Installing Tensorflow in Anaconda on macOS

The Tensorflow website has good installation instructions for the MAC OS X environment. The official installation instructions for MacOS are provided at Included are instructions for virtualenv, a native pip environment, using a Docker container, Anaconda command line, and installing from sources. Although straightforward, it doesn’t include installing in an Anaconda Navigator application environment.

Anaconda is a free, open source, community supported development environment for Python and R. Anaconda manages libraries and configurable environments. It’s also a good place to experiment with scientific and machine intelligence packages. The growingly more useful Tensorflow libraries can be used to experiment within an Anacondo environment.

Anaconda Navigator is a desktop graphical user interface included in Anaconda. Packages, environments, and channels are easy to manage with this GUI. Anaconda can be installed by following the instructions at the Anaconda download site. After installation, it’s best to make sure the latest versions are installed. To quickly update using a command line interface:

$ conda update anaconda anaconda-navigator

Then, launch the Anaconda-Navigator application.

In the Navigator application, select the Environments menu item in the far left column. By default, there is one Root environment. Multiple environments with different configurations can be set up here over time. It’s typically best to upgrade existing packages to current versions. The latest version of Python should be installed (3.6 at the time of this writing) should be used.

  1. Select the Environments menu item in the left column.
  2. Select the Environment to update (in this case Root).
  3. Select Upgradable from the drop-down menu.
  4. Select the version number in the Version column to define packages to upgrade. Make sure Python is the most recent version.
  5. Select Apply.


To install the Tensorflow packages, a new and clean environment can be created. It will contain the base packages necessary, the latest version of Python and Tensorflow will be installed.

  1. Select the Create button at the bottom of the Environments column.
  2. In the popup menu, type ‘Tensorflow’ in the Name text entry field.
  3. Select the Python checkbox.
  4. Select version 3.6 in the drop-down menu.
  5. Select Create.


Tensorflow packages can now be installed into the new environment.

  1. Select ‘Not Installed’ from the drop-down menu at the top of the right window pane.
  2. Type ‘tensorflow’ in the Search Packages text input field and hit Return.
  3. Select the checkbox in the left column next to the two tensorflow package names.
  4. Click Apply.


To validate the installation, using the newly created Tensorflow environment:

  1. Make sure the Tensorflow environment is selected.
  2. Select the arrow next to the Tensorflow environment name.
  3. Select ‘Open with IPython’.
  4. A terminal window with the environment settings created will pop up.
  5. As recommended on the Tensorflow website, type the following into the terminal window
    import tensorflow as tf
    hello = tf.constant('Hello, TensorFlow!')
    sess = tf.Session()

Assuming there are no errors, the newly installed and configured environment is ready for developing with tensorflow.


Wanted: New architectures for IoT and Augmented Reality

Software technology changes rapidly. Many new tools and techniques arrive in the software engineering realm to take on old and new problems. There are still big architecture and implementation holes yet to be addressed. For example, as a few billion more smart phones, tablets and internet connected sensing devices come online across the world, how are they all going to discover and utilize all the available resources collaboratively?

One of the current problems with most existing architectures is data gets routed through central servers in a data center somewhere.  Typically software systems are still built using client/server architectures. Even if an application is using multiple remote sources for data, it’s still really just a slight variation. Service and data lookups are done using a statically defined address rather than through discovery. Even remote sensing and home automation devices barely collaborate locally and require a local router to communicate with a remote server in a data center.

In the past month, I have been to both the Internet of Things World and Augmented World Expo (AWE). At both of these excellent conferences, there was at least some discussion about the need for a better infrastructure

  • to connect devices in a way to make them more useful through collaboration of resources and
  • to connect devices to provide capabilities to share experiences in real time.

But it was just talk about the need. No one yet is demonstrating any functional capabilities in this manner.

On a side note: I saw only one person, out of 3000 or so, at the AWE conference wearing a device for augmentation. It was Steve Mann who is considered the father of wearables. I dare say that most proponents of the technology are not ready to exhibit it nor is the infrastructure around to support its use effectively. There is great work progressing though.

Peer-to-peer architectures used in file sharing and the architecture Skype uses start providing directional guidance for what is to come in truly distributed architectures. Enhancing these architectures to include dynamic discovery of software and hardware resources and orchestrating dynamic resource utilization is still needed.

There are a few efforts in development beginning to address some of the internet-wide distributed computing platforms needed for data sharing, augmented reality and machine learning. Those of you thinking of batch jobs or wiring up business services as distributed computing, this is not what I’m talking about. I am talking about a small footprint software stack able to execute on many different hardware devices with the ability for those devices to communicate directly with each other.

If you know about development efforts in this vain, I would like to hear about them.