A couple of days ago, Microsoft launched a series of updates that benefit the developers. At their Ignite event (Orlando, FL), the company revealed the new and improved features in many of its product lines, in theme with their AI & ML focus for 2018.
We browsed TechCrunch’s report of the notable developer-centric updates.
For the Microsoft Azure Machine Learning services
The selection, testing and tweaking processes become mostly automated. This way the developers can save important time. They are also able to build, “without having to delve into the depths of TensorFlow, PyTorch or other AI frameworks.”
Also, more hardware-accelerated models for FPGAs will be available from now on.(*FPGAs – powerful field programmable gate arrays, used “for high-speed image classification and recognition scenarios on Azure”)
Microsoft decided to add a Python SDK to the mix, too, making Azure Machine Learning more accessible from a wider variety of devices. According to Microsoft, this SDK “integrates the Azure Machine Learning service with Python development environments including Visual Studio Code, PyCharm, Azure Databricks notebooks and Jupyter notebooks”. It also lights up a number of different features, such as “deep learning, which enables developers to build and train models faster with massive clusters of graphical processing units, or GPUs” and link into the FPGAs mentioned above.
For the Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services
The Microsoft speech service for speech recognition and translation also features an upgrade. The improvements are in terms of voice quality, as well as availability.
Apparently, now the voices generated by the Azure Cognitive Services’ deep learning-based speech synthesis are true to life.
For the Microsoft Bot Framework SDK
The company declared that now it’s much easier for any developer to build its first bot.
*However, TechCrunch’s comment for this reminds us that the bots hype is a thing of the past at the moment. Therefore, it remains to be seen how many developers will take advantage of the new features. Nevertheless, more natural human – computer interactions are now available on the Microsoft Bot Framework SDK.
The automated model selection and tuning of so-called hyperparameters that govern the performance of machine learning models that are part of automated machine learning will make AI development available to a broader set of Microsoft’s customer
– Eric Boyd, corporate vice president, AI Platform, Microsoft