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TensorFlow and Applications

(Harvard University - Joyce Yang)

- Overview

TensorFlow is an open-source software library for machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). It can be used across a range of tasks but has a particular focus on training and inference of deep neural networks. 

TensorFlow was developed by the Google Brain team for internal Google use in research and production. It was released to the public in 2015 and has since become one of the most popular ML libraries available. 

TensorFlow is used by researchers and developers around the world to build and train ML models for a wide variety of applications, including: Image recognition, Natural language processing, Speech recognition, Machine translation, Robotics, and more.

TensorFlow ( is a powerful tool for ML, but it can be complex to learn and use. 

To set up a TensorFlow environment in Python, you can use either Anaconda or Docker.

  • Anaconda (
  • Docker


Please refer to the following for more information:


- How To Use TensorFlow

TensorFlow is an open-source ML framework, and Python is a popular computer programming language. It's one of the languages used in TensorFlow. 

Python is the recommended language for TensorFlow, although it also uses C++ and JavaScript. 

Here are the steps on how to use TensorFlow:

  1. Import the necessary libraries. The first step is to import the necessary libraries for TensorFlow. These libraries include TensorFlow itself, as well as NumPy and Pandas, which are two popular Python libraries for scientific computing and data analysis. You can do this using the following code: (import tensorflow as tf).
  2. Load data. With the load data you can train your model.
  3. Preprocess the data. This step is optional, but it is often necessary to preprocess the data before training a machine learning model. This can involve tasks such as cleaning the data, normalizing the data, and splitting the data into training and validation sets.
  4. Define the model. This step involves defining the architecture of the machine learning model. This includes choosing the type of model, the number of layers, the number of neurons in each layer, and the activation functions.
  5. Compile the model. This step involves compiling the model. This involves choosing the loss function, the optimizer, and the metrics that will be used to evaluate the model.
  6. Train the model. This step involves training the model on the training data. This can be a time-consuming process, depending on the size of the training data and the complexity of the model.
  7. Evaluate the model. This step involves evaluating the model on the validation data. This will give you an idea of how well the model will perform on new data.
  8. Save the model. This step involves saving the model so that it can be used later.


- TensorFlow and Keras

TensorFlow and Keras are both popular open-source machine learning frameworks. TensorFlow is a more general-purpose framework, while Keras is a high-level API on top of TensorFlow that makes it easier to build and train machine learning models. 

Keras is the high-level API of the TensorFlow platform. It provides an approachable, highly-productive interface for solving ML problems, with a focus on modern deep learning. Keras covers every step of the machine learning workflow, from data processing to hyperparameter tuning to deployment. It was developed with a focus on enabling fast experimentation.

Here are some of the advantages of using TensorFlow: 

  • It is a very versatile framework that can be used for a wide variety of machine learning tasks.
  • It has a large and active community that is constantly developing new tools and resources.
  • It is well-documented and there are many tutorials and examples available online.

Here are some of the advantages of using Keras: 

  • It is a very user-friendly framework that is easy to learn and use.
  • It has a high-level API that makes it easy to build and train machine learning models.
  • It is well-integrated with TensorFlow, so you can use all of the features of TensorFlow with Keras.

Which framework you choose will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you are new to machine learning, Keras is a good choice because it is easy to learn and use. If you need a framework that is more flexible and powerful, TensorFlow is a good choice.


- TensorFlow Applications

TensorFlow is used in a variety of applications, from image and speech recognition to natural language processing and robotics. TensorFlow allows us to quickly and easily build powerful AI models with high accuracy and performance. 

TensorFlow also works with GPUs and TPUs, which are types of computer chips built to extend the capabilities of TensorFlow. These chips make TensorFlow run faster, which is helpful when you have a lot of data to process. 

Here are some applications of TensorFlow: 

  • Image recognition: TensorFlow can be used to develop models for image recognition. It has been used to develop models that can recognize objects in images with high accuracy.
  • Natural language processing: TensorFlow can be used to develop models for natural language processing. It has been used to develop models that can translate languages, generate text, and answer questions.
  • Speech recognition: TensorFlow can be used to develop models for speech recognition. It has been used to develop models that can recognize speech with high accuracy.
  • Robotics: TensorFlow can be used to develop models for robotics. It has been used to develop models that can control robots and allow them to learn from their environment.
  • Self-driving cars: TensorFlow can be used to develop models for self-driving cars. It has been used to develop models that can recognize objects on the road and make decisions about how to drive the car.

These are just a few examples of the many applications of TensorFlow. It is a powerful tool that can be used to develop a wide range of ML models.


- Sample Code

The following code will create a simple model that can predict the price of a house. The model is trained on the Boston Housing dataset, which is a dataset of housing prices in Boston, Massachusetts. The model is then evaluated on the same dataset. The final step is to save the model so that it can be used later. 


import tensorflow as tf

# Load the data
housing_data = tf.keras.datasets.boston_housing.load_data()

# Preprocess the data
housing_data = tf.keras.utils.normalize(housing_data)

# Define the model
model = tf.keras.Sequential([
tf.keras.layers.Dense(64, activation='relu'),
tf.keras.layers.Dense(32, activation='relu'),

# Compile the model

# Train the model, epochs=10)

# Evaluate the model

# Save the model'my_model.h5')

[More to come ...]

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