Microsoft Research  interviews Mark Hamilton to see how MMLSpark is helping to serve business and the environment.

If someone asked you what snow leopards and Vincent Van Gogh have in common, you might think it was the beginning of a joke. It’s not, but if it were, Mark Hamilton, a software engineer in Microsoft’s Cognitive Services group, budding PhD student and frequent Microsoft Research collaborator, would tell you the punchline is machine learning. More specifically, Microsoft Machine Learning for Apache Spark (MMLSpark for short), a powerful yet elastic open source machine learning library that’s finding its way beyond business and into “AI for Good” applications such as the environment and the arts.

Today, Mark talks about his love of mathematics and his desire to solve big, crazy, core knowledge sized problems; tells us all about MMLSpark and how it’s being used by organizations like the Snow Leopard Trust and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and reveals how the persuasive advice of a really smart big sister helped launch an exciting career in AI research and development.