In 2016, Facebook launched its own open-source artificial intelligence research library, PyTorch. Now, instead of Facebook, the company is called Meta, and after 6 years of creating the PyTorch library and 150,000 projects from 240 contributors, Meta has announced that it will soon leave the company’s direct control. PyTorch will now become an independent organization, the PyTorch Foundation, which will report to the Linux Foundation, reports Engadget.
Over the past 15 years, PyTorch has become the leading standard for the AI research community. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that PyTorch is used by about 80% of researchers who present their work at major machine learning conferences such as NeurIPS or ICML.
“We have built libraries that support some of the principal domains of the AI field, such as torchvision, which powers most of the world’s modern computer vision research,” Zuckerberg wrote. “The framework [PyTorch] will continue to be a part of Meta’s AI research and engineering work.”
But Pytorch is not only Meta’s brainchild, it serves as the technological foundation for much of Amazon Web Services, as well as Microsoft Azure and OpenAI. Therefore, the PyTorch Foundation “will boast a wide-ranging governing board composed of representatives from AMD, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Meta, Microsoft Azure, and Nvidia, with the intention to expand further over time.” To ensure that the PyTorch Foundation does not lose sight of its values, the organization will adhere to four principles: “remaining open, maintaining neutral branding, staying fair, and forging a strong technical identity.”
Despite being freed of direct oversight, Meta plans to use PyTorch as its primary AI research platform and to support the organization financially. However, Zuckerberg notes that the company plans to maintain a “clear division between business and technical governance” of the organization.