Just a couple of years ago, you couldn’t talk to the Google app
through the noise of a city sidewalk, or read a sign in Russian using
Google Translate, or instantly find pictures of your Labradoodle in
Google Photos. Our apps just weren’t smart enough. But in a short amount
of time they've gotten much, much smarter. Now, thanks to machine
learning, you can do all those things pretty easily, and a lot more. But
even with all the progress we've made with machine learning, it could
still work much better.
So we’ve built an entirely new machine learning system, which we call “TensorFlow.”
TensorFlow is faster, smarter, and more flexible than our old system,
so it can be adapted much more easily to new products and research. It’s
a highly scalable machine learning system—it can run on a single
smartphone or across thousands of computers in datacenters. We use
TensorFlow for everything from speech recognition in the Google app, to Smart Reply
in Inbox, to search in Google Photos. It allows us to build and train
neural nets up to five times faster than our first-generation system, so
we can use it to improve our products much more quickly.
We've seen firsthand what TensorFlow can do, and we think it could make
an even bigger impact outside Google. So today we’re also open-sourcing TensorFlow.
We hope this will let the machine learning community—everyone from
academic researchers, to engineers, to hobbyists—exchange ideas much
more quickly, through working code rather than just research papers. And
that, in turn, will accelerate research on machine learning, in the end
making technology work better for everyone. Bonus: TensorFlow is for
more than just machine learning. It may be useful wherever researchers
are trying to make sense of very complex data—everything from protein
folding to crunching astronomy data.
Machine learning is still in its infancy—computers today still can’t do
what a 4-year-old can do effortlessly, like knowing the name of a
dinosaur after seeing only a couple examples, or understanding that “I
saw the Grand Canyon flying to Chicago” doesn’t mean the canyon is
hurtling over the city. We have a lot of work ahead of us. But with
TensorFlow we’ve got a good start, and we can all be in it together.
The Palm Springs Guru says "Thank you!" to
Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google for this article.