Hugging Face partners with Microsoft for new AI-powered Azure service – gotechbusiness.com

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Fresh off a $100 million funding round, Hugging Face, which offers hosted AI services and a community-driven portal for AI tools and datasets, today announced a new product in partnership with Microsoft. called Hugging endpoints on Azure, co-founder and CEO of Hugging Face Clement Delangue described it as a way to turn Hugging Face-developed AI models into ‘scalable manufacturing solutions’.

“Hugging Face’s mission is to democratize good machine learning,” Delangue said in a press release. “We strive to help every developer and organization build high-quality, machine learning-driven applications that have a positive impact on society and business. With Hugging Face Endpoints, we’ve made it easier than ever to deploy state-of-the-art models, and we can’t wait to see what Azure customers build with them.”

The demand for AI remains high. According to According to a recent McKinsey survey, nearly two-thirds of companies plan to increase their investment in AI in the next two years. But implementing AI from scratch can be challenging. In addition, many companies have strict performance, security, compliance and privacy requirements that hosting models require on tightly controlled infrastructure.

Hugging Face Endpoints is Hugging Face’s solution to the problem.

Available through Azure Machine Learning ServicesHugging endpoints allows customers to tap Hugging Face models with a few clicks or lines of Microsoft Azure SDK code. After selecting a model and task type, customers can deploy the model wherever they want on the internal infrastructure, be it an app, website or backend service.

“Transformer models have forever changed the way companies build technology with machine learning,” Jeff Boudier, product director at Hugging Face, told gotechbusiness.com via email. “Endpoints are going to make Transformers… easily accessible for Azure customers. Starting today, Hugging Face Endpoints supports all of Transformers natural language processing tasks. We will be adding support for speech and computer vision tasks, including automatic speech recognition and image classification, in the coming weeks.”

Hugging Face’s models focus on text analysis, especially tasks such as summarizing and generating text, extracting information, and answering questions automatically. They are largely based on the Transformer, the same model architecture that underlies OpenAI’s GPT-3 and countless other powerful AI systems.

Hugging Face Endpoints launches in beta today – it’s already being used by Standard Bank, a major South African bank and financial services company. It’s free during the preview period, with customers paying only for the underlying Azure compute, but the general availability pricing model is usage-based.

Boudier hinted that this is just the beginning of Hugging Face’s work with Microsoft.

“This is the beginning of the partnership between Hugging Face and Azure that we are announcing today as we work together to make our solutions, machine learning platform and models accessible and easy to work with Azure. Hugging Face Endpoints on Azure is our first solution available on the Azure Marketplace, but we are working hard to bring more Hugging Face solutions to Azure,” he said. “We have recognized [the] roadblocks to deploying machine learning solutions in production and began working with Microsoft to resolve the growing interest in a simple turnkey solution.”

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