Microsoft recently announced details of Azure ML, a platform for machine learning hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud. Azure ML enables organizations to rapidly predict future trends such as crime, disease outbreaks, weather and traffic patterns. Whereas machine-learning and predictive analytics currently tend to be managed through on premise installations, Azure ML accelerates the pace with which data teams can obtain insights derived from historical data by making available a fully managed, scalable platform for machine learning that allows customers to focus on developing and refining predictive analytic parameters and algorithms without the burden of provisioning, managing and optimizing the infrastructure on which the applications are hosted. Azure ML will come pre-configured with “visual workflows and startup templates” that accelerate the process of developing predictive analytics. Moreover, the Azure ML platform will allow customers to expeditiously publish web services and APIs to facilitate collaboration between geographically dispersed teams. Currently, MAX451 is using a preview version of Azure ML to determine what retail customers are likely to purchase next while Carnegie Mellon is using the platform to understand variations in energy output across buildings on its university campus. Azure ML will be released in a public preview mode in July.