RAY: Distributed computing framework for ML & AI

Balachandar Paulraj
4 min readNov 6, 2023

The evolving domain of artificial intelligence and machine learning is witnessing an unprecedented demand for tools that are efficient, scalable, and user-intuitive. The quest for resilient frameworks capable of handling intricate AI workloads has reached an all-time high. In this context, RAY emerges as a pioneering game-changer, ushering in efficiencies and expediting the AI development process.


Designed as an open-source distributed computing framework, RAY is dedicated to democratizing AI development.

RAY — the first unified, distributed compute framework for scaling ML and AI workloads

By granting developers, data scientists, and engineers access to distributed computing capabilities, it streamlines the handling of intricate AI tasks, enhancing accessibility and efficiency.

In contrast to other distributed system frameworks, RAY aims to address a broader spectrum of challenges.

It accommodates a multitude of scalable programming paradigms, spanning from actors to machine learning (ML) and data parallelism.

RAY’s remote function and actor models transform it into a versatile development environment, moving beyond the constraints of being solely for big data applications.


Scalability and Performance: RAY streamlines AI application scaling, leveraging its distributed architecture for efficient task distribution across nodes. This not only saves time but also enhances performance, establishing RAY as an indispensable asset for data-intensive AI project.

Ease of Use: A standout quality of RAY is its user-oriented approach, boasting a high-level API that opens the door to parallel and distributed computing for developers, even without specialized expertise in distributed systems. RAY’s intuitive interface expedites AI application creation and deployment.

Support for Various Workloads: Whether your focus is machine learning, reinforcement learning, or hyperparameter tuning, RAY is tailored to meet your requirements. Its extensive libraries and APIs address a wide array of AI and ML applications, rendering it a versatile choice for developers spanning various industries

Features of RAY

Cloud & Cluster Integration: Integrating seamlessly with well-established cloud platforms and cluster managers (YARN, K8s), RAY empowers users to effortlessly deploy applications in a diverse range of settings, promising a versatile and straightforward experience.

Task Scheduling & Resource Efficiency: RAY’s task scheduling mechanism is dynamic and adaptable, optimizing resource utilization and reducing latency in task execution. RAY efficiently manages resources, optimizing CPU and memory usage, which is especially critical for large-scale, data-intensive AI workloads.

Community & support: RAY benefits from an active open-source community and regular updates, allowing users to customize and extend it to suit their specific requirements.


In a nutshell, RAY simplifies the orchestration of your distributed individual and end-to-end machine learning workflows through these components:

  1. Versatile libraries designed for common machine learning tasks, including distributed training, hyperparameter tuning, reinforcement learning
  2. Distributed computing components designed with Python in mind for parallelizing and scaling Python applications
  3. Seamless integrations and tools for harmonizing and deploying a RAY cluster within your established ecosystem, encompassing Kubernetes, AWS, GCP, and Azure

AI Libraries: RAY’s libraries are designed to accommodate both data scientists and ML engineers. Data scientists can utilize these libraries to efficiently scale individual tasks and entire end-to-end ML applications. For ML engineers, these libraries offer accessible platform abstractions that simplify the incorporation of tools from the wider ML ecosystem. RAY’s libraries comprises of following five categories: 1) Data, 2) Train, 3) Tune, 4) Serve, 5) RLlib.

Ray Core: RAY Core library offers Python developers a simple means to construct scalable, distributed systems that function seamlessly across laptops, clusters, cloud environments, and Kubernetes. This library serves as the cornerstone for the development of RAY AI libraries and third-party integrations within the RAY ecosystem.

Cloud & Cluster: RAY is highly versatile, running effortlessly on a variety of environments, such as standalone machines, clusters, major cloud providers like AWS and Google Cloud, and Kubernetes. It boasts a rich ecosystem of integrations with an array of tools, including Dask, HuggingFace, ScikitLearn, and beyond.


While this post doesn’t extensively compare RAY with other frameworks like Spark and Flink, a concise summary would be that RAY prioritizes user-friendliness and scalability for AI workloads in distributed computing. Spark is renowned for its in-memory processing and versatile ecosystem, while Flink excels in stream and stateful processing. The selection among these frameworks should align with your project’s unique needs and preferences, particularly regarding processing methods, scalability, and usability.


RAY emerges as a dynamic force in the world of distributed computing, offering a versatile platform for a myriad of applications. As we embarked on this journey, we began with an introduction to RAY, unraveling its core principles and highlighting its remarkable adaptability. With salient features that encompass efficient task parallelism, distributed machine learning, and seamless scaling, RAY provides the foundation for building AI-driven systems that seamlessly span from single laptops to the expansive cloud.

Whether you’re orchestrating end-to-end machine learning pipelines or tackling individual tasks, RAY stands as a powerful ally in the quest for computational excellence.