March 8, 2018 // 10 a.m.
Microsoft has confirmed that it is baking machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML and AI) capabilities directly into its Windows operating system, and has partnered with Intel to provide low-power acceleration hardware.
Announced at the Windows Developer Day late last night, Microsoft's Windows ML platform bakes artificial intelligence directly into the company's Windows 10 operating system family - and it will be live on consumer devices as of the next feature update. 'Every developer that builds apps on Windows 10 will be able to use AI to deliver more powerful and engaging experiences,' claims Microsoft's Kam VedBrat of the move in the announcement blog post. 'The AI platform in Windows 10 enables developers to use pre-trained machine learning models in their Apps on Windows devices. This offers developers a number of benefits: Low latency, real-time results; reduced operational costs; Flexibility. Developers can choose to perform AI tasks on device or in the cloud based on what their customers & scenarios need. AI processing can happen on the device if it becomes disconnected, or in scenarios where data cannot be sent to the cloud due to cost, size, policy or customer preference.'
The platform isn't exclusively software-driven, however. AI tasks typically require considerable computational resources, and it's here that Microsoft has announced a range of partnerships - including one with Intel which will see the company's Myriad Vision Processing Unit (VPU) low-power accelerator hardware used to reduce the load of the Windows ML platform on client devices. Microsoft has also confirmed partnerships on the project with Nvidia and AMD for GPU-based acceleration as well as Qualcomm, which will support Windows ML acceleration on its Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip (SoC) design.
'For consumers, this is just the beginning,' promises VedBrat. 'You'll see more intelligence in every day experiences on Windows devices. Developers can build AI powered apps that help you inspire and communicate in 3d, keep track of tasks and commitments more easily, and listen to music from playlists made just right for you.'