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Microsoft recently made an in-house developed tool for machine learning, Infer.NET, available as open source. The tool allows developers to develop AI software using a model-based approach.

According to a blog post from the developers, this is an in-house developed machine learning tool that is currently used to support parts of Azure, Office 365 and the Xbox gaming platform. Infer.NET was developed 15 years ago as a research tool for university applications. In the meantime, the tool helped to compile hundreds of publications. At the same time, Infer.NET became a scalable tool that now helps to process thousands of petabytes of data on various Microsoft platforms.

Tool turns development process around

The difference with similar machine learning tools is that Microsoft’s now-published tool has a model-based approach to building AI software. This reverses the normal development trajectory. Developers working with a conventional machine learning tool often use an existing AI algorithm and adapt it to the requirements of their project.

The Infer.NET tool uses the requirements of the project as a starting point. This allows the developers to translate the project-specific information into a model and use this model to generate a new modified AI algorithm. This new algorithm is then fully suitable for the tasks to be performed.

According to the developers, the reverse development method makes Infer.NET very suitable for projects that depend on large amounts of domain-specific knowledge. In addition, the behaviour of the AI algorithms is directly influenced by the model on which they are based. This gives users much more insight into the way they work, according to the developers of Microsoft. According to the developers, the tool-based models are suitable for a wide range of data applications. Not only data that has to be processed in real time, but also in incomplete or erroneous records.

Integration with .NET

Microsoft wants to integrate the tool part in its machine learning framework ML.NET for its also open source development platform .NET. In addition to Infer.NET, Microsoft also offers an open source development tool for AI, Microsoft Bot Framework. This tool is specifically aimed at building virtual assistants.


Interested parties can download Infer.NET here. The tool is made available under the MIT license, making it available for free commercial use. Support for Windows, macOS and Linux is available via .NETCore.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.