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Machine Learning is easier than you think

by Maksim Belov

Nearly fifty years after HAL read the astronauts’ lips in 2001, A Space Odyssey and, recognizing a conspiracy to override his superior intelligence, took over the spaceship, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have emerged from the lab to enter the lexicon of the general public – not just techies. Colleges and universities are creating programs on ML, and local technology news outlets are working overtime to educate their readers on the topic and its capabilities. At Coherent Solutions, many of our clients are looking for ways to leverage these capabilities in their everyday business solutions.

One obvious trend is the overall evolution (or, almost a revolution) of ML technology. It has reached a tipping point and is now advancing by leaps and bounds in some key capabilities, like:

  • Regression, where we can predict future events based on past data. Eg: predicting home pricing based on a variety of different factors.
  • Classification, or categorizing information such as sentiment analysis in which you can identify whether users are providing positive or negative feedback.
  • Clustering, or identifying similarities which can be helpful, for example, in structuring and organizing large volumes of unstructured data, or categorizing your website visitors.
  • Mining or deep learning, whereby we can discover hidden relationships which can help marketers make product recommendations based on a variety of factors – not just attributes of the product itself, but also potential buyers’ demographics and past purchase history, or helping applications deal with image classification and retrieval.

Driving much of the recent innovation is the availability of technology at a very reasonable price – due to vendors open-sourcing their solutions and ML being offered as a service.  So, for instance, you can create your own infrastructure in the cloud or within in your own data center very economically using Google’s TensorFlow, or take advantage of the nearly limitless scalability of the cloud using AWS or Microsoft Azure ML-as-a-Service.

Here at Coherent Solutions, the main impact for our clients has been that we can create truly intelligent solutions at the intersection of our application development, business intelligence, big data and cloud practices. We continue to invest in our own AI/ML education so that we can help our clients develop smart solutions that get even smarter over time.  So far we have been focusing mostly on applying Regression and Classification, and specifically have seen some successes in the IoT and commerce space, predicting equipment failures, and optimizing equipment configurations. Healthcare is also ripe for applying this type of technology, though there are a lot more regulatory constraints in this realm which make it more challenging.

So instead of guessing, or applying naive, rule-based limited logic to business growth or optimization challenges, we can now leverage more sophisticated approaches.  Coherent Solutions is already helping clients use regression analysis to project into the future, Microsoft Cognitive services to recognize faces and emotions, and Google Speech services to understand the mood of users in support forums. Let us help you take advantage of ML too.

Maksim Belov

Maksim Belov

Chief Technology Officer

In his role as CTO Max is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of Coherent Solutions’ technology services. Max has over a decade of software development and technology management experience. He is an accomplished architect and an expert in distributed systems design and implementation. Max holds a master’s degree in Theoretical Computer Science from Moscow State University

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