Microsoft to Launch Ethereum on Azure

New solution is based on the Proof-of-Authority (PoA) consensus algorithm
09 August 2018   617

Developers of the cloud platform Microsoft Azure announced the launch product Ethereum on Azure, which is based on the "blockchain-as-a-service" model. It is noteworthy that the new solution is based on the Proof-of-Authority (PoA) consensus algorithm.

PoA is based on the principle of approved validators and does not require mining.

The new product is equipped with a built-in decentralized application called Governance DApp, which provides members of the consortium with the authority to manage the network and delegate their voting rights to others. Due to this, network members can pass to other nodes voting from their person, if its main nodes are not on the network.

At the same time, administrators have the right to change the validators of the network by voting.

Also, thanks to the Parity WebAssembly client, developers will be able to write smart contracts in convenient programming languages such as C, C ++ and Rust.

Microsoft to Use AI to Create Human Voice

Synthetic voice is nearly indistinguishable from recordings of people
27 September 2018   901

Researchers from Microsoft recorded computer voice, imitating human speech. To overcome the difficulties of the traditional model, they used neural networks for speech synthesis. Microsoft promises to provide support for 49 languages ​​and the ability to create unique voices for the needs of companies in the near future.

Synthesis of speech with the help of neural networks involves comparing the stress and length (so-called prosody) of the speaker's speech units, as well as their synthesis into a computer voice. In systems of traditional speech synthesis, prosody is divided into acoustic and linguistic analysis, controlled by various models. As a result, the speech is noisy and indistinct. Representatives of Microsoft argue that in the model of neural synthesis two stages are combined into one, so the voice sounds like a real one.

The developers are convinced that the synthesis of speech with the help of neural networks will make it more natural to communicate with virtual interlocutors and assistants. Moreover, it will enable you to convert e-books into audiobooks and will allow you to change the scoring of built-in navigators.

Microsoft Neural TTS
Microsoft Neural TTS

Azure computing power is available for real-time use, and Azure Kubernetes is responsible for this. Simultaneous application of neural synthesis of speech together with traditional speaks about expansion and increase of availability of service. At the moment, there are a female voice named Jessa and a man named Guy.

Microsoft is competing in speech recognition and synthesis technologies with Google, which updated its services in late August 2018. Google Cloud announced the release of a stable API for the synthesis of speech Cloud Text-to-Speech with the experimental function of audio profiles and support for several new languages.