Add Microsoft to the list of companies declaring they’re all in for AI. At its Developer Day we even heard that they were going to be an AI-first platform, although I’m not quite sure what that is supposed to mean.

However, there were plenty of announcements to put some meat behind the hype. We’ll take you through some of the most important and what they’re likely to mean for the future of AI-enabled Windows applications.

Google has made it remarkably easy to develop a model locally, especially in TensorFlow; train it on the Google Cloud using CloudML; and then run it just about anywhere using TensorFlow, TensorFlow Lite, or the Nvidia-optimized TensorRT. That effort has close ties to Nvidia GPUs, so it wasn’t too surprising that Nvidia’s new GPU foe, Intel, and its Movidius VPU, were front and center as Microsoft launched an array of new AI-friendly development and runtime offerings at its Developer Day.

The Azure Machine Learning Workbench features a drag and drop Studio for creating solutions Microsoft’s offerings start with the Azure Machine Learning Workbench and AI Tools for Visual Studio. The ML Workbench allows you to use your choice of several machine learning frameworks including TensorFlow and Caffe, along with a container framework like Docker, to develop ML systems that can be trained in the Azure Cloud, and then deployed throughout the Windows ecosystem as ONNX models.

It also includes a Studio application that supports drag-and-drop creation of models. After playing with IBM’s similar tool and being disappointed, I’ll be curious if the Studio environment is powerful enough to be a tool of choice in real-world situations. Read more from…

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