You might not expect client-side web development and machine learning to be in the same sentence.
An obvious benefit of web browsers is they don’t require installation or intricate setup to use easy-access web applications.
Web apps are also becoming more sophisticated. As such, it’s important that developments in machine learning parallel advancements in web app technology. There are millions of web developers who may have intriguing uses for machine learning applications, but may not have the training or know-how to combine the two fields.
A notable prediction for future app usage is that desktop and phone applications will become obsolete. Experts predict this because they’re more difficult and inefficient to use (setup, download, etc.) than web apps. Ease of use and convenience are two of the most important features that digital consumers seek in products today. As it stands currently, desktop and phone apps don’t meet those needs.
Machine Learning’s Impact
Before diving into how web browser development can use machine learning effectively, let’s examine the elements of machine learning that most affect this relationship. The computational power required by machine learning derives from the use of neural networks. That’s because neural networks need to compute/calculate complex matrix arithmetics in huge quantities and sizes.
Such computational power and complex use of algorithms are uncommon functionalities in web browser development, particularly on the client side.
Collaborative Tools: TensorFire
One tool to highlight is TensorFire. TensorFire is a particularly amazing new tool that “runs neural networks in the browser using WebGL.” Based on TensorFlow, this tool works in an intriguing way. It uses WebGL textures (typically used to represent graphical vectors) to represent neural network weight values (the values that require matrix arithmetic such as the dot product rule). In most cases, the performance of TensorFire is as good as TensorFlow on the desktop.
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All in all, it is exciting to see more web developers use machine learning directly in web browser development, and to see web browsers handle such complex implementations faster and more effectively. As machine learning trends to be a significant part of our technological future, both in enterprise and for consumers, these libraries make for an optimistic outlook for the future of web applications.