Open Source Sesame: Alibaba Cloud releases ML algorithm platform to Github
Ali Baba (Arabic: علي بابا) is a poor woodcutter from the One Thousand And One Nights stories who discovers the secret of a thieves’ den, entered with the phrase Open Sesame.
Ali Baba, the character is easily distinguished from the other Alibaba by virtue of a) its different spelling and b) the fact that the ‘other’ Alibaba is a Chinese multinational conglomerate holding company specializing in e-commerce, retail, Internet and other technologies.
The only perceivable connection between Ali Baba and Alibaba is that they both like to say ‘open’ — with the former opting for sesame… and the latter opting for source.
Alibaba Cloud (the company division, not the mythical Arabian character) is the data intelligence segment of Alibaba Group.
Open source sesame
In a flourish of open source sesame-ness, Alibaba Cloud has announced that the core codes of Alink, its self-developed algorithm platform, have been made available via open source on Github.
The platform offers a range of algorithm libraries that support both batch and stream processing, both of which are arguably pretty critical for Machine Learning (ML) and tasks such as online product recommendation and intelligent customer services.
Data analysts and software developers can access the codes on Github here to build their own software, facilitating tasks such as statistics analysis, machine learning, real-time prediction, personalized recommendation and abnormality detection.
“As a platform that consists of various algorithms combining learning in various data processing patterns, Alink can be a valuable option for developers looking for robust big data and advanced machine learning tools,” said Yangqing Jia, president and senior fellow of data platform at Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.
Jia claims that Alibaba is one of the ‘the top ten contributors’ to Github. Alibaba has gained over 690,000 stars, with about 20,000 contributors on GitHub.
Alink was developed based on Flink, a unified distributed computing engine. Based on Flink, Alink has provided what is said to be ‘seamless unification’ of batch and stream processing, offering a platform for developers to perform data analytics and machine learning tasks.
This technology supports Alibaba’s proprietary data storage and also other open source data storage, such as Kafka, HDFS and HBase.