Need some AI? Post your data onto the blockchain

A new marketplace offering AI solutions can now be found on a blockchain, with the service's launch marked by a competition.
3 April 2018

The Ethereum blockchain is being used to bring together coders and those needing data processed. Source: Pexels

Seattle-based Algorithmia has launched a new service called DanKu, which allows anyone looking to process information via machine learning to post data onto the Ethereum blockchain to find a researcher who can help.

Capable machine learning experts will submit a suggested model, and the DanKu neural network will evaluate each entry and reward the best solution with Ether.

“This will incentivize the creation of better machine learning models, and make AI more accessible to companies and software agents,” the company said in a blog post.

“This is the first time that a neural network has been run entirely on the blockchain. This means that the blockchain doesn’t function only as a public ledger; it can also run the most advanced software in a completely decentralized and trustless manner. While many new blockchain technologies are taking advantage of the hot market for ICOs, Algorithmia’s DanKu protocol adds value to the existing Ethereum blockchain.”

Because of the open nature of the blockchain, each step of the process is open to scrutiny from all parties, removing the need for involvement of a third party – required even in Algorithmia’s existing marketplace.

The marketplace currently boasts in excess of 4,500 ML/AI models and 60,000 active users.

Algorithmia specializes in offering serverless AI computing which can be used to deploy complex machine learning algorithms in a more scalable fashion. Automatically-generated RESTful APIs are generated, and users pay by the second for service use, at levels determined by their requirements.

Part of Algorithmia’s credo is to take machine learning expertise out of the sphere of large IT companies who currently have the resources (i.e., powerful servers plus expert staff) to use the technology, and place it onto a blockchain platform, with serverless CPU/GPU power available for data processing.

The new blockchain-based, open market system for expertise can be trialed by interested parties, who can take part in a competition to predict the winner of a US County election using 2016 electoral return data. DanKu will evaluate each model on its submission and the prize for the winner is five Ether.

Algorithmia is something of a bright light in the AI industry, having received US$10.5 million series A funding from Google’s AI investment outfit in 2017.

Algorithms and models on Algorithmia include research from MIT, University of Washington, Carnegie Mellon University, University of California Berkeley, Caltech, the University of Texas at Austin, University of Tokyo and University of Toronto.