No Surprise Here: Facebook, Google Team Up On AI Tech

Some lawmakers say Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, seen here at an April congressional hearing on personal data protection, should return to explain its deal allowing smartphone makers to access user information

Tech giant Google and social media giant Facebook are reportedly teaming up to develop new artificial intelligence technology. reports that Facebook and Google are combining their efforts in order to make Facebook’s open source machine learning PyTorch framework integrate with Google’s Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), a custom computer chip used for machine learning. The development of the TPU integration marks an interesting occasion in which two tech competitors have chosen to work with each other rather than against.

Google Cloud director of product management Rajen Sheth wrote in a blog post: “Today, we’re pleased to announce that engineers on Google’s TPU team are actively collaborating with core PyTorch developers to connect PyTorch to Cloud TPUs. The long-term goal is to enable everyone to enjoy the simplicity and flexibility of PyTorch while benefiting from the performance, scalability, and cost-efficiency of Cloud TPUs.”

Joseph Spisak, Facebook’s product manager for artificial intelligence, said in a statement: “Engineers on Google’s Cloud TPU team are in active collaboration with our PyTorch team to enable support for PyTorch 1.0 models on this custom hardware.”

Information Services Group principal analyst Blair Hanley Frank commented on the announcement that the two tech firms would be working on A.I. technology together stating: “Data scientists and machine learning engineers have a wide variety of open source tools to choose from today when it comes to developing intelligent systems. This announcement is a critical step to help ensure more people have access to the best hardware and software capabilities to create AI models.”

Frank stated that he expects to see “more collaboration like this to crop up in the AI market.” He continued to note that: “Expanding framework support can help cloud providers like AWS, Google and Microsoft drive additional usage of their platforms. That means it makes sense for them to support as broad a set of development tools as possible, to try and attract as many customers as they can.”

Facebook also stated that while they’re working with Google, Amazon and Microsoft are also “deepening their investment” in the PyTorch software.

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