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AI analytics & Edge compute just accelerated, now what will innovators do with it?

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3rd Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors

Do not take the Intel portfolio for granted. Not for one second. Sure, Intel products are present everywhere in our digitalised world. But this company is way more than silicon, hardware, and software.

Not long ago, Intel introduced customisable silicon (such a win for their customers) and rapid-deployment options like Intel® Select Solutions pre-verified configurations of hardware and software. Now, the conversation has turned to the built-in AI acceleration on the newest 3rd Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors; quite the incredible AI-infused, data-intensive digital solution.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Lisa Spelman, Corporate Vice President, Data Platforms Group, General Manager Xeon and Memory Group at Intel Corporation who has an incredibly comprehensive view over the whole data-centric story. She is not only native to Portland, she’s also practically native to Intel, having worked for and managed dozens of different aspects of the company throughout her career. You’ll find a link at the end of this post to my podcast conversation with her.

Our conversation started off paying homage to the global Intel base. As a company, they recognised the gravity of the pandemic early on and immediately began work on high-performance computing infrastructure for genome sequencing of the virus, partnering with labs in China to get, as Lisa put it, a “head start on understanding what we’re dealing with.” Intel has since dug in, in every way possible, from a $50 USD million pandemic technology fund to helping virtual ICUs scale, to sponsoring employee innovations designed to combat the virus and protect communities. 

And even though most of Intel’s 100,000+ employee base is still working from home, they’ve managed to launch new tech significant enough that it is changing the way organisations do business. 

As Lisa explained, “When you look at the different challenges behind each use case, it comes down to, I have a movement challenge. I have a storage challenge. I have a processing challenge.” Technology should not be holding back enterprise, cloud service providers or network infrastructure customers. “We fundamentally see that every workload across that data pipeline is going to have artificial intelligence either built into the application or fundamentally as a cornerstone of the service being delivered by our customers.” 

“We have to add artificial intelligence, acceleration and capabilities into our processor products.” She said. And so, they did. During the pandemic.

For the full launch details, follow the links at the end of the post. The highlights include:

●     3rd Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors with built-in AI acceleration and bfloat16 instruction support

●     Intel® Stratix® 10 FX FPGAs

●     Next-generation high capacity SSDs with 3D NAND technology

●     Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit

As Lisa was talking, I kept thinking about how we used to have to offload memory processing to faster components – and now, they’re bringing all that right back into the core platform. They don’t have to move the data on and off the chip to do the analytics. This is such a significant pivot, it’s going to change the way we approach data processing and analytics, particularly as we move toward the edge.

Lisa agrees. “Artificial intelligence as a component of workloads is becoming pervasive.” Even projects that aren’t AI-centric still have AI capability built-in to improve performance. So, “having your hardware foundation capable of artificial intelligence acceleration gives you fundamentally better performance and some future-proofing for the next couple of years,” Lisa says. 

The launch itself is practically a portfolio – it’s not one thing or a cluster of things, it’s new capabilities, some of which get very specific, down to the sub-vertical. But the recurring theme is accelerating AI workloads, managing vast data quantities, and better enabling edge compute.

Built-in AI accelerated 3rd Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors

Bfloat16 on the new 3rd Gen Xeon processors adjust the numerical format to provide the same ranges as FP32, but with half the bits, while maintaining similar accuracy in AI workloads. They cut the data movement and storage in half. And what it does for the Intel® Optane™ persistent memory? Twenty-five percent higher bandwidth for data analytics. Think about my other podcasts with Intel partners Siemens and Honeywell, where breakthroughs have happened on the prior gen Optane, and just imagine what will happen now. 

Intel has enabled the 3rd Gen Xeon processor with artificial intelligence capabilities. To say this is a game changer is to grossly underestimate how much this will change the way we can now make everyday functions work. It also changes the who. Intel is enabling people without PhDs in AI or ML to leverage these capabilities; they just need to know how to call the APIs or use the libraries that Intel has built.

Now think about the “where.” “People sometimes mistakenly think of the edge as very low-end compute,” Lisa says. “But there’s a lot of pretty heavy compute happening at the edge… and we see opportunity for expansion.” Faster compute with lower latency and faster persistent memory will allow more processes to run with greater assurance of success. Things like autonomous vehicles that won’t get green-lit until they can pass safety tests with 9.9999 degrees of reliability. 

Of course, the compute isn’t all moving to the edge – I see a fun challenge ahead of keeping enough intelligence at the edge where the devices and data are but at the same time bringing back relevant data where it can be used centrally by other systems and tools.

I want to thank Lisa, her team and all the folks at Intel for making this interview possible. Please tune in to the conversation at the link below and use the other resources to learn more about the technology and innovations we discussed. 

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NEC recognised as Top Ten Champion in AI Ethics & Governance Certification

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NEC Asia Pacific, the regional headquarters for Tokyo head quartered information and communications technology provider NEC Corporation, has been recognised as one of the Singapore Computer Society’s (SCS) inaugural top ten champions in “AI Ethics & Governance Certification” during the 2022 Tech3 Forum, an annual business & technology event organised and run by SCS in partnership with Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

This certification recognises efforts to encourage professional development in AI Ethics & Governance in the workplace, and commitment towards building an effective and trusted AI ecosystem.

As a result of the pace at which AI adoption across all facets of society is increasing, there is a very real need to foster public trust in AI, to allow organisations to unlock its full potential.

All nations governments and societies have of late engaged in broad discussion and global debate pertaining to the topics surrounding Artificial Intelligence, none more so that those relating to data privacy and how privacy as a whole plays a role in relation to AI utilisation and advancement of related technologies and services.

In response to the need to address such challenges, in particular those which may arise from the rapid developments and advancement in AI and technology taking place in today’s world, NEC established a Data Distribution Strategy Office in April 2017.

This was closely followed the following year by the establishment of NEC’s Digital Trust Business Strategy Division in October 2018, and in 2019, NEC also unveiled the formation of the NEC Group AI and Human Rights Principles. NEC has since developed business activities based on those principles.

As a leading tech society for industry professionals in Singapore, the SCS received support from IMDA in in 2020 to develop the world’s first AI Ethics Body of Knowledge in anticipation of the wider use of AI.

Following this, the SCS announced in 2021 a new joint AI Ethics & Governance Certification programme with Nanyang Technological University (NTU), with the aim of guiding and educating businesses and professionals on a wide range of topics relating to the development, deployment and use of responsible AI.

In relation to being awarded the SCS AI Ethics & Governance Certification, NEC APAC’s Managing Director, Teh Chong Mien stated, “NEC has aligned our mission based on Singapore’s Smart Nation vision. and we are committed to helping Singapore achieve its goals outlined in its National AI Strategy. We will do our best to realise a safer and brighter world by engaging the relevant stakeholders to build a robust digital trust framework based on ethics and human-centric technology.”

These principles will guide employees of NEC to prioritise privacy and human rights considerations in each and every stage of the NEC Group’s business operations along with compliance with all relevant laws and regulations globally.

In accordance with these principles, the NEC Group is committed to the three following initiatives:

  1. Ensure that all products and services are implemented and utilised by NEC employees, customers and partners appropriately
  2. Continue to develop advanced technology and talent to further promote AI utilisation
  3. Engage with a range of stakeholders to build partnerships and collaborate with closely

NEC has in fact enrolled its Singapore-based leadership team and their team of developers in the SCS and NTU certification programme, to capitalise on the many synergies between NEC’s Group AI and Human Rights Principles which prioritise privacy and human rights in relation to the utilisation of AI and biometrics data.

SCS President, Sam Liew, was recently quoted to have said, “We are heartened to have partners such as NEC play a leading role in supporting Singapore’s AI ecosystem, and we welcome all organisations to join us in growing the pool of AI Ethics professionals in Singapore.”

NEC promotes its Social Solution Business through the utilisation of advanced AI solutions from “NEC the WISE” (refer to Note 2), IoT technologies, and “Bio-Idiom” (refer to Note 3), which enables instant authentication using face, iris, fingerprint, palm print, pulse, and acoustic data.

Further information available via the full NEC press release:

http://bit.ly/nec-scs-ai-ethics-award-2022

About NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. The NEC Group globally provides “Solutions for Society” that promote the safety, security, efficiency and equality of society. Under the company’s corporate message of “Orchestrating a brighter world,” NEC aims to help solve a wide range of challenging issues and to create new social value for the changing world of tomorrow.

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Rebounding for the data-driven fate with FPGA and eASICS

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Field Programmable Gate Array Technology

Data is now the new driving force of the modern world. How well your business performs or what its rank could be on the performance list entirely depends on how you leverage the data available, involving emerging tools such as ML, AI, and cloud! Such forces have, in turn, lit up a stand for Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). 

Lately, I have had a great fortune to sit down and have an in-depth discussion with Jim Dworkin, the senior director of the cloud business unit in the Programmable Solutions Group at Intel. During our discussion, even Jim asserted that in order to unlock the potential of data, we need to embrace the latest FPGA technology. 

Further, having the modern architecture out into the right place now could easily uncover the paths to get things right. Perhaps, we need to educate ourselves on the ‘hardwiring’ of data flow to ensure we can appropriately leverage the power of data, speed time to market, diminish the costs of ownership, and a lot more that could take the businesses to new heights. 

For example, the technology Intel has been offering has virtually evolved “off-the-shelf”, so competent than ever before that it can now solve specific infrastructure or business problems.

With the embracement of FPGA latest technology and eASICs(the Intel tech discussed above), there has been an acceleration in infrastructure use cases (SmartNICs). So, what is SmartNICs? Well, SmartNICs is a programmable accelerator. It holds the capability to centre all the networking data with the utmost security and proffering storage flexibility and efficiency at the same time. 

Having SmartNIC onboard businesses hold enough power to handle more refined infrastructure workloads using cloud hosts, churning of wastage of time, and saving more resources. Besides, SmartNICs also furnish great value towards nurturing virtualized assistance, such as multi-tenant shared cloud and more.

Perhaps with hyper-scalers’ mushrooming, the overhead of network infrastructure might turn daunting. But the applications of FPGA have helped manage that. 

Apart from this, Intel has also come up with FPGA cloud SmartNIC platforms that replicate the hyper-scalers’ used architectures. So, how does it operate? 

This platform integrates Intel high-performance Stratix 10 FPGA with an Intel Xeon D processor that works together on the SmartNIC card, enabling virtual switching by offering the Tier-2 data centres a mass-market solution. 

Intel has also been heavily sponsoring more efficient AI via recommender systems and natural language processing. It has even established a more robust form of FPGA, which is able to interpret voice coder inputs. 

Jim contends that the enactment of a GPU manages to be modal and established on the micro-architecture constructed around it, irrespective of their power. Therefore if it shifts from an optimization point, latencies might rise, negatively impacting the performance of speech processing. 

FPGA applications are virtually inexhaustible, particularly with FPGA transition reaching up to par with software programming in ease of usage. 

Jim is optimistic about exploding evolution. He believes people wouldn’t be asking what SmartNIC platforms are. Instead would be keener towards knowing how transformative it could be. But if you ask me, I would still say the real excitement lies in accessing Intel’s technology and then jumping to Microsoft Azure to revise and enjoy leaner and faster service completely.

With his extensive product knowledge of large-scale integration work, Jim puts it; we must decode problems at a strategic level and not in a microcosm.

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Conversation With Jim Dworkin, Senior Director Cloud Business Unit, Intel PSG

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I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Jim Dworkin, who is the Sr. Director of Cloud Business Unit at Intel PSG, to discuss the recent news, insights, FPGA trends, and offerings surrounding Field Programable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) from Intel and related topics such as Data Centres, Infrastructure from Servers to Networks, to the Internet of Things, Edge networking  Artificial Intelligence, compute and much more.

In this episode of our podcast show, Jim and I delve into a wide range of business and technology insights around how key CXO and Senior Business & Technology decision-makers can obtain immediate real-world business benefits by taking advantage of the tremendous technology and supporting ecosystem or partners, integrators, and others and Intel teams globally – this show covers many recent trends in FPGA is you can not miss, please do tune in it today!

Here are a few of the important points from our show:

  1. Latest macro FGPA Trends driving development/adoption of FPGAs/eASICs

We kick off with Jim sharing insights around what he and his team at Intel are currently seeing worldwide, as far as the latest macro trends driving the development/adoption of FPGAs/eASICs are concerned.

Jim also clarifies what an FPGA is, what Intel’s eASICS are, and where they each fit in the respective spaces around development, design, implementation, going into production, and more – a phenomenal overview to set the scene for this fantastic discussion.

  1. Obstacles & happenings around the adoption of FPGAs/eASICs and market readiness

I ask Jim to share his take on the key hurdles & opportunities he and his team at Intel PSG, and related teams at intel, are seeing worldwide concerning the uptake and adoption of FPGAs/eASICs and market readiness.

  1. How Intel customers/partners see success with FPGAs/eASICs

Jim gives us an extraordinary briefing level summary of how Intel customers and partners see success with FPGAs/eASICs, as well as some great actionable takeaways listeners can put in place within their own organisations to gain real business and technology benefits over a wide range of key areas in both Information Technology as well as Operational Technology systems and environments.

This conversation covers a broad range of news and detail about Intel’s FPGA solutions business, and technology decision-makers should pay attention. PushPLAY now and tune into this great conversation. If you have any questions, reach out at any time via any of the usual channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others. We’d love to start a conversation and perhaps connect you with the best people at Intel to support your organisation’s outcomes.

This podcast covering Intel FPGA News was created in association with Intel.

Explore:

 Intel® FPGA Homepage: https://intel.ly/3gRRXm5

– Real-Time Text To Speech Synthesis Using Intel® Stratix® 10 NX FPGA (Video): https://intel.ly/37pjDLS

– Real-Time Text To Speech Synthesis Using Intel® Stratix® 10 NX FPGA (White Paper): https://intel.ly/3mo5PW3

– Pushing AI Boundaries with Scalable Compute-Focused FPGAs (White Paper): https://intel.ly/3gRZLnI

 

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