AI News, Microsoft Build goes gaga for AI: Azure Machine Learning and beyond

Microsoft Build goes gaga for AI: Azure Machine Learning and beyond

(I am going to refer this service as AMLHAM - this is not Microsoft's acronym, mind you, and despite its sounding like a brand name for an unhealthy luncheon meat, it's still better than typing the full name out each time.) CNET: Build 2018: Livestream, start time, what to expect AMLHAM is the output of an internal project at Microsoft with the nerdy name of Project Brainwave, and it's all based on a hardware technology called Field Programmable Gate Arrays, or FPGAs.

Since a chip is made up of a huge array of logic gates, and since the programming is done not at the factory, but by the customer (and, therefore, 'in the field'), we end up with the name we have.

But because the algorithm implemented in its custom programming is nonetheless hardware-based, the FPGA can significantly accelerate performance for that algorithm, compared to software-only implementations.

By the way, Google Cloud Platform's Cloud TPUs also enable hardware-accelerated models, but TPUs are specific to Google's TensorFlow deep learning framework and do not work generically across other algorithm libraries, according to Microsoft.

As an example, consider that a Cognitive Service for vision might operate at a scope where it recognizes people, animals and things, and therefore could scan your photo and tell you if there's a dog in it.

This will likely make Cosmos DB more affordable for smaller databases where the minimally required throughput per table, when multiplied by the number of tables in the database, made for a greater (and more expensive) aggregate provisioned throughput than was necessary.

Being able to provision throughput for a set of containers addresses this issue, and it should help spur greater Cosmos DB adoption, since per-table throughput overhead will no longer make Cosmos DB cost-prohibitive for smaller projects.

In addition, Microsoft announced general availability of three new Cosmos DB features: During Microsoft's Q3 earnings call a week ago, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated that Cosmos DB exceeded $100 million in annualized revenue, and did it in less than a year.

The announcements at Build today should help, quite a lot, as the new provisioning patterns will make the service more economically practical to more organizations and will encourage more tinkering by developers.

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