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August 17, 2017

Sony Unveils Neural Network Console, an Integrated Development Environment Using Deep Learning for AI Creation

Visualizing Neural Networking Structures for Efficient Program Creation


Sony Corporation
Sony Network Communications Inc.
Tokyo - August 17, 2017 - Sony Corporation today announced that it has made its Neural Network Console software, which provides an integrated development environment for creating deep-learning based programs, available free of charge. Program engineers and designers will now be able to make use of this software, which comes with a full-fledged GUI (graphical user interface), to develop deep learning programs and incorporate them into their products and services, all the while taking advantage of its intuitive user interface to efficiently carry out neural network design, learning, and evaluation. Following Sony's move in June 2017 to make its core libraries (Neural Network Libraries) available in open source, it is hoping to spur more deep learning-related development in the industrial world by providing this software that can use its GUI to operate the core libraries.
Deep learning refers to a form of machine learning that uses neural networks modeled after the human brain. By making the switch to deep learning-based machine learning, the past few years have seen a rapid improvement in image and voice recognition technology, even outperforming humans in certain areas. Compared to conventional forms of machine learning, deep learning is especially notable for its high versatility, with applications in a wide variety of fields besides image and voice recognition, including machine translation, signal processing, and robotics. As proposals are made to expand the scope of deep learning to fields where machine learning has not been traditionally used, there has been an accompanying surge in the number of deep learning developers.

The work of neural network design is very important for deep learning program development. Programmers construct the neural network best suited to the task at hand, such as image or voice recognition, and load it into a product or service after optimizing the network's performance through a series of trials.

Currently, when creating conventional deep learning programs, neural networks are constructed by writing the program code and combining function blocks. However, by using this newly developed console software, this function block concept can be simply expressed through the GUI. On the console software screen, the different layers (function blocks) are prepared beforehand in the shape of ready-made components. Neural networks can then be constructed by simply rearranging these components through the GUI, greatly improving the efficiency of program development. Moreover, novice deep learning developers can visually confirm the functions of the core library and build up their proficiency in a short amount of time.

The primary features of the console software

Intuitive User Interface

Carry out neural network design, learning, and evaluation through an intuitive graphical user interface. The slew of support features provided by this console software allows developers to focus their attention on development work.

Edit Neural Networks by Simply Dragging and Dropping

Design cutting-edge neural networks through the software's rich layering feature. The ability to effortlessly and immediately see your new ideas reflected in the GUI facilitates experimentation and streamlines the neural network creation process.

Check Progress and Results in Real-time Through Speedy, Automated Learning

Once the network has been designed, training begins with the push of a button. Progress and results can then be checked in real-time right from your screen.

Review Past Progress Through Centralized Control

Review dozens of previously learned and designed neural networks and compare their features all in the same place.

Automatic Optimization of Neural Network Designs

The work of "chaining," or searching for smaller and higher-performing neural networks, can be left to the console's tools. Choose the neural network that is best suited to your project's needs from among the optimized search results.
This policy forms one part of Sony's AI environmental improvement initiative. In a world where more goods and services are expected to make use of artificial intelligence to provide higher levels of convenience, Sony is providing an integrated development environment in the hope that a wider range of developers and researchers will build on its programs, and with the aim of contributing to the development of society.
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