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AWS Opens Up Internal Machine Learning Courses to All

Artificial intelligence technologies such as machine learning may seem to be recent, exciting breakthroughs on the cutting edge of modern development, but they've actually been used for 20-plus years in companies like Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), which is now sharing its homegrown instructional materials.

The cloud pioneer was quick to leverage machine learning, deep learning and other AI technologies to improve its wide range of services. Along the way, AWS developed internal guidance and courseware to train its engineers who use machine learning, and this week it announced those courses will be provided free of charge to any developer.

ML and other AI technologies are infused in a variety of Amazon products and services, including:

  • SageMaker (used to build, train, and deploy machine learning models at scale)
  • Rekognition (add intelligent image and video analysis to applications)
  • Comprehend (discover insights and relationships in text)
  • Transcribe (automatic speech recognition)
  • Polly (turn text into lifelike speech using deep learning)
  • Translate (natural and accurate language translation)
  • Lex (conversational interfaces for applications powered by the same deep learning technologies as Alexa)

Now, through the "Machine Learning University" available as part of a new AWS Training and Certification Machine Learning offering, AWS is signaling its intention to democratize the technology.

"With thousands of engineers focused on machine learning across the company, there are very few Amazon retail pages, products, fulfillment technologies, stores which haven’t been improved through the use of machine learning in one way or another," said Dr. Matt Wood, general manager of Artificial Intelligence, AWS, in a post this week (Nov. 26). "Many AWS customers share this enthusiasm, and our mission has been to take machine learning from something which had previously been only available to the largest, most well-funded technology companies, and put it in the hands of every developer."

Along with developers, the company is targeting data scientists, data platform engineers and other business professionals, who now have access to more than 30 self-service, self-paced digital courses that include more than 45 hours of courses, videos and labs.

While the courses are free, those taking them must pay for services used in labs and exams.

Along with the new educational initiative, AWS announced the new "AWS Certified Machine Learning - Specialty" certification in order to help students demonstrate their knowledge while at the same time helping employers hire more efficiently.

The machine learning training site shows several learning paths available, with classes such as:

  • Machine Learning for Business Challenges
  • Math for Machine Learning
  • The Elements of Data Science
  • Building a Dynamic Conversational Bot
  • Introduction to Amazon DeepLens

"Each course starts with the fundamentals, and builds on those through real-world examples and labs, allowing developers to explore machine learning through some fun problems we have had to solve at Amazon," Wood said. "These include predicting gift wrapping eligibility, optimizing delivery routes, or predicting entertainment award nominations using data from IMDb (an Amazon subsidiary). Coursework helps consolidate best practices, and demonstrates how to get started on a range of AWS machine learning services, including Amazon SageMaker, AWS DeepLens, Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Lex, Amazon Polly, and Amazon Comprehend."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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