Linux Foundation pushes open-source AI forward with the Deep Learning Foundation

The Linux Foundation has launched the LF Deep Learning Foundation, an umbrella organization for open-source innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning. Its first project is the Acumos AI Project, an AI/ML platform and open-source framework.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

The recent rise in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), as Mark Russinovich, Microsoft Azure chief technology officer, recently said, is due to open-source AI and machine learning software. Open-source programs such as Core ML, Google TensorFlow, and ONNX are driving AI and ML. Now, The Linux Foundation has announced a new group at the Open Networking Summit in Los Angeles: LF Deep Learning Foundation, to further promote open-source AI and ML.

As part of the LF Deep Learning launch, The Linux Foundation also announced the Acumos AI Project. This is a platform and open-source framework to make it easy to build, share, and deploy AI apps.

Acumos does this by standardizing the infrastructure stack and components required to run an out-of-the-box general AI environment. Specifically, it packages tool kits, such as TensorFlow and SciKit Learn, and models them with a common application programming interface (API), which enables developers to to seamlessly connect them. This frees data scientists and model trainers to focus on their core competencies and not worry with the underlying AI/ML foundation.

The project strives to make the power of AI accessible to all by making it easy to create, share, discover, and apply machine learning, deep learning, and analytics models. According to AT&T, "Our goal with open sourcing the Acumos platform is to make building and deploying AI applications as easy as creating a website." The Linux Foundation will host the Acumos AI platform and the Acumos Marketplace, which will support the project's ecosystem.

AT&T and Tech Mahindra are proving Acumos' initial code. The first Acumos code is ready for download.

Looking ahead, Baidu is expected to contribute AI/ML code to make the most from Kubernetes' elastic scheduling combined with its open-source PaddlePaddle's fault-tolerable features. In addition, Tencent's Angel project, a high-performance distributed ML platform jointly developed by Tencent and Peking University for big data/models, will be incorporated into Acumos.

"We are excited to offer a deep learning foundation that can drive long-term strategy and support for a host of projects in the AI, machine learning, and deep learning ecosystems," said Jim Zemlin, The Linux Foundation's executive director, in a statement.

Deep Learning founding members include Amdocs, AT&T, B.Yond, Baidu, Huawei, Nokia, Tech Mahindra, Tencent, Univa, and ZTE. With LF Deep Learning, members will create a neutral space where makers and sustainers of tools and infrastructure can work together to further speed up open-source, deep learning technology's adoption.

If it works, this will make AI/ML much more accessible to AI developers without requiring them to work through the nitty-gritty of open-source software. In some ways, this is like how DevOps has enabled developers to focus on their programs, while DevOps tools enabled them to quick and easily spin up the infrastructure their projects need.

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