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8 Most Popular Deep Learning Frameworks

In this article, we will discuss what are deep learning frameworks and the top and most popular deep learning frameworks to consider. This will include some of the best deep learning frameworks such as TensorFlow, Keras, PyTorch, MXNet, Microsoft's CNTK, and others.

Pratik Sharma
Pratik Sharma
7 min read
8 Most Popular Deep Learning Frameworks.
8 Most Popular Deep Learning Frameworks.

Deep learning is a subset of machine learning that is concerned with algorithms inspired by the structure and function of the brain called artificial neural networks. Neural networks are used to learn complex tasks by breaking them down into smaller and smaller subtasks. This results in deep learning models being able to perform extremely well on tasks that are difficult for traditional machine learning models, such as image recognition and natural language processing.

What are Deep Learning Frameworks?

Deep learning frameworks are a collection of libraries and tools that allow you to build deep learning models. They provide all the functionality needed to train and deploy neural networks, including layers, optimization algorithms, debugging tools, and more. Deep learning frameworks have become increasingly popular due to the success of convolutional neural networks (CNNs) in various applications such as computer vision, speech recognition, and natural language processing.

There are many different deep learning frameworks to choose from, so it can be difficult to decide which one to use for your project. In this section, we will be focusing on frameworks that are popular and have a lot of traction in the data science community.


TensorFlow is one of the most popular deep learning frameworks and was developed by the Google Brain team. TensorFlow is written in C++, Python, and CUDA. TensorFlow has gained immense popularity in the data science community due to its flexibility and scalability. It is widely used in research and industry for tasks such as image recognition, natural language processing, and more.

TensorFlow is an end-to-end open-source platform for machine learning. The flexible ecosystem of tools, libraries, and community resources lets push the state-of-the-art in ML, and developers easily build and deploy ML-powered applications. TensorFlow also provides a way to visualize your deep learning models so that you can see how they are working. TensorFlow also provides a way to visualize your deep learning models so that you can see how they are working.

There are several advantages of TensorFlow over other deep learning frameworks.

  • TensorFlow is extremely flexible and can be used for a variety of tasks such as training neural networks, building machine learning models, and more.
  • TensorFlow is scalable and can handle large datasets with ease.
  • TensorFlow comes with a wide range of built-in features that make it easy to train your models. These include automatic differentiation and data parallelism.

If you are interested in learning more about TensorFlow, be sure to check out the official website.


Keras is a high-level neural networks API that was developed by François Chollet. It is written in Python and provides an easy way to build deep-learning models. Keras has gained a lot of popularity in the data science community and is often used as a stepping stone to TensorFlow.

Built on top of TensorFlow 2, Keras is an industry-strength framework that enables you to quickly build and train models that run on multiple GPUs or an entire TPU pod. Keras is one of the most used deep learning frameworks and it is being constantly updated with the latest features and advancements in deep learning.

Keras is essentially a part of TensorFlow. It is a high-level API that can be used to develop and train deep learning models. Keras has the same flexibility as TensorFlow and can be used for a variety of tasks.

  • Keras is easy to use and has a lot of resources available online.
  • Keras also has a lot of pre-trained models that you can use for your projects.
  • Keras models can also be exported as JavaScript, which allows you to run them in the browser.

Keras is a great choice if you want to get started with deep learning. If you're looking for a powerful and easy-to-use deep learning framework, be sure to check out Keras.


PyTorch is another popular deep learning framework developed by Facebook AI Research (FAIR). It is based on Torch, which was developed at Carnegie Mellon University. It is also written in Python and provides several powerful features, such as dynamic neural networks and GPU support. PyTorch has gained a lot of traction in recent years and is one of the most popular deep-learning frameworks.

PyTorch is designed to provide good flexibility and high performance. It is easy to use and has a lot of resources available online. PyTorch is quickly becoming the go-to deep learning framework, so it’s worth considering if you are looking for a new framework to use. It has many powerful features and is easy to learn, making it a great choice for beginners and experienced developers alike.

PyTorch uses dynamic computation graphs while TensorFlow uses static graphs. This means that while TensorFlow can reuse parts of a graph across different executions, PyTorch cannot. PyTorch is also faster to execute and more lightweight than TensorFlow. Finally, PyTorch has better support for GPU acceleration.


  • It is easier to learn than some other frameworks.
  • It has strong GPU support.
  • It has a flexible architecture that allows for easy customization.
  • It has a growing community of users and developers.

For these reasons, PyTorch is becoming increasingly popular among deep learning practitioners. If you are interested in learning more about PyTorch, be sure to check out the official website.

Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK)

The Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK) is a deep learning framework designed for the efficient execution of deep learning models on devices such as CPUs and GPUs. CNTK also supports a variety of programming languages, including Python, C#, or C++.

CNTK describes neural networks as a series of computational steps via a directed graph. In this directed graph, nodes represent mathematical operations, while the edges represent the multidimensional data arrays (tensors) that flow between them. This flexibility allows you to implement complex neural networks with a variety of architectures.

CNTK combines popular model types such as feed-forward DNNs, convolutional neural networks (CNNs), and recurrent neural networks (RNNs/LSTMs). It also supports popular training techniques such as stochastic gradient descent (SGD), momentum, and AdaGrad. Additionally, CNTK offers APIs for multiple languages, which allows you to use the same toolkit regardless of your programming preference. If you're interested in using CNTK for your deep learning projects, be sure to check out the comprehensive tutorials on the Microsoft website.


Sonnet is an open-source library built on top of TensorFlow 2 that provides simple, composable abstractions for machine learning research. It has been designed and created by researchers at DeepMind. Sonnet makes use of an object-oriented approach to deep learning, which allows for the easy reuse of parts of a graph across different executions.

Sonnet allows developers to write modules that can be later reused in other projects. This is useful when you want to share code with others or when you want to use a module in multiple projects. Sonnet creates complicated neural network structures from simple building blocks. This makes it easy to develop new models and experiment with different architectures.

If you're looking for a library that provides an easy way to get started with TensorFlow, Sonnet is worth considering. It's well-maintained, has great documentation, and is free to use under the Apache License. Check it out!

Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX)

ONNX is an open-source format for deep learning models that allows you to move easily between different frameworks. This means that you can train your model in one framework, and then export it to another for inference. This can be useful if you want to use a different framework for inference (e.g. PyTorch) than you used for training (e.g. TensorFlow).

ONNX was developed by the Facebook AI Research team and Microsoft. It is supported by several different frameworks, including TensorFlow, Keras, PyTorch, MXNet, and CNTK. You can find a list of all the frameworks that support ONNX on the ONNX website.

ONNX makes it easy to access hardware optimization features across different frameworks. For example, TensorFlow has several hardware optimization features that are not available in Keras. If you want to use these features, you can export your model from Keras to TensorFlow, and then take advantage of the optimizations.

ONNX also enables interoperability between multiple languages. You can export a model from one framework (e.g. PyTorch) and then import it into another framework (e.g. CNTK) for inference. This can be useful if you want to use a different language for inference than you used for training.

Overall, ONNX is a valuable tool for deep learning that allows you to move easily between different frameworks, take advantage of hardware optimizations, and use multiple languages. If you are looking for a deep-learning framework that offers these features, then you should consider ONNX.

Deeplearning4j (DL4J)

Deeplearning4j also known as DL4J is an open-source, distributed deep-learning library for the JVM written in Java. DL4J can be used with a wide variety of JVM-based languages other than Java, like Scala, Kotlin, Clojure, and many more. It can be integrated with Hadoop and Spark.

DL4J has a Python script execution framework which is known as Python4j. This framework makes it easy to run DL models from Python using DL4J. Read the official documentation for DL4J and other libraries within its ecosystem here.

Benefits of using Deep Learning Frameworks

There are many benefits to using deep learning frameworks. One of the biggest benefits is that they can help you train your models faster. Deep learning frameworks have several built-in features that can make training your model easier, such as automatic differentiation and data parallelism. Additionally, most deep learning frameworks come with several pre-trained models that you can use for your projects. This can save you a lot of time and effort, as you don't have to train your model from scratch.

Another benefit of using deep learning frameworks is that they can help you deploy your models more easily. Deep learning models can be quite large and complex, so it can be difficult to deploy them on a production system. However, many deep learning frameworks come with tools that can help you do this more easily. For example, TensorFlow comes with the Tensor Board tool which helps you visualize your model's training progress and performance.

Deep learning frameworks such as Apache MXNet, TensorFlow, the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit, Caffe, Caffe2, Theano, Torch, and Keras can be run on cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Azure. Using cloud computing for deep learning allows you to take advantage of the speed, scalability, and flexibility of the cloud.


In this article, I covered the 8 most popular deep-learning frameworks to consider. Which deep learning framework you choose depends on your needs and preferences. Try out several different frameworks to see which one works best for you. Happy Coding!

Deep Learning

Pratik Sharma

Data Science ~ Machine Learning ~ Deep Learning ~ NLP ~ Generative AI


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