Web Machine Learning Working Group Charter

The mission of the Web Machine Learning Working Group is to develop APIs for enabling efficient machine learning inference in the browser.

Join the Web Machine Learning Working Group.

This proposed charter is available on GitHub. Feel free to raise issues.

Start date [dd monthname yyyy] (date of the "Call for Participation", when the charter is approved)
End date [dd monthname yyyy]
Charter extension See Change History.
Chairs [chair name] (affiliation)
Team Contacts [team contact name] (0.1 FTE)
Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: topic-specific calls may be held or somthing else
Face-to-face: we will meet during the W3C's annual Technical Plenary week; additional face-to-face meetings may be scheduled by consent of the participants, usually no more than 3 per year.

Note: The W3C Process Document requires “The level of confidentiality of the group's proceedings and deliverables”; however, it does not mandate where this appears. Since all W3C Working Groups should be chartered as public, this notice has been moved from the essentials table to the communication section.


Currently, machine learning inference in the browser uses the WebGL graphics API with limited or no access to platform capabilities beneficial for ML such as CPU parallelism, general-purpose GPU, or dedicated ML hardware accelerators.

The proposed Web API aims to expose generic capabilities to the Web required to provide close-to-native machine learning performance in the browser. In addition to the performance benefits, inference in the browser as opposed to in the cloud enhances privacy, since input data such as locally sourced images or video streams stay within the browser's sandbox. Local processing also enables machine learning use cases that require low latency, such as object detection in immersive web experiences.

Out of Scope

The scope is limited to development of interfaces that expose inference capabilities of the modern platforms beneficial or purpose-built for ML. Training capabilities are out of scope due to limited availability of respective platform APIs.


    More detailed milestones and updated publication schedules are available on the group publication status page.

    Draft state indicates the state of the deliverable at the time of the charter approval. Expected completion indicates when the deliverable is projected to become a Recommendation, or otherwise reach a stable state.

    Normative Specifications

    The Working Group will deliver the following W3C normative specifications:

    Web Neural Network API

    This specification defines an API to enable neural network inference that can take advantage of hardware acceleration.

    Draft state: Adopted from Web Machine Learning Community Group

    Expected completion: [CR Q1 2022]

    Other Deliverables

    Other non-normative documents may be created such as:

    • Use case and requirement documents;
    • Test suite and implementation report for the specification;
    • Primer or Best Practice documents to support web developers when designing applications.


    • Q1 2021: First teleconference
    • Q1 2021: First meeting
    • Q2 2021: FPWD for Web Neural Network API

    Success Criteria

    In order to advance to Proposed Recommendation, each normative specification is expected to have at least two independent implementations of every feature defined in the specification.

    Each specification should contain a section detailing all known security and privacy implications for implementers, Web authors, and end users.

    There should be testing plans for each specification, starting from the earliest drafts.

    Each specification should contain a section on accessibility that describes the benefits and impacts, including ways specification features can be used to address them, and recommendations for maximising accessibility in implementations.

    To promote interoperability, all changes made to specifications should have tests.


    For all specifications, this Working Group will seek horizontal review for accessibility, internationalization, performance, privacy, and security with the relevant Working and Interest Groups, and with the TAG. Invitation for review must be issued during each major standards-track document transition, including FPWD. The Working Group is encouraged to engage collaboratively with the horizontal review groups throughout development of each specification. The Working Group is advised to seek a review at least 3 months before first entering CR and is encouraged to proactively notify the horizontal review groups when major changes occur in a specification following a review.

    Additional technical coordination with the following Groups will be made, per the W3C Process Document:

    In addition to the above catch-all reference to horizontal review which includes accessibility review, please check with chairs and staff contacts of the Accessible Platform Architectures Working Group to determine if an additional liaison statement with more specific information about concrete review issues is needed in the list below.

    W3C Groups

    [other name] Working Group
    [specific nature of liaison]

    Note: Do not list horizontal groups here, only specific WGs relevant to your work.

    Note: Do not bury normative text inside the liaison section. Instead, put it in the scope section.

    External Organizations

    [other name] Working Group
    [specific nature of liaison]


    To be successful, this Working Group is expected to have 6 or more active participants for its duration, including representatives from the key implementors of this specification, and active Editors and Test Leads for each specification. The Chairs, specification Editors, and Test Leads are expected to contribute half of a working day per week towards the (Working|Interest) Group. There is no minimum requirement for other Participants.

    The group encourages questions, comments and issues on its public mailing lists and document repositories, as described in Communication.

    The group also welcomes non-Members to contribute technical submissions for consideration upon their agreement to the terms of the W3C Patent Policy.

    Participants in the group are required (by the W3C Process) to follow the W3C Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.


    Technical discussions for this Working Group are conducted in public: the meeting minutes from teleconference and face-to-face meetings will be archived for public review, and technical discussions and issue tracking will be conducted in a manner that can be both read and written to by the general public. Working Drafts and Editor's Drafts of specifications will be developed on a public repository and may permit direct public contribution requests. The meetings themselves are not open to public participation, however.

    Information about the group (including details about deliverables, issues, actions, status, participants, and meetings) will be available from the Web Machine Learning Working Group home page.

    Most Web Machine Learning Working Group teleconferences will focus on discussion of particular specifications, and will be conducted on an as-needed basis.

    This group primarily conducts its technical work on GitHub issues. The public is invited to review, discuss and contribute to this work.

    The group may use a Member-confidential mailing list for administrative purposes and, at the discretion of the Chairs and members of the group, for member-only discussions in special cases when a participant requests such a discussion.

    Decision Policy

    This group will seek to make decisions through consensus and due process, per the W3C Process Document (section 3.3). Typically, an editor or other participant makes an initial proposal, which is then refined in discussion with members of the group and other reviewers, and consensus emerges with little formal voting being required.

    However, if a decision is necessary for timely progress and consensus is not achieved after careful consideration of the range of views presented, the Chairs may call for a group vote and record a decision along with any objections.

    To afford asynchronous decisions and organizational deliberation, any resolution (including publication decisions) taken in a face-to-face meeting or teleconference will be considered provisional. A call for consensus (CfC) will be issued for all resolutions (for example, via email, GitHub issue or web-based survey), with a response period from one week to 10 working days, depending on the chair's evaluation of the group consensus on the issue. If no objections are raised by the end of the response period, the resolution will be considered to have consensus as a resolution of the Working Group.

    All decisions made by the group should be considered resolved unless and until new information becomes available or unless reopened at the discretion of the Chairs or the Director.

    This charter is written in accordance with the W3C Process Document (Section 3.4, Votes) and includes no voting procedures beyond what the Process Document requires.

    Patent Policy

    This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (Version of 15 September 2020). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Recommendations that can be implemented, according to this policy, on a Royalty-Free basis. For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.


    This Working Group will use the W3C Software and Document license for all its deliverables.

    About this Charter

    This charter has been created according to section 5.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.

    Charter History

    Note:Display this table and update it when appropriate. Requirements for charter extension history are documented in the Charter Guidebook (section 4).

    The following table lists details of all changes from the initial charter, per the W3C Process Document (section 5.2.3):

    Charter Period Start Date End Date Changes
    Initial Charter [dd monthname yyyy] [dd monthname yyyy] none
    Charter Extension [dd monthname yyyy] [dd monthname yyyy] none
    Rechartered [dd monthname yyyy] [dd monthname yyyy]

    [description of change to charter, with link to new deliverable item in charter] Note: use the class new for all new deliverables, for ease of recognition.