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Microsoft ❤ Open source: the 10 coolest open source projects on Microsoft Azure

11/10/2018 | Blog

Today, Azure not only boasts a hefty toolbox for enterprise open source, but they’ve become the preferred host to many of the world’s leading open source projects. Through coding collaboration with Microsoft, the public and enterprises, these projects generate innovative code, deepen our understanding and expand markets.

You can probably remember a time when Microsoft was one of the biggest opponents to open source. But today, they’re arguably its biggest backer — contributing thousands of employees and countless hours to these public projects. Not to mention, their recent acquisition of GitHub, the leading open source platform.

Here, we’re having a look at some of the coolest projects hosted on Azure, exploring how Microsoft cloud is helping support and streamline some of today’s most groundbreaking and disruptive technologies in IoT, genomic data, autonomous driving, the environment and more.

Let’s take a look.


1. ROS

Robots are part of nearly every aspect of our lives today — from our homes to our schools, enterprise markets and manufacturers. So, in an effort to improve and develop this technology, Willow Garage and Stanford’s AI Lab, who created the open source ROS project, are being supported by Azure and its array of cloud services. The collaboration is allowing developers to simulate robotics in a virtual environment to better understand how their projects will actually work before even being deployed.

2. QuickShake

The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network doesn’t just track organic seismic activity, they track man-made activity, too. Turns out, the Seattle Seahawks celebrate so hard, they trigger tremors that are picked up at PNSN. There was a site built to track and monitor this data in real time, but they needed the backing of Azure to keep up with traffic spikes and growth. Now, PNSN not only streams live data but is working to develop an earthquake alert system that can detect and warn against regular earthquakes just as fast.

3. Elastic

Elastic moved its open source projects to Azure in an effort to continue their work visualizing data in new ways. From stock quotes to Twitter streams, Apache logs to WordPress blogs, Elastic helps companies explore and analyze their data differently. Using Azure, Elastic is able to produce fast results that operate at scale and are relevant.

4. Azure Event Grid

In conjunction with the Azure IoT Hub, this open source project makes it even easier to transform the insight from the Hub into action. For example, easily integrate with serverless architectures, automate workflows and enable quick detection. You can even integrate events with third-party apps. With IoT becoming more integrated into our lives, this open source project aims to aid the tech’s proliferation.

5.  Adobe Experience Cloud

Synonymous with cutting-edge creative software, it’s no surprise Adobe turned to the equally forward-thinking tech of Azure for their latest suite of software. Using the opensource Adobe Experience, companies can now deploy a set of marketing, analytics, and advertising tools that give businesses a better understanding of how customers actually interact with the beautiful content they create.
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6. The Autonomous Driving Cookbook

In conjunction with the Deep Learning and Robotics chapter of Microsoft Garage, this opensource project is all about improving autonomous driving and making it available to everyone. Now that this tech is much more than just science fiction, the simulation available through this software can actually replace hundreds of millions, even hundreds of billions, of miles worth of training data. The hope is that this project helps everyone from those in the private sector to research bring this tech from simulation to reality.
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An open-source algorithm suite developed by Microsoft Research, FaST-LMM harnesses the power of machine learning and Azure to interpret genetic data. Enterprises ranging from medicine to agriculture and forensics use this open source platform to inspect and extract genomic data. It can do everything from cracking open a case by predicting a person’s traits to finding genetic mutations in crops that can be leveraged to improve global access to food.
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8. smartARM

An impressive group of students created a robotic hand prosthetic that has a camera embedded in the palm to not only recognize objects but calculate the kind of grip that should be used to hold that object. The open source project is based on ML, so the more it’s used the more accurate it will become. The students used Azure and its Machine Learning and Cloud Storage to host the project now, as the tech and code develop.
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9. AI for Earth

Part open source project, part grant program, the AI for Earth initiative backed by National Geographic and Microsoft tackles the world’s biggest environmental problems through data, tech and innovation. Those who are awarded the grant get access to Azure and Microsoft AI tools, of course, which are then used to create open-sourced models and algorithms. The idea is that these new open source platforms not only spearhead these projects but are used by researchers everywhere to create a sustainable future.

10. Wildbook

Using citizen science and AI, this Portland-based nonprofit combats extinction by monitoring and tracking endangered species through their open source platform. But, they needed more engagement and investment, so they turned to Azure to get a wider usage of their algorithms. In doing so, they were able to boost both the speed and accuracy of their software — aiding the monitoring and evaluation of threatened populations.

After Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub, open source projects on the platform are now offered free access to Azure. For the enterprise, though, that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, billing for Azure is notoriously tricky. At interworks.cloud, we simplify the billing and provisioning with automation to streamline your workflow. We also make it easy for our customers to detect opportunities within Azure for cross-selling and extending their hosting solutions just as easily as any other product. Curious to learn more? Get in touch to see how we can simplify Azure billing for you.