Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Friday, September 18, 2020
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Anaconda, IBM Expand Open AI Collaboration 

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IBM will integrate Anaconda’s Python-based data science platform into its Watson Studio and Cloud Pak data offerings as a way to advance open source AI development. Watson Studio, IBM’s data prep and model building platform, will in turn be offered on Anaconda’s repository.

Among the goals of the partnership announced on Thursday (June 4) is reducing technical, operational and legal obstacles to enterprise adoption of open source resources needed by data scientists to advance AI development. To that end, the partners said IBM will integrate Anaconda’s “team edition” repository with Watson AI Studio, allowing data scientists to manage AI projects in an “enterprise-grade environment.”

A “lite” version of the Watson platform will be available for free on Anaconda’s Navigator, the company’s desktop graphical user interface. The combination would allow data scientists to tighten governance and accelerate deployment of open source AI technologies across different clouds. (The “lite” plan provides access to a limited number of users, memory and “capacity hours,” IBM said.)

Anaconda’s open source data science community is estimated at about 20 million users.

“Both our companies share a goal of making data science and machine learning more accessible, and this relationship is a further step in that direction,” said Peter Wang, CEO and co-founder of Anaconda.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) said the collaboration includes an OEM agreement to market Anaconda’s enterprise platform and Watson Studio on IBM Cloud Pak for Data. The Anaconda integration with Watson Studio is scheduled to become available to data scientists on June 19. The package will include managed and curated open source libraries and tools, the partners said.

The Cloud Pak data platform includes an AutoAI feature designed to automate tedious but essential machine learning tasks such as data preparation, model selection and optimization. The data analytics platform is billed as a way to link large data stores to AI applications, pulling from different databases.

Anaconda, Austin, Texas, has previously announced similar collaborations, including a partnership with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) to add its Visual Studio Code editor to the Anaconda data science platform.

The new data science initiative is the latest open source effort between IBM and the Anaconda community. In 2017, for example, IBM expanded support on its z/OS open source mainframe for the Anaconda stack used by Python programmers.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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