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Microsoft is taking this Windows 10 Linux tool back from...Facebook?

(Image credit: Pixabay)

Microsoft has revealed it has taken control of a popular open-source machine learning library for Windows 10 Linux systems that was originally created by Facebook.

Used by developers across Linux and Windows, the PyTorch AI library, which lets developers harness Python-powered machine-learning tools, was launched by the social network back in 2017, before being open-sourced a year later. 

Microsoft says that its role as the new maintainer of the Windows version of PyTorch will lead to greater performance on both Windows 10 PCs and the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), which developers can use to run Linux distributions on Windows 10.

Windows 10 Linux

As well as helping developers create and evolve AI learning models, PyTorch had played a central role in many Facebook services, with use cases such as language translation and dynamic graphs.

The system has also seen huge growth on GitHub (which is owned by Microsoft) in recent months, which may have helped influenced the change.

In a blog post explaining the move, which coincided with the release of PyTorch 1.6, Facebook and Microsoft engineers noted that a lack of sufficient support helped prompt the decision, especially with Windows remaining the primary operating system for developers.

"Lack of test coverage resulted in unexpected issues popping up every now and then. Some of the core tutorials, meant for new users to learn and adopt PyTorch, would fail to run."

"The installation experience was also not as smooth, with the lack of official PyPI support for PyTorch on Windows. Lastly, some of the PyTorch functionality was simply not available on the Windows platform, such as the TorchAudio domain library and distributed training support.

"To help alleviate this pain, Microsoft is happy to bring its Windows expertise to the table and bring PyTorch on Windows to its best possible self."

The change should also help improve new GPU-accelerated machine-learning training on WSL, coming shortly after the news that Microsoft is bringing graphics processor support to Linux on Windows 10 through WSL. 

This was followed by Nvidia, Intel and AMD also announcing support for the effort as well, with Microsoft hoping that the move will enhance machine learning training on WSL.

Via ZDNet