Microsoft, Tiktok parent ByteDance collaborate on AI project KubeRay

Flags of China and the United States are seen close to a ByteDance brand on this illustration image taken Sept. 18, 2020.

Florence Lo | Reuters

The high-stakes battle between the U.S. and China for supremacy in synthetic intelligence has home lawmakers rising more and more involved over what dropping out might imply for nationwide safety, the economic system and American prosperity.

But because the world’s two largest economies pour assets into the race for dominance within the discipline, there’s additionally collaboration afoot. Indeed, some AI consultants even say that cross-border cooperation is vital to getting probably the most out of developments in computing.

Engineers from Microsoft and China’s ByteDance, the parent of TikTok, are doing their half to advance that notion. Through a project known as KubeRay, they’re working collectively on software program meant to assist corporations extra effectively run AI apps.

At the Ray Summit this week in San Francisco, ByteDance software program engineer Jiaxin Shan and Microsoft principal software program engineer Ali Kanso mentioned their progress with information scientists, machine studying consultants and different builders thinking about constructing giant functions utilizing open supply software program known as Ray.

Shan and Kanso defined the technical particulars behind KubeRay and pitched the software program as useful in powering AI apps that run on a number of computer systems, or distributed computing.

“Jiaxin and I have been working for like a year on an open source project and this is the beauty of a community gathering like this,” mentioned Kanso, who has a Ph.D. in laptop science. “We’re not in the same company, but we meet every week, we collaborate every week.”

Shan, who beforehand labored as a software program engineer at Amazon Web Services, is predicated within the Seattle space, close to Microsoft’s headquarters, in response to his LinkedIn profile.

Companies typically companion and share engineering assets to contribute to open supply initiatives, which have gained recognition lately and have seeded quite a few startups. The Microsoft-ByteDance collaboration is notable due to the brewing rivalry between the U.S. and China with respect to AI and mental property, and issues over how technological developments might be used for surveillance and privateness intrusion.

Microsoft has been investing closely in AI together with rivals like Amazon, Google parent Alphabet, Facebook parent Meta and Apple. Like Google as soon as did, Microsoft maintains an AI analysis lab in China, serving to it faucet into the nation’s educational expertise.

Meanwhile, as TikTok’s utilization has exploded lately, ByteDance has been diving into numerous AI open supply initiatives. In 2020, as an example, ByteDance debuted its NeurST software program instrument equipment for AI-powered speech translation. And final yr the corporate debuted its CloudWeGo open supply enterprise software program.

The Ray Summit was organized by software program startup Anyscale, whose know-how is constructed on Ray. Anyscale, which additionally contributed to KubeRay, was co-founded in 2019 by a gaggle of engineers that included Ion Stoica, a pc science professor on the University of California at Berkeley. Stoica has an extended historical past in open supply software program and co-founded Databricks, a knowledge analytics firm that was valued at $38 billion in a financing spherical final yr.

Databricks was constructed on high of Apache Spark, which was developed at Berkeley beneath Stoica’s path. Anyscale is attempting to observe the same path, and mentioned this week that it is simply raised a contemporary $99 million.

Tech giants like Microsoft and Meta typically use open supply initiatives as a approach to propagate their very own inner technological concepts to the broader group. Doing so helps lure potential recruits and serves as approach to market the businesses as know-how leaders to builders.

The Microsoft-ByteDance relationship has some historical past to it. In 2020, Microsoft sought to amass TikTok from ByteDance at a time when then-President Donald Trump threatened to ban the social media app over unspecified safety causes. A yr later, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella known as the botched deal “the strangest thing” he is ever labored on.

WATCH: Former TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer on ByteDance determination to scrap IPO plans


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