Microsoft opens up its deep-learning toolkit on GitHub

The machine-learning software is now available to anyone under an MIT license

Microsoft took another step on its open-source sharing journey Monday by releasing on GitHub a toolkit it uses internally for deep learning.

Dubbed CNTK -- short for Computational Network Toolkit -- the open-source software is a unified deep-learning toolkit that describes neural networks as a series of computational steps via a directed graph. It's proven significantly more efficient than Google's TensorFlow tool and other competing tools, Microsoft says.

Microsoft has used CNTK internally to help advance speech recognition in products such as Cortana, but it says it could be useful to a wide variety of other users as well, including not just companies focused on deep learning but also those that need to process large quantities of data in real time.

The software has been available to academic researchers for almost a year under a more restrictive custom license via Microsoft's CodePlex site. Now on GitHub, it's available for download using the more permissive MIT license.

Last November, Microsoft made much the same move with its Distributed Machine Learning Toolkit (DMTK). That same month, Google took a similar step by releasing its own TensorFlow machine-learning system under an Apache 2.0 license.

Microsoft has been using CNTK on a set of GPU-based computers, but such computational muscle isn't required, it says.

"The combination of CNTK and Azure GPU Lab allows us to build and train deep neural nets for Cortana speech recognition up to 10 times faster than our previous deep-learning system," explained Xuedong Huang, Microsoft's chief speech scientist, in a December blog post. "We've seen firsthand the kind of performance CNTK can deliver, and we think it could make an even greater impact within the broader machine learning and AI community."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoft

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?