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An overview of how Algorithmia’s AI Layer product works. (Algorithmia Image)

Algorithmia is adding a new service alongside its marketplace for artificial intelligence algorithms that helps data scientists focus on their work, rather than infrastructure.

The company’s new AI Layer product allows AI experts to let Algorithmia deploy their models on the infrastructure of their choice, potentially solving what CEO Diego Oppenheimer called “the last mile” problem in AI research in an interview earlier this week. He envisions AI Layer as something data scientists at big companies can use to get their models up and running faster than just sending them down to operations, or that smaller companies can use to avoid wasting the time of very expensive AI researchers on troubleshooting compute infrastructure.

“The people who are typically doing machine learning and data science are typically not the people who have been doing production internet-type systems,” Oppenheimer said. “It’s a mismatch of skillsets” and it works both ways; production operators sometimes need to rewrite code to make it work on their infrastructure, and that can mess up sensitive AI research models, he said.

There are two levels of service: Serverless AI Layer is hosted on Algorithmia’s cloud service, and Enterprise AI Layer involves having the company’s engineers deploy the data model on the public cloud vendor of your choice or internal infrastructure. The startup has been working on the service for three years, Oppenheimer said, and this is its first major product expansion beyond its marketplace for AI algorithms.

He hopes companies will find value in keeping their data scientists happy while giving their operations people time to learn how to work with data science models at scale. “Any time you have (people) doing something they’re not the experts on, you’re burning money,” he said.

Algorithmia has raised $12.9 million in funding, most recently in June when Google’s new AI investment arm Gradient Ventures took a stake in the company worth $10.5 million. GeekWire readers probably remember Oppenheimer’s talk last June at our Cloud Tech Summit, a video of which follows below.

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