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Baidu Releases EZDL, an Automated Machine Learning Tool for Non-Programmers

Overview

  • Chinese giant Baidu has released it’s own automated machine learning platform
  • Currently EZDL allows two kinds of models to be built: image classification and object detection
  • Model building and deployment is a 4-step process, and takes less than 15 minutes on average!

 

Introduction

Automated machine learning has carved a massive space for itself in the industry and it shows no signs of slowing down. Led by Google Cloud’s AutoML platform, most of the big tech companies have launched their own tools to spice up the competition. AutoML can no longer be considered a fad, it’s extremely useful and it’s here to stay.

The latest release comes from Chinese giant Baidu, who have previously made the news for breakthroughs in deep learning. From open sourcing the world’s largest self-driving dataset to building a ‘Deep Voice’ AI system that can clone your voice within seconds, they are well respected in this domain.

And now they’ve announced their entry into the autoML space with the launch of EZDL. EZDL is a simple drag-and-drop platform that allows users to design and build custom machine learning models. Even if you don’t have any programming background (and no time to learn it either), this tool will feel like a godsend. Their aim is to help those companies which are struggling to scale up their AI operations and don’t have access to a ton of data (which, frankly, is most companies these days).

Currently EZDL offers the option of building two kinds of custom models:

  • Image Models: This includes image classification and object detection models
  • Sound Models: This includes speech recognition and sound classification models

One of the best features of EZDL is that it takes just four steps to build and deploy a model:

  • Create a model
  • Upload the image(s) and label the object(s)
  • Train, validate, and test the model
  • Deploy the model with cloud API of offline SDK

The company claims that it takes less than 15 minutes on average to train models and that more than 2/3rds of the models give an accuracy score of more than 90%. Quite a bold claim, and one that will certainly be tested as the user base grows.

The below video is a nice concise summary of what EZDL does (the audio is in Chinese with English subtitles):

 

Our take on this

The offerings of EZDL are still fairly limited but I’m impressed with what’s on show so far. I tried out the Object Detection service and it went like a breeze. Granted the set of images in my data was small, but it clearly shows EZDL has potential and Baidu will most certainly be hard at work to expand and improve the platform.

AutoML tools are a boon for all non-programmers and the competition in the market makes it easy to try and choose what suits you and your business. What data scientists think of this tool is another matter, as it takes away the mathematical aspect of the domain completely.

 

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