Algorithmia Lands In-Q-Tel Deal, Adds Deep Learning Capabilities

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be a tremendous asset to the relatively small group of people developing deep learning models, and to a larger group of developers, outside of the tech giants, who wish to use them in their apps.

“[Academics] want to see their life’s work out there, in action, changing businesses and technologies, and that’s at the core of what Algorithmia does,” he says.

Researchers can realize a new revenue stream from royalties earned through Algorithmia. The company takes 30 percent of what it charges developers for access to an algorithm and gives 70 percent to the algorithm’s creator, potentially relieving some of the pressure on academics to land the next big grant. They can reasonably hope for a much wider audience of potential users—opening the door to the greater real-world impact that academics desire (and are increasingly evaluated on for tenure). Around 20,000 developers use Algorithmia’s marketplace now, Oppenheimer says.

The photo colorization model, for example, came from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. It was one of 16 showcase deep learning models initially available on Algorithmia with the advent of the new capability late last week. A couple thousand people had used it in the first day, Oppenheimer says.

For those concerned about the monopolization of deep learning and other artificial intelligence precursors by a small handful of extremely powerful corporations, Algorithmia offers another way.

Oppenheimer, a former Microsoft program manager before co-founding Algorithmia in 2013 with Kenny Daniel, is a “big fan” of the tech giants.

“But they are swallowing research, and probably the biggest existential risk to AI is that it becomes 100 percent privatized,” he says. “That’s why an open marketplace for distributing this work in a usable form, versus just throwing it up on a repository, is so important. Now, any developer that wants access to it, any technology company that wants access to it can get access to.”

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