Emergence of Rust in Data Science and Machine Learning: Why it’s worth considering


(This is the first part of a series you will be introduced to the use of Rust for Machine Learning. Rust is a highly efficient, memory-safe language, making it ideal for the heavy computations required in Machine Learning.)

If we step back and look at the big picture without getting caught up in all the little details, we see that there are two constants in Machine Learning development:

  1. Training the model: This is where we teach the computer by giving it lots of examples.
  2. Making predictions: This is when the computer uses what it learned to make guesses or decisions.

These days the language of choice for Machine Learning is Python, unless there’s a special need your environment is asking for. While Python has long been hailed as the go-to language for its versatility and extensive library support, a newcomer has stepped onto the scene – Rust. This shift towards Rust in data science and ML isn't merely a passing trend; it marks a significant evolution with compelling advantages that merit deeper investigation.

Let me take you on a journey. By the end, you'll hopefully understand why using Rust for both teaching the computer and putting it to work isn't as strange or hard as it might seem at first.

Rust vs Python

Introducing Rust: A Game-Changer in Performance and Safety

Rust is a modern systems programming language known for its emphasis on performance, safety, and concurrency. Developed by Mozilla Research, has gained momentum in recent years. Its capability to address key pain points encountered in data science and ML workflows sets it apart as a noteworthy contender. It offers strict memory management through its ownership system, enabling developers to write robust and efficient code while minimizing common sources of bugs and vulnerabilities. With its zero-cost abstractions and efficient memory management, Rust emerges as a potent choice for managing vast datasets and intricate algorithms.

A Shift in Developer Experience and Ecosystem

While Python has long enjoyed popularity for its ease of use and extensive ecosystem, the emergence of Rust offers a fresh perspective. The learning curve associated with Rust, as we know may pose initial hurdles for Python-savvy data scientists. However, Rust's modern syntax and compiler-enforced correctness checks contribute to a more robust and maintainable codebase.

In terms of the ecosystem, Rust is steadily expanding its offerings for data science and ML tasks. Libraries such as ndarray and nalgebra for numerical compuations and linfa, smartcore, rustlearn and tangram showcase Rust's potential for handling ML model deployment. While not as extensive as Python's ecosystem, these Rust libraries offer a promising foundation for building scalable and performant ML solutions.

Embracing the Future: Why Rust Commands Attention

The emergence of Rust in data science and ML signifies a noteworthy shift in the technological landscape. By integrating performance, safety, and contemporary developer-friendly features, Rust presents a compelling alternative to conventional languages like Python. As the Rust ecosystem continues to mature and expand, it beckons with promising prospects for advancing the frontiers of innovation in data science and Machine Learning. And also according to Stack Overflow survey 2021-22 Rust was ‘most loved’ programming language and is still among top.

With all these factors, the rise of Rust in data science and ML isn't just a passing trend; it's a compelling shift that earns serious consideration. With its focus on performance, safety, and developer experience, Rust has the potential to revolutionize the way we tackle data-intensive tasks. For data scientists and ML practitioners, delving into Rust's capabilities can lead to new insights, refine workflows, and ultimately, groundbreaking discoveries in our fields.

Fuzzy cloud is a cloud-based software development and consulting firm specializing in the use of modern technology to solve Fuzzy problems.

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