IBM Integrates TensorFlow into PowerAI Toolkit

January 26, 2017

IBM's PowerAI distribution for popular open source Machine Learning and Deep Learning frameworks on the POWER8 architecture now supports the TensorFlow 0.12 framework that was originally created by Google. TensorFlow support through IBM PowerAI provides enterprises with another option for fast, flexible, and production-ready tools and support for developing advanced machine learning products and systems.

As one of the fastest growing fields of machine learning, deep learning makes it possible to process enormous datasets with millions or even billions of elements and extract useful predictive models. Deep learning is transforming the businesses of leading consumer Web and mobile application companies, and it is quickly being adopted by more traditional business enterprises as well.

IBM developed PowerAI, enterprise distribution and support for open-source machine and deep learning frameworks used to build cognitive applications. PowerAI helps reduce the complexity and risk of deploying these open source frameworks for enterprises on the Power architecture. PowerAI is tuned for performance. It offers enterprise support on IBM Power Systems S822LC for HPC platforms used by thousands of developers in commercial, academic and hyperscale systems environments. These Power systems are built with IBM's POWER8 with NVIDIA NVLink processor that is linked via the high-speed NVLink interface to NVIDIA's Tesla Pascal P100 GPU accelerators. The CPU to GPU and GPU to GPU NVLink connections give a performance boost to deep learning and analytics applications.

In addition, deep learning and other machine learning techniques are being deployed across a wide range of industry sectors including banking, the automotive industry and retail.

"TensorFlow is quickly becoming a viable option for companies interested in deploying deep learning for tasks ranging from computer vision, to speech recognition, to text analytics," said Rajat Monga, engineering leader for TensorFlow. "IBM's enterprise offering of TensorFlow will help organizations deploy this framework -- we're glad to see this support."

IBM Technology Support Services will build upon its optimal hardware support services by investing and launching a new innovative enterprise software support offering that gives clients the integrated support they need on the PowerAI stack for a competitive advantage. Further, IBM Global Business Solutions established a deep learning design and development team as part of its Cognitive Business Solutions practice to help build solutions on the PowerAI platform, while making use of popular frameworks such as Tensorflow. The team is dedicated to helping clients realize the transformative value of cognitive solutions, while combining the world of design thinking and PowerAI solution development to bring deep learning services to the enterprise.

"Every enterprise is looking at emerging artificial intelligence methods to take advantage of the data they now have access to," said Ken King, IBM general manager for OpenPOWER. "Our PowerAI software offering curates, packages, and provides enterprise-level support for the major deep learning frameworks like TensorFlow, to enable enterprises to easily use these new AI methods to build new computer models for analyzing their data."

IBM also added the Chainer deep learning framework to the latest release of PowerAI. PowerAI now includes CAFFE, Chainer, TensorFlow, Theano, Torch, NVIDIA DIGITS, and several other machine and deep learning frameworks and libraries and is available for download from

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