Linux Foundation Injects Open Source Into AI

Sarah Thomas
3/26/2018
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The Linux Foundation is aiming to expedite the market for artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and deep learning with the launch of the LF Deep Learning Foundation at the Open Networking Summit Monday.

The LF Deep Learning Foundation is designed to be a neutral space for developers and data scientists in the open source community to work together on projects related to deep learning technologies. At launch, members of the group include Amdocs, AT&T, B.Yond, Baidu, Huawei, Nokia, Tech Mahindra, Tencent, Univa and ZTE.

As part of the DL Foundation, the Linux Foundation is also launching the Acumos AI Project designed specifically for AI model discovery, development and sharing. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Tech Mahindra Ltd. are contributing the initial code to the project -- available today -- as part of a program they announced back in October. (See AT&T Launches New AI, Microservice Initiatives.)

The pair said at the time that the goal is to make deploying AI applications as easy as creating a website. The Linux Foundation will host both the Acumos AI platform, including a visual workflow to design AI and ML apps, and the Marketplace for developers to share AI solutions and data models.

The ultimate goal of the umbrella LF Deep Learning (DL) program is to make deep learning accessible, scalable and affordable to all via the projects created from it, which it says should include tool kits, inferencing engines and infrastructure deployments leveraging modern cloud-native technologies.


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The Linux Foundation is not the only organization keen on bolstering the market for AI. The AI space has attracted a number of startups, acquisitions and similar projects designed to make it more accessible. Startup Element AI, for example, is focused on making AI affordable and accessible to industries outside of the technology world. According to Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking at The Linux Foundation, LF DL and Acumos differ in that they build "the connectivity layer and marketplace that allows repeatability across verticals by sharing templates in the marketplace." (See Element AI Raises $102M to Bring AI to All.)

"Networking and Operators are one of the first few verticals (tech/Webcale being other) that are very active in this space, primarily because of the immense valuable data generated by billions of consumers and enterprises globally on Operator Networks," he tells Light Reading via email. "By harvesting this for increased efficiency, automation and growth, they gain significantly on Opex and new services."

Joshipura says that the goal with LF DL is to tackle common challenges and create code that will take adoption to the next level, much like the Linux Foundation did with ONAP, Kubernetes and Hyperledger. (See AT&T's Acumos: Transforming AI Apps From Snowflakes to Lego Bricks.)

"Not every vertical needs to know about every algorithm or every micro services that it gets implemented on," he adds. "We help with common issues -- eg CDLA (common data sharing license to train these models), etc. With Acumos, we create the AI Framework that integrates ML tools, Data Access, Infrastructure and formats into sharable templates that vertical industries can use."

— Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms

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