PyTorch as a new standard for OpenAI

In recent blog post OpenAI has communicated that they are choosing PyTorch as their deep learning platform on which they will continue doing their reinforcement learning experiments.

On top of that they have release a PyTorch-enabled version of Spinning Up in Deep RL, an open-source educational resource to start with deep reinforcement learning already in PyTorch.

OpenAI also writes:

“We are also in the process of writing PyTorch bindings for our highly-optimized blocksparse kernels, and will open-source those bindings in upcoming months.”

The main reason OpenAI gives for choosing PyTorch is scalability and being able to reduce training time for generative models.

This news is a huge boost for PyTorch, one of the contenders for top machine learning framework among Keras and Tensorflow. The question which deep learning platform is the best remains open.

PyTorch is an open source machine learning library based on the Torch library, used for applications such as computer vision and natural language processing. It is primarily developed by Facebook’s AI Research lab (FAIR). It is free and open-source software released under the Modified BSD license. Although the Python interface is more polished and the primary focus of development, PyTorch also has a C++ interface.

A number of pieces of Deep Learning software are built on top of PyTorch, including Uber’s Pyro, HuggingFace’s Transformers, and Catalyst.

PyTorch provides two high-level features:

OpenAI is an independent research organization consisting of the for-profit corporation OpenAI LP and its parent organization, the non-profit OpenAI Inc. The corporation conducts research in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) with the stated aim to promote and develop friendly AI in such a way as to benefit humanity as a whole. Founded in late 2015, the San Francisco-based organization aims to “freely collaborate” with other institutions and researchers by making its patents and research open to the public. The founders (notably Elon Musk and Sam Altman) are motivated in part by concerns about the existential risk from artificial general intelligence.

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