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People who started the LLM revolution

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In this article at OpenGenus, we will take a look at what the team of 8 people are doing today who where behind the revolutionary paper that triggered the growth of Large Language Models (LLM) like ChatGPT/ GPT-4 since 2017.

Table of contents:

  1. Introduction to LLM
  2. Start of LLM revolution
  3. Where are they today?

Introduction to LLM

LLM refer to Large Language Model. It powers popular AI tools like ChatGPT, GitHub Copilot and is the type of popular models like GPT-3.5, GPT-4, OpenAI CodeX and others.

It may seem like the AI revolution came out of nowhere but the reality is that this field was in active research since 1980s but minimal landmark progress was being made.

Till 2017, Deep Learning was doing good for Image based tasks like recognizing objects with CNN models but it was far from replacing human jobs. Suddenly, in 2023, with models like Google BART and OpenAI's GPT-4 and tools like ChatGPT, it may seem AI is close to replacing specific human jobs.

This sudden rise was trigger by one paper by Google in 2017 which was co-authored by 8 people.

Start of LLM revolution

The Large Language Revolution started in 2017 when the paper titled "Attention Is All You Need" was published by Google. This was a milestone.

It is widely considered to be the one of the two major architecture changes in Deep Learning since 1990s. The other major change was the work done on ResNet models (like ResNet50). The paper is unique as it invented the Transformer model and enabled transformers to scale to other AI problems like Image Generation and Computer Vision. The original problem was for Text Translation.

The paper also ranks as top 3 papers in the field of Deep Learning in terms of citations per year since 2017. The paper was published by Google in NeurIPS 2017 which is the most competitive Deep Learning Conference.

The paper was authored by 8 people of which 4 worked at Google Brain and rest 4 worked at Google Research. They are considered to have started the LLM revolution. They are:

  • Ashish Vaswani
  • Noam Shazeer
  • Niki Parmar
  • Jakob Uszkoreit
  • Llion Jones
  • Aidan N. Gomez
  • Lukasz Kaiser
  • Illia Polosukhin

Where are they today?

Following is the current state:

  • 7 out of 8 researchers have left Google.
  • Out of the 7, 6 have worked on their own startup. All startups have been successful in terms of funding.
  • 1 have left Google for a competitor namely OpenAI.
  • Only 1 of the original team of 8 is working at Google today.
  1. Illia Polosukhin was the first to leave Google in 2017. He founded a company named NEAR Protocol. It is a web3 startup and has raised $375M.

  2. Aidan Gomez left Google in 2019 and founded a company named Cohere. As of today, Cohere is one of the 4 leading companies in the field of LLMs and has raised $400M.

In 2020, no one of the remaining members left Google. In 2021, 5 other people from the team left Google.

  1. Ashish Vaswani and Niki Parmar left Google in 2021. They are co-founders of a company named Adept. The company focus on designing LLMs that replaces any GUI with Natural Language. It has raised $450M.

  2. Noam Shazeer left Google in 2021 and founded a company named Character.AI. The company focus on creating chatbots with different personalities. It has raised $200M.

  3. Jakob Uszkoreit left in 2021 and founded a company named Inceptive. It is an AI biotech company and has raised $20M.

  4. Lukasz Kaiser left in 2021 and joined OpenAI. He happens to be the only one who left for a competitor.

  5. Llion Jones is the only member from the original 2017 team who works at Google as of 2023.

Find the 8 members on LinkedIn:

With this article at OpenGenus, you must have a strong idea of where the original team who revolutionized the LLM field is today.

People who started the LLM revolution
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