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AI’s sharing economy: Microsoft creates publicly available datasets

From left, Adam Atkinson of Microsoft Research Maluuba, Yoshua Bengio of University of Montreal and Samira Ebrahimi Kahou of Microsoft Research Maluuba are among the AI experts who worked on the FigureQA dataset. Photo courtesy of Microsoft Research Maluuba.

Samira Ebrahimi Kahou and her colleagues at Microsoft Research Maluuba recently set out to solve an interesting research problem: How could they use artificial intelligence to correctly reason about information found in graphs and pie charts?

One big obstacle, they discovered, was that the research area was so new that there weren’t any existing datasets available for them to test their hypotheses.

So, they made one.

The FigureQA dataset, which the team released publicly earlier this fall, is one of a number of datasets, metrics and other tools for testing AI systems that Microsoft researchers and engineers have created and shared in recent years. Researchers all over the world use them to see how well their AI systems do at everything from translating conversational speech to predicting the next word a person may want to type.

The teams say these tools provide a codified way for everyone from academic researchers to industry experts to test their systems, compare their work and learn from each other.

“It clarifies our goals, and then others in the research community can say, ‘OK, I see where you’re going,’” said Rangan Majumder, a partner group program manager within Microsoft’s Bing division who also leads development of the MS MARCO machine reading comprehension dataset. The year-old dataset is getting an update in the next few months.

For people used to the technology industry’s more traditional way of doing things, that kind of information sharing can seem surprising. But in the field of AI, where academics and industry players are very much intertwined, researchers say this type of openness is becoming more common.

“Traditionally, companies have kept their research in-house. Now, we’re really seeing an industrywide impact where almost every company is publishing papers and trying to move the state of the art forward, rather than moving it into a walled garden,” said Rahul Mehrotra, a program manager at Microsoft’s Montreal-based Maluuba lab, which also has released two other datasets, NewsQA and Frames, in the past year.

Many AI experts say that this more collaborative culture is crucial to advancing the field of AI. They note that many of the early breakthroughs in the field were the result of researchers from competing institutions sharing knowledge and building on each other’s work.

“We can’t have all the ideas on the planet, so if someone else has a great idea and wants to try it out, we can give them a dataset to do that,” said Christian Federmann, a senior program manager with the Microsoft Translator team.

Federmann’s team developed the Microsoft Speech Language Translation Corpus so they and others could test bilingual conversational speech translation systems such as the Microsoft Translator live feature and Skype Translator. The corpus was recently updated with additional language pairs.

Federmann also notes that Microsoft is one of the few big players that has the budget and resources to create high-quality tools and datasets that allow the industry to compare its work.

That’s key to creating the kind of benchmarks that people can use to credibly showcase their achievements. For example, the recent milestones in conversational speech recognition are based on results of the Switchboard corpus.

Rangan Majumder, a partner group program manager within Microsoft’s Bing division, leads development of the MS MARCO machine reading comprehension dataset

Paying it forward

Many of the teams that are developing datasets and other metrics say they are, in a sense, paying it forward because they also rely on datasets that others have created.

When they were a small startup, Mehrotra said Maluuba relied heavily on a Microsoft dataset called MCTest. Now, as part of Microsoft, they’ve been pleased to see that the datasets they are creating are being used by others in the field.

Devi Parikh, an assistant professor at Georgia Tech and research scientist at Facebook AI Research, said the FigureQA dataset Maluuba recently released is helpful because it allows researchers like herself to work on problems that require the use of multiple types of AI. To accurately read a graphic and answer a question about it requires both computer vision and natural language processing.

“From a research perspective, I think there’s more and more interest in working on problems that are at the intersection of subfields of AI,” she said.

Still, researchers and engineers working in the AI field say that while some information sharing is valuable, there are also times when competing researchers want to be able to compare their systems without revealing all the information about the data they are using.

Doug Orr, a senior software engineering lead with SwiftKey, which Microsoft acquired last year, said his team wanted to create a standard way for measuring how good a job a system does at predicting what a person will type next. That’s a key component of SwiftKey’s systems, which offer personalized predictions based on a person’s communications style.

Instead of sharing a dataset, the team created a set of metrics that researchers can use with any dataset. The metrics, which are available on GitHub, allow researchers to have standardized benchmarks with which they can measure their own improvement and compare their results to others, without having to share proprietary data.

Orr said the metrics have benefited the team internally because they have a better sense of how much their systems are improving over time, and it allowed everyone in the field to be more transparent about how they are performing against each other.

Majumder, from the Bing team, says his team sees value in testing their systems with any and all available benchmarks, including internal data they don’t share publicly, datasets they build for public use and ones that others create, such as the SQuAD dataset.

When people join his team from other areas of the company, he says they often have to get used to the fact that they are entering a hybrid area where the team is developing products while also making AI research breakthroughs.

In the field of AI, he says, “what we have is somewhere in between engineering and science.”

Related:

Allison Linn is a senior writer at Microsoft. Follow her on Twitter.

Tags: AI, Big Data

For Sale – AMD Ryzen 1600X

Just upgraded from this chip. Boxed retail 1600X bought in June.

Price and currency: 155
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: London
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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For Sale – Breaking Full Gaming PC – MSI GTX 1080 8GB Gaming X – Corsair RM850 PSU – EVGA 780 TI SC + More

I have the following parts for sale from a fully working gaming PC, all parts are in full working order.

Postage is included unless stated otherwise.

  • Graphics Card: MSI GTX 1080 8GB Gaming X Graphics Card – Full working order – Boxed – Around 2 years warranty left with MSI – Looking for £440 which includes royal mail special delivery

  • Networking: TP-Link Wireless PCI-e Adapter TL-WN881ND – £10

  • Case: Corsair Carbide Air 540 White version – £60 – Collection preferred or + delivery.

Modifications: BitFenix Blue LED light strips, BitFenix white Motherboard and GPU braided cable extensions

The front of the case does have a fan controller installed but this no longer works, it has been left in as I dont have the blanking plate.

This is a big heavy case so would ideally like collection but im sure delivery can be arranged.

If there is anything you want to know just ask.

SOLD elsewhere

CPU – Intel I5 4590 SR1QJ 3.30GHz – This is just the CPU – £85
Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1 – £90
RAM: 16GB Corsair Vengeance Pro Series 4 x 4GB – £80
SSD: Samsung EVO 840 1TB SSD – £185
Cooler master 110 cube mesh front mini itx case.
Hitach HGST HUS724030ALA640 3TB internal hard drive – Warranty until 2020 – £60
CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro H100i Extreme Liquid Cooler – £55
G skill Ripjaws X 16GB DDR3 1866 RAM 2 x 8GB – £85
Graphics Card: EVGA Nvidia GeoForce GTX 780Ti SC 3GB – £140
PSU: Corsair RM850 850w Fully Modular Power Supply – £80 + Delivery due to weight – It doesn’t include all the cables, it comes with the following,
24 pin ATX
Molex cable
Sata cable
PCI e with 2 X 6 + 2 connectors
CPU cable 2 X 4 connector

Price and currency: Various
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Paypal or BT
Location: Pontefract
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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Wanted – AM1 ITX Motherboard

I’ve annoyingly just been scammed from a computer shop which has decide to take my money but not send me my item. pcnation.co.uk…

Anyway, now that I’m out of pocket (for now) and now DESPERATE for an ITX AM1 motherboard that is needed for my sons first ever pc build.

He’s 7 and he wants to build a small pc so I can set it up for him to use scratch and a minecraft server.

We have everything else so just need an ITX motherboard.

If anyone has anything, please get in touch.

Location: Newcastle

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For Sale – Breaking Full Gaming PC – MSI GTX 1080 8GB Gaming X – Corsair RM850 PSU – EVGA 780 TI SC + More

I have the following parts for sale from a fully working gaming PC, all parts are in full working order.

Postage is included unless stated otherwise.

Graphics Card: MSI GTX 1080 8GB Gaming X Graphics Card – Full working order – Boxed – Around 2 years warranty left with MSI – Looking for £440 which includes royal mail special delivery

Networking: TP-Link Wireless PCI-e Adapter TL-WN881ND – £10

PSU: Corsair RM850 850w Fully Modular Power Supply – £80 + Delivery due to weight – It doesn’t include all the cables, it comes with the following,

24 pin ATX
Molex cable
Sata cable
PCI e with 2 X 6 + 2 connectors
CPU cable 2 X 4 connector

Case: Corsair Carbide Air 540 White version – £60 – Collection preferred or + delivery.

Modifications: BitFenix Blue LED light strips, BitFenix white Motherboard and GPU braided cable extensions

The front of the case does have a fan controller installed but this no longer works, it has been left in as I dont have the blanking plate.

This is a big heavy case so would ideally like collection but im sure delivery can be arranged.

I will get pictures added ASAP.

If there is anything you want to know just ask.

SOLD elsewhere

CPU – Intel I5 4590 SR1QJ 3.30GHz – This is just the CPU – £85
Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1 – £90
RAM: 16GB Corsair Vengeance Pro Series 4 x 4GB – £80
SSD: Samsung EVO 840 1TB SSD – £185
Cooler master 110 cube mesh front mini itx case.
Hitach HGST HUS724030ALA640 3TB internal hard drive – Warranty until 2020 – £60
CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro H100i Extreme Liquid Cooler – £55
G skill Ripjaws X 16GB DDR3 1866 RAM 2 x 8GB – £85
Graphics Card: EVGA Nvidia GeoForce GTX 780Ti SC 3GB – £140

Price and currency: Various
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Paypal or BT
Location: Pontefract
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – AMD Ryzen 1600X

Just upgraded from this chip. Boxed retail 1600X bought in June.

Price and currency: 155
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: London
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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For Sale – Lenovo Ideapad 320s-14IKB Laptop (2017 Model)

Hi AVF!

I have for sale a Lenovo Ideapad 320s-14IKB laptop in Grey.

Purchased from Curry’s in September making this only 2 months old with very little use!

Some brief spec’s:

14″ Anti-glare coated screen at 1366 x 769 HD
Intel Pentium Gold 4415U 2.2GHz Dual Core Processor with Hyper Threading (Kaby Lake)
4GB DDR4 2133Mhz
128GB SSD
2 Harman Dolby Audio Speakers

For further information regarding tech specs and more, please visit this: LINK!

Laptop comes fully boxed with charger, manuals, receipt of purchase and in absolute MINT condition.

Any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

Price and currency: £250
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT
Location: Newport
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
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For Sale – I5 4690k , I7 4790K and 16gb DDR3 ram @2400

Hi , up for sale few CPU’s and Some RAM (16gb DDR3 2400) all parts taken from a working PC
selling due to upgrade ,
I5 4690k : Chip only no box or Fan ( about two and half years old ) Price £130
20171115_150524.jpg20171115_150554.jpg

20171115_150657.jpg

I7 4790k : chip only no box or Fan ( only 6 months old ) Price £200
20171115_150732.jpg

20171115_150737.jpg

20171115_150834.jpg

DDr3 Ram 16gb @2400mhz just to note , the very small heat sink on the top of ram has been painted black ( normally red)
: boxed in original package Price £85
20171115_150456.jpg

20171115_150503.jpg

I5 4690k = £130
I7 4790k = £200
RAM =£85
Ta

Price and currency: Depends on item
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG
Location: Durham
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
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By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
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