Mark Zuckerberg
Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Passing the PyTorch

Protocol Enterprise

Hello. and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: why Meta just transferred stewardship of an important AI framework to the Linux Foundation, how last week’s California heat wave took out a Twitter data center, and the latest funding rounds raised in enterprise tech.

The Linux Foundation lights up

Meta is handing the reins for PyTorch, its popular open-source AI framework, to the nonprofit open-source software consortium Linux Foundation. PyTorch was designed to optimize deep learning, and gets its name from the AI programming language Python and open-source machine-learning library Torch.

The move shifts the commercial and marketing aspects of PyTorch to the Linux Foundation’s newly-launched PyTorch Foundation. But much of PyTorch’s technical governance — which has used a typical shared oversight model for years — will stay the same, Meta engineer Soumith Chintala told me.

  • Microsoft will continue maintaining PyTorch integration with ONNX, a neural network ecosystem, for example.
  • And Nvidia will continue overseeing GPU-related aspects of PyTorch, said Chintala.
  • Meta said in a blog post that it will continue investing in PyTorch and use it as its primary framework for its own AI research and production applications.

The transition could help chip away at the backlog of requests for PyTorch improvements.

  • “You have this big backlog of requests, what people want to see from PyTorch. Let's see if this accelerates that,” said Davis Sawyer, co-founder and chief product officer of Deeplite, a company that uses PyTorch to build its AI compression and optimization products.
  • Chintala acknowledged that even though there are “hundereds of people” at Meta working on PyTorch, that team is not big enough to manage the demands of PyTorch’s global user community.
  • “The hope we have is, by moving to the Linux Foundation, more companies can make more found investments in PyTorch and … empower more people to be working on the project, which would let us get to the backlogs quicker,” Chintala said.

Still, some worry that the Linux Foundation has too much power over enterprise tech.

  • Linux formed the backbone for cloud computing, mobile and other tech used ubiquitously today, particularly software used by businesses.
  • Because it’s backed by the giants of tech, startups worry the democratic promise of open source could be squelched if Linux Foundation projects crowd out smaller competitors.
  • But open source is a squishy term in enterprise software. Some criticize startup business models that rely on open-source strategies to gain popularity by building big followings through contribution platforms like GitHub, then spinning out better-performing paid services once software reaches critical mass.
— Kate Kaye (email | twitter)

A MESSAGE FROM CNCF

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s flagship conference gathers adopters and technologists from leading open source and cloud native communities in Detroit, Michigan from October 24 – 28, 2022. Register now and join thousands of attendees, including maintainers for CNCF's 140 Graduated, Incubating, and Sandbox projects, either virtually or in-person.

Register to attend: In-person | Virtual

The state of innovation

The global innovation race is well underway. What is the U.S. administration doing to stay ahead, and where is it falling short? What is the status of funding by Congress and in statehouses, and which areas still need investment? Is the U.S. doing enough to attract and retain top tech talent from around the world?

Join Protocol Policy for a virtual event on Sept. 27 at 10 a.m. PT as we dive into the U.S.’s national strategy on innovation, what’s working, what isn’t and what policy changes we can expect from the year ahead. RSVP here.

Financial corner

Morse Micro raised $140 million to build Wi-Fi HaLow microprocessors.

TruKKer raised $100 million for its trucking logistics platform.

Cymulate raised $70 million for its security posture testing software.

Carbyne raised $56 million to build communications software for emergency services.

— Aisha Counts (email | twitter)

Around the enterprise

Twitter was forced to shut down an entire data center in Sacramento last week thanks to the intense heat in the region, but to its credit, the outage did not appear to impact its service.

Google’s $5.4 billion acquisition of cybersecurity services provider Mandiant is now complete, the company announced Monday.

Intel has reduced its expectations for the IPO of its Mobileye self-driving car division, according to Bloomberg, cutting the expected valuation of the company to $30 billion compared to prior estimates upwards of $50 billion.

A MESSAGE FROM CNCF

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s flagship conference gathers adopters and technologists from leading open source and cloud native communities in Detroit, Michigan from October 24 – 28, 2022. Register now and join thousands of attendees, including maintainers for CNCF's 140 Graduated, Incubating, and Sandbox projects, either virtually or in-person.

Register to attend: In-person | Virtual

Thanks for reading — see you tomorrow!

Recent Issues

The Dreamforce hangover