The high-stakes battle between the United States and China for artificial intelligence supremacy has domestic lawmakers increasingly concerned about what losing out could mean for national security, the economy, and American prosperity.
However, as the world’s two largest economies pour resources into the race for field dominance, there is also collaboration at work. Indeed, some AI experts believe that cross-border collaboration is essential for making the most of computing advances.
Engineers from Microsoft and China’s ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, are working to advance that idea. They’re collaborating on software to help businesses run AI apps more efficiently through a project called KubeRay.
ByteDance software engineer Jiaxin Shan and Microsoft principal software engineer Ali Kanso discussed their progress with data scientists, machine learning experts, and other developers interested in building large applications using open source software called Ray at the Ray Summit this week in San Francisco.
Shan and Kanso went over the technical details of KubeRay and pitched the software as useful for powering AI apps that run on multiple computers, also known as distributed computing.
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“Jiaxin and I have been working on an open source project for about a year, and this is the beauty of a community gathering like this,” said Kanso, a Ph.D. in computer science. “We don’t work for the same company, but we meet and collaborate every week.”
According to his LinkedIn profile, Shan, who previously worked as a software engineer at Amazon Web Services, is based in the Seattle area, near Microsoft’s headquarters.
Companies frequently collaborate and share engineering resources to contribute to open source projects, which have grown in popularity in recent years and spawned a slew of startups. The Microsoft-ByteDance collaboration is noteworthy in light of the escalating rivalry between the United States and China in AI and intellectual property, as well as concerns about how technological advancements could be used for surveillance and privacy invasion.