Microsoft is going to bring more artificial intelligence features to Windows 10. Recently, the company revealed a new AI platform called "Windows ML" which stands for Machine Learning. It will be included in the next major Windows 10 version, "Spring Creators Update". It will allow Store and Desktop app developers to utilize existing pre-trained machine learning models in their apps.
With Windows ML, it will be possible to import existing learning models from various AI platforms and then use them to power up real-time analysis of locally stored files like images, videos, documents or even maintenance tasks such as rebuilding the search index.
Many existing AI tools require cloud connectivity today but the ML platform SDK will have tools to allow developers to do AI tasks on the device itself. For more computationally intensive tasks where the CPU and GPU fall short of processing power, Microsoft will utilize Intel's new Myriad X computer vision processing unit (VPU) for handling all artificial intelligence (AI)-related local processing on Windows 10 devices and offload most of the work from the cloud.
The Myriad X VPU comes with a dedicated hardware accelerator called neural compute engine for fast deep neural network inferences. NVIDIA's new Titan V GPU also has the power to handle deep learning applications on the device itself.
Artificial intelligence technology is already used in several Microsoft solutions:
- Windows 10 Photos app for object recognition
- Windows Hello facial recognition for login authentication
- Computer Vision and Mixed Reality (HoloLens)
- Cortana assistant bot
- Skype translator and other translation tools which use Azure Cognitive Services
- Combination of cloud and A.I.-powered speech recognition for dictation in Microsoft Office and using Cortana
- Office 365 AI features like Flash Fill and Insights in Excel, Acronyms in Word
- The Whiteboard app uses AI to recognize freeform drawings and turn them into standard shapes
- Optical Character Recognition (Office Lens, Document Imaging and OneDrive)
- Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection
Some of these applications rely heavily on the cloud whereas some A.I. features already work locally.
According to Microsoft, Windows ML will be available on a whole range of Windows 10 devices including traditional Desktop PCs, laptops and tablets, IoT devices, Mixed Reality devices, and servers. It is expected that the operating system will maintain performance of the AI subsystem automatically depending on the hardware present in order to get it working well.
A preview version of the new AI platform is available in Visual Studio Preview 15.7. The development suite will allow building both Desktop and Store (UWP) apps powered by Windows ML for all Windows 10 editions.
These details were shared by Microsoft at the Windows Developer Day Event in March 2018. More details and examples of A.I. applications will be revealed at Build 2018 Developer Conference.