Simon Willison’s Weblog


Wednesday, 10th May 2023

Thunderbird Is Thriving: Our 2022 Financial Report (via) Astonishing numbers: in 2022 the Thunderbird project received $6,442,704 in donations from 300,000 users. These donations are now supporting 24 staff members. Part of their success is credited to an “in-app donations appeal” that they launched at the end of 2022.

# 12:14 am / mozilla, open-source, thunderbird

See this page fetch itself, byte by byte, over TLS (via) George MacKerron built a TLS 1.3 library in TypeScript and used it to construct this amazing educational demo, which performs a full HTTPS request for its own source code over a WebSocket and displays an annotated byte-by-byte representation of the entire exchange. This is the most useful illustration of how HTTPS actually works that I’ve ever seen.

# 1:58 pm / encryption, http, https, tls, websockets, explorables

The largest model in the PaLM 2 family, PaLM 2-L, is significantly smaller than the largest PaLM model but uses more training compute. Our evaluation results show that PaLM 2 models significantly outperform PaLM on a variety of tasks, including natural language generation, translation, and reasoning. These results suggest that model scaling is not the only way to improve performance. Instead, performance can be unlocked by meticulous data selection and efficient architecture/objectives. Moreover, a smaller but higher quality model significantly improves inference efficiency, reduces serving cost, and enables the model’s downstream application for more applications and users.

PaLM 2 Technical Report (PDF)

# 6:43 pm / google, ai, generative-ai, bard, llms

Hugging Face Transformers Agent. Fascinating new Python API in Hugging Face Transformers version v4.29.0: you can now provide a text description of a task—e.g. “Draw me a picture of the sea then transform the picture to add an island”—and a LLM will turn that into calls to Hugging Face models which will then be installed and used to carry out the instructions. The Colab notebook is worth playing with—you paste in an OpenAI API key and a Hugging Face token and it can then run through all sorts of examples, which tap into tools that include image generation, image modification, summarization, audio generation and more.

# 7:50 pm / ai, generative-ai, llms, huggingface

Weeknotes: sqlite-utils 3.31, download-esm, Python in a sandbox

A couple of speaking appearances last week—one planned, one unplanned. Plus sqlite-utils 3.31, download-esm and a new TIL.

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2023 » May