Vicuna vs Alpaca: Which is a Better LLM?

Pankaj Singh 29 Dec, 2023
6 min read


The advent of large language models has brought about a transformative impact in the AI domain. A recent breakthrough, exemplified by the outstanding performance of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, has captivated the AI community. This success has sparked intense competition among companies and researchers, all aiming to advance conversational AI and challenge OpenAI’s pioneering position.

Google’s Bard underwent fine-tuning on PaLM-E, creating a Multi-modal LLM incorporating GPT-4. Moreover, Meta introduced its proprietary LLM, named LlaMa. The Llama family has gained significant attention in recent times. Two prominent members of this family are Vicuna and Alpaca. This article will delve into Vicuna vs Alpaca, comparing their features, capabilities, use cases, and more. By understanding the nuances of Vicuna vs Alpaca models, we can better appreciate their applications and make informed decisions.

Vicuna vs Alpaca

Vicuna vs Alpaca: The Llama Family Models

Meta’s team unveiled LlaMa on February 24, 2023. Initially, Meta aimed to grant access to this high-performing Large Language Model (LLM) to the academic research community, but now it is open-source. LlaMa was offered in four versions with varying parameter sizes: 7B, 13B, 33B, and 65B.

Like other extensive language models, LlaMa operates by taking a sequence of words as input and predicting the next word to generate text recursively.

The Llama family models, including Vicuna and Alpaca, are advanced language models developed to understand and generate human-like text. These models are trained on vast amounts of data and utilize state-of-the-art techniques to provide accurate and coherent responses.

Importance of Comparison: Vicuna vs Alpaca

Conducting a comprehensive comparison between Vicuna and Alpaca is paramount. For individuals and organizations seeking to harness the full potential of language models across diverse applications, delving into the intricacies of each model’s strengths and weaknesses is essential. This empowers users to make discerning decisions, ensuring they select the model that most effectively aligns with their specific requirements. The comparative analysis is a strategic guide, offering invaluable insights for optimal utilization and seamless integration into various linguistic tasks.

Overview of Vicuna and Alpaca

Vicuna: The Language Model

Vicuna stands out as a formidable language model renowned for its exceptional prowess in understanding and generating text. Drawing on diverse data sources, its training regimen equips it with comprehending and responding adeptly to various queries and prompts.

Features and Capabilities

Vicuna showcases a range of impressive features and capabilities that contribute to its versatility. It generates coherent and contextually relevant responses, making it an ideal choice for applications such as chatbots, virtual assistants, and content creation. Moreover, Vicuna’s multilingual support enhances user interactions by allowing seamless communication in various languages.

Training Process and Data

Vicuna’s strength is derived from fine-tuning the LlaMA model using user conversations with ChatGPT from the ShareGPT website. The training dataset consists of 70,000 user-shared ChatGPT conversations, providing a rich source for honing its language abilities. Remarkably, the entire training process was achieved with a cost of only $300, showcasing the model’s efficiency in delivering high performance on a budget.

Performance Comparison

Vicuna’s performance exceeds that of the LlaMA and Alpaca models, achieving nearly 90% effectiveness when compared to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard. This impressive performance is particularly noteworthy given the model’s cost-effective training, emphasizing its competitiveness in the landscape of language models.

Training Techniques and Resources

The training techniques employed by Vicuna align with those used by Alpaca, including an extension of the context length from 512 to 2048. Though increasing GPU memory requirements significantly, this adjustment is managed efficiently through flash attention and gradient checkpointing. Notably, spot instances were utilized to overcome training expenses. The training, accomplished with PyTorch FSDP on 8 A100 GPUs, was completed in just one day, showcasing the model’s efficiency.

Use Cases and Applications

Vicuna finds applications in various domains. It can be utilized in customer support systems to provide quick and accurate responses to user queries. Content creators can also leverage Vicuna to generate engaging and informative articles. Furthermore, Vicuna can assist in language translation, making it a valuable tool for global communication.

Pros and Cons

Vicuna offers numerous advantages, such as its ability to understand complex queries and generate high-quality responses. However, it may struggle with certain niche topics or highly technical subjects. Additionally, Vicuna’s performance may vary depending on the specific use case and the quality of the training data.

Vicuna vs Alpaca

Alpaca: The Language Model

Alpaca, a distinguished member of the Llama family, stands out for its exceptional language understanding and generation capabilities. Trained on a substantial corpus of data, Alpaca is adept at providing accurate and contextually relevant responses.

Features and Capabilities

Alpaca boasts several noteworthy features and capabilities that contribute to its versatility. It demonstrates proficiency in understanding and responding to a diverse array of queries, making it well-suited for applications such as question-answering systems and conversational agents. Additionally, Alpaca supports multi-turn conversations, enhancing its ability to engage in interactive and dynamic interactions.

Training Process and Data

The development of Alpaca involved fine-tuning the 7B LlaMA model on a specific set of 52,000 instruction-following examples. These examples were generated by the text-davinci-003 model when prompted with 175 human-generated self-instruct seed tasks. The training process, carried out on a compute budget of less than $600, took 3 hours and utilized 8 NVIDIA A100 GPUs with 80GB memory each.

Performance Comparison

Alpaca’s performance is claimed to be quantitatively comparable to OpenAI’s text-davinci-003. The evaluation was conducted using a self-instruct evaluation set, where Alpaca reportedly won 90 out of 89 comparisons against text-DaVinci-003. This suggests that, despite its relatively modest size and training data, Alpaca achieved remarkable results, ushering in a new paradigm for research in language models.


Similar to other language models, Alpaca faces challenges such as hallucination, toxicity, and stereotypes. These challenges underscore the ongoing efforts to improve the ethical and responsible use of language models in various applications.

Alpaca’s unique combination of features, training methodology, and performance metrics positions it as a promising model in the landscape of language understanding and generation.

Use Cases and Applications

Alpaca finds applications in various domains, including education, research, and content creation. It can assist students in finding relevant information, provide insights for researchers, and generate engaging content for writers. Alpaca’s versatility makes it a valuable tool in many industries.

Pros and Cons

Alpaca offers several advantages, such as its ability to handle complex conversations and provide accurate answers. However, it may struggle with generating creative or imaginative responses. Additionally, Alpaca’s performance may vary depending on the specific use case and the quality of the training data.

Vicuna vs Alpaca

Vicuna vs Alpaca

Performance Metrics

Both Vicuna and Alpaca have undergone rigorous evaluation processes to assess their performance. The evaluation of Alpaca included a comparison against text-davinci-003, where it won 90 out of 89 comparisons. Vicuna, on the other hand, achieved almost 90% performance compared to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, showcasing its effectiveness in diverse scenarios.

Language Understanding and Generation

Vicuna and Alpaca showcase excellence in understanding and generating human-like text. They both demonstrate the ability to comprehend complex queries and provide coherent responses. Notably, Vicuna may hold a slight advantage in terms of generating more contextually relevant and informative answers, as evidenced by its superior performance compared to established models like ChatGPT and Bard.

Training and Fine-tuning Process

Both Vicuna and Alpaca have undergone meticulous training and fine-tuning processes. Alpaca was fine-tuned on 52K instruction-following examples, generated by text-davinci-003. In contrast, Vicuna’s training involved 70K user-shared ChatGPT conversations from the ShareGPT website. Despite differences in the training data sources, both models have been optimized to ensure their effectiveness and accuracy.

Model Size and Efficiency

Vicuna, being a more recent 13B model, benefits from advancements in model compression techniques, resulting in a smaller model size without compromising performance. Alpaca, a 7B model, may require more computational resources due to its larger size. The efficiency gains of Vicuna, with its model size, contribute to its cost-effectiveness, training on a budget of only $300.

Limitations and Challenges

While Vicuna and Alpaca offer impressive capabilities, they share certain limitations and challenges. Both models may face difficulties in understanding highly technical or niche topics. Additionally, they may occasionally generate responses that lack creativity or originality. These challenges highlight ongoing areas for improvement in the development of language models, emphasizing the need for addressing specific domains and enhancing creativity in responses.


In conclusion, Vicuna and Alpaca are powerful language models with impressive features and capabilities. While they share similarities, they also have unique strengths and weaknesses. By comparing Vicuna vs Alpaca, users can decide which one best suits their specific needs and applications. Whether it’s Vicuna’s contextually relevant responses or Alpaca’s versatility in multi-turn conversations, both models have the potential to revolutionize various industries and enhance human-computer interactions.

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Pankaj Singh 29 Dec, 2023

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