Google brings machine learning to the masses with new open-source tool

Featuring a Python interface, TensorFlow is now available under an Apache 2.0 license

Google has been working on machine learning for years deep inside its R&D labs, and some of the advances it's made have found their way into products such as Google Photos. On Monday, it launched a new, open-source tool to help share what it's learned.

TensorFlow is a machine-learning system that can run on anything from a single smartphone to thousands of data-center computers. It builds upon DistBelief, the deep-learning infrastructure Google developed back in 2011, but takes that first generation several steps further.

"TensorFlow is faster, smarter and more flexible than our old system, so it can be adapted much more easily to new products and research," wrote Google CEO Sundar Pichai in a blog post announcing the news.

DistBelief was narrowly focused on neural networks, difficult to configure and tightly linked to Google’s internal infrastructure, making it "nearly impossible to share research code externally," explained Jeff Dean, a senior Google Fellow, and Rajat Monga, technical lead, in a separate post on the Google Research blog.

TensorFlow is twice as fast as DistBelief on some benchmarks, they said. It can also be used to build and train neural nets as much as five times faster than DistBelief could.

By releasing the software as open source, Google hopes to enable researchers, engineers and hobbyists to exchange ideas more quickly. More broadly, the software could also be used in other contexts as well, such as to help researchers untangle complex data in fields such as biology and astronomy, Pichai said.

Google itself, meanwhile, will surely benefit when researchers make new advances using TensorFlow.

Featuring a Python interface, TensorFlow is now available under an Apache 2.0 license as a standalone library along with associated tools, examples and tutorials. The current release reportedly runs only on a single machine, but expanded functionality is on the way.

Machine learning is cropping up with increasing frequency in a variety of areas, including enterprise software. And on Friday, automotive giant Toyota announced a new, billion-dollar investment into artificial intelligence and robotics technology research.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Google

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?