Google Cloud wants to make it easier for data scientists to share models

Today, Google Cloud announced Kubeflow pipelines and AI Hub, two tools designed to help data scientists put to work across their organizations the models they create.

Rajen Sheth, director of product management for Google Cloud’s AI and ML products, says that the company recognized that data scientists too often build models that never get used. He says that if machine learning is really a team sport, as Google believes, models must get passed from data scientists to data engineers and developers who can build applications based on them.

To help fix that, Google is announcing Kubeflow pipelines, which are an extension of Kubeflow, an open-source framework built on top of Kubernetes designed specifically for machine learning. Pipelines are essentially containerized building blocks that people in the machine learning ecosystem can string together to build and manage machine learning workflows.

By placing the model in a container, data scientists can simply adjust the underlying model as needed and relaunch in a continuous delivery kind of approach. Sheth says this opens up even more possibilities for model usage in a company.

“[Kubeflow pipelines] also give users a way to experiment with different pipeline variants to identify which ones produce the best outcomes in a reliable and reproducible environment,” Sheth wrote in a blog post announcing the new machine learning features.

The company is also announcing AI Hub, which, as the name implies, is a central place where data scientists can go to find different kinds of ML content, including Kubeflow pipelines, Jupyter notebooks, TensorFlow modules and so forth. This will be a public repository seeded with resources developed by Google Cloud AI, Google Research and other teams across Google, allowing data scientists to take advantage of Google’s own research and development expertise.

But Google wanted the hub to be more than a public library — it also sees it as a place where teams can share information privately inside their organizations, giving it a dual purpose. This should provide another way to extend model usage by making essential building blocks available in a central repository.

AI Hub will be available in Alpha starting today with some initial components from Google, as well as tools for sharing some internal resources, but the plan is to keep expanding the offerings and capabilities over time.

Google believes if it provides easier ways to share model building blocks across an organization, the more likely they will be put to work. These tools are a step toward achieving that.

UK tipped to fall to bottom of European growth league next year – as it happened

New EC growth forecasts warn that rising global uncertainty, international trade tensions and higher oil prices will weigh on Europe


Here’s my colleague Richard Partington on today’s EC growth figures:

The UK will sink to the bottom of the European economic growth league next year to join Italy as the slowest-growing economy in the EU, before falling further the year after to anchor the table alone, according to European commission forecasts.

The EU’s gloomy predictions are based on a soft Brexit – meaning Britain is expected to lag behind all its EU peers even if Theresa May can reach a deal with Brussels before 29 March.

Related: UK economic growth tipped to be slowest in Europe next year

The latest US jobs data shows its labor market remains historically strong.

Just 214,000 people filed new claims for unemployment benefit last week, not far from the lowest level ever.

Initial jobless claims are steady near historic lows, down 1,000 in the November 3 week to a nearly as expected 214,000. The 4-week average has been edging very slightly higher on hurricane effects but is down marginally at 213,750 in the latest week.

Economists at HSBC have bad news for Germany: they believe its economy probably shrank over the summer.

The first estimate of German GDP in the third-quarter of 208 is released next Wednesday. HSBC believes it will show the economy contracted by 0.1%, down from a previous forecast of +0.4%.

After thirteen consecutive quarters with positive quarterly growth rates, the German economy seems likely to have taken a breather in Q3 2018.

The headwinds from the slowdown in world trade might also have been weighing on German export activity, which could have affected GDP negatively on the expenditure side.

At the same time, import growth remains quite strong, resulting in the trade surplus hitting its lowest level since March 2014 in July.

Newsflash: The International Monetary Fund has just weighed in on the EU-Italy budget row, backing Brussels.

In a new report, the IMF predicts that Italy’s growth will sink to just 0.9% in 2020 (worst than the UK). It also says Rome should focus on cutting its debts, rather than borrowing more to spur growth….

IMF: Sees Italy’s GDP Growth At 1pct In 2019, 0.9pct In 2020
Countries With Significant Vulnerabilities Like Italy Should Prioritise Cutting Deficit, Debt

It’s worth noting that the UK’s independent Office for Budget Responsibility is less gloomy about growth prospects.

Last week the OBR forecast UK growth of 1.3% in 2018 (matching the EC’s view). The fiscal watchdog then spies growth accelerating to 1.6% in 2019, dipping to 1.4% in 2020.

EC says UK growth next year will be the joint lowest in the area. But NB the average of independent forecasters for next year is 1.5%, so the EC is on the low side here

Today’s growth forecasts have also escalated the row between Brussels and Rome over Italy’s budget.

The Commission’s forecast that Italy will grow by only 1.2% in 2019 is below the 1.5% predicted by its new government.

“There cannot be a sort of negotiation on this.”

You can read the EC’s new Autumn economic forecasts online here. The UK section starts on page 140 (p152 of the pdf).

The EC is keen to point out that its forecasts are based on the “purely technical assumption” that the EU and UK maintain their current trading relationship after Brexit.

In other words, Britain is expected to lag behind Europe in the event of a soft Brexit, rather than a hard Brexit that causes significant disrupion to trade.

In ANOTHER gloomy warning, credit rating agency Moody’s has predicted that global economic growth was likely to slow in the next two years.

Reuters has the details:

“We expect global growth to slow to under 3.0% in 2019 and 2020, from an estimated 3.3% in 2017-18”, the agency said in a new report.

“In both countries, the overall direct macro impact on growth will be manageable.

However, persistent and broadening tensions between the two largest economies globally are increasingly likely to have widespread negative implications by undermining investment.”

The UK is expected to be the third slowest-growing EU member this year (at +1.3%), behind Italy (+1.1%) and Denmark (1.2%).

Today’s EC forecasts show the UK sinking to joint last place with Italy in 2019, at +1.2%.

In the #ECForecast #Italy grows as little as the #UK, where the economy is negatively impacted by #Brexit — every other periphery country grows 1.8% or more.

The European Commission’s latest assessment of the UK economy isn’t terribly encouraging, as Britain prepares to leave the EU next year.

The EC expects growth to remain weak, and unemployment to rise:

UK GDP growth is currently subdued and expected to remain so over the forecast horizon. Private consumption growth is forecast to remain weak as real wages grow modestly and households look to maintain savings.

Heightened uncertainty means that business investment growth is likely to remain constrained. The net trade contribution to growth is projected to decrease in-line with a moderation in external demand.

Main points from #ECForecast on stronger #EU in 2019 : growth continue (1,9%), stable deficit (0,8%), decreasing debt (81%), lower unemployment (7%).

The Commission is optimistic that unemployment will keep falling over the next couple of years.

The eurozone jobless rate is already at a 10-year low, dropping to 8.1% in September.

Unemployment in #euroarea is expected to fall to 8.4% this year and then to 7.9% in 2019 and 7.5% in 2020. In the EU27, unemployment is forecast at 7.4% this year before falling to 7% in 2019 and 6.6% in 2020.

Autumn #ECForecast

The EC predicts that Britain’s economy faces a tough few years.

UK growth is forecast at just 1.3% this year, and 1.2% in 2019 and 2020.

#Growth in 2019: 1.5; 1.8; 2.8; 4.5; 2; 2.2; 1.6; 1.2; 3.5; 3.2; 2.8; 3; 4.9; 2.4; 2; 1.8; 3.3; 4.1; 2.2; 3.7; 2.9; 1.8; 2.8; 3.4; 3.7; 3.8; 1.8; 1.2; 1.9; EA 1.9 #ECForecast

#Brexit woes hit UK economy. @EU_Commission forecasts a decrease in GDP growth for the next 3 years (1.3%, 2018; 1.2, 2019; 1.2, 2020) due to weak private consumption growth and as real wages grow modestly. Trouble is that figures seem to be slighlty overestimated @graemewearden

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, says Europe needs to take precautions before the next down:

“All EU economies are set to grow this year and next, which will bring more jobs. However, uncertainty and risks, both external and internal, are on the rise and start to take a toll on the pace of economic activity. We need to stay vigilant and work harder to reinforce the resilience of our economies. At EU level, it means taking concrete decisions on further strengthening our Economic and Monetary Union.

At national level, there is even a stronger case for building up fiscal buffers and reducing debt while making sure that the benefits of growth are also felt by the most vulnerable members of society.”

The EC is hopeful that “barring major shocks” Europe should be able to sustain above-potential economic growth, robust job creation and falling unemployment.

However, this baseline scenario is subject to a growing number of interconnected downside risks, from a possible oil spike to the risk of an intensified trade war.

Newsflash: Europe’s economy will slow steadily over the next few years as trade wars, geopolitical tensions and higher oil price all bite.

That’s according to the latest projections from the European Commission, just released.

Rising global uncertainty, international trade tensions and higher oil prices will have a dampening effect on growth in Europe.

Growth in #euroarea is forecast to ease from a 10-year high of 2.4% in 2017 to 2.1% in 2018 before moderating further to 1.9% in 2019 and 1.7% in 2020.
For EU27, growth is forecast at 2.2% in 2018, 2.0% in 2019 and 1.9% in 2020.

Autumn #ECForecast

Germany isn’t the only European country hitting a soft patch.

Spain’s industrial output shrank by 0.1% in September, official data shows, the first drop since July 2016.

Les industriels révisent à la baisse leurs prévisions d’investissement pour 2018 à -1 % vs +4 % attendu en juillet (+4 % attendu pour l’instant pour 2019). Fort recul de l’invest par l’industrie auto (-10 % en 2018 mais +8 % attendu pour 2019)

I’m not too worried about the euro area cyclical soft patch. This, however, is a much bigger concern: French manufacturers have reduced their investment plans for this year, when the hope was that capex would drive (potential) growth higher.

European stock markets have shrugged off Germany’s export slowdown.

The Stoxx 600 index has risen by 0.6%, as shares benefit from the prospect of the Democrats keeping Donald Trump in check.

There is very little going on, and yet there’s a lot happening.

US election uncertainty removed, equity markets hope they’ve found the ideal combination of slightly less fiscal easing and slightly less monetary tightening that a more restrained president Trump will have to deliver. An outbreak of glee has hit markets….

German factory chiefs will be hoping for a breakthrough in the US-China trade dispute soon, before the slump in exports deepens.

And overnight, a top Chinese diplomat has suggest that presidents Trump and Xi could make progress at the G20 world leaders’ meeting in Argentina in three weeks time.

“China is committed to working with the U.S. to achieve a no-confrontational, conflictless, mutually respectful co-operation in which both sides win.

“Both sides should seek an appropriate solution through equal and mutually beneficial negotiations.”

Carsten Brzeski of ING agrees that Germany exporters are suffering from slowing world trade.

He also blames new car emissions tests; production has suffered as automakers scramble to meet these tough new rules.

Today’s trade data ends a disappointing week for German industry. Available monthly data suggests that the economy had its worst quarterly performance in 3Q since the beginning of 2015.

The first GDP estimate will be released next week on Wednesday.

The 0.8% drop in German exports in September is the biggest since February.

The FT reckons it “could be another sign that Europe’s largest economy is feeling the effects of a slowdown in global trade”.

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

More econ doom from #Germany: In Sep, exports dropped by 0.8% MoM. German exports have now dropped in 4 out of the last 6 mths, ING says. In the same time, imports decreased by 0.4% MoM, which narrowed trade balance to €17.6bn from €18.2bn, way below forecast of €18bn.

#FTSE100 called +20pts at 7138

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