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First virtual student 'enrolls' at Tsinghua University

By Cheng Yu | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-06-01 16:54

Hua Zhibing, China's first virtual student enabled by the country's largest pre-trained model, made its debut on Tuesday.

With the move, Hua officially became a student in the Department of Computer Science and Technology at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Hua, a "woman", is able to compose poetry and music and has some ability in reasoning and emotional interaction.

The virtual student was co-developed by the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence, Zhipu AI and a company, Xiaoice. It is powered by the second generation of WuDao, a pre-trained model.

"Compared with other common pre-trained models like GPT-3, WuDao is a multimodal model, which can understand and generate pictures and other content formats," said Tang Jie, deputy dean of academic affairs at the academy and a Tsinghua University professor.

GPT-3 is English-centered, while WuDao is multilingual, including in both English and Chinese. In the future, more languages will be added, Tang said.

"WuDao is also more open than GPT-3 and many other pre-trained models. The training data, programming codes and model APIs are all open to the public," he added.

Tang pointed out that the potential of such models is huge, as many real scenarios can use the same model with more general large pre-trained models.

"The key significance of WuDao is that it lowers the application threshold of AI and reduces the cost of the training process of machine learning models, including labor costs and carbon emissions," he said.

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