Microsoft and AWS partner to help all developers tap into machine learning

James Marshall
October 12, 2017

The library gives developers an interface where they can prototype, build, train and deploy machine learning models for cloud and mobile apps, the companies explained in a joint press release.

It works by providing a consistent interface for creating machine learning models using a variety of pre-built and highly optimized components. Gluon should make it easier for developers to build neural networks using simple, concise code. Thanks to a jointly developed reference specification, Gluon will also work on any deep learning engine, with support for Apache MXNet available today and support for Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit coming soon. To get around this, some deep learning engines like Microsoft's Cognitive Toolkit and Google's TensorFlow offer training optimisations to improve performance.

"The potential of machine learning can only be realized if it is accessible to all developers", said Swami Sivasubramanian, vice president of Amazon AI, in prepared remarks. Microsoft and Amazon said in a joint press release today that building machine learning models can be very hard, requires a lot of time and processing power. The library provides a "concise and easy-to-understand" programming interface that will allow developers to build machine learning models for use on the cloud, smartphones, and more.

This isn't the first time the two tech giants have partnered on AI.

"I rarely see software engineering abstraction principles and numerical machine learning playing well together - and something that may look good in a tutorial could be hundreds of lines of code", said Andrew Moore, dean of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.

It's not clear if today's news is a direct result of either of those initiatives, but it seems more likely of another trend.

Eric Boyd, corporate vice president of Microsoft AI and Research, said it was important for the industry to work together and pool resources to build technology that benefits the broader community.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are set to become an even bigger part of the technology and apps that we use on a day-to-day basis, and Microsoft and Amazon are hoping that Gluon will give developers a leg up.

Gluon is available today, and you can check it out on GitHub here. "To make this happen we need to put the right tools in the right hands, and the Gluon interface is a step in this direction". We are asking the companies for comment and will continue to update this story with more information.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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