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Netflix uses cloud to build online recommendation engine

by on20 February 2014

Follows the brain

Netflix is delving into “deep learning” artificial intelligence that seeks to solve particularly hard problems using computer systems that mimic the structure and behaviour of the brain.

The company is taking a slightly different tack from Facebook and Google which is trying similar technology. The company plans to run its deep learning algorithms on Amazon’s cloud service. Like Google, Netflix is relying on GPUs to build its neural networks. But unlike Google, it’s not going to build its own GPU farms. It developed its algorithms on its own workstations, but plans on tapping an Amazon cloud service that lets you run software using GPUs.

So far Netflix has not released details about how it will apply neural networks to personalized recommendations. But what is important is that Netflix does describe efforts to get its deep learning system ready for the cloud. If it can get its plans to work then smaller start-ups and independent researchers launch their own deep learning experiments atop Amazon.

Not only will this push the whole of deep learning movement forward, it could also mean that smaller companies which cannot afford huge server farms can form their own projects.

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