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Google faces internal battle over research on AI to speed chip design

Google's research unit has faced scrutiny since late 2020 after workers lodged open critiques about its handling of personnel complaints and publication practices

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Google faces internal battle over research on AI to speed chip design
GNN Media: Representational Photo

OAKLAND: Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google said on Monday it had recently fired a senior engineering manager after colleagues, whose landmark research on artificial intelligence software he had been trying to discredit, accused him of harassing behavior.

The dispute, which stems from efforts to automate chip design, threatens to undermine the reputation of Google's research in the academic community. It also could disrupt the flow of millions of dollars in government grants for research into AI and chips.

Google's research unit has faced scrutiny since late 2020 after workers lodged open critiques about its handling of personnel complaints and publication practices.

The new episode emerged after the scientific journal Nature in June published "A graph placement methodology for fast chip design," led by Google scientists Azalia Mirhoseini and Anna Goldie. They discovered that AI could complete a key step in the design process for chips, known as floorplanning, faster and better than an unspecified human expert, a subjective reference point.

But other Google colleagues in a paper that was anonymously posted online in March - "Stronger Baselines for Evaluating Deep Reinforcement Learning in Chip Placement" - found that two alternative approaches based on basic software outperform the AI. One beat it on a well-known test, and the other on a proprietary Google rubric.

Google declined to comment on the leaked draft, but two workers confirmed its authenticity.

The company said it refused to publish Stronger Baselines because it did not meet its standards, and soon after fired Satrajit Chatterjee, a leading driver of the work. It declined to say why it fired him.

"It’s unfortunate that Google has taken this turn," said Laurie Burgess, an attorney for Chatterjee. "It was always his goal to have transparency about the science, and he urged over the course of two years for Google to address this."

Google researcher Goldie told the New York Times, which on Monday first reported the firing, that Chatterjee had harassed her and Mirhoseini for years by spreading misinformation about them.

Burgess denied the allegations, and added that Chatterjee did not leak Stronger Baselines.

Patrick Madden, an associate professor focused on chip design at Binghamton University who has read both papers, said he had never seen a paper before the one in Nature that lacked a good comparison point.

"It's like a reference problem: Everyone gets the same jigsaw puzzle pieces and you can compare how close you come to getting everything right," he said. "If they were to produce results on some standard benchmark and they were stellar, I would sing their praises."

Google said the comparison to a human was more relevant and that software licensing issues had prevented it from mentioning tests.

Studies by big institutions such as Google in well-known journals can have an outsized influence on whether similar projects are funded in the industry. One Google researcher said the leaked paper had unfairly opened the door to questions about the credibility of any work published by the company.

After "Stronger Baselines" emerged online, Zoubin Ghahramani, a vice president at Google Research, wrote on Twitter last month that "Google stands by this work published in Nature on ML for Chip Design, which has been independently replicated, open-sourced, and used in production at Google."

Nature, citing a UK public holiday, did not have immediate comment. Madden said he hoped Nature would revisit the publication, noting that peer reviewer notes show at least one asked for results on benchmarks.

"Somehow, that never happened," he said

 

 

SOURCE: REUTERS

 

Adeel Daniel

Adeel Daniel is a Passionate journalist who has many years of diversified experience in print, electronic and digital media. He has previously worked with other renowned TV channels as well as English news papers. Now he is a part of the GNN Network.

World

Death toll from Iran tower block collapse rises to 18

The number of people still trapped under the rubble remains unclear.

Published by Mehak Javed

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Death toll from Iran tower block collapse rises to 18

Tehran: Iranian authorities announced Thursday that 18 people were killed in the collapse of a building under construction in southwestern Iran, in a new toll after four days of the tragedy. 

On Monday, a large part of the 10-storey "Metropol" building under construction collapsed in Abadan, one of the main cities in Iran's Khuzestan province. The building is located in the middle of one of the busiest streets in the city of 230,000 people.

The number of people still trapped under the rubble remains unclear.

The cause of the collapse, which occurred during a sandstorm, is yet to be ascertained. 

Police, however, arrested the owner of the building and the project manager of the construction company that built it.

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Pakistan

Pakistan and Iran should tap vast scope in bilateral trade, economic cooperation: Bilawal

In meeting with his Iranian counterpart the foreign minister underscores the importance of the earliest completion of border markets to improve livelihood in the border region

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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Pakistan and Iran should tap vast scope in bilateral trade, economic cooperation: Bilawal

Davos: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Thursday emphasized that Pakistan and Iran should tap the existing vast scope in bilateral trade and economic cooperation through various institutional mechanisms and innovative ways to identify new sectors.

The foreign minister, in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Dr. Hossein Amir Abdollahian, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, reaffirmed Pakistan’s desire to strengthen Pak-Iran fraternal ties in all areas of mutual interest.

He underscored the importance of the earliest completion of border markets to improve livelihood in the border region.

The foreign minister appreciated Iran’s steadfast support for the Kashmir cause, especially at the Supreme Leader level.

Foreign Minister Bilawal also thanked Foreign Minister Abdollahian for sending an Iranian aircraft to Pakistan which helped in extinguishing the forest fire in Balochistan.

In the context of the situation in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari noted that as neighbours, Pakistan and Iran had been closely coordinating.

He underlined that sustained engagement between the international community and the Interim Afghan government was critical to advance shared objectives of peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Abdollahian extended an invitation to the foreign minister to undertake a visit to Iran.

SOURCE: APP

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Sports

Former Pakistan Pacer Umar Gul Appointed Bowling Coach

The 37-year-old is widely regarded as one of the finest pacers, particularly in T20 cricket

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Former Pakistan Pacer Umar Gul Appointed Bowling Coach

Kabul: Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has appointed former Pakistan speedster, Umar Gul, for a period of one year. Gul’s first assignment with the Afghanistan side will be on their limited-overs tour of Zimbabwe next month.

The former pacer has earlier worked with the board as a bowling consultant for their three-week training camp held in Dubai in April alongside mate Younis Khan as the batting coach.

However, on seeing his performance with the team, ACB is delighted to announce the extension in the role.

This will be Gul’s first coaching assignment in international cricket after serving as the bowling coach of Quetta Gladiators in the 2021 season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

The 37-year-old is widely regarded as one of the finest pacers, particularly in T20 cricket. Gul had an exceptional record in T20Is as he picked up 85 wickets at an average of 16.97 and an economy rate of 7.19 in 60 matches in a T20I career spanning almost 9 years. Gul retired from all forms of cricket in 2019 and has since worked as a coach.

The former pacer has previously coached in Pakistan’s premier T20 tournament, Pakistan Super League (PSL), as a bowling coach for Quetta Gladiators. He has also worked as a coach in the Kashmir Premier League (KPL) and was the head coach of Galle Gladiators in the previous edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL).

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