Microsoft Eyes Visual Studio-Like Toolset for Machine Learning
ChaNa is a remote direct memory access (RDMA) optimized computation framework that is aimed at providing faster network performance. Early results show an order of magnitude improvement in performance, Lu's slides show. SCOPE, or Structured Computations Optimized for Parallel Execution, is a SQL-like language for scale-out data processing based on Dryad for optimizing joins. Dryad is a Microsoft technology that enables programmers to use the resources of a computer cluster or a data center for running data-parallel programs. "If Open Mind works as advertised, Microsoft will be making great, well-organized progress in helping to simplify enormously complex machine learning and deep learning processes," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. While that is clearly important for companies pursuing machine learning projects, making complex processes simple also helps organizations make these projects commonplace, he said. "If AI is to become as massively important and impactful as its proponents believe, the ML/DL tools supporting it need to be accessible to and useful for a wide variety of individuals and organizations," King noted. "That appears to be a fundamental goal for Microsoft's Open Mind."As noted above, Microsoft has a variety of machine learning technology in place, including Azure Machine Learning, which became generally available last year. At its Build 2016 developer conference, Microsoft introduced a new cloud-based Cortana Intelligence Suite that introduces cognitive technology for developers to use in building systems. Microsoft also announced a preview of its new Bot Framework, which enables organizations to build intelligent agents, known as bots. At the conference, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said this is a new era of conversational intelligence and Microsoft is attempting to facilitate to enable developers to create more personal computing for every customer, business and industry. "It's a simple concept, yet it's very powerful in its impact," Nadella said in his keynote. "It is about taking the power of human language and applying it more pervasively to all of our computing—and to infuse into our computing and our computers, intelligence about us and our context. By doing so, we think this can have as profound an impact as the previous platform shifts have had—whether it be GUI, whether it be the Web or touch or mobile."
Meanwhile, according to Lu's slides, Microsoft also has been working to scale machine learning on new hardware, including field-programmable gate-arrays (FPGAs).