Algorithmia, a Seattle-based company, which offers services that enable the creation of applications through the use of community contributed machine learning models, recently announced the launch of DanKu, a new blockchain-based protocol for evaluating and purchasing machine learning (ML) models on a public blockchain such as Ethereum. The company’s slogan is “Facebook has FBLearner, Uber has Michaelangelo, Google has TFX, You have Algorithmia.”
To encourage adoption of DanKu, Algorithmia has announced a competition where the winning team will be rewarded with 5 Ethereum tokens. The competition involves creating the most accurate algorithm for determining voter preferences in the last US presidential election in a detailed manner. The contest will last for 60 days. The team that submits the most accurate model will be declared as the winner.
The competition announced by Algorithmia is actually a proof-of-concept test of a system that enables anyone to create their own smart contract and invite a custom machine learning model to solve a particular problem.
DanKu enables anyone to get access to high quality, objectively measured machine learning models. The DanKu protocol utilizes blockchain technology via smart contracts.
The contract allows anyone to post a data set, an evaluation function, and a monetary reward for anyone who can provide the best trained machine learning model for the data. Participants train deep neural networks to model the data, and submit their trained networks to the blockchain.
The blockchain executes these neural network models to evaluate submissions, and ensure that payment goes to the best model. The machines powering the Ethereum blockchain will do the necessary computation to test a model. This means both model and task creators will have a clear verification of results, without a need to trust each other. As soon as a winner is selected, the contract’s creator will automatically receive the winning trained machine model, while the developer will receive the payment.
The contract allows for the creation of a decentralized and trustless marketplace for exchanging ML models. This gives ML practitioners an opportunity to monetize their skills directly. It also allows any participant or organization to solicit machine learning models from all over the world. This will incentivize the creation of better machine learning models, and make AI more accessible to companies and software agents. Anyone with a dataset, including software agents can create DanKu contracts.
Algorithmia cofounder and CEO Diego Oppenheimer said in an interview with VentureBeat that his company believes their development of the DanKu system (named after two Algorithmia engineers who created it) was the first time neural network inference had been run on top of Ethereum.