14 Nov 2017 Denver - At Supercomputing 2017 (SC17), Lenovo Data Center Group introduced new initiatives designed to empower customers to embrace Artificial Intelligence (AI) and make it a true reality for their organisations to achieve augmented intelligence capabilities for increased productivity and transformative results. Widely considered a strategic priority, 76 percent of respondents in a recent survey indicated that AI is fundamental to the success of their operation's strategy, while 64 percent cited the technology as fundamental to their organisation's long-term growth. At the same time, it's expected that there will be 44 trillion gigabytes of data in existence by 2020. Combined, this creates a need for deep learning and inference capabilities, built on a foundation of high performance computing (HPC) infrastructure, that can process this information, generate new, actionable insights and underpin key business and scientific advancements.
"Artificial intelligence is already having a profound impact on traditional business strategies and scientific research, and most senior leaders consider it a priority for the year ahead. To truly benefit from the vast amount of data available to organizations today, our customers must embrace AI as the vehicle to help them achieve success in todays competitive business landscape", stated Kirk Skaugen, president, Lenovo Data Center Group. "With our newly opened, global AI innovation centers and a comprehensive product and service portfolio we are committed to helping bring their AI deployments to life."
Lenovo is partnering with customers as they explore AI's ability to enable truly innovative research that is advancing global humanitarian efforts, such as identifying cures for diseases or understanding the true impact of climate change.
Agriculture, for example, accounts for 70 percent of the total global freshwater usage, and by 2050, it's expected that an additional 10 percent of water resources will be needed to support the increase in food supply required to accommodate a growing global population. As freshwater availability for agriculture becomes scarcer, it is critical to identify high-risk water shortage areas in advance and manage existing water resources to minimize negative effects on food production, both for the benefit of local farmers and society at large.
North Carolina State University (NCSU) researchers, in partnership with Lenovo, is doubling down on this global challenge. Using an artificial intelligence-enabled geospatial image analysis process, NCSU applies deep learning algorithms to recognize farmland, identify the farm crops, monitor soil conditions and calculate water requirements against available water resources to create maps of drought areas. The same AI techniques help local and global farmers to examine crop and soil health for efficiently managing water and energy resources in irrigation, improving their profitability while conserving scarce natural resources.
At University College London (UCL), researchers are reconstructing high-energy particle collision events from the ATLAS experiment at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator. This work is instrumental in addressing some of the most fundamental questions about the origins of the universe; however, the increasing intensity of collisions at the LHC challenges the traditional pattern recognition techniques, which would require unaffordable amounts of computational resources. Through collaboration with Lenovo, UCL researchers are aiming to apply AI to reconstruct particle trajectories using imaging data from ATLAS much more efficiently than traditional methods. This approach not only streamlines the computational resources, but can also help UCL advance their research in reconstructing much more complex events.
Building on Lenovo's broader $1.2B investment in AI R&D and initiatives, Lenovo's Data Center Group is operating three new AI innovation centres in Morrisville, North Carolina; Stuttgart, Germany and Beijing, China, designed to help customers discover how AI can help solve their biggest business or humanitarian challenges. Over 100 Lenovo data scientists and specialized AI developers are already working to engineer AI-enabled solutions, such as patient image scanning to detect and classify tumors and assist doctors in diagnoses. Lenovo customers can access innovation center services remotely and have the opportunity to test and refine applications and workloads on a variety of systems optimized for high-performance. Additionally, they can join a diverse community of experts spanning partners and data scientists and other customers, to share insights and learnings to help solve some of the world's greatest challenges.
With much of AI adoption relying on intelligence currently being developed, Lenovo has the expertise to help bring a customer's AI projects to fruition. Lenovo views a customer's journey to augmented intelligence in a three-step process:
"We believe that machines will not replace humans, but augment and aid our actions in every aspect of life, a vision which we call augmented intelligence. Working with AI is a complex undertaking. It requires significant processing power and a level of technical expertise and talent that's often not readily available to our customers", stated Madhu Matta, vice president and general manager, AI and HPC Segment, Lenovo DCG. "We've created an end-to-end ecosystem that allows us to support our customers every step of the way as they explore AI strategies and unleash the power of augmented intelligence."
Artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning workloads demand a foundation of flexible, agile and high-performance computing (HPC)-optimized infrastructure to operate on. To empower customers to pursue these transformative capabilities Lenovo today announced two offerings designed specifically for future-defined workloads:
The latest hardware and software additions to Lenovo's HPC portfolio, in addition to the opening of its three global AI innovation centres for consultation and testing, offers customers of all sizes a complete, end-to-end, cost-effective path to AI implementation.
"We're very pleased with the work we are doing around such a global issue like freshwater supply. As we look to leverage more advanced computational processes and deep learning methods, our existing infrastructure is no longer sufficient", stated Ranga Raju, Associate Professor in Geospatial Analytics, NCSU. "By partnering with Lenovo and its AI innovation centre in Morrisville, we've not only gained access to infrastructure that has been optimized for machine learning workloads, but also a wealth of knowledge from Lenovo and its partners whose engineers and consultants are skilled in AI."
Professor Nikos Konstantinidis, co-Director of the UCL Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Intensive Science and advisor of a Lenovo-supported PhD student, stated: "We are delighted that Lenovo are our partners in this exciting initiative. UCL has a long-standing tradition of excellence in data intensive science and a strong culture of cross-disciplinary research and collaboration between academia and industry. Bringing together the expertise from the Lenovo AI team and the UCL academics and PhD students will accelerate the development and application of novel AI techniques that promise to provide innovative solutions to major challenges, both in fundamental science like advancing particle physics at CERN's Large Hadron Collider and in the industry."