May 24, 2017
At the end of Google I/O, the company unveiled a new program to give researchers access to the company’s most advanced machine learning technologies for free. The TensorFlow Research Cloud program, as it will be called, will be application based and open to anyone conducting research, rather than just members of academia.
If accepted, researchers will get access to a cluster of 1,000 Cloud TPUs for training and inference. Each cloud TPU will offer 180 teraflops of floating-point performance and 64GB of memory. Compute time will be allocated and limited depending on the particular approved project.
In exchange, Google is asking users to share their research in peer-reviewed publications and open-source code. If that level of openness isn’t your cup of tea, Google is also planning to launch a Cloud TPU Alpha program for internal, private sector, work.
The application for the program isn’t open yet, but Google is directing interested parties to fill out a form indicating interest. The questionnaire asks for basic information about the size of typical training sets, the time models typically take to train, your favored platforms for training models and the hardware you regularly use.
Eventually, decisions will be given out on a rolling basis. And even if you’re rejected, the company is encouraging all applicants to re-apply when new projects and needs surface.