Facebook's text understanding AI is coming to a phone near you

FastText update brings text understanding to lower-powered devices

Developers have a new tool to help mobile apps understand text, thanks to a Facebook open source project update on Tuesday. The social networking company’s AI research group released a new version of FastText, a programming library that’s designed to make it easier for developers to deploy text-focused machine learning systems.

Using a technique the researchers are calling FastText.zip, developers can compact a language recognition model so that it takes up two orders of magnitude less memory while maintaining much of the accuracy they would get out of a non-compacted model. It’s a move that allows those models to be deployed on less powerful devices like smartphones and Raspberry Pis, making them more useful for a broader variety of applications.

In addition, Facebook released a pair of tutorials designed to help developers get started using FastText. The team also released a set of almost 300 pre-trained language sets to simplify matters further.

The goal behind FastText is to make it easier for people with a light background in programming to do text classification, (the process of assigning a block of words into a set of categories) and text representation (the process of turning unstructured text into numbers for computation).

“That was the idea behind the library — to make it a very accessible library for any text-related machine learning problems,” Facebook Research Scientist Armand Joulin said.

What makes FastText special is that the team building it at Facebook is focused on taking existing techniques and making them more accessible to everyday developers, so that it’s easier for people without a PhD in data science to implement machine learning in their apps.

For example, FastText can be used to power features like hashtag autocompletion, so that users can more quickly insert relevant tags into social media posts. It can also help with sentiment analysis, so that applications can understand whether users are saying something positive or negative.

FastText was also specifically built to handle a wide variety of languages, according to Edouard Grave, a postdoctoral fellow at Facebook. In particular, he said that it could handle languages like German and French that might cause problems for other systems.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Facebook

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

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?