Microsoft announced Thursday that it has purchased Lobe, a San Francisco-based boot that makes a platform where users can build, train and send custom deep learning models. What makes the platform unique is a drag-and-drop visual interface that requires little or no code writing.
In a blog post, Microsoft's EVP and CTO Kevin Scott explained that while breakthroughs in AI and deep learning transform modern technology, the process of developing and building teasystems is still slow and complex. As a result, fewer businesses can access the AI and its potential.
With Lobe, users can drag a folder of training examples from the desktop and the software will automatically build a custom deep learning model and start practicing it. Once done, the user only exports the model and sends it directly to their app.
See: Special Report: How To Implement AI and Machine Learning (Free PDF)
Lobe will continue to function as a standalone service that supports multiple platforms as part of Microsoft, according to another blog post from lobe team.
"As part of Microsoft, Lobe will be able to utilize world-class AI research, global infrastructure and decades of experience in building development tools," wrote the team. "Together we are committed to making deep learning easy, understandable and accessible to all."
Microsoft has made an appearance of acquisitions this year, including GitHub, four game companies and an educational video discussion provider. But it also maintains a strong focus on AI companies when creating acquisitions. Redmond tech giant bought Semantic Machines back in May in a push to accelerate its native language course AI effort, and in July it kicked up Bonsai, which specializes in machine education, reinforcement learning and simulation.
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