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Why code testing startup Nova AI uses open source LLMs more often than OpenAI

It is a universal truth of human nature that the developers who create the code mustn’t be those who test it. First, most of them despise this task. Second, as with all good audit trail, those doing the work mustn’t be those reviewing it.

Not surprisingly, code testing in all its forms – usability, language or task-specific testing, end-to-end testing – is a spotlight of a growing variety of generative AI startups. Every week TechCrunch reports on one other like Antithesis ($47 million raised), CodiumAI (raised $11 million) And QA Wolf ($20 million raised). And recent ones are popping up on a regular basis, just like the recent Y Combinator graduate Momentary.

Another is a one-year startup New AI, an Unusual Academy accelerator graduate who raised a $1 million pre-seed round. It's attempting to outdo its competitors with its end-to-end testing tools by breaking a lot of Silicon Valley's rules about how startups should operate, founder/CEO Zach Smith tells TechCrunch.

While Y Combinator's standard approach is to start out small, Nova AI targets medium to large corporations with complex codebases and an urgent need. Smith declined to call customers who were using or testing his product, except to say they were mostly late-stage (Series C or higher) venture-backed startups in e-commerce, fintech or consumer products and “intensive user experiences”. Downtime for these functions is dear.”

Nova AI's technology scans its customers' code to robotically create tests using GenAI. It is especially aimed toward continuous integration and continuous deployment/deployment (CI/CD) environments where engineers are continually integrating bits and pieces into their production code.

The idea for Nova AI arose from the experiences Smith and his co-founder Jeffrey Shih had while working as engineers for giant technology corporations. Smith is a former Google worker who worked on cloud-related teams that helped customers leverage many automation technologies. Shih previously worked at Meta (previously also at Unity and Microsoft) with a rare AI specialty involving synthetic data. It has since added a 3rd co-founder, an AI data scientist Henry Li.

There's one other rule Nova AI doesn't follow: While quite a few AI startups construct on OpenAI's industry-leading GPT, Nova AI uses OpenAI's GPT-4 chat as little as possible. No customer data is passed on to OpenAI.

While OpenAI guarantees that the info of those that have a paid marketing strategy will not be used to coach its models, corporations still don't trust OpenAI, says Smith. “When we check with large corporations, they are saying, 'We don't want our data going into OpenAI,'” Smith said.

It's not only the engineering teams of enormous corporations who see it this manner. OpenAI is fighting back keeping off quite a few lawsuits by those that don’t want their work for use to coach models, or who imagine that their work will find yourself in the outcomes without authorization and unpaid.

Nova AI as a substitute relies heavily on open source models like Llama, developed by Meta and StarCoder (from the BigCoder community developed by ServiceNow and Hugging Face) in addition to creating your personal models. They aren't using Google's Gemma with clients yet, but have tested it and “seen good results,” Smith says.

For example, he explains that OpenAI offers models for vector embeddings. Vector embeddings translate blocks of text into numbers, allowing the LLM to perform various operations comparable to: B. Group them with other similar blocks of text. Nova AI doesn’t use OpenAI's embeds and as a substitute uses open source on the client's source code. It uses OpenAI Tools are only there to generate code and do some labeling tasks, and that's the case We go to great lengths to not send customer data to OpenAI.

“In this case, as a substitute of using OpenAI's embedding models, we leverage our own open source embedding models in order that when we want to undergo each file, we don't just send it to OpenAI,” Smith explained.

Smith has found that not having to submit customer data to OpenAI appeases nervous corporations, but open source AI models are also cheaper and greater than adequate for targeted, specific tasks. In this case, they’re good for writing tests.

“The open LLM industry is actually proving that in the event you go very narrowly, it could possibly beat GPT 4 and these big domain providers,” he said. “We don’t need to offer an enormous model that may inform you what your grandma wants for her birthday. Right? We have to jot down a test. And that's it. That’s why our models are specially tailored to this.”

Open source models are also advancing rapidly. For example, Meta recently unveiled a new edition of Llama that’s gaining widespread recognition in tech circles and will potentially persuade more AI startups to search for OpenAI alternatives.


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