Facebook acquires British AI firm Deeptide Ltd

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Typically, when a corporation as large as Facebook acquires a startup, it becomes international news. However, last December, the world’s largest social network quietly purchased British artificial intelligence (AI) firm Deeptide Ltd. Indeed, the transaction only became public knowledge via a regulatory filing and a Medium blog post.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook paid around $40 million for its latest subsidiary.

Deeptide’s AI Research Resources

Notably, DeepTide, which operated under the name Atlas ML, didn’t specialize in developing new AI solutions. Instead, the firm provided resources to firms interested in the latest developments in the machine learning (ML) sector.

To that end, the firm hosted a service called Papers with Code, a free and open repository of ML code, evaluation tables, and papers. Through it, users can gain access to more than 18,000 artificial intelligence-related reports and more than 1,000 tasks. Moreover, the site gives visitors the ability to download the data it has gathered via a Creative Commons license.

Deeptide also created a companion site to Papers with Code named sotabench. The no-cost service performs benchmarking functions for open-source ML projects hosted by GitHub. The free platform is open to anyone and allows users to compare their projects with “other repositories on equal footing.”

In a blog post, DeepTide CEO Robert Stojnic explained his firm is merging with Facebook to expedite its growth. The executive also noted the social network’s commitment to open access coding and modeling as motivators for the tie-up. Stojnic said Papers with Code would remain “neutral, open, and free” despite having a new corporate parent.

Facebook’s Other Recent British AI Acquisitions

Recently, Facebook has been on something of an acquisition spree within the British AI market.

In 2018, the Silicon Valley giant bought a startup called Bloomsbury AI. Before being snapped up, the firm designed programs that allowed users to build their own question-answering algorithms. At the time, the social network explained it bought the startup to bolster its natural language processing capability.

Though neither firm disclosed financial terms of the deal, Facebook reportedly spent $23 million to $30 million on Bloomsbury AI.

In addition, the Big Tech firm acquired a computer vision startup called Scape Technologies earlier this month. The firm’s main product had been “Visual Positioning Service,” a technology that allowed camera-equipped machines better than GPS location accuracy. Though the platform had applications in logistics and robotics, Scape intended it for use in augmented reality systems.

TechCrunch said Facebook spent around $40 million to buy its latest computer vision property.

Notably, Facebook’s AI division unveiled a mapless route-finding robot last month. Moreover, last December, The Burn-In reported the corporation is in the process of developing an augmented reality headset.

At present, Facebook derives most of its revenue from its highly sophisticated digital advertising apparatus. But with its recent spate of acquisitions, it’s clear the company has ambitions for the AI/ML field. Though the precise nature of its non-core projects is somewhat unclear, its size and capitalization indicate that its entrance into the sector will be game-changing.


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