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Apple commits 'Turi Create' machine learning development tool to GitHub

Building on its acquisition of machine learning and AI specialist Turi, Apple this week committed "Turi Create" to GitHub, a new machine learning framework designed to help developers build machine learning models that can be parlayed into apps running on its major operating systems.

According to Apple, Turi Create is designed to assist in the development and deployment of machine models, even for those not well-versed in the discipline.

With the commit, developers can add recommendations, object detection, image classification, image similarity or activity classification to their app, among other assets, Apple says.

Turi Create was posted on Thursday by Apple engineers including Gustav Larsson, Srikrishna Sridhar and Zach Nation, all of whom work on the company's CoreML machine learning framework. Sridhar and Nation were previously employees at Turi. A fourth member of the commit team, "afranklin," is also thought to be a software engineer at Apple.

Apple describes Turi Create as easy to use, with a focus on tasks instead of algorithms. The tool supports large datasets of text, images, audio, video and sensor data on a single machine, while streaming visualization help developers explore data.

Importantly, models created using Turi Create can be exported to CoreML for application in Apple's major platforms — iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS.

In its ReadMe, Apple presents an example in which an image classifier is built using only a few lines of code. Accompanying images showed the resulting model, which can be integrated into an iOS app, successfully identify a flowerpot, fountain and banana.

Apple says the framework can be used for create recommender systems, image classification, image similarity, object detection, activity classifier and text classifier operations. Developers can also work with machine learning models through toolkits covering classifiers, regression, graph analytics, clustering, nearest neighbors and topic models.

Apple purchased Turi last year for a reported $200 million as it built out its machine learning and artificial intelligence team. The company's first significant effort in the space arrived with iOS 11 this year in the form of CoreML, a toolset designed to assist developers in the deployment of machine learning features.