How Anaconda's data science platform will help IBM speed up enterprise machine learning adoption

IBM announced that it will offer open data science platform Anaconda on IBM Cognitive Systems. Here's how it could help your business.

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On Monday, IBM announced that it has partnered with Continuum Analytics to offer open data science platform Anaconda on IBM Cognitive Systems. Anaconda, which is powered by Python, will also integrate with IBM's PowerAI software for machine learning and deep learning, making it easier and faster for businesses to analyze and gain insights from data-intensive cognitive workloads.

"Anaconda is an important capability for developers building cognitive solutions, and now it's available on IBM's high performance deep learning platform," said Bob Picciano, senior vice president of Cognitive Systems, in a press release. "Anaconda on IBM Cognitive Systems empowers developers and data scientists to build and deploy deep learning applications that are ready to scale."

Deep learning--one of the fastest-growing fields of machine learning, the release noted--makes it possible to process datasets that include up to billions of elements, and to find predictive models in that data. This method is being adopted rapidly by consumer web and mobile application companies, as well as more traditional businesses, the release said.

"With more than 16 million downloads to date, Anaconda is empowering leading businesses across industries worldwide with tools to identify patterns in data, uncover key insights and transform basic data into a goldmine of intelligence to solve the world's most challenging problems," said Travis Oliphant, co-founder and chief data scientist of Continuum Analytics, in the press release. "By optimizing Anaconda on Power, developers will also gain access to the libraries in the PowerAI Platform for exploration and deployment in Anaconda Enterprise."

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IBM's PowerAI is meant to accelerate enterprise adoption of open-source machine learning and deep learning frameworks, which are used to build cognitive applications, according to the release. "PowerAI reduces the complexity and risk of deploying these open source frameworks for enterprises on the Power architecture and is tuned for high performance," the release stated. "With PowerAI, clients can realize the benefit of enterprise support on IBM Cognitive Systems HPC platforms used in the most demanding commercial, academic and hyperscale environments."

How does it work? IBM Cognitive Systems are built with IBM's POWER8, which uses NVIDIA's high-speed NVLink interface and its Tesla Pascal P100 GPU accelerators, IBM said. Meanwhile, the CPU to GPU and GPU to GPU NVLink high bandwidth connections allow deep learning and analytics applications to gain more power.

With Anaconda, developers using open source machine learning and deep learning tools will now be able to use Power as their deployment platform, the release noted. Developers can also find support with the recently announced OpenPOWER Machine Learning Work Group (OPMLWG), which is meant to be a space for members to collaborate on machine learning solutions. Among its 300 members are Google, NVIDIA, Mellanox, Red Hat, and Toshiba.

The Anaconda integration marks yet another step in IBM's move to integrate different artificial intelligence (AI) systems into businesses in a practical way, as TechRepublic's Jason Hiner reported. IBM has also implemented its cognitive computing product Watson throughout the tech stack, including for cybersecurity and big data, among other capabilities. As TechRepublic's Conner Forrest noted, if IBM continues at this pace, it could be in a strong position as more enterprises adopt AI tools. However, it will face competition from a number of sources.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. IBM announced Monday that it will offer open data science platform Anaconda on IBM Cognitive Systems, and will integrate with IBM's PowerAI software for machine learning and deep learning.

2. The integration will help businesses more easily and quickly analyze and gain insights from large datasets.

3. The partnership represents another step on IBM's journey to bring artificial intelligence capabilities to the enterprise.

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