US NIST Initiates AI Safety Consortium to Promote Trustworthy AI Development

The United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), under the Department of Commerce, has taken a significant stride towards fostering a safe and trustworthy environment for Artificial Intelligence (AI) through the inception of the Artificial Intelligence Safety Institute Consortium (“Consortium”). The Consortium’s formation was announced in a notice published on November 2, 2023, by NIST, marking a collaborative effort to set up a new measurement science for identifying scalable and proven techniques and metrics. These metrics are aimed at advancing the development and responsible utilization of AI, especially concerning advanced AI systems like the most capable foundation models.

Consortium Objective and Collaboration

The core objective of the Consortium is to navigate the extensive risks posed by AI technologies and to shield the public while encouraging innovative AI technological advancements. NIST seeks to leverage the broader community’s interests and capabilities, aiming at identifying proven, scalable, and interoperable measurements and methodologies for the responsible use and development of trustworthy AI.

Engagement in collaborative Research and Development (R&D), shared projects, and the evaluation of test systems and prototypes are among the key activities outlined for the Consortium. The collective effort is in response to the Executive Order titled “The Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence,” dated October 30, 2023, which underlined a broad set of priorities relevant to AI safety and trust.

Call for Participation and Cooperation

To achieve these objectives, NIST has opened the doors for interested organizations to share their technical expertise, products, data, and/or models through the AI Risk Management Framework (AI RMF). The invitation for letters of interest is part of NIST’s initiative to collaborate with non-profit organizations, universities, government agencies, and technology companies. The collaborative activities within the Consortium are expected to commence no earlier than December 4, 2023, once a sufficient number of completed and signed letters of interest are received. Participation is open to all organizations that can contribute to the Consortium’s activities, with selected participants required to enter into a Consortium Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with NIST.

Addressing AI Safety Challenges

The establishment of the Consortium is viewed as a positive step towards catching up with other developed nations in setting up regulations governing AI development, particularly in the realms of user and citizen privacy, security, and unintended consequences. The move reflects a milestone under President Joe Biden’s administration towards adopting specific policies to manage AI in the United States.

The Consortium will be instrumental in developing new guidelines, tools, methods, and best practices to facilitate the evolution of industry standards for developing or deploying AI in a safe, secure, and trustworthy manner. It is poised to play a critical role at a pivotal time, not only for AI technologists but for society, in ensuring that AI aligns with societal norms and values while promoting innovation.

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Voltage Park’s $1 Billion Cloud Infrastructure Targets ML Compute Shortage

In an ambitious endeavor to bridge the ML (Machine Learning) compute gap, Voltage Park unveiled a formidable cloud infrastructure for AI development on October 29, 2023. The current market scenario is gripped by a severe shortfall in advanced ML compute resources, with startups, researchers, and large AI labs vying to acquire or lease the latest chips for ML training. This scarcity, favoring only the well-resourced, significantly stifles innovation across the board.

Eric Park, the CEO of Voltage Park, underscored the adverse impacts of this compute shortage on AI innovators, stating, “ML teams and AI founders have to wait months or pay exorbitant sums to access the latest hardware to train their models. We hope to redress this imbalance and accelerate cutting-edge work in AI.”

Navigating the ML Compute Quagmire

The ML compute market is beleaguered with numerous challenges:

Long-Term Contracts: Most providers enforce rigid contracts, obliging companies to lease large compute clusters for multiple years—a scenario far from ideal for smaller entities desiring more flexibility.

Availability: Extended lead times for those able to purchase keep them waiting while competitors advance.

Cost: Hefty GPU rental rates from major cloud providers often become prohibitive for startups and research labs, more so for teams engrossed in larger models where cost efficiency is crucial.

Unveiling Voltage Park’s Cloud Expanse

Touted among the largest ML compute clouds globally, Voltage Park’s infrastructure, valued at a whopping $1 billion, encompasses approximately 24,000 NVIDIA H100 GPUs. The clusters, equipped with 80GB H100 SXM5 GPUs, are fully interconnected with 3.2T InfiniBand, initially offering bare-metal access for large-scale users in need of peak performance. The roadmap includes extending support for short-term leases and hourly billing, alongside incorporating tools like Slurm, Kubernetes, and Mosaic for seamless integration into existing training frameworks.

Voltage Park, a subsidiary of the Navigation Fund founded by Ripple co-founder Jed McCaleb, has already initiated service to prominent AI firms like Imbue and is in the finalization stages for other AI leaders like and Atomic AI. The entire compute capacity is slated to be operational by early next year.

Kanjun Qiu, CEO of Imbue, commended Voltage Park for facilitating quicker access to crucial compute resources, thereby substantially bolstering their model training performance.

As the infrastructure continues to unfold, Voltage Park is soliciting feedback from potential customers to tailor the clusters to accommodate a myriad of use cases, ranging from experimentation, training, fine-tuning, to inference.

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DFINITY Unveils $20 Million ICP Asia Alliance to Propel Web3 Adoption

On September 28, 2023, the DFINITY Foundation, a non-profit R&D entity and a significant player in the Internet Computer Protocol (ICP) blockchain sphere, launched the ICP Asia Alliance and initiated a $20 million grant fund to bolster blockchain and AI endeavors in Asia. The alliance, rooted in Zurich and Hong Kong, focuses on promoting Internet Computer blockchain uptake, nurturing collaborations, and catalyzing innovation within the booming Web3 and AI domain in Asia.

The ICP Asia Alliance emerges as a catalyst for a robust Web3 and AI ecosystem in Asia, aspiring to aggregate a myriad of stakeholders like government bodies, investors, tech innovators, academia, developers, and community constituents. The platform it establishes aims at incubating education, innovation, and collaboration, thus enabling entities and individuals to leverage the transformative attributes of Web3 and AI technologies.

DFINITY’s Founder and Chief Scientist, Dominic Williams highlighted Asia’s growing significance in the web3 ecosystem, noting the region’s early support for ICP and DFINITY. He acknowledged the prowess of Asian developers and recognized Hong Kong’s evolving stature as a global cryptocurrency nexus, driven by progressive governmental web3 initiatives, making it an apt launchpad for the ICP Asia Alliance.

The escalating trend of web3 and blockchain entities extending their footprint in Asia underscores the region’s ascending role as a global hub for blockchain and web3 innovation. The conducive regulatory ambiance in financial epicenters like Hong Kong and Singapore further accentuates the sector’s growth trajectory. The grant fund via the ICP Asia Alliance is envisaged to unlock the potential of Asian developers in sculpting the future of web3 on the Internet Computer.

DFINITY’s resolve to nurture growth in the region is epitomized by the inception of numerous ICP.Hubs across Asia, including in territories like Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Indonesia, and Singapore, since the year’s onset. These hubs are pivotal in fostering a burgeoning ICP community, encompassing efforts in education, strategic alliances, and project acceleration. They are poised to collaborate intimately with Alliance members in crafting ICP solutions across key regions. Alongside, DFINITY is on course to forge strategic affiliations with diverse institutions and organizations across Asia, poised to join the Alliance soon.

The ICP Asia Alliance is devoted to inclusivity, offering support for projects and amalgamating community members, developers, entrepreneurs, and educational establishments, thereby playing a crucial role in expediting the Internet Computer blockchain technology adoption across Asia.

The DFINITY Foundation, with a vision to decentralize cloud computing, is a vanguard in the cryptographic and distributed computing realm. By creating the Internet Computer, the foundation epitomizes a significant contributor to this network, advancing its mission in a burgeoning digital landscape.

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Elon Musk Moves Forward with AI Plans for Twitter

Elon Musk, the chief executive officer of SpaceX, Tesla, and Twitter (as of October 2022), has made news for his attempts to limit the development of artificial intelligence owing to fears about the influence AI would have on society. In spite of this, it would seem that Musk is proceeding with his own ideas for AI infrastructure. An article published by Business Insider claims that Elon Musk has acquired roughly 10,000 graphics processing units (GPUs) for the purpose of implementing an artificial intelligence project at Twitter.

As a result of the vast amount of compute power needed by the technology, it is common practice for large-scale AI models to make use of graphics processing units (GPUs). Prior to this, on March 18, 2018, Musk stated that the business will employ AI to “detect & highlight manipulation of public opinion” on Twitter. According to unnamed individuals acquainted with the firm, the procurement of such a large amount of graphics processing units (GPUs) demonstrates that Musk is devoted to this initiative. In addition, the sources disclosed that the project makes use of a substantial language model; nonetheless, the precise function of generative AI at Twitter is yet unknown.

Twitter has just just added two new engineers who both have substantial experience working in AI, in addition to the GPU purchase. After working at DeepMind, an artificial intelligence research unit of Alphabet, which is the parent company of Google, Igor Babuschkin and Manuel Kroiss joined Elon Musk’s team. These new advances come only a few short weeks after Elon Musk signed an open letter, along with hundreds of other experts working in the technology area, asking for a temporary pause to the development of artificial intelligence due to the threats it presents to mankind.

Musk has been quite open about his fears surrounding artificial intelligence, and he has in the past cautioned regulatory bodies that AI research needs to be controlled “before it’s too late.” It seems that he is adopting a proactive approach to the development of artificial intelligence technology, as shown by the fact that he has acquired AI expertise at Twitter and has also purchased GPUs. Although it has been claimed that the project is still in its early phases, Musk’s devotion to it suggests that he has no intention of slowing down in his attempts to enhance AI infrastructure.


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