Ahead of Build, Azure adds more machine learning and blockchain

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Microsoft has unveiled a new release of Azure for AI, mixed reality, IoT, and blockchains. This will let customers apply Cognitive Services algorithms for new insights into their (structured or unstructured) content.

This will enable customers of both firms to build and scale blockchain networks in the cloud.

The other main announcement for Azure this week concerns artificial intelligence.

Azure's AI and Machine Learning Improvements Some of the most significant changes are coming to Azure Machine Learning, a cloud-based platform that offers a drag-and-drop interface for prepping, training and deploying machine learning models.

First up are some new capabilities under the cognitive-services banner.

To enable extremely low latency and cost-effective inferencing, Microsoft is announcing the general availability of hardware-accelerated models that run on FPGAs, as well as ONNX Runtime support for NVIDIA TensorRT and Intel nGraph for high-speed inferencing on NVIDIA and Intel chipsets. Microsoft has taken this further with a new Azure Blockchain Service that will allow businesses to focus on workflow logic and app development.

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"Built-in governance enables developers to add new members, set permissions, monitor network health and activity, and execute governed, private interactions through integrations with Azure Active Directory", he wrote.

JPMorgan Chase has tapped Microsoft to help it expand its blockchain platform, aiming to make it easier for companies to develop and deploy blockchain applications, The Wall Street Journal reports.

One service from Microsoft helps online retailers recommend products based on shopping history and can be combined with a retailer's existing recommendation engine, said Scott Guthrie.

Engineers have identified the underlying root cause as an incorrect name server delegation issue affecting DNS resolution, network connectivity, and downstream impact to Compute, Storage, App Service, AAD, and SQL Database resources. This makes it easier to do data processing on local devices rather than in the cloud.

Developed by JP Morgan, Quorum - an enterprise-variant of the Ethereum blockchain - will be the first distributed ledger platform available through Microsoft Azure Blockchain Service. "IoT Plug and Play provides developers with a faster way to build IoT devices and will provide customers with a large ecosystem of partner-certified devices that can work with any IoT solution".

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