AT&T introduces AI platform, makes it open source

AT&T has partnered with Tech Mahindra to create its artificial intelligence (AI) platform Acumos, with plans to bring AI solutions into the broader Open Source community.

Hosted by The Linux Foundation, Acumos will enable developers to easily build, share and deploy AI applications, according to AT&T. The platform will provide a marketplace for accessing, using and enhancing those applications.

AT&T Acumos
AT&T Acumos

As AI has gone from what was a far-off science experiment to being part of the emerging data-driven market, creating new AI applications has been fraught with complexity and great expense.

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To keep up with customer demand, AT&T says the industry needs a way to make those apps reusable and accessible to those beyond the company that created them, and simplify deployments to lower the barrier to entry.

As an extensible framework for machine learning solutions, Acumos provides the capability to edit, integrate, compose, package, train and deploy AI microservices. In other words, Acumos is an AI marketplace where applications can be chained to create an array of AI services.

“Our goal with open sourcing the Acumos platform is to make building and deploying AI applications as easy as creating a website,” said Mazin Gilbert, VP of Advanced Technology at AT&T Labs, in a release. “We’re collaborating with Tech Mahindra to establish an industry standard for AI in the networking space.”

Enabling application models

If a developer wanted to create an AI application for analytics, the Acumos platform gives them a variety of applications to choose from, like location tracking and facial recognition. The platform interface lets the developer choose AI capabilities and stitch them together automatically so they function as a single application.

With minimal additional code development, the new service could identify where the video was shot based on background landmarks, and identify the speakers in it. All of this can be designed and deployed in a single interface. Other AI models that the Acumos platform will support will be content curation, autonomous cars, drones, and augmented reality/virtual reality.

Built on open source technologies, Acumos can federate across the various AI tools available today, enabling easy access for developers and businesses.

AT&T did not have to look too far to find a foundation to enable Acumos. The company is leveraging AT&T Indigo, its next-gen platform for delivering a seamless network experience. Indigo is a software-defined and data-powered network that also includes faster internet speeds.

Focus on open source

The company has plenty of experience in developing platforms for the open source community. Earlier this year, AT&T brought its virtualized network platform ECOMP into open source via The Linux Foundation.

In July 2016, AT&T announced that it is open sourcing ECOMP to Linux Foundation. Ultimately, AT&T plans to release all 8.5 million lines of code for ECOMP -- a platform the company developed internally over the past few years.

The goal is to make ECOMP the telecom industry's standard automation platform for managing virtual network functions and other software-centric network capabilities.

AT&T said it is enhancing its approach to releasing platforms into the open source community with the Acumos Project.

“We’re getting the initial framework into open source as quickly as possible,” AT&T said in a statement. “That way, the developer community can accelerate the development of the platform.”