Machine learning frameworks

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Machine learning framework

What is a machine learning framework?

Machine learning (ML) frameworks are interfaces that allow data scientists and developers to build and deploy machine learning models faster and easier. Machine learning is used in almost every industry, notably finance, insurance, healthcare, and marketing. Using these tools, businesses can scale their machine learning efforts while maintaining an efficient ML lifecycle.

Companies can choose to build their own custom machine learning framework, but most organizations choose an existing framework that fits their needs. In this article, we’ll show key considerations for selecting the right machine learning framework for your project and briefly review four popular ML frameworks.

machine learning framework
Source: BMC Software

What are the top machine learning frameworks?

Apache Singa 

Apache Singa is a general distributed deep learning platform for training big deep learning models over large datasets. It is designed with an intuitive programming model based on the layer abstraction. A variety of popular deep learning models are supported, namely feed-forward models including convolutional neural networks (CNN), energy models like restricted Boltzmann machine (RBM), and recurrent neural networks (RNN). Many built-in layers are provided for users.

Amazon Machine Learning 

Amazon Machine Learning is a service that makes it easy for developers of all skill levels to use machine learning technology. Amazon Machine Learning provides visualization tools and wizards that guide you through the process of creating machine learning (ML) models without having to learn complex ML algorithms and technology.  It connects to data stored in Amazon S3, Redshift, or RDS, and can run binary classification, multiclass categorization, or regression on said data to create a model.

Azure ML Studio

Azure ML Studio allows Microsoft Azure users to create and train models, then turn them into APIs that can be consumed by other services. Users get up to 10GB of storage per account for model data, although you can also connect your own Azure storage to the service for larger models. A wide range of algorithms are available, courtesy of both Microsoft and third parties. You don’t even need an account to try out the service; you can log in anonymously and use Azure ML Studio for up to eight hours.


Caffe is a deep learning framework made with expression, speed, and modularity in mind. It is developed by the Berkeley Vision and Learning Center (BVLC) and by community contributors. Yangqing Jia created the project during his PhD at UC Berkeley. Caffe is released under the BSD 2-Clause license.  Models and optimization are defined by configuration without hard-coding & user can switch between CPU and GPU. Speed makes Caffe perfect for research experiments and industry deployment. Caffe can process over 60M images per day with a single NVIDIA K40 GPU.


H2O makes it possible for anyone to easily apply math and predictive analytics to solve today’s most challenging business problems. It intelligently combines unique features not currently found in other machine learning platforms including: Best of Breed Open Source Technology, Easy-to-use WebUI and Familiar Interfaces, Data Agnostic Support for all Common Database and File Types. With H2O, you can work with your existing languages and tools. Further, you can extend the platform seamlessly into your Hadoop environments.

Massive Online Analysis

Massive Online Analysis (MOA) is the most popular open source framework for data stream mining, with a very active growing community. It includes a collection of machine learning algorithms (classification, regression, clustering, outlier detection, concept drift detection and recommender systems) and tools for evaluation. Related to the WEKA project, MOA is also written in Java, while scaling to more demanding problems.

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Pattern is a web mining module for the Python programming language. It has tools for data mining (Google, Twitter and Wikipedia API, a web crawler, a HTML DOM parser), natural language processing (part-of-speech taggers, n-gram search, sentiment analysis, WordNet), machine learning (vector space model, clustering, SVM), network analysis and <canvas> visualization.


Scikit-Learn leverages Python’s breadth by building on top of several existing Python packages — NumPy, SciPy, and matplotlib — for math and science work. The resulting libraries can be used either for interactive “workbench” applications or be embedded into other software and reused. The kit is available under a BSD license, so it’s fully open and reusable. Scikit-learn includes tools for many of the standard machine-learning tasks (such as clustering, classification, regression, etc.). And since scikit-learn is developed by a large community of developers and machine-learning experts, promising new techniques tend to be included in fairly short order.


Torch is a scientific computing framework with wide support for machine learning algorithms that puts GPUs first. It is easy to use and efficient, thanks to an easy and fast scripting language, LuaJIT, and an underlying C/CUDA implementation. The goal of Torch is to have maximum flexibility and speed in building your scientific algorithms while making the process extremely simple. Torch comes with a large ecosystem of community-driven packages in machine learning, computer vision, signal processing, parallel processing, image, video, audio and networking among others, and builds on top of the Lua community.


Veles is a distributed platform for deep-learning applications, and it’s written in C++, although it uses Python to perform automation and coordination between nodes. Datasets can be analyzed and automatically normalized before being fed to the cluster, and a REST API allows the trained model to be used in production immediately. It focuses on performance and flexibility. It has little hard-coded entities and enables training of all the widely recognized topologies, such as fully connected nets, convolutional nets, recurrent nets etc.

What is the difference between library and framework?

A library performs specific, well-defined operations. Whereas a framework is a skeleton where the application defines the "meat" of the operation by filling out the skeleton. The skeleton still has code to link up the parts but the most important work is done by the application.

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