In 2016, Meta (then just Facebook country) launched its open source AI research library, the Marco Pytorch. Six years and 150,000 projects from 2,400 contributors later, Meta announced Monday that the Pytorch project will soon leave the company’s direct control and become its own entity, the Pytorch Foundation, a subsidiary within the nonprofit hegemony. for-profit Linux Foundation.
Over the last half decade, Pytorch has grown to become a leading standard for the AI research community. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted in Monday’s press release that about 80 percent of “researchers who submit their work at major ML conferences, like NeurIPS or ICML, take advantage of the framework.”
“We’ve built libraries that support some of the core domains of the AI field, such as torch vision, which drives most of the world’s modern computer vision research,” Zuckerberg continued. “The framework will continue to be part of Meta’s AI research and engineering work.”
But Pytorch isn’t just Meta’s baby, it serves as the technology foundation for much of Amazon’s web services work, as well as Microsoft Azure and OpenAI. As such, the Pytorch Foundation “will have a wide-ranging governing board made up of representatives from AMD, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Meta, Microsoft Azure, and Nvidia, with the intention of expanding further over time.” And to ensure the fledgling foundation doesn’t lose sight of the values it embodies, the new organization will adhere to four principles of “stay open, stay brand neutral, stay fair, and forge a strong technical identity.” Apparently “don’t be evil” was already taken.
Despite being free from direct oversight, Meta intends to continue to employ Pytorch as its primary AI research platform and financially support it accordingly. However, Zuckerberg noted that the company plans to maintain “a clear separation between business and technical governance” of the foundation.
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