Inflection.ai is a major AGI lab
Inflection.ai (co-founded by DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman) should be perceived as a frontier LLM lab of similar magnitude as Meta, OpenAI, DeepMind, and Anthropic based on their compute, valuation, current model capabilities, and plans to train frontier models. Compared to the other labs, Inflection seems to put less effort into AI safety.
Thanks to Laker Newhouse for discussion and feedback!
Inflection has a lot of compute dedicated to training LLMs
They plan to scale up their cluster to 3 times the capacity used to train GPT-4.
“We’ll be building a cluster of around 22,000 H100s. This is approximately three times more compute than what was used to train all of GPT4. Speed and scale are what’s going to really enable us to build a differentiated product,”
Side point: It seems that the actual H100s are (at least partly) owned by CoreWeave (a cloud compute provider), but that Inflection is one of CoreWeave’s main clients. The specific cluster is a joint effort between Inflection and CoreWeave.
Inflection has a lot of funding
Inflection is valued at $4B and has raised $1.5B, which is similar to Anthropic ($4.1B valuation, total raised $1.3B as of May 2023) and within an order of magnitude of OpenAI ($28B valuation, $11B raised as of April 2023).
Inflection is on the cutting edge of LLMs
They seem to be currently training a model similarly capable to GPT-4. I expect them to finish training by the end of the year.
Inflection plans to train frontier LLMs
They seem to plan to train models 10x or 100x the size of GPT-4 within 18 months.
(it is unclear if “we” refers to Inflection or humanity)
Inflection doesn’t seem to acknowledge existential risks or have a sizable safety team
If you look at their LinkedIn (which seems to list most of their current ~40 employees), zero of their employees are listed as working on AI safety at Inflection (one person has the word “safety” in their description but it’s unclear that it’s referring to their position at Inflection).
I think that this mostly means that the Inflection Safety team members list themselves as “Technical staff” or don’t have LinkedIns. But to me it seems like they have less than 5 people working on safety.
Appendix: Estimating Inflection’s compute
Here are some back-of-the-envelope calculations for Inflection’s current compute from three data sources. They result in estimates ranging around 2 orders of magnitude, centered around 4e18.
FLOPs = plural of “floating point operation (FLOP)”
FLOPS = floating point operations per second
The H100 route
From the H100 datasheet, it seems like different components of the H100 (of which, different models exist), have different amounts of FLOPS. I will simplify and assume one H100 provides an effective 10,000 teraFLOPS, which is 1e12 FLOPS. Inflection.ai currently has around 3.6 thousand H100s, which puts total FLOPS at 3.6e19.
The “train GPT-4 in 4 months when we triple our cluster” route
Inflection thinks they’ll be able to train GPT-4 with four months of cluster time once they triple their cluster size. This means they think they can train GPT-4 in one year of cluster time right now. Epoch thinks GPT-4 took 2.1e25 FLOPs to train, which puts Inflection’s current compute at 6.7e17 FLOPS.
The “11 minutes on the GPT-3 MLBench benchmark” route
Inflection can train GPT-3 up to 2.69 log perplexity on the C4 dataset in 11 minutes. What does this mean? I’m not sure, as I have found it hard to find any modern model’s log perplexity scores on that dataset. GPT-3′s log perplexity seems to be −1.73 on some dataset. GPT-2-1.5b’s log perplexity on another dataset seems to be around 3.3. Not sure what to make of that, but let’s assume Inflection can train GPT-2 in 11 minutes on their cluster. This would put their current compute at 2.3e18 FLOPS if we use the Epoch estimate of how much compute GPT-2 took to train.