Put AI to Work
April 15-18, 2019
New York, NY
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Unifying Twitter around a single ML platform

Yi Zhuang (Twitter), Nicholas Leonard (Twitter)
2:40pm3:20pm Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Implementing AI
Location: Trianon Ballroom
Secondary topics:  Deep Learning and Machine Learning tools, Media, Marketing, Advertising, Platforms and infrastructure
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 3 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • ML practitioners—particularly those in large organizations



Prerequisite knowledge

  • A basic understanding of ML and computer engineering
  • Familiarity with TensorFlow (useful but not required)

What you'll learn

  • Explore Twitter's scalable production ML pipeline


Twitter is a large company with many ML use cases. Historically, there have been many ways to productionize ML at Twitter—TensorFlow, Lua Torch, PyTorch, scikit-learn, VW, XGBoost, and several other Twitter in-house solutions. Yi Zhuang and Nicholas Leonard describe the setup and benefits of a unified ML platform for production and explain how the Twitter Cortex team brings together users of various ML tools.

Topics include:

  • The pain points of having fragmented ML practices
  • How the Twitter Cortex team is unifying Twitter teams around a single ML platform
  • The current status of the ML platform and who the internal customers are
  • What the production pipeline looks like and how customers use it
  • Where the unified ML production platform is heading in the future
Photo of Yi Zhuang

Yi Zhuang


Yi Zhuang is a senior staff machine learning software engineer at Twitter, where he leads a team building a platform for working with ML models. He works on uniting ML practitioners around a single ML platform, bringing consistency to ML practices at Twitter. Previously, Yi led a team to develop a trillion-document-scale distributed search engine at Twitter. Yi holds an MS in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University. He loves cats and enjoys pondering over all things technical and logical.

Photo of Nicholas Leonard

Nicholas Leonard


Nicholas Leonard is a software engineer at Twitter Cortex. He was a core contributor to Lua Torch and currently works with TensorFlow as part of the DeepBird team. He graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada and holds an MS in computer science from the University of Montreal.