Bob, a veteran of the telecommunications and technology industries, is Verne Global's VP of Strategy. He has a keen interest in HPC and the continuing evolution of AI and deep neural networks (DNN). He's based in Boston, Massachusetts.
I recently revisited Bristol, UK for an AI and HPC Meetup hosted at Graphcore’s HQ where they design the wicked powerful IPU CPU accelerator. There were three excellent presentations and the one by Helen Byrne, AI Research Engineer at Graphcore, about their 2020 research focus reiterated that my mathematics skills were well and truly rusty.
Perhaps it is because I returned from my last business trip of 2019 to a flooded house, but more likely it’s all the wicked cool water-cooled equipment that I encountered at SC-19 that I’m in a watery mood!
SC19 was red hot this year as the race to exascale computing got into top gear. Not even the snow on the last afternoon damped the collective ‘exascale enthusiasm’. SC19 is our industry’s exhibition pinnacle and as normal, the weekend before the show opens on Monday evening is packed full of training sessions, briefings, industry updates, etc. that cover everything from the latest HPC and AI product releases and tools, to tours of nearby supercomputing centers.
I’m starting to feel like a Formula 1 racing driver where every month is a new venue with huge crowds but in my case it’s AI industry events. This autumn I’m alternating events across the Atlantic providing a great insight into any differences in current practices between North America and Europe. Back in October I attended the excellent World AI Summit in Amsterdam. It was a great event and had a very new-age European feel to it, making extensive use of video, virtual reality and animation with a video DJ as the master of ceremonies. It was quite the AI Grand Prix pit-party!
It's lunchtime here in the beautiful city of Amsterdam where I am enjoying my time at the excellent World Summit AI, at which Verne Global are exhibiting, and earlier today our CTO Tate Cantrell moderated an engaging panel on today's hottest AI disruptors. As I take a breather from the networking, I thought I would write some thoughts about another excellent event which I went to a couple of weeks ago - Qubits North America.
New York is always an exciting, energetic city to visit and last week was made even more so as I attended the ‘HPC & AI on Wall Street’ conference which HPCWire are now championing. It was well worth the train ride from Boston and interesting to see the varied mix of attendees present and hear how HPC and AI is evolving in the world of finance.
Today our friends at NVIDIA announced that Verne Global’s Icelandic data center has been selected as one of its initial three European DGX-Ready Data Center program partners. We’re delighted to be working with NVIDIA on this program and to have our data center identified as an optimal location for their powerful range of DGX AI supercomputers.
My summer usually starts with the International Super Computing (ISC) show in Frankfurt, and this year was no exception. Across the previous week in London at the AI Summit it rained every day, but thankfully high-performance computing’s influence on weather forecasting clearly shone through and in Frankfurt it was sunny and a warm 30⁰C.
Psst, please only share this enterprise quantum computing insight with your HPC enthusiast friends. My boss would have a bird if he thought I was leaning 2+ years into the future with enterprise quantum computer hosting material!
The long-lasting Icelandic winter didn’t impact the momentum of our second AI and HPC Field Trip. Once again we gathered around 15 practitioners from the worlds of AI, machine learning, deep learning and high performance computing to network and brainstorm together, as well as tour our industrial scale campus on Iceland’s former NATO based near Keflavik.
Nvidia’s GPU Technical Conference (GTC) in San Jose always marks the start of spring. Although at this time of year the daffodils haven’t yet broken ground in Boston, but the days are warming, and the snow is becoming less frequent. In San Jose spring was in full swing with sunny days and temperatures above 20⁰C following a winter of record rains. The GTC conference addresses all things GPU and increasingly their AI use cases. Over the few years the number of attendees has ramped from a few thousand to currently in the region of 9,000. The largest grouping of attendees appears to be applying GPUs to AI deep neural network training and inference.
Sometimes the combination of networking at a trade show and catching an insightful presentation provide a valuable insight into market dynamics. Earlier this year I attended the HPC and Quantum Computing show in London and following this, watched Addison Snell’s (CEO of Intersect360 Research) “The New HPC” presentation from the Stamford HPC Conference. Both confirmed my HPC suspicions garnered over the last year.
Generally, trade shows follow the sun and tourists to popular vacation destinations. Everyone loves a conference in San Diego or Orlando! The recently rebranded NeurIPS (formally NIPS) took a different road this year and visited Montreal in early December. Montreal is one of my favourite cities but in early December it’s the season for cold, cloudy weather and infrequent freezing rain. Here's a quick rundown on my experiences at the conference.
Last week I was privileged to be part of our AI and HPC Field Trip to Iceland. The goal of the trip was to share insight and observations around the evolution of AI deep neural network (DNN) training and to tour our HPC-optimised data center. The attendees spanned DNN veterans like Eric Sigler of OpenAI, large enterprise data science leaders like Pardeep Bassi of Liverpool Victoria Insurance (LVE) and start-up pioneers like Max Gerer of e-bot7.
It was a treat to be in Germany for the last two weeks attending NVIDIA's GTC Europe in Munich and prior to this the HPC User Forum in Stuttgart. The Autumn weather was mostly warm and sunny - great for the Octoberfest but certainly not “free air cooling” for computer clusters despite most of Europe’s AI, HPC and Virtual Reality boffins being in town! Once again, here are some observations and insights from my travels...
It’s been almost a couple of months since my last blog and my marketing team are getting unpeaceful! Luckily there is nothing like the energy and bustle of an industry trade show to get you back into the groove.
Recent visits to Europe have been significantly influenced by the FIFA World Cup football (‘soccer’ to my American friends) in Russia. Every bar and restaurant has had additional large screen TVs showing the games and important meetings were carefully scheduled around the tournament schedule. Against this backdrop you would expect Europe’s largest HPC conference and trade show - International Supercomputing Conference 2018 “ISC18” - to struggle for attention. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
After of a couple of weeks sunning and sailplane racing in Florida it was straight back into the saddle for a London-based Quarterly Business Review and the excellent “Rise of AI” event in Berlin. Following a year of attending various international AI events I’m starting to develop a feel for their differing textures and here is my current evaluation.
Many great adventures start with naivety, sadly this blog was one of them. My intention was to provide a high-level overview of the advancements in Deep Neural Networks (DNN training) techniques during the last few years. Unfortunately, I struggle to pontificate about something I don’t comprehend well, so starting with the popular Convolutional Neural Networks I rapidly discovered a multitude of its variants. No worries, how hard can it be to research each new term/concept related to Coder/Decoder networks?
On the cusp of spring I regularly refresh my GPU technology suntan at the Nvidia GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in San Jose. This year was fascinating as the speed and scale of both AI and Virtual Reality industries has leapt forward. Here are my takeaways...
Recently I’ve garnered much of my blog inspiration from industry events. February has been no exception and I benefited from a fascinating day earlier in the month at the HPC and Big Data conference in London, just a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament. Here are some of my observations from my discussions there...