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Facebook today announced the launch of the PyTorch Enterprise Support Program, which enables service providers to develop and offer tailored enterprise-grade support to their customers. Facebook says the new offering, built in collaboration with Microsoft, was created in direct response to feedback from PyTorch enterprise users developing models in production for mission-critical apps.

PyTorch, which Facebook publicly released in January 2017, is an open source machine learning library based on Torch, a scientific computing framework and script language that is in turn based on the Lua programming language. While TensorFlow has been around slightly longer (since November 2015), PyTorch continues to see rapid uptake in the data science and developer community. It claimed one of the top spots for fast-growing open source projects last year, according to GitHub’s 2018 Octoverse report, and Facebook recently revealed that in 2019 the number of contributors on the platform grew more than 50% year-over-year to nearly 1,200.

The PyTorch Enterprise Support Program is available to any service provider and “designed [to] mutually benefit all program participants by sharing and improving PyTorch long-term support (LTS),” Facebook says — including contributions of hotfixes and other improvements found while working with customers and on their systems. To benefit the open source community, hotfixes that participants develop will be tested and fed back to the LTS releases of PyTorch regularly through PyTorch’s pull request process.

The standard way of researching and deploying with different release versions of PyTorch won’t change with the PyTorch Enterprise Support Program. But to participate, service providers must apply and meet a set of program terms and certification requirements. Once accepted, the service provider becomes a program participant and can offer a packaged PyTorch Enterprise support service with LTS, prioritized troubleshooting, useful integrations, and more.

As one of the founding members of the PyTorch Enterprise Support Program, Microsoft is launching PyTorch Enterprise on Microsoft Azure to support each release, as long as it’s current, and selected releases for up to two years. Microsoft Premier and Unified Support customers can access prioritized troubleshooting for hotfixes, bugs, and security patches, and Microsoft says it will “extensively” test PyTorch future releases for any performance regressions.

The latest release of PyTorch will be integrated with Azure Machine Learning and other PyTorch add-ons, including ONNX Runtime for faster inference. Microsoft teamed up with Facebook to create ONNX in 2017 to fuel interoperability across AI hardware like semiconductors and software like machine learning frameworks.

The launch of the PyTorch Enterprise Support Program comes after Microsoft expanded its participation in PyTorch to take ownership of the development and maintenance of the PyTorch build for Windows. The aim is to bring the experience on Windows in line with other platforms, like Linux. Historically, PyTorch on Windows has lagged behind due to a lack of test coverage, a convoluted installation experience, and missing functionality.

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