With a lack of machine learning developers bearing down on the industry, startups and tech firms are going to democratize the tools required to commercialize artificial intelligence. The latest startup, Petuum, is announcing a $93 million Series B this morning from Softbank and Advantech Capital.
Founded last year by Dr. Eric Xing, a Carnegie Mellon machine studying professor, Dr. Qirong Ho and Dr. Ning Li, Petuum is constructing software to ease two components of machine learning development. The team is automating aspects of machine and data prep learning model selection. This is useful for novices that may struggle to use common machine learning frameworks such as TensorFlow and Caffe.
Petuum may also help developers in optimizing for hardware limitations once models are chosen. This implies virtualizing hardware to remove barriers — carrying the extra step of handling a distributed GPU cluster out.
“How we treat AI is not as a artisanal craft,” Dr. Xing explained to me in a meeting. “We’re attempting to create quite standardized building blocks which could be assembled and reassembled like legos. ”
The purpose here isn’t to solve each issue in machine learning, but rather to automate enough of the process that business is able to move from 0 to 1. That said, Petuum is attempting to build for the specialist and the novice — a tough balance to strike.
“Everyone knows how to use Excel,” asserted Dr. Xing. “A person may use a table to be created by Excel. Excel can be still used by A skilled statistician modeling phenomenons. ”
The other challenge facing Petuum is one of market strategy. Many investors have turned to heuristics to manage uncertainty popular of which is that horizontal platform AI plays don & rsquo; t work as the technology industry grapples with its money in AI issue.
The concern is that it’s hard to outgun Amazon and Google in ML platform distance and the system learning-as-a-service as a startup that needs to balance attribute development and spending. Dr. Xing deferred to the skill of his team and while he didn’t directly mention it — that the goldmine from Softbank won’t hurt. This degree of capitalization is something which others like H2O.ai and Algorithmia may’t claim up to now.
To rsquo the organization & ; s charge, it’s beginning by going after fintech and health care customers. Petuum doesn & rsquo; t intend to cover each vertical, Though in the long run. Petuum is working with beta testers in industries that on top of the stage, outsiders can create and deploy solutions in the long run.
Today’s investment comes from Softbank proper instead of the $93 billion Softbank Vision Fund. It’s uncertain whether Softbank intends to change the investment to the fund in the long run. Petuum states that it will expand concurrently in promotion, sales and product and claims 70 employees.
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