👑 Big Tech and their Favorite Deep Learning Schools

The Scope covers the most relevant ML papers, real-world ML use cases, cool tech releases, and $ in AI. Weekly

📝 Editorial 

Last week we started a new series focused on self-supervised learning (SSL). You will notice that many relevant papers and tech come from Facebook AI Research (FAIR). This is because FAIR has become the leading AI lab championing SSL, but this is not an isolated pattern. Most of the top AI labs in the world have sort of picked different schools of deep learning to champion. Here are some of my favorite examples:  

  • DeepMind — Reinforcement Learning: Without a doubt, DeepMind is a synonym with reinforcement learning. The Alphabet subsidiary has championed breakthroughs in this area, such as AlphaGo, MuZero, and the recent AlphaFold. 

  • Facebook — Self-Supervised Learning: Under Turin Award winner Yann LeCun, FAIR has become the undisputed champion of self-supervised learning techniques. Recently, FAIR has published self-supervised learning models in language and computer vision that represent significant advancements in the space. 

  • OpenAI — Transformers: GPT-3 has made transformer models part of popular culture, but OpenAI is not stopping there. Following breakthroughs in natural language processing, the AI powerhouse has continued applying transformer models into new areas such as computer vision with exciting results. 

  • Google — AutoML: Google was not only one of the pioneers in Automated machine learning (AutoML) but has become one of the biggest producers of research and technology in this area. Google is advancing AutoML in highly diverse areas, such as time-series analysis and computer vision. 

  • Microsoft — Machine Teaching: Instead of machine learning, Microsoft believes in machine teaching. Microsoft Research has become the number one AI lab, pioneering machine teaching research and technology in speech analysis and computer vision. 

  • Amazon — Transfer Learning: The work in the Alexa digital assistant has made Amazon one of the leading research hubs for transfer learning techniques. From transferring knowledge across different language models to better machine translation techniques, Amazon has been pushing research in the transfer learning space at an incredible pace. 

  • IBM — Quantum Machine Learning: IBM has pioneered technology in many machine learning areas and then lost a leadership position to other tech companies. A recent area in which IBM is pushing the research boundaries is quantum machine learning.  

This list is by no means exclusive but certainly presents a picture of where the research efforts of the big AI labs gravitate towards. The beneficiary, without a doubt, is the AI industry.  


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🗓 Next week in TheSequence Edge:

Edge#125: we discuss Self-Supervised learning as an energy-based method; we explore Wav2vec, a SSL method for speech recognition; we cover Lightly, a python library for self-supervised learning on images.

Edge#126: we do a deep dive about Pachyderm platform updates.

Now, let’s review the most important developments in the AI industry this week

🔎 ML Research

Fast Neural Networks for Image Classification  

Google Research published a paper detailing a neural architecture search to produce fast and accurate image recognition models →read more on Google Research blog

Transformers for Dancing 

Google Research published a paper proposing a cross-modal transformer architecture for mimicking dance motions →read more on Google Research blog

Delivering Packages with Extreme Accuracy 

Amazon Research published a paper proposing a technique called learning-to-rank to estimate the exact delivery of GPS packages →read more on Amazon Research blog

🛠 Real World ML

TensorFlow at Waze 

The Waze ML team published a detailed blog post discussing the architecture powering ML workflows at the transportation startup →read more on TensorFlow blog

Data Protection at Airbnb 

The Airbnb engineering team published a blog post detailing the architecture used to protect datasets across different workloads →read more on Airbnb blog

✏️ A Survey: Data Labeling for ML, part 2

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🤖 Cool AI Tech Releases

TensorFlow Similarity 

The TensorFlow team released TensorFlow Similarity, a library that uses contrastive learning to detect similarities between objects →read more on TensorFlow blog

New DataRobot Release 

DataRobot Announced the New Release of its AI Cloud Platform that streamlines the creation of ML pipelines →read more on DataRobot blog

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💸 Money in AI



  • Ecommerce personalization startup Constructor raised $55 million in a Series A round led by Silversmith Capital Partners. Hiring in San Francisco, US.

  • Technical assessment company CodeSignal raised $50 million in a Series C round led by Index Ventures. Hiring in Armenia and remote.

  • Marketing infrastructure startup Pyxis One raised $17 million in a Series B funding round co-led by Celesta Capital and Premji Invest.

  • Medical language intelligence platform Sorcero raised $10 million in a Series A round led by CityRock Venture Partners. Hiring in Washington, DC, and remote.

  • Sales intelligence startup Aircover raised $3 million in a seed funding round led by Defy Partners. Hiring in San Francisco, US/remote.

  • Heart scanning and reporting platform HeartLab raised $2.45 million in a seed round led by Silicon Valley’s Founders Fund. Hiring on Aukland, NZ.