Google Fires One other Researcher From Its AI Staff

Google mentioned on Monday it had just lately fired a senior engineering supervisor after colleagues, whose landmark analysis on synthetic intelligence software program he had been attempting to discredit, accused him of harassing behaviour.

The dispute, which stems from efforts to automate chip design, threatens to undermine the fame of Google’s analysis within the tutorial group. It additionally may disrupt the circulate of thousands and thousands of {dollars} in authorities grants for analysis into AI and chips.

Google’s analysis unit has confronted scrutiny since late 2020 after staff lodged open criticisms about its dealing with of personnel complaints and publication practices.

The brand new episode emerged after the scientific journal Nature in June revealed “A graph placement methodology for quick chip design,” led by Google scientists Azalia Mirhoseini and Anna Goldie. They found that AI may full a key step within the design course of for chips, often known as floorplanning, sooner and higher than an unspecified human skilled, a subjective reference level.

However different Google colleagues in a paper that was anonymously posted on-line in March — “Stronger Baselines for Evaluating Deep Reinforcement Studying in Chip Placement” — discovered that two various approaches primarily based on primary software program outperform the AI. One beat it on a well known check, and the opposite on a proprietary Google rubric.

Google declined to touch upon the leaked draft, however two staff confirmed its authenticity.

The corporate mentioned it refused to publish Stronger Baselines as a result of it didn’t meet its requirements, and shortly after fired Satrajit Chatterjee, a number one driver of the work. He declined to say why it fired him.

“It is unlucky that Google has taken this flip,” mentioned Laurie Burgess, an legal professional for Chatterjee. “It was at all times his aim to have transparency in regards to the science, and he was urged over the course of two years for Google to deal with this.”

Google researcher Goldie advised the New York Instances, 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 didn’t leak Stronger Baselines.

Patrick Madden, an affiliate professor centered on chip design at Binghamton College who has learn each papers, mentioned he had by no means seen a paper earlier than the one in Nature that lacked an excellent comparability level.

“It is like a reference downside: Everybody will get the identical jigsaw puzzle items, and you may examine how shut you come to getting the whole lot proper,” he mentioned. “In the event that they have been to supply outcomes on some commonplace benchmark they usually have been stellar, I might sing their praises.”

Google mentioned the comparability to a human was extra related and that software program licensing points had prevented it from mentioning assessments.

Research by massive establishments reminiscent of Google in well-known journals can have an outsized affect on whether or not comparable tasks are funded within the business. One Google researcher mentioned the leaked paper had unfairly opened the door to questions in regards to the credibility of any work revealed by the corporate.

After “Stronger Baselines” emerged on-line, Zoubin Ghahramani, a vp at Google Analysis, wrote on Twitter final month that “Google stands by this work revealed in Nature on ML for Chip Design, which has been independently replicated, open-sourced, and utilized in manufacturing at Google.”

Nature, citing a UK public vacation, didn’t have an instantaneous remark. Madden mentioned he hoped Nature would revisit the publication, noting that peer reviewer notes present not less than one requested for outcomes on benchmarks.

“By some means, that by no means occurred,” he mentioned.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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