Counting 1,868 Big Data & Machine Learning Frameworks, Toolsets, and Examples...
Suggestion? Feedback? Tweet @stkim1

Edge Machine Learning

This repository provides code for machine learning algorithms for edge devices developed at Microsoft Research India.

Machine learning models for edge devices need to have a small footprint in terms of storage, prediction latency and energy. One example of a ubiquitous real-world application where such models are desirable is resource-scarce devices and sensors in the Internet of Things (IoT) setting. Making real-time predictions locally on IoT devices without connecting to the cloud requires models that fit in a few kilobytes.

This repository contains two such algorithms Bonsai and ProtoNN that shine in this setting. These algorithms can train models for classical supervised learning problems with memory requirements that are orders of magnitude lower than other modern ML algorithms. The trained models can be loaded onto edge devices such as IoT devices/sensors, and used to make fast and accurate predictions completely offline.

For details, please see the ICML'17 publications on Bonsai and ProtoNN algorithms.

Initial Code Contributors: Chirag Gupta, Aditya Kusupati, Ashish Kumar, and Harsha Simhadri.

We welcome contributions, comments and criticism. For questions, please email Harsha.

People who have contributed to this project.


  • Linux. We developed the code on Ubuntu 16.04LTS. For Windows 10 Anniversary Update or later, one can also use the Windows Subsystem for Linux. The code can also be compiled in Windows with Visual Studio, but this release does not include necessary makefiles yet.
  • gcc version 5.4. Other gcc versions above 5.0 could also work.
  • An implementation of BLAS, sparseBLAS and vector math calls. We link with the implementation provided by the Intel(R) Math Kernel Library. Please download later versions (2017v3+) of MKL as far as possible. The code can be made to work with other math libraries with a few modifications.


After cloning this reposirory, set compiler and flags appropriately in and do:

make -j

Typically, MKL_PATH = /opt/intel/mkl/lib/intel64_lin/, and EDGEML_ROOT is '.'.

This will build two executables Bonsai and ProtoNN. Sample data to try these executables is not included in this repository.

Download a sample dataset

mkdir usps10
cd usps10
bzip2 -d usps.bz2
bzip2 -d usps.t.bz2
mv usps train.txt
mv usps.t test.txt

This will create a sample train and test dataset, on which you can train and test Bonsai and ProtoNN algorithms. For detailed instructions, see Bonsai Readme and ProtoNN Readme.

Makefile flags

You could change the behavior of the code by setting these flags in and rebuilding with make -Bj. All these flags can be set for both ProtoNN and Bonsai. The following are supported currently by both ProtoNN and Bonsai.

SINGLE/DOUBLE:  Single/Double precision floating-point. Single is most often sufficient. Double might help with reproducibility.
ZERO_BASED_IO:  Read datasets with 0-based labels and indices instead of the default 1-based. 
TIMER:          Timer logs. Print running time of various calls.
CONCISE:        To be used with TIMER to limit the information printed to those deltas above a threshold.

The following currently only change the behavior of ProtoNN, but one can write corresponding code for Bonsai.

LOGGER:         Debugging logs. Currently prints min, max and norm of matrices.
LIGHT_LOGGER:   Less verbose version of LOGGER. Can be used to track call flow. 
XML:            Enable training with large sparse datasets with many labels. This is in beta.
VERBOSE:        Print additional informative output to stdout.
DUMP:           Dump models after each optimization iteration instead of just in the end.
VERIFY:         Legacy verification code for comparison with Matlab version.

Additionally, there is one of two flags that has to be set in the Makefile:

MKL_PAR_LDFLAGS: Linking with parallel version of MKL.
MKL_SEQ_LDFLAGS: Linking with sequential version of MKL.

Microsoft Open Source Code of Conduct

This project has adopted the Microsoft Open Source Code of Conduct. For more information see the Code of Conduct FAQ or contact [email protected] with any additional questions or comments.

Latest Releases
First release
 Sep. 2 2017