Microsoft and Amazon unveil Gluon to help developers adopt machine learning

Mindy Sparks
October 12, 2017

Simple and concise Microsoft and Amazon might be fierce rivals in the cloud space but the two companies have a history in working together at the edges of research. Gluon now works with Apache MXNet and will support Microsoft's cognitive toolkit. Both Microsoft and AWS are hoping Gluon can help all developers, regardless of skill level, build neural networks in a simple way without impacting performance.

The news comes a few days after another major open source announcement from Redmond in the machine learning realm. Gluon, which is available as an open source project, will provide a shared set of building blocks that people can use with both Amazon and Microsoft's preferred machine learning frameworks. "I really appreciate how the Gluon interface is able to keep the code complexity at the same level as the concept; it's a welcome addition to the machine learning community".

The tools are supposed to take what is usually an inflexible and unwieldy process and make it more approachable and flexible, similar to what programmers are used to with other forms of coding. Developers can use the Gluon interface to create neural networks on the fly, and to change their size and shape dynamically.


It works by providing a consistent interface for creating machine learning models using a variety of pre-built and highly optimized components. "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, in a statement.

The claim is that Gluon is a more concise, easy-to-understand programming interface compared to other offerings, and that it gives developers a chance to quickly prototype and experiment with neural network models without sacrificing performance. Support for Microsoft's Cognitive Toolkit will be added in a future release. "This is why Microsoft has collaborated with AWS to create the Gluon interface and enable an open AI ecosystem where developers have freedom of choice". But then these models need to "learn" what to do by ingesting vast quantities of data, and that is where the collaboration between the two is key: tapping into as wide a range of developers as possible, is a way to bring a lot more data into the system. Integrating with Apache MXNet and Microsoft Cognitive Services is a start but for now teams using architecture from Google or Amazon are unable to access Gluon's benefits.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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