Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Makes its Machine Learning Technology Freely Available to Developers

Microsoft Campus
A building on the Microsoft Headquarters campus is pictured July 17, 2014 in Redmond, Washington. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has made its key machine learning technology freely available to developers. In a blog statement announcing the move, the company said that it had decided to make its Computational Network Toolkit freely available to developers by moving it to the Github platform.

It said that it strongly believes that machine learning is the next important frontier in the overall field of artificial intelligence and that it stands to gain a lot from the input of other developers who may use the CNTK to make important advances in the field and that this will benefit all the stakeholders as well.

The CNTK is a complex technology that the company developed and has been using to help it develop different applications in the field of machine learning. So far, it has proven a valuable tool for the researchers of the company.

It has been extensively used at the experimental level in diverse and highly complex fields such as helping machines learn to recognize speech and sound. This is a complex area of research in computing in which researchers are trying to develop new ways of making computers learn to do all manner of things by simply recognizing sound and other forms of unconventional inputs.

According to the researchers of the company, the secret of CNTK lies in two things: its ability to be used under different circumstances and its overall level of efficiency. They say that the technology can be used by a single researcher or developer who may not have a big capacity to run a complex network of machines at the same time. Second, the CNTK is said to be ideal for research work because it helps researchers and developers to work with speed and a higher level of productivity.

What is important to note is that the recent move by Microsoft to make its key technology open has several implications. In the recent past, many other companies have been making their technologies open. For example, Google made its Tensor Flow toolkit open towards the end of last year.

IBM, another important player in the industry, also made its technology for machine learning open-sourced sometime back. Therefore, by making CNTK freely available, Microsoft is simply following the trend that has been set by other key players in the industry.

And to confirm this, Doug Henschen, a principal analyst at an Artificial Intelligence company called Constellation Research, says that by making CNTK freely available to developers, Microsoft has made the right step in the right direction since this is what is required for the progress of the industry.