionary

 

Minerva challenges the status quo by eschewing the adaptation of models like LLaMA (https://llama.meta.com/ ) and Mistral (https://mistral.ai /), which are built on privately held datasets. Instead, it utilizes an extensive corpus of over 500 billion words from Italian and English sources, equivalent to more than five million novels. This vast database provides a solid foundation for training the models, ensuring their robustness and versatility in understanding and generating language.

 

What is Minerva?

 

Minerva is an AI that acts as a Large Language Model (LLM) which has been trained ‘from scratch’ to understand and generate text in Italian. The distinguishing factor from the past is that Minerva does not rely on the adaptation of pre-existing models but on a vast textual corpus. This allows for an extremely refined understanding and generative capacity of language, supporting applications such as:

  • AI conversation,
  • automatic translation,
  • text generation,
  • automated customer assistance.

 

Today Minerva is made available only to the scientific community but it will soon be accessible to the public.

 

Harnessing the Power of Leonardo

 

The development of Minerva has been significantly boosted by leveraging Italy’s largest computing center, Cineca and its Leonardo supercomputer. This synergy between cutting-edge computing power and innovative AI research has enabled the Minerva models to achieve unprecedented performance levels in language comprehension and generation.

 

Impact and Accessibility: Democratizing AI

 

One of the most remarkable aspects of the Minerva models is their availability to the scientific community through the Fair project. This initiative, led by the National Research Council of Italy (CNR), aims to shape the national AI strategy and ensure that these powerful tools are soon accessible to the wider public.

Opening Doors to New Possibilities

 

By making advanced AI models like Minerva available for broad use, Italy is setting a new standard for accessibility in AI technologies. These models are poised to transform various sectors by enhancing language understanding capabilities and enabling the generation of coherent, contextually appropriate text.

 

Bridging AI with Practical Applications

 

The implications of Minerva extend far beyond the theoretical realms of AI. By improving the accuracy and efficiency of language models, Minerva opens up new avenues for real-world applications across diverse fields such as customer service, automated content creation, and more.

 

Promoting Good Practices in AI

 

In addition to its technical advancements, the Minerva project emphasizes the importance of ethical AI practices. The commitment to transparency and the potential to facilitate beneficial impacts across industries underscore Italy’s dedication to developing AI that is both powerful and principled.

 

Setting a New Standard in AI Development

 

Italy’s contribution to AI through the Minerva models not only highlights the country’s commitment to advancing technology but also establishes a new benchmark for the development of generative AI models. As these tools become increasingly integrated into everyday life, the influence of Minerva and similar projects will likely grow, marking a pivotal moment in the evolution of AI.

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