Alibaba Cloud launches open-source MaaS platform

Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, introduced its open-source Model-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform ModelScope at the recently concluded Apsara Conference. ModelScope comes with hundreds of AI (artificial intelligence) models, including large pre-trained models for global developers and researchers.

The ModelScope platform was launched with over 300 ready-to-deploy AI models developed by Alibaba DAMO Academy (DAMO), Alibaba’s global research initiative, in the past five years. These models cover various fields from computer vision to natural language processing (NLP) and audio. The platform also includes more than 150 state-of-the-art (SOTA) models, which are recognized globally as the best in their respective fields for achieving results in a given task.

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Also made available on the platform are Alibaba’s proprietary large pre-trained models such as Tongyi, which is capable of turning text into an image with five billion parameters, and OFA (One-For-All), a six billion-parameter pre-trained model that excels at cross-modal tasks such as image captioning and visual question answering. Independent developers have also contributed dozens of models to the open-source platform to date.

As an open-source community, ModelScope aims to make developing and running AI models easier and more cost-effective. Developers and researchers can simply test the models online for free and get the results of their tests within minutes. They can also develop customized AI applications by fine-tuning existing models, and run the models online backed by Alibaba Cloud, or deploy them on other cloud platforms or in a local setting.

The launch underscores DAMO’s ongoing efforts and commitment to promoting transparent and inclusive technology by reducing the threshold for building and running AI models, enabling universities and smaller companies to easily use AI for their research and in their business respectively. The community is expected to grow further with more quality models available on the platform from DAMO, partners from research institutes, and third-party developers in the near future.