SoftBank Corp. Initiative to Develop Homegrown LLMs for Japan Kicks into High Gear

SoftBank Corp. Initiative to Develop Homegrown LLMs for Japan Kicks into High Gear

As President & CEO Junichi Miyakawa first outlined at the earnings results conference held on August 4, 2023, SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) is carrying out various generative AI initiatives, including the construction of a new generative AI computing platform and the development of large language models (LLMs).

On October 30, SoftBank announced that its generative AI computing platform is now operational, and that its subsidiary, SB Intuitions, is utilizing it to begin the full-fledged development of homegrown LLMs specialized for the Japanese language. SoftBank is aiming to complete the buildout of these homegrown LLMs with 350 billion parameters in 2024.

This computing platform, which is best-in-class for Japan, is made up of an NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD™ AI supercomputer with over 2,000 NVIDIA Tensor Core GPUs, NVIDIA Networking and NVIDIA AI Enterprise software. ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation supported the equipment installation and construction process to get it up and running quickly. SoftBank is planning to provide the computing platform to universities, research institutions, companies and other entities at an early date.

Junichi Miyakawa, noting that AI development based on Japanese datasets is lagging behind development efforts for other languages, said that “SoftBank is aiming to create its own advanced and large-scale computing platform and develop homegrown LLMs tailored to Japanese culture and business practices.” Hironobu Tamba, President of SB Intuitions, added that his company will collaborate with various partners to build an ecosystem that accelerates the adoption of generative AI in Japan.

Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA, said, “We are delighted to partner with SoftBank to build a state-of-the-art AI infrastructure for the industry and researchers of Japan,” and Ichiro Tsuge, President & CEO of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation, said his company will continue to support SoftBank’s business and “contribute to the prosperity of society through the utilization of AI.”

For more information, see this press release.

(Posted on November 1, 2023)
by SoftBank News Editors