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From Tsuyoshi Ozawa <>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] Proposing MXNet for the Apache Incubator
Date Fri, 06 Jan 2017 09:11:17 GMT
Hi Henri,

It's a great news! Looking forwarding to MXNet's coming to Apache Incubator :-)

Two minor comments:

> We currently use Github to maintain our source code,

In my understanding, the following url is correct one.

> === Relationship with Other Apache Products ===

As far as I know, there are 2 additional machine learning libraries in
addition to the projects you mentioned.
Apache MADlib(incubating)[1] is a machine learning library, which can
run on SQL system(Greenplum/Apache HAWQ(incubating)/PostgreSQL).
Apache Hivemall(incubating)[2] are also machine learning library,
which can run on Hadoop ecosystem: Apache Spark/Apache Hive/Apache
Pig. Especially for Hivemall project, it has MIX server, one kind of
parameter server to exchange parameters between mappers[3].

This is just a sharing, and I don't mean you should add these projects
to your comment.


- Tsuyoshi

On Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 4:32 PM, Henry Saputra <> wrote:
> This is great news and I am looking forward to it =)
> According to proposal, the community want to stick with Github issues for
> tracking issues and bugs?
> I suppose this needs a nod by Greg Stein as rep from Apache Infra to
> confirm that this is ok for incubation and how would it impact during
> graduation.
> - Henry
> On Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 9:12 PM, Henri Yandell <> wrote:
>> Hello Incubator,
>> I'd like to propose a new incubator Apache MXNet podling.
>> The existing MXNet project ( - 1.5 years old, 15
>> committers,
>> 200 contributors) is very interested in joining Apache. MXNet is an
>> open-source deep learning framework that allows you to define, train, and
>> deploy deep neural networks on a wide array of devices, from cloud
>> infrastructure to mobile devices.
>> The wiki proposal page is located here:
>> I've included the text below in case anyone wants to focus on parts of it
>> in a reply.
>> Looking forward to your thoughts, and for lots of interested Apache members
>> to volunteer to mentor the project in addition to Sebastian and myself.
>> Currently the list of committers is based on the current active coders, so
>> we're also very interested in hearing from anyone else who is interested in
>> working on the project, be they current or future contributor!
>> Thanks,
>> Hen
>> On behalf of the MXNet project
>> ---------
>> = MXNet: Apache Incubator Proposal =
>> == Abstract ==
>> MXNet is a Flexible and Efficient Library for Deep Learning
>> == Proposal ==
>> MXNet is an open-source deep learning framework that allows you to define,
>> train, and deploy deep neural networks on a wide array of devices, from
>> cloud infrastructure to mobile devices. It is highly scalable, allowing for
>> fast model training, and supports a flexible programming model and multiple
>> languages. MXNet allows you to mix symbolic and imperative programming
>> flavors to maximize both efficiency and productivity. MXNet is built on a
>> dynamic dependency scheduler that automatically parallelizes both symbolic
>> and imperative operations on the fly. A graph optimization layer on top of
>> that makes symbolic execution fast and memory efficient. The MXNet library
>> is portable and lightweight, and it scales to multiple GPUs and multiple
>> machines.
>> == Background ==
>> Deep learning is a subset of Machine learning and refers to a class of
>> algorithms that use a hierarchical approach with non-linearities to
>> discover and learn representations within data. Deep Learning has recently
>> become very popular due to its applicability and advancement of domains
>> such as Computer Vision, Speech Recognition, Natural Language Understanding
>> and Recommender Systems. With pervasive and cost effective cloud computing,
>> large labeled datasets and continued algorithmic innovation, Deep Learning
>> has become the one of the most popular classes of algorithms for machine
>> learning practitioners in recent years.
>> == Rational ==
>> The adoption of deep learning is quickly expanding from initial deep domain
>> experts rooted in academia to data scientists and developers working to
>> deploy intelligent services and products. Deep learning however has many
>> challenges.  These include model training time (which can take days to
>> weeks), programmability (not everyone writes Python or C++ and like
>> symbolic programming) and balancing production readiness (support for
>> things like failover) with development flexibility (ability to program
>> different ways, support for new operators and model types) and speed of
>> execution (fast and scalable model training).  Other frameworks excel on
>> some but not all of these aspects.
>> == Initial Goals ==
>> MXNet is a fairly established project on GitHub with its first code
>> contribution in April 2015 and roughly 200 contributors. It is used by
>> several large companies and some of the top research institutions on the
>> planet. Initial goals would be the following:
>>  1. Move the existing codebase(s) to Apache
>>  1. Integrate with the Apache development process/sign CLAs
>>  1. Ensure all dependencies are compliant with Apache License version 2.0
>>  1. Incremental development and releases per Apache guidelines
>>  1. Establish engineering discipline and a predictable release cadence of
>> high quality releases
>>  1. Expand the community beyond the current base of expert level users
>>  1. Improve usability and the overall developer/user experience
>>  1. Add additional functionality to address newer problem types and
>> algorithms
>> == Current Status ==
>> === Meritocracy ===
>> The MXNet project already operates on meritocratic principles. Today, MXNet
>> has developers worldwide and has accepted multiple major patches from a
>> diverse set of contributors within both industry and academia. We would
>> like to follow ASF meritocratic principles to encourage more developers to
>> contribute in this project. We know that only active and committed
>> developers from a diverse set of backgrounds can make MXNet a successful
>> project.  We are also improving the documentation and code to help new
>> developers get started quickly.
>> === Community ===
>> Acceptance into the Apache foundation would bolster the growing user and
>> developer community around MXNet. That community includes around 200
>> contributors from academia and industry. The core developers of our project
>> are listed in our contributors below and are also represented by logos on
>> the site including Amazon, Baidu, Carnegie Mellon University,
>> Turi, Intel, NYU, Nvidia, MIT, Microsoft, TuSimple, University of Alberta,
>> University of Washington and Wolfram.
>> === Core Developers ===
>> (with GitHub logins)
>>  * Tianqi Chen (@tqchen)
>>  * Mu Li (@mli)
>>  * Junyuan Xie (@piiswrong)
>>  * Bing Xu (@antinucleon)
>>  * Chiyuan Zhang (@pluskid)
>>  * Minjie Wang (@jermainewang)
>>  * Naiyan Wang (@winstywang)
>>  * Yizhi Liu (@javelinjs)
>>  * Tong He (@hetong007)
>>  * Qiang Kou (@thirdwing)
>>  * Xingjian Shi (@sxjscience)
>> === Alignment ===
>> ASF is already the home of many distributed platforms, e.g., Hadoop, Spark
>> and Mahout, each of which targets a different application domain. MXNet,
>> being a distributed platform for large-scale deep learning, focuses on
>> another important domain for which there still lacks a scalable,
>> programmable, flexible and super fast open-source platform. The recent
>> success of deep learning models especially for vision and speech
>> recognition tasks has generated interests in both applying existing deep
>> learning models and in developing new ones. Thus, an open-source platform
>> for deep learning backed by some of the top industry and academic players
>> will be able to attract a large community of users and developers. MXNet is
>> a complex system needing many iterations of design, implementation and
>> testing. Apache's collaboration framework which encourages active
>> contribution from developers will inevitably help improve the quality of
>> the system, as shown in the success of Hadoop, Spark, etc. Equally
>> important is the community of users which helps identify real-life
>> applications of deep learning, and helps to evaluate the system's
>> performance and ease-of-use. We hope to leverage ASF for coordinating and
>> promoting both communities, and in return benefit the communities with
>> another useful tool.
>> == Known Risks ==
>> === Orphaned products ===
>> Given the current level of investment in MXNet and the stakeholders using
>> it - the risk of the project being abandoned is minimal. Amazon, for
>> example, is in active development to use MXNet in many of its services and
>> many large corporations use it in their production applications.
>> === Inexperience with Open Source ===
>> MXNet has existed as a healthy open source project for more than a year.
>> During that time, the project has attracted 200+ contributors.
>> === Homogenous Developers ===
>> The initial list of committers and contributors includes developers from
>> several institutions and industry participants (see above).
>> === Reliance on Salaried Developers ===
>> Like most open source projects, MXNet receives a substantial support from
>> salaried developers. A large fraction of MXNet development is supported by
>> graduate students at various universities in the course of research degrees
>> - this is more a “volunteer” relationship, since in most cases students
>> contribute vastly more than is necessary to immediately support research.
>> In addition, those working from within corporations are devoting
>> significant time and effort in the project - and these come from several
>> organizations.
>> === A Excessive Fascination with the Apache Brand ===
>> We choose Apache not for publicity. We have two purposes. First, we hope
>> that Apache's known best-practices for managing a mature open source
>> project can help guide us.  For example, we are feeling the growing pains
>> of a successful open source project as we attempt a major refactor of the
>> internals while customers are using the system in production. We seek
>> guidance in communicating breaking API changes and version revisions.
>> Also, as our involvement from major corporations increases, we want to
>> assure our users that MXNet will stay open and not favor any particular
>> platform or environment. These are some examples of the know-how and
>> discipline we're hoping Apache can bring to our project.
>> Second, we want to leverage Apache's reputation to recruit more developers
>> to create a diverse community.
>> === Relationship with Other Apache Products ===
>> Apache Mahout and Apache Spark's MLlib are general machine learning
>> systems. Deep learning algorithms can thus be implemented on these two
>> platforms as well. However, in practice, the overlap will be minimal.  Deep
>> learning is so computationally intensive that it often requires specialized
>> GPU hardware to accomplish tasks of meaningful size.  Making efficient use
>> of GPU hardware is complex because the hardware is so fast that the
>> supporting systems around it must be carefully optimized to keep the GPU
>> cores busy.  Extending this capability to distributed multi-GPU and
>> multi-host environments requires great care.  This is a critical
>> differentiator between MXNet and existing Apache machine learning systems.
>> Mahout and Spark ML-LIB follow models where their nodes run synchronously.
>> This is the fundamental difference to MXNet who follows the parameter
>> server framework. MXNet can run synchronously or asynchronously. In
>> addition, MXNet has optimizations for training a wide range of deep
>> learning models using a variety of approaches (e.g., model parallelism and
>> data parallelism) which makes MXNet much more efficient (near-linear
>> speedup on state of the art models). MXNet also supports both imperative
>> and symbolic approaches providing ease of programming for deep learning
>> algorithms.
>> Other Apache projects that are potentially complimentary:
>> Apache Arrow - read data in Apache Arrow‘s internal format from MXNet, that
>> would allow users to run ETL/preprocessing in Spark, save the results in
>> Arrow’s format and then run DL algorithms on it.
>> Apache Singa - MXNet and Singa are both deep learning projects, and can
>> benefit from a larger deep learning community at Apache.
>> == Documentation ==
>> Documentation has recently migrated to  We continue to
>> refine and improve the documentation.
>> == Initial Source ==
>> We currently use Github to maintain our source code,
>> == Source and Intellectual Property Submission Plan ==
>> MXNet Code is available under Apache License, Version 2.0. We will work
>> with the committers to get CLAs signed and review previous contributions.
>> == External Dependencies ==
>>  * required by the core code base: GCC or CLOM, Clang, any BLAS library
>> (ATLAS, OpenBLAS, MKL), dmlc-core, mshadow, ps-lite (which requires
>> lib-zeromq), TBB
>>  * required for GPU usage: cudnn, cuda
>>  * required for python usage: Python 2/3
>>  * required for R module: R, Rcpp (GPLv2 licensing)
>>  * optional for image preparation and preprocessing: opencv
>>  * optional dependencies for additional features: torch7, numba, cython (in
>> NNVM branch)
>> Rcpt and lib-zeromq are expected to be licensing discussions.
>> == Cryptography ==
>> Not Applicable
>> == Required Resources ==
>> === Mailing Lists ===
>> There is currently no mailing list.
>> === Issue Tracking ===
>> Currently uses GitHub to track issues. Would like to continue to do so.
>> == Committers and Affiliations ==
>>  * Tianqi Chen (UW)
>>  * Mu Li (AWS)
>>  * Junyuan Xie (AWS)
>>  * Bing Xu (Apple)
>>  * Chiyuan Zhang (MIT)
>>  * Minjie Wang (UYU)
>>  * Naiyan Wang (Tusimple)
>>  * Yizhi Liu (Mediav)
>>  * Tong He (Simon Fraser University)
>>  * Qiang Kou (Indiana U)
>>  * Xingjian Shi (HKUST)
>> == Sponsors ==
>> === Champion ===
>> Henri Yandell (bayard at
>> === Nominated Mentors ===
>> Sebastian Schelter (
>> === Sponsoring Entity ===
>> We are requesting the Incubator to sponsor this project.

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