Oct 102018
 October 10, 2018  Posted by at 9:37 am Artificial Intelligence, Conference, MicrosoftAnnouncements  Add comments


Welcome to the second part of my Microsoft Ignite series! In this blog post I’ll cover news regarding Artificial Intelligence!

To read more about the blog post series, and where you can find all the videos:

Microsoft Ignite 2018 recap part 1: About MS Ignite and where to watch the sessions online

Azure AI consists of three main areas, AI Apps and Agents, Machine Learning and Knowledge Mining and announcements were made in all three areas. Most exciting for me as a wannabe data science nerd is the announcements in the two latter areas. Let’s talk about Azure ML first.

Automated Machine Learning and Hyperparameter Tuning


To create a ML model you need data, a training algorithm, and parameters (hyper parameters) that the algorithms take. The three ingredients make up the machine learning model after computations are done. Finding the right algorithms is tricky, and trying different parameters can be a tedious and slow process. With Automated ML in Azure you can set a few parameters, and then Azure ML will select the best (and efficient) algorithms to use as well as optimize model performance and select the best hyperparameters based on your target metric.

Read more


Recommended video

BRK3332 – Generating high quality models efficiently using Automated ML and Hyperparameter Tuning


Try it yourself




Azure Machine Learning Python SDK


Core features of Azure Machine Learning are now accessible through a Python SDK that is easily installed with a pip install command. You can install just the SDK, or also additional features such as the automated ML feature I mentioned earlier. This means you can use the IDE of your choice to prepare data, work with the data, distribute across nodes and more.

Read more


Recommended video

THR2201 – Machine learning using Python in Azure Functions


THR3098 – AI TechTalk: Azure Machine Learning SDK – a walkthrough


Try it yourself




Azure Cognitive Services – Speech Service GA


Azure has a group of AI services, many of these came in preview earlier this year but are now in GA (General Availability).

These are the main areas: Visions, Knowledge, Language, Speech and Search.  The Speech Service offers a variety of ways of working with speech and translation from an AI perspective and is now in GA. One thing in particular that is extra exciting is the Human Parity Text to Speech preview that makes text to speech sound more natural.

Sign up for the preview here: http://aka.ms/neuralttsintro

Read more


Recommended video

THR2175 – AI TechTalk: What’s new in Cognitive Services speech recognition products


Try it yourself

Ready to run example:


Old blogpost on the topic:


Create a free API key here:




Excel Enhancements


Excel has also undergone some significant AI enhancements, besides new functions that work with dynamic arrays (such as UNIQUE and FILTER). Two new AI feature have gotten a lot of attention, with the first one being the ‘Insert from Picture’ feature (currently in preview on Android). The feature lets the user use a photo of a data table, and have it inserted and transformed into an actual data table. Items that Excel is unsure of will be highlighted. The second feature is the new rich data types, stocks and geographies. When data is marked as one of the supported data types you will have access to the full rich data type model, including the properties. You will also have new graphs and graphics that are tied to the data type, for dynamic interaction with your data.

Read more



Recommended video

BRK3082 – Advanced analytics in Microsoft Excel: Get deep insights from your data including AI-powered capabilities


BRK2122 – What’s new in Microsoft Excel: Machine learning-powered insights, new data types, new visualizations, arrays, and more


THR1024 – Ten Excel features you’ll wish you’d known earlier


Try it yourself

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