• August 22, 2023

IDEFICS: Unleashing Multimodal AI for Creative Applications

The IDEFICS (Image-aware Decoder Enhanced à la Flamingo with Interleaved Cross-attentionS) model is an open-access, multimodal AI model developed by Hugging Face. It is based on Flamingo, a closed-source visual language model created by DeepMind. IDEFICS, like GPT-4, accepts sequences of both images and text as input and generates text outputs. It is a powerful and versatile model that can answer questions about images, describe visual content, generate stories based on multiple images, or act as a pure language model without visual inputs.

Technical Details

The model is built on top of two unimodal open-access pre-trained models, connecting vision and language through newly initialized Transformer blocks. The training data for IDEFICS consists of a mixture of openly accessible English data sources, including unstructured multimodal web documents, Wikipedia text, image-text pairs, and publicly available image-text pair datasets. This diverse training data helps the model understand and generate text based on a wide range of topics and visual information.

IDEFICS comes in two variants: an 80 billion parameter version and a 9 billion parameter version. Additionally, there are fine-tuned versions of the base models, which improve downstream performance, making them more suitable for conversational settings. The model uses a combination of vision encoders and cross-attention mechanisms to process both image and text inputs effectively. It applies layer normalization on the projected queries and keys to improve training stability. The training objective is standard next-token prediction.


IDEFICS has a broad range of applications, particularly in tasks that involve both images and text inputs. Some of its key applications include:

  1. Visual Question Answering IDEFICS can answer questions about images, making it useful for tasks like image-based quizzes and content retrieval.
  2. Image Captioning The model can generate descriptive captions for images, which is valuable for enhancing accessibility and content understanding.
  3. Story Generation IDEFICS can create narratives or stories based on multiple images, offering a creative storytelling application.
  4. Text Generation While IDEFICS is primarily designed for multimodal tasks, it can also generate text without visual inputs, making it versatile for various natural language understanding and generation tasks.
  5. Custom Data Fine-tuning Users can fine-tune the base models on custom data for specific use cases, tailoring the model's responses to their needs.
  6. Instruction Following The fine-tuned instructed versions of IDEFICS are especially adept at following user instructions, making them suitable for chatbot and conversational AI applications.


IDEFICS is a cutting-edge multimodal AI model that combines text and image understanding, opening a wide array of possibilities for creative applications. Its strong performance on various benchmarks and its ability to handle custom data fine-tuning make it a robust choice for developers and researchers looking to work with multimodal AI.

As with any AI model, it's important to be mindful of potential biases, limitations, and ethical considerations when using IDEFICS in real-world applications. Proper adaptation and evaluation are essential, especially in high-stakes or critical decision-making scenarios.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the use of Hugging Face IDEFICS?

    Hugging Face's IDEFICS is an open-access reproduction of the Flamingo model, enhancing it with features for improved image understanding and generation. It is designed to work with multimodal data, handling both text and visual inputs to generate relevant outputs, making it a powerful tool in the field of artificial intelligence for various applications, including conversational AI with visual language models.

  2. How do I use Hugging Face IDEFICS?

    To use IDEFICS, you can access the pre-trained models available on the Hugging Face platform. They have provided a getting started guide on their blog where you can find detailed instructions on how to use IDEFICS models. Additionally, they have created an IDEFICS Playground on Hugging Face Spaces where you can experiment with the model and see it in action.

  3. Is IDEFICS open source?

    Yes, IDEFICS is open source. Hugging Face has released it under an MIT license, allowing developers and researchers to access and utilize the model freely, fostering collaboration and innovation in the AI community.

  4. How does IDEFICS work?

    IDEFICS operates as a large visual language model developed with 80 billion parameters. It leverages an image-aware decoder enhanced with interleaved cross-attention mechanisms to understand and generate content based on both text and visual inputs. It is a state-of-the-art tool capable of handling multimodal conversational AI tasks, offering a pioneering approach in the dynamic landscape of AI technology.