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Microsoft Opens its Machine Learning Framework For All

Infer.NET was used to publish hundreds of research papers using a variety of fields, everything from information retrieval to healthcare

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Microsoft launches e-commerce portal for Telangana's handloom weavers. Pixabay

Global tech giant Microsoft has opened its cross-platform frameworks Infer.NET — a machine learning engine used in Office, Xbox and Azure — for one and all worldwide.

“We’re extremely excited today to open source Infer.NET on GitHub under the permissive MIT license for free use in commercial applications,” Yordan Zaykov, Principal Research Software Engineering Lead at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post on Friday.

Developed in 2014 by Microsoft’s research lab in Cambridge, Infer.NET was initially envisioned as a research tool and later in 2008 was released for academic use.

Infer.NET enables a model-based approach to machine learning. It lets users incorporate domain knowledge into their model.

The framework can then build a bespoke machine learning algorithm directly from that model.

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A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge. VOA

“This means that instead of having to map your problem onto a pre-existing learning algorithm that you’ve been given, Infer.NET actually constructs a learning algorithm for you, based on the model you’ve provided,” Zaykov said.

He noted that the Infer.NET team is looking forward to engaging with the open-source community in developing. Infer.NET will become a part of ML.NET — the machine learning framework for .NET developers.

“We have already taken several steps towards integration with ML.NET, like setting up the repository under the .NET Foundation and moving the package and namespaces to Microsoft.ML.Probabilistic. Infer.NET will extend ML.NET for statistical modelling and online learning,” Zaykov said.

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Infer.NET was used to publish hundreds of research papers using a variety of fields, everything from information retrieval to healthcare.

In 2012 Infer.NET even won a Patents for Humanity award for aiding research in epidemiology, genetic causes of disease, deforestation and asthma. (IANS)

Next Story

Microsoft Employees Decry ‘996’ Chinese Work Culture

The Alibaba Founder Ma has suggested that people in China should work for 72 hours in a week or 12 hours a day for six days

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

A group of Microsoft employees has come forward to support Chinese tech workers on the gruelling ‘996’ culture, writing a petition in defence of a trending GitHub repository that is being censored in China.

In a letter written on web-hosting service Github, owned by Microsoft, the employees have asked the company to keep the “996.ICU” GitHub repository uncensored, The Verge reported on Monday.

The repository “996.ICU” is a reference to the working hours that tech workers in China are protesting — 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week.

The ICU refers to employees who work under these grueling hours, eventually ending up in the Intensive Care Unit at hospitals.

“The “996.ICU” repository was established in March by Chinese tech workers who were protesting extreme overwork,” said the report.

The “996” philosophy has been endorsed by the tech billionaire and Alibaba Founder Jack Ma.

Several local Chinese browsers have already blocked access to 996.ICU, including Tencent, Alibaba, Xiaomi, and Qihoo 360.

Microsoft, that owns GitHub, has not blocked the repository till now.

Microsoft, Taiwan AI
A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

“We, the workers of Microsoft and GitHub, support the 996.ICU movement and stand in solidarity with tech workers in China. We know this is a problem that crosses national borders,” wrote employees in the petition.

“Another reason we must take a stand in solidarity with Chinese workers is that history tells us that multinational companies will pit workers against each other in a race to the bottom as they outsource jobs and take advantage of weak labour standards in the pursuit of profit,” they added.

Microsoft workers called on Chinese tech companies to comply with local labour laws, which limit their workers to 40 hours a week.

“We encourage Microsoft and GitHub to keep the 996.ICU GitHub repository uncensored and available to everyone,” they said.

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Since 996.ICU is hosted on GitHub, the repository can’t be blocked at a network level without blocking the entire site, which would be catastrophic to Chinese software developers.

“The ultimate decision of whether to risk China’s GitHub access falls to Microsoft, which so far hasn’t indicated a firm position on the protests,” the report added.

The Alibaba Founder Ma has suggested that people in China should work for 72 hours in a week or 12 hours a day for six days.

“If we find things we like, 996 is not a problem. If you don’t like (your work), every minute is torture,” he said in a blog post. (IANS)