Home Startups Microsoft Acquires Startup Bonsai to Strengthen It's AI Offering

Microsoft Acquires Startup Bonsai to Strengthen It’s AI Offering

Recently, giant software maker Microsoft revealed its ongoing process to acquire Berkeley, California-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup Bonsai. The startup is well-known for helping businesses to create intelligent systems.

In fact, Bonsai has been in operation for about four years and has an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that allows companies to not only create but also deploy autonomous systems. Originally, Microsoft invested in the startup back in 2017 through its venture fund, which is currently known as M12.

In the blog post revealing the acquisition details, Microsoft expressed great excitement for taking another considerable move towards meeting its vision to make it easier for both subject matter specialists and developers to create “brains” for intelligent systems through acquiring Bonsai.

According to the post, Bonsai is an M12 portfolio company that has created a new revolutionary approach through machine training that bypasses the low-level mechanics involved in machine learning.

turn, this method allows subject matter professionals, irrespective of AI proficiency, to specify and train intelligent systems on how to tackle tasks. Training is conducted in a simulated setting.

Established by Mark Hammond and Keen Browne, Bonsai provides an AI platform that is designed for empowering companies to develop and deploy autonomous systems.

Through the complete automation of the management of sophisticated machine learning algorithms and libraries, the startup allows businesses to program AI models that improve real-time decision support and boost system control.

Currently, businesses utilize such models to intensify automation and enhance the operational efficiency of industrial systems like logistics, manufacturing, supply chain, robotics, as well as utilities and energy.

Bonsai boasts the backing of top investors such as Siemens, Samsung NEXT, ABB, NEA and Microsoft Ventures. The startup is currently developing a deep reinforcement learning platform, which is best suited for businesses that use industrial control systems like manufacturing and independent systems in general.

They include a host of SDKs and APIs for simulator integration, unique machine-teaching innovations, pre-built support for top simulations that are packaged in a single end-to-end platform, as well as automated model generation and management.

According to Microsoft’s corporate VP, Gurdeep Pall, the integration of Bonsai’s platform with simulation tools and reinforcement learning tasks in Microsoft Research will become the richest and simplest artificial intelligence (AI) toolchain for creating all kinds of intelligent systems for calibration and control functions.

The toolchain will integrate with Azure Machine Learning operating on Azure Cloud coupled with Brainwave and GPUs. Also, the models created with it will be run and managed in Azure IoT to provide Microsoft with an end-to-end solution for creating, running and improving “brains” for intelligent systems.

Gurdeep Pall also acknowledged that Bonsai had attained some impressive breakthroughs throughout its existence thanks to its technique, which is deemed to have a considerable impact on the development of AI technologies.

In fact, the startup created a new reinforcement learning yardstick last fall, particularly for programming industrial control systems. He concluded his statement by stating that the unique research partnership, new technology and approach would greatly help in eradicating obstacles and expediting current AI development efforts.

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KC Cheung
KC Cheung has over 18 years experience in the technology industry including media, payments, and software and has a keen interest in artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, neural networks and its applications in business. Over the years he has worked with some of the leading technology companies, building and growing dynamic teams in a fast moving international environment.
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