Apache Foundation Elevates Salesforce Machine Learning Server

    There’s a massive amount of interest in machine learning algorithms and the frameworks that employ them to drive a new generation of artificial intelligence (AI) applications. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that every organization needs to develop its own algorithms and frameworks. The Apache Foundation today announced that Apache PredictionIO has now been named a top-level open source project.

    Based on code donated by Salesforce, Apache PredictionIO is the core server that Salesforce developed to create the Einstein AI framework that is being infused into every one of the company’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. Other companies making use of PredictionIO include ActionML, BizReach, LiftIQ and PluralSight.

    Simon Chan, senior director of product management for Einstein at Salesforce, says Apache PredictionIO is the first open source machine learning server to become a top-level Apache project. The significance of that designation is that it shows there is now enough developer activity beyond Salesforce itself in terms of code contributions to Apache PredictionIO to warrant the highest Apache Foundation designation.

    “We think this designation will make it easier for developers to get IT level approval for AI projects,” says Chan.

    At this point, there’s no doubt that just about every application going forward will employ some form of machine learning algorithms. The issue that IT organizations and developers will need to come to terms with is to what degree they want to reinvent the machine learning algorithm wheel. The Apache Foundation is not only providing the core server, the community is vetting what algorithms can best be applied to specific use cases. In contrast, many of the other instances of AI starting to be advanced are based on proprietary engines that come with various forms of licensing fees, says Chan.

    Naturally, it’s still early days as far as all things AI are concerned. But as organizations start to craft their AI strategies, it’s never a bad idea to stand on the shoulders of as many other organizations as possible.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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