H2O brings AI grandmaster-powered NLP to the enterprise


There are about 1200 chess grandmasters on this planet, and solely 250 AI grandmasters. In chess, as in AI, grandmaster is an accolade reserved for the highest tier {of professional} gamers. In AI, this accolade is given out by the top-performing knowledge scientists in Kaggle’s development system.

H2O.ai, the AI Cloud firm which raised $100 million in a Sequence E spherical on the finish of 2021, and which is now valued at $1.6 billion, employs 10% of the world’s AI grandmasters. The corporate simply introduced H2O Hydrogen Torch, a product aiming to carry AI grand mastery for picture, video, and pure language processing (NLP) to the enterprise.

We linked with H2O CEO and Founder Sri Ambati, and we mentioned every part from H2O’s origins and general providing to Hydrogen Torch and the place it matches into the AI panorama.

H2O: A stack for AI

Ambati first began working with AI doing voice-to-text translation for the Indian house analysis program some a long time in the past. He subsequently stumbled upon neural networks, which have been at an early stage on the time. As an immigrant in Silicon Valley, he hung out working in startups. He additionally hung out on sabbaticals between Berkeley and Stanford and met mathematicians, physicists, and pc scientists.

Working with them, Ambati laid the groundwork for what would develop into H2O’s open supply basis. Nevertheless it wasn’t till his mom obtained breast most cancers that he was “impressed to democratize machine studying for everybody.”

Ambati got down to carry AI to the fingertips of each doctor or knowledge scientist fixing issues of worth for society, as he put it. To do this, he went on so as to add, math and analytics at scale needed to be reinvented. That led to H2O, bringing collectively compiler engineers, techniques engineers, mathematicians, knowledge scientists, and grandmasters, to make it straightforward to construct fashions of excessive worth and excessive accuracy, very quick.

There’s a entire product line constructed by H2O through the years to materialize this. When H2O began in 2012, Ambati stated, there was a spot in scalable open supply AI foundations. There have been languages like R and Python that allowed folks to construct fashions, however they have been very gradual or brittle or not totally featured. H2O’s contribution, per Ambati, was that they constructed “the world’s quickest distance calculator.”

It is a reference to the core math used for matrix multiplication in deep studying. When you may calculate the gap between two lengthy tensors, Ambati went on so as to add, you can begin producing wealthy, linear, and nonlinear math throughout excessive dimensional and low dimensional knowledge.

That contribution is a part of the H2O open supply framework. Ambati calls this low-level basis “the meeting language for AI.” Then H2O built-in frameworks and open supply communities similar to Scikit-learn, XGBoost, Google’s TensorFlow, or Fb’s PyTorch. The H2O staff began contributing to these, whereas ultimately placing collectively an built-in framework in what would come to be referred to as AutoML.

H2O’s merchandise in that house are H2O AutoML, based mostly on H2O open supply and XGBoost, and a broader providing known as Driverless AI which is closed supply. Each goal time sequence knowledge, that are the spine of many enterprise use circumstances similar to churn prediction, fraud prevention, or credit score scoring.


H2O’s Hydrogen Torch is the newest addition to its product portfolio, aiming to carry AI grand mastery for picture, video and pure language processing (NLP) to the enterprise. Picture: H2O

Driverless AI has been “the engine of H2O economic system” as per Ambati during the last 4 years. It helped H2O purchase lots of of consumers, counting over half of the Fortune 500, together with AT&T, Citi, Capital One, GlaxoSmithKline, Hitachi, Kaiser Permanente, Procter & Gamble, PayPal, PwC, Reckitt, Unilever, and Walgreens.

Ambati calls this layer “the compilers of AI.” That is the place H2O began using the grandmaster strategy: dividing the issue house into a number of recipes, assigning Kaggle grandmasters to every recipe, with the purpose of distilling their information to make issues simpler for groups on the bottom.

The subsequent part after constructing an excellent machine studying mannequin is safely working this mannequin. Knowledge inherently has bias, and biased fashions mustn’t go to manufacturing unchallenged. Discovering blind spots and doing adversarial testing and mannequin validation, deploying fashions, after which integrating it to the CI/CD of software program constructing is what Ambati calls “the middleware for AI”.

That is addressed with a hybrid cloud, on-premises, and edge providing by H2O – the AI cloud. Clients use it by way of functions: there’s an AI app retailer, a pre-built mannequin retailer, and options shops, crystallizing the insights popping out of the mannequin constructing. The AI Cloud can also be multi-cloud, as clients need alternative. Then there’s additionally H2O Wave — an SDK for constructing functions, as per Ambati.

Standing on the shoulders of internet giants

Hydrogen Torch, the newest addition to H2O’s portfolio, is tailor-made particularly to functions for picture, video, and NLP processing use circumstances, together with figuring out or classifying objects, analyzing sentiment, or discovering related data in a textual content. It is a no-code providing, for which Ambati stated:

“It walks into the standard house of internet giants like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Fb, and makes use of a few of their innovation, however challenges them by permitting clients to make use of deep studying extra simply, each taking pre-built fashions and reworking them for native use.”

Ambati referred to some early adopter use circumstances for Hydrogen Torch, similar to video processing in real-time. In Singapore, that is executed to establish whether or not site visitors has picked up, or whether or not sure conditions might lead to accidents. The strategy used is to take “conventional,” massive machine studying fashions after which fine-tune them to the precise knowledge at hand.

Hydrogen Torch makes use of Fb’s PyTorch and Google’s Google’s TensorFlow underneath the hood. H2O takes them and provides grandmaster experience, plus an built-in atmosphere. That additionally consists of H2O’s MLOps providing, which feeds off the information and machine studying pipelines going to manufacturing.

Fashions are being constantly monitored to establish whether or not their accuracy has modified. That may occur as a result of the sample of incoming knowledge has modified, or as a result of the habits of end-users has modified. Both approach, the mannequin is then rebuilt and redeployed.

As well as, a part of the Hydrogen Torch no-code providing is automated documentation era, in order that knowledge scientists can drill right down to discover what knowledge was picked and what transformations have been utilized. Ambati claimed Hydrogen Torch mannequin accuracy could be as much as 30% higher in comparison with baseline fashions, reaching the excessive 90 percentiles.

After all, he went on so as to add, there’s a well-known tradeoff in AI between accuracy, pace, and explainability. Relying on the use case necessities, decisions need to be made. Velocity, nevertheless, is considerably of a common requirement.

So far as pace is worried, H2O’s in-memory processing performs a key function in guaranteeing Hydrogen Torch can carry out as wanted for picture, video and NLP processing use circumstances. On a associated entrance, H2O additionally has machine studying mannequin miniaturization on its agenda. That can allow fashions to be deployed on extra units on the edge, and still have higher efficiency.

Hydrogen Torch additionally has synergies with one other product in H2O’s portfolio, particularly Doc AI. Doc AI allows processing incoming paperwork, combining picture and NLP strategies. After which there’s audio and video knowledge, from sources similar to Zoom calls and podcasts are proliferating, and H2O goals to assist its clients sustain.

H2O has ongoing collaborations with high-profile clients, similar to CommBank and AT&T. Specialists from H2O and shopper organizations co-create machine studying fashions, and there’s a income sharing scheme in place.

Ambati additionally recognized extra areas for future development in H2O’s portfolio: Federated AI, content material creation, artificial knowledge era, knowledge storytelling, and even areas similar to knowledge journalism are on H2O’s radar. The purpose, Ambati stated, is constructing belief in AI to serve communities. That could be a grand imaginative and prescient certainly, for which progress is tough to measure. So far as product roadmap goes, nevertheless, H2O appears to be heading in the right direction.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here