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How Cloud-Based Machine Learning Platforms Streamline AI Developmentby@karthikrajashekaran
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How Cloud-Based Machine Learning Platforms Streamline AI Development

by Karthik RajashekaranMay 15th, 2024
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Cloud-based machine learning platforms are transforming AI development by providing scalable and cost-effective solutions. They enhance productivity, simplify management, and enable rapid deployment across various industries, including healthcare and finance. However, challenges like data security and the need for human supervision remain crucial.
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70 years down the line, Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to stand as one of the most prosperous disciplines of the modern era and its advancements not only revolutionize the tech industry but also reshape norms across various global industries.


AI has fundamentally altered our daily interactions with technology, under the umbrella term of Artificial Intelligence lies several sub-disciplines, among them Machine Learning (ML), which enables computers to learn from data and make predictions or decisions.

ML essentially allows for the training and integration of human traits and abilities—such as sight, speech, pattern-learning, and problem-solving—into computer systems.


However, the development and deployment of machine learning models at a production scale can be resource-intensive and require large-scale infrastructures, while hardware costs have decreased in modern times, scaling these systems remains a challenge.


For instance, OpenAI likely invested millions of dollars in training ChatGPT, but training is only one phase of the Machine Learning Life Cycle (MLLC); costs can increase tenfold when deploying models globally, this is where Cloud-based ML platforms come into play.

As the name suggests, Cloud-Based ML is essentially a niche within cloud computing that provides developers with powerful tools and infrastructure to accelerate AI/ML development, these tools are provisioned remotely and utilize state-of-the-art hardware on a pay-as-you-use basis, enabling developers to accelerate AI development within their organizations.


Welcome to 2024 the year of AI, this insightful article breaks down cloud-based platforms. let’s discover together!


Understanding Cloud-based ML Platforms

Machine learningCloud-based machine learning platforms are strong ecosystems built to accelerate each step of developing a machine learning model.

These platforms provide developers with instant and on-demand access to a variety of computational resources by utilizing the masses of cloud-based infrastructure (hardware, software, and more) located in cloud environments.


This facilitates smooth development, testing, deployment, maintenance, and scalability for the system as it progresses.

At the core of these cloud-based ML, platforms are intuitive interfaces and pre-built components that are strategically designed to simplify the development workflow for users of varying skill levels. This means that irrespective of whether you are a seasoned data scientist or a developer just starting, the cloud benefits all individuals by provisioning an efficient platform that streamlines processes thereby enhancing productivity and efficiency.


The Machine Learning Life Cycle (MLLC) is a term that is used to describe the process of building a machine learning or data science project from start to end.


The very nature of these disciplines demands that there is a large amount of computational power to facilitate processing, depending on the task at hand, coupled with the dynamic nature of cloud computing, we must fathom the sheer quantity of computational power that is housed in the cloud environment for a better understanding of what it necessitates. Hence, due to the large scale of on-demand computing, the cloud environment and cloud-based machine learning platform require state-of-the-art mechanisms to ensure optimum performance, power management, and load balancing.


These management algorithms and systems need to ensure that the cloud-based machine-learning platform is FAIR:

  • Fast (in terms of latency/speed)

  • Accessible (in terms of human differences)

  • Intuitive (in terms of design and accessibility)

  • Responsive (in terms of user interface and design)


There are three primary goals every cloud-based machine learning platform should aim to achieve:

  1. Optimize every development phase in the Machine Learning Life Cycle.
  2. Simplify the end-to-end development process of an Information System while conforming to the phases in the MLLC.
  3. Ensure the accuracy and reliability of the project irrespective of the scale.


This means that the size of a project being done via the cloud-based platform should not affect the cloud environment itself. Because the cloud environment is- by definition- built to handle and provision excessive amounts of traffic, load, and processing power.


When developers and/or businesses talk about employing a cloud-based platform or cloud-based solution, oftentimes, there is a team of individuals who work collaboratively to build and achieve the resultant vision and not a single person. Thus, the integration of cloud-based approaches for AI Development in a company places a focus on teamwork, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing among developers and stakeholders.


Communication is key when working with real-world AI projects. This is why Information Technology can make a difference in other industries and sectors. Having effective communication ensures that the team morale is at its optimum, thereby reflecting a work environment that welcomes all ideas, thoughts, and opinions. In doing so, the organization fosters an atmosphere of encouragement and innovation. Since the quantity of data is not a hindrance to the development of AI systems when using cloud-based approaches, the cloud-based machine learning platforms allow developers to maintain a holistic view of the information system thereby allowing the system to scale, advance, and improve as required.


Ultimately, we need to acknowledge that it is only due to the variety of tools and resources that are provisioned by the cloud environment, that AI Engineers and related disciplines are empowered to have an accelerated rate in the development and deployment of AI Products and Information Systems.

Key Features and Benefits

AI

So, we have spoken about the concept of Cloud-based Machine Learning in-depth, but what exactly does it bring to the table for AI development and what implications does this hold for your organization?


The five core benefits and distinguishing factors of Cloud-based Machine Learning Platforms as opposed to local development are as follows:


  1. Scalability and Flexibility: As we already know, cloud-based machine learning platforms are housed digitally in the cloud environment(s). This means that due to the nearly infinite supply of infrastructure on demand, the cloud-based ML platform enables machine learning projects to be scaled on demand as per web traffic. Irrespective of whether you are a small company that is seeking to dabble into cloud-based AI development or a company that is going to transition from local to cloud solutions, rest assured that the cloud environment can handle your requirements on a hundred-fold scale, if not, more. You will have the ability to dynamically adjust your requirements using the intuitive and responsive interface to add and/or remove resources and computational power to match your project demands.


  2. Cost-Effectiveness: Cloud-based machine learning platforms are stored and run off hardware in the physical cloud environment that is located away from your physical premise. This cloud environment is managed and maintained by the Cloud Service Provider. Hitherto is a term used to describe the entity or entities that oversee the cloud environment to ensure that everything (every component) inside the environment is set up, configured, and maintained according to industry standards. this means that your team of developers and development team(s) are free from the costs associated with physical hardware- and software- investments and maintenance because the cloud platforms operate on a pay-as-you-go or pay-as-you-use basis and you only pay for the resources that you actively consume thereby ensuring cost efficiency for your models. This property of cloud-based ML platforms enables scalability without having to be concerned about the charge of idle hardware costs.


  3. Simplified Management: Cloud-based ML platforms remove the complexities of infrastructure management, thereby allowing users and developers to focus solely on model development and experimentation. This simplification streamlines the development process because developers don’t need to waste time by purchasing and setting up hardware and software environments- everything is pre-configured and customizable with the cloud-based machine learning platforms thereby enhancing productivity and reducing time-to-market.


  4. Integration and Accessibility: In present times, two popular integration tools are offered by cloud-based platforms, viz. SDKs and APIs. These tools facilitate the seamless integration of machine learning functionality into applications, Additionally, cloud-native AI solutions eliminate the need for deep technical knowledge, thereby enabling rapid deployment and scaling of AI solutions.


  5. Reduced Time-to-Value: With cloud-based ML platforms, users can start seeing results in hours or days, rather than months or years, because one of the most time-consuming phases of AI development is the acquisition and configuration of the infrastructure that will support the development process. However, as we know, cloud-based ML platforms are managed by the cloud service provider and operate independently from the clients. Thus, this allows the development teams of organizations to eliminate the need for resource provisioning and infrastructure management. Ultimately, the cloud-based ML platform helps to speed up the MLLC, thereby boosting the time-to-value associated with AI initiatives, throughout this accelerated process, the development team can maintain products and information systems with the best quality and accessibility.


Real-world Applications and Use Cases

Technology is often connotated with the advent of progress and change for the better. This is because technology can be integrated and introduced in virtually any industry which can bring about revolutionary changes. The advent of cloud-based ML platforms maintains the same notion by enabling intelligent models and systems to be developed and trained upon discipline-specific data. This means that the use case of cloud-based ML platforms extends across a variety of sectors, industries, and applications.


As the sound waves of the AI boom continue to reverberate and reach every corner of the globe, more companies are required to adapt to the benefits of AI systems. When AI systems and cloud-based ML platforms work together, they can bring a positive change in any industry irrespective of the discipline. This is because one of the key goals of every organization is to make a profit and stay updated with factors that influence and affect the stability of that field.


And artificial intelligence systems can give the organization a competitive advantage by helping companies to:

  • discover new insights from data.

  • uncover new patterns.

  • improve decision-making.

  • enhance customer experience.


This applies to healthcare, finance, retail, manufacturing, automotive, and a large number of other industries. Because businesses value growth and prosperity, this comes in the form of strengthened and well-informed decision-making, increased revenue and profits, increased customer satisfaction, and more. Artificial intelligence can provide all these benefits and more, by employing cloud-based machine learning platforms for AI development, we introduce a catalyst for accelerated growth and change in the company. To obtain a higher level of insight into the real-world use cases of cloud-based ML platforms for accelerated AI development, we will proceed to analyze two case studies.


  1. Healthcare Sector The direct benefits of AI development can be seen in the healthcare sector because it impacts the well-being of the human species. Cloud-based machine learning platforms enable a leap in the quality of patient care and treatment. this is because artificial intelligence can analyze millions of complex medical imaging data by utilizing state-of-the-art algorithms to learn trends and patterns embedded in the data and provides healthcare facilities and personnel with the ability to infer and deduce the patterns present in the data that correspond to a variety of illnesses, including cancer, COVID-19, and Tuberculosis. For example, one of the most trending use cases of cloud-based ML platforms for accelerated AI development in 2024 is radiology, in which “most current AI applications in radiology provide estimates of how likely a certain patient is to have complications based on radiological imaging”. it tells us that AI allows for insights to be extracted on a scale that has never been achieved before the onset of the AI boom. The advantage of computers and AI is they do not become overwhelmed with massive amounts of data, they handle huge quantities with speed and precision, thereby allowing for early identification of diseases and individualized treatment options.


  2. Finance Sector In the finance sector, cloud-based ML platforms help to contribute to the safety of money and assets. As AI grows, it allows all disciplines to prosper financially and thus the probability of financial risks increases. Therefore, AI systems are built and deployed on cloud platforms that monitor financial databases and transactions to detect instances of fraud (called fraud detection). Cloud-based ML platforms allow sophisticated and powerful algorithms to run and analyze enormous amounts of transaction data in real time. Organizations can also utilize strong machine learning algorithms to prevent fraudulent transactions, protect assets, and build stakeholder confidence.


Challenges and Considerations

Every technological advancement is not without its cons or downsides, and cloud-based ML platforms are no different. The three key challenges and considerations when deciding to integrate Cloud-based ML in your company are as follows.


  1. Human Supervision: Machine Learning may be powerful, but it cannot operate in isolation. Human supervision is crucial to monitor and correct machine learning systems in times of discrepancies. Irrespective of the sector to which it is applied, these applications rely on human expertise to ensure accuracy and reliability. Thus, while machine learning augments human capabilities, it doesn't replace them entirely.


  2. Data Mobility: Transitioning data between cloud providers is a meticulous task that needs to be done by experts in the field. Machine learning models are sensitive to changes in data format or size, making seamless data migration essential for model performance. Additionally, implementing multi-cloud data solutions for enhanced mobility can incur additional costs, particularly for instances where the organization's data servers are on-premises.


  3. Data Confidentiality and Security: By trusting data to the cloud service providers this means that you do so with all acceptance of all inherent risks. While providers implement security measures to safeguard your data, you/your organization must ensure that the data confidentiality and compliance measures meet that of the industry standards. In the event of your data being breached, legal recourse may be available, however, recovery of your lost or compromised data is not guaranteed. Hence, your organization must carefully assess the required security needs and select providers that offer adequate safeguards.

Conclusion

To conclude, cloud-based machine learning platforms are essential tools for accelerating AI development and enabling industry-wide innovation. These platforms enable developers to focus on what is most important: designing intelligent applications that solve real-world problems. As AI advances, cloud-based ML platforms will play an increasingly important role in shaping the future of technology and driving the next wave of innovation.

References

  1. Machine Learning in the Cloud, 2023. [Online] Available at: https://www.run.ai/guides/machine-learning-in-the-cloud. [Accessed: 02 May 2024].
  2. Koetsier J., ChatGPT Burns Millions Every Day. Can Computer Scientists Make AI One Million Times More Efficient?, 10 February 2023. [Online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2023/02/10/chatgpt-burns-millions-every-day-can-computer-scientists-make-ai-one-million-times-more-efficient/?sh=337fc43f6944. [Accessed: 02 May 2024].
  3. HeroVired, Benefits of Cloud Computing in Data Science and Machine Learning, 19 January 2024. [Online] Available at: https://herovired.com/learning-hub/blogs/benefits-of-cloud-computing-in-data-science-and-machine-learning/. [Accessed: 04 May 2024].