MLitB: Machine Learning in the Browser

Edward Meeds, Remco Hendriks, Said al Faraby, Magiel Bruntink, Max Welling
Informatics Institute, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
arXiv:1412.2432 [cs.DC], (8 Dec 2014)



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With few exceptions, the field of Machine Learning (ML) research has largely ignored the browser as a computational engine. Beyond an educational resource for ML, the browser has vast potential to not only improve the state-of-the-art in ML research, but also, inexpensively and on a massive scale, to bring sophisticated ML learning and prediction to the public at large. This paper introduces MLitB, a prototype ML framework written entirely in Javascript, capable of performing large-scale distributed computing with heterogeneous classes of devices. The development of MLitB has been driven by several underlying objectives whose aim is to make ML learning and usage ubiquitous (by using ubiquitous compute devices), cheap and effortlessly distributed, and collaborative. This is achieved by allowing every internet capable device to run training algorithms and predictive models with no software installation and by saving models in universally readable formats. Our prototype library is capable of training deep neural networks (DNNs) with synchronized, distributed stochastic gradient descent (SGD). MLitB offers several important opportunities for novel ML research, including: development of distributed learning algorithms, advancement of web GPU algorithms, novel field and mobile applications, privacy preserving computing, and green grid-computing. MLitB is available as open source software.
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