Amazon Partners With Microsoft to Release 'Gluon' Deep Learning Library

Satya Nadella and Jeff Bezos

Satya Nadella and Jeff Bezos

Gluon, a new open source deep learning interface meant to allow developers to more easily and quickly build machine learning models has been announced in a joint statement from Amazon and Microsoft.

According to a report in ZDNet, the interface would give developers a place where they can prototype, build, train and deploy machine learning models. However, these engines require developers to define the models and algorithms up-front using lengthy, complex code that is hard to change. AWS and Microsoft published Gluon's reference specification so other deep learning engines can be integrated with the interface.

The interface is provided in the form of a Python API and can be used to build neural networks under the Apache 2.0 license and it works with Apache MXNet and will also support Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit in an upcoming release. Support for Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit is expected in the near future. Fourth, it provides these benefits without slowing down the training process.

The Gluon interface now works with the deep learning framework Apache MXNet and will support Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK) in an upcoming release. "Today's reality is that building and training machine learning models requires a great deal of heavy lifting and specialized expertise", said Swami Sivasubramanian, VP of Amazon AI. We created the Gluon interface so building neural networks and training models can be as easy as building an app.

"We believe it is important for the industry to work together and pool resources to build technology that benefits the broader community", said Eric Boyd, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft AI and Research. Based on this, we got talking, and found we had a similar vision: "to use these techniques to reduce the complexity of machine learning, making it accessible to more developers", said Matt Wood, AWS general manager of AI, in a blog post. "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".

Gluon is not the first time that AWS and Microsoft have collaborated around AI; in August, the two companies agreed to let their respective voice-responsive digital assistants, Alexa and Cortana, interact with each other in a bid to improve productivity for their customers.

A factor in common with these joint ventures may be to try to keep ahead, abreast or at least in the same ballpark as Google, which with its search capabilities, TensorFlow and Deep Mind is in a position to dominate AI.

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