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Meta passes PyTorch ownership to Linux Foundation in a bid to improve transparency

The widely-used framework will also fall under a newly-formed PyTorch Foundation, with a governing board composed of tech giants such as Google Cloud and Microsoft

A smartphone resting on a laptop with the logo for PyTorch displayed

Meta has announced that PyTorch, its open source framework for machine learning, will become part of the Linux Foundation and reorganise under a new PyTorch Foundation. 

The move, which comes after six years of Meta (formerly Facebook) control over PyTorch, comes as part of a move to emphasise the neutrality of PyTorch, which has become a key tool for use in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and the acceleration of deep learning.

Since its launch in 2016, over 18,000 organisations have utilised Pytorch for machine learning (ML) in production environments, as well as to lead research throughout academia. Notable examples of PyTorch in real-world use include Tesla’s autopilot system, as well as the popular Python library Hugging Face Transformers, which provides users with pre-trained models for speech, text, and image recognition.

“The creation of the PyTorch Foundation ensures that decisions will be made in a transparent and open manner by a diverse group of board members for many years to come,” Meta stated in a blog post.

The Linux Foundation is a worldwide non-profit consortium for the tech sector, aiming to foster the development and curation of open source software. On its website, the foundation states that its goal is to “democratize code and scale adoption, for all projects equally,” and “strive to create new technology categories by identifying new trends and accelerating the growth of nascent technologies by removing barriers to adoption.”

Dr Ibrahim Haddad, vice president of strategic programs at the Linux Foundation, will serve as the PyTorch Foundation’s executive director, and the PyTorch Foundation’s governing board is expected to include a range of representatives from the tech sector. Founding members AMD, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Meta, Microsoft Azure and NVIDIA were named in the announcement.

In May, the Linux Foundation announced its ‘World of Open Source’ research series, with the intention of furthering understanding of the scale of open source on the international, public sector stage, as well as surveying the overall state of open source within Europe. The results of the survey are expected to be announced at the Open Source Summit Europe, currently being held in Dublin. 

Meta announced a partnership with AWS last year with the aim of expanding its AI offerings, and improving the ML models used to train Pytorch. Together, the companies aim to provide firms with the training and deployment of deep learning models at scale, such as large language models and automatic handwriting recognition.

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“Growth around AI/ML and Deep Learning has been nothing short of extraordinary—and the community embrace of PyTorch has led to it becoming one of the five-fastest growing open source software projects in the world,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director for the Linux Foundation. 

“Bringing PyTorch to the Linux Foundation where its global community will continue to thrive is a true honor. We are grateful to the team at Meta—where PyTorch was incubated and grown into a massive ecosystem—for trusting the Linux Foundation with this crucial effort.”

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