AI, Machine Learning and Data Science Roundup: July 2018

A monthly roundup of news about Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Science. This is an eclectic collection of interesting blog posts, software announcements and data applications I’ve noted over the past month or so.

Open Source AI, ML & Data Science News

A review of the current state of the Julia project, including performance comparisons with Go, Python and R. 

Python 3.7.0 has been released. Also, Guido van Rossum steps down as the project’s “Benevolent Dictator for Life”.

Tensorflow 1.9 released, featuring a new getting started guide for Keras.

Apache OpenNLP 1.9.0 released, adding several improvements to the natural language processing library.

The PYPL Popularity of Languages Index ranks Python as the 1st and R as the 7th most popular programming languages.

R 3.5.1 has been released.

Industry News

Google introduces Cirq, an open-source framework to simulate noisy intermediate-scale quantum computers.

Hortonworks announces new partnerships with Google, Microsoft and IBM to bring its big data platform to the cloud.

IBM plans to release an annotated dataset of 1 million images, with the goal of reducing bias in facial recognition systems.

Amazon Sagemaker enhances the DeepAR, BlazingText, and Linear Learner algorithms built into the machine learning framework.

A series on Data Ethics by Mike Loukides, Hilary Mason and DJ Patil. The most recent post proposes a checklist for ethical data science practices.

Apple has combined its various artificial intelligence divisions into a new structure led by recent hire John Giannandrea.

Microsoft News

Open data sets curated by Microsoft Research for computer vision, natural language processing and scientific analysis. 

Microsoft acquires Bonsai, a startup focused on using ML to train autonomous machines using simulated environments.

Microsoft President Brad Smith calls for public regulation and corporate responsibility in the use of facial recognition technology.

ML.NET 0.3 released adding ONNX support, LightGBM learners, and more to the .NET machine learning library.

Microsoft Speech Service SDK version 0.5.0 has been released, with support for long-running audio and automatic reconnections.

Azure HDInsight now supports Apache Spark 2.3, improving performance for Python-based interactions.

Azure Databricks now includes RStudio integration for R developers. The integration is described in detail at the Databricks blog.

The Microsoft Face API has significantly improved its ability to recognize gender across skin tones.

Learning resources

Andrey Kurenkov’s essay on the limitations of reinforcement learning. A February 2018 blog post by Alex Irpan also provides some cautionary examples.

A Developer’s Guide to Building AI Applications, a free e-book that provides a gentle introduction to the Microsoft AI Platform.

A tutorial on adding machine learning to mixed reality applications, using Azure ML Studio.

How to read and write Microsoft SQL Server data in Python using Pandas dataframes.

Object dectection via distributed deep learning on multiple GPUs, using Horovid on Azure Batch AI.

How Artificial Intelligence Could Prevent Natural Disasters, from Wired.

A neural network for colorizing video also finds application in object tracking.

Computer vision with an embedded learning library from Microsoft Research used to monitor endangered Purple Martin nests at Disney Animal World.

A diabetic retinopathy prediction application, based on image analysis with convolutional neural networks and implemented with Azure Machine Learning.

Fashion similarity matching with Siamese Networks.

Find previous editions of the monthly AI roundup here