Google DeepMind Makes AI Training Platform Available for the Public

deepmind-lab-goes-public

Alphabet Inc.’s artificial intelligence division Google DeepMind is making the maze-like game platform it uses for many of its experiments available to other researchers and the general public.

DeepMind is putting the entire source code for its training environment — which it previously called Labyrinth and has now renamed as DeepMind Lab — on the open-source depository GitHub, the company said Monday. Anyone will be able to download the code and customize it to help train their own artificial intelligence systems. They will also be able to create new game levels for DeepMind Lab and upload these to GitHub.

The decision to make this AI test bed available to the public is further evidence of DeepMind’s decision to embrace more openness around its research. Last month, the company announced a partnership with Activision Blizzard Inc. to turn the popular video game Starcraft II into a testbed for any artificial intelligence researcher who wanted to try to create an AI system that could master the complex game.

Putting its Lab code on GitHub will allow other researchers to see if its developer’s own breakthroughs can be replicated and will allow these scientists to measure the performance of their own AI agents on the exact same tests DeepMind uses, one of the company’s co-founders, Shane Legg, said in an interview. “They can try to beat our results if they want,” he said.

OpenAI, a rival research shop set up by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, venture capitalist Peter Thiel and Sam Altman, a founder of Silicon Valley startup accelerator Y Combinator, made its own AI training platform, called OpenAI Gym, available to the public in April.

On Monday it also announced that it was making public an interface called Universe that lets an AI agent “use a computer like a human does: by looking at screen pixels and operating a virtual keyboard and mouse,” the company said in a statement. In short, it’s a go-between that lets an AI system learn the skills needed to play games or operate other applications. Researchers can use tools in OpenAI’s Gym to measure how these agents perform.

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SOURCE: Bloomberg, Jeremy Kahn