Big Sur

Facebook announced that its latest artificial intelligence (AI) server designs will be made open source, continuing on the company's course of letting others share new hardware designs, which it began back in 2011. Codenamed Big Sur, the server is designed to train the newest class of deep learning AI that mimic the human brain’s neural pathways.

The announcement follows Google’s release of its machine learning library TensorFlow, which is an open source software library for numerical computation.

What makes Facebook’s release different is the fact that Google did not release the hardware that TensorFlow runs on. Big Sur will include eight GPU boards and is Open Rack-compatible hardware.

Open Source AI

Facebook engineers Kevin Lee and Serkan Piantino say that Big Sur is twice as fast as Facebook’s previous AI training software systems. In a recent blog post, the engineers said, "We want to make it a lot easier for AI researchers to share techniques and technologies. As with all hardware systems that are released into the open, it's our hope that others will be able to work with us to improve it.

We believe that this open collaboration helps foster innovation for future designs, putting us all one step closer to building complex AI systems that bring this kind of innovation to our users and, ultimately, help us build a more open and connected world."

In the end, Facebook says that it open sourced all of its AI hardware for altruistic reasons, joining the likes of Elon Musk and other tech giants.

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