Thursday, May 25, 2017

Google to Rearchitect its Data Centres as it Shifts to AI First Strategy

AI is driving Google to rethink all its products and services, said Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, at the company's Google IO event in Mountain View, California. Big strides have recently pushed AI to surpass human vision in terms of real world image recognition, while speech recognition is now widely deployed in many smartphone applications to provide a better input interface for users. However, it is one thing for AI to win at chess or a game of Go, but it is a significantly greater task to get AI to work at scale. Everything at Google is big, and here are some recent numbers:


  • Seven services, now with over a billion monthly users: Search, Android, Chrome, YouTube, Maps, Play, Gmail
  • Users on YouTube watch over a billion hours of video per day.
  • Every day, Google Maps helps users navigate 1 billion km.
  • Google Drive now has over 800 million active users; every week 3 billion objects are uploaded to Google Drive.
  • Google Photos has over 500 million active users, with over 1.2 billion photos are uploaded.
  • Android is now running on over 2 billion active devices.

Google is already pushing AI into many of these applications. Examples of this include Google Maps, which is now using machine learning to identify street signs and storefronts. YouTube is applying AI for generating better suggestions on what to watch next. Google Photos is using machine learning to deliver better search results and Android has smarter predictive typing.

Another way that AI is entering the user experience is by using voice as an input for many products. Pichai said the improvement in voice recognition over the past year have been amazing. For instance, its Google Home speaker uses only two onboard microphones to assess the direction and to identify the use in order to better serve customers. The company also claims that its image recognition algorithms have now surpassed humans (although it is not clear what the metrics are). Another one of the big announcements at this year's Google IO event concerned Google Lens, a new in-app capability to layer augmented reality on top of images and videos. The company demo'ed taking a photo of a flower and then asking Google to identify it.

Data centres will have to support the enormous processing challenges of an AI-first world and the network will have to deliver the I/O bandwidth for users to the data centres and for connecting specialised AI servers within and between Google data centres. Pichai said this involves nothing less than rearchitecting the data centre for AI.

Google's AI-first data centres will be packed with Tensor processing units (TPUs) for machine learning. TPUs, which Google launched last year, are custom ASICs that are about 30-50 times faster and more power efficient than general purpose CPUs or GPUs for certain machine learning functions. TPUs are tailored for TensorFlow, an open source software library for machine learning that was developed at Google. TensorFlow was originally developed by the Google Brain team and released under the Apache 2.0 open source license in November 2015. At the time, Google said TensorFlow would be able to run on multiple CPUs and GPUs. Parenthetically, it should also be noted that in November 2016 Intel and Google announced a strategic alliance to help enterprise IT deliver an open, flexible and secure multi-cloud infrastructure for their businesses. One area of focus is the optimisation of the open source TensorFlowOpens in a new window library to benefit from the performance of Intel architecture. The companies said their joint work will provide software developers an optimised machine learning library to drive the next wave of AI innovation across a range of models including convolutional and recurrent neural networks.

A quick note about the technology: Google describes TensorFlow as an open source software library for numerical computation using data flow graphs. Nodes in the graph represent mathematical operations, while the graph edges represent the multidimensional data arrays (tensors) communicated between them.

Here come TPUs on the Google Compute Engine

At its recent I/O event, Google introduced the next generation of Cloud TPUs, which are optimised for both neural network training and inference on large data sets. TPUs are stacked onto boards, and each board has four TPUs, each of which is capable of 180 trillion floating point operations per second. Boards are then stacked into pods, each capable of 11.5 petaflops. This is an important advance for data centre infrastructure design for the AI era, said Pichai, and it is already being used within the Google Compute Engine service. This means that the same racks of TPU hardware can now be purchased online like any of the other Google cloud services.

There is an interesting photo that Sundar Pinchai shared with the audience, taken inside a Google data centre, which shows four racks of equipment packed with TensorFlow TPU pods. Bundles of fibre pair linking between the four racks can be seen. Apparently, there is no top-of-rack switch, but that is not certain. It will be interesting to know whether these new designs will soon fill a meaningful portion of the data centre floor.

Video: IEEE is making big strides in AI, IoT, SmartCities, and much more



IEEE President and CEO, Karen Bartleson, discusses IEEE’s Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems, IoT, smart cities, and robotics and how IEEE is working to advance technologies for the benefit of humanity.

Video recorded at the IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference #WIELead

See video: https://youtu.be/FmKTTdQB9rw




Video: The Huge Potential for Disaster Robotics

Dr. Robin Murphy, Raytheon Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, talks about how disaster robotics can have a huge potential to save lives and how young women and girls can engage in STEM.

Video recorded at the IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference #WIELead

See video: https://youtu.be/VzrL02_PeCQ




Video: Highlights of IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference



Nita Patel gives a recap of the engaging speakers, workshops and sessions at the IEEE WIE ILC, which was held May 22-23 in San Jose, California.

The IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference was a success! Nita Patel, Founder and Chair of WIE ILC, gives a recap of the engaging speakers, workshops and sessions at the 2017 conference.

See video: https://youtu.be/ZEk8xWTjjcw



Nutanix Posts Q1 Revenue of $192 Million Up 67% YOY

Nutanix reported Q1 2017 revenue of $191.8 million, up 67% year-over-year from $114.7 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2016. Billings reached $234.1 million, growing 47% year-over-year from $159.5 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2016. There was a net loss (GAAP) of $112.0 million, compared to a GAAP net loss of $46.8 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2016.

“We continue to execute on our strategy of building a cloud operating system that provides our customers maximum choice of hardware platforms. We recently established a partnership with IBM to bring to market the industry’s first hyperconverged solution on Power Systems, and introduced support for HPE ProLiant and Cisco UCS blade servers,” said Dheeraj Pandey, CEO, Nutanix. “Our third quarter results reflect our continue focus on the Global 2000 as well as a measurable improvement in the number of larger deals in the quarter, particularly in North America.”

Some highlights:

  • Nutanix ended the third quarter of fiscal 2017 with 6,172 end-customers, adding approximately 790 new end-customers during the quarter. Third quarter customer wins included Caterpillar Inc., KYOCERA Communication Systems Co., Ltd., MobileIron, SAIC Volkswagen, Société Générale, and Sprint.
  • Added Support for New Hardware Platforms: The company announced plans to expand the supported hardware platforms for its enterprise cloud OS Software to include Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) ProLiant rackmount servers and Cisco UCS B-Series blade servers, allowing customers greater choice of hardware.
  • Partnered with IBM for New HCI Solution: New partnership between Nutanix and IBM® will bring a turnkey hyperconverged solution combining Nutanix’s software and IBM Power Systems targeting high-performance workloads and one-click private clouds for large enterprises.
  • Expanded Economic Consumption Model with Nutanix Go: Nutanix Go offers qualified U.S. customers a new pricing model that enables enterprises to build their cloud, from hardware to software, using operating budgets. This innovative economic model allows customers to break free of long-term capital budget commitments and align with the purchasing experience of the public cloud.
  • Increased Number of $1 Million+ Deals: 34 customers with over $1 million in the quarter as a result of an increased focus on large deals.

http://ir.nutanix.com/company/financial/

T-Mobile Intros Digits to Virtualize Phone Numbers

T-Mobile introduced DIGITS, a technology that breaks down the limitation of one number per phone and one phone per number.

T-Mobile, which plans to introduce the technology to all of its customer phone numbers on May 31. Additional DIGITS line will cost $10 a month with AutoPay.

“Phone numbers are so yesterday—DIGITS are now,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “Starting next week, T-Mobile doesn’t have phone numbers anymore—we have DIGITS. They’re your REAL T-Mobile phone number but with none of the old limits. DIGITS is another industry-shaking Un-carrier innovation aimed at changing wireless for good.”

http://www.t-mobile.com/getDIGITS

AT&T to Deliver IoT for Red Bull

AT&T announced that its IoT solution has been selected to connect up to 1 million Red Bull branded beverage coolers around the world. The solution will deliver data on the cooler status, including temperature stats and door activity, via an AT&T Global SIM.

"Our end-to-end solutions support the near real-time monitoring and analyzing of the global beverage market," said Thaddeus Arroyo, Chief Executive Officer, Business Solutions & International, AT&T Inc. "This is another great example of collaboration and innovation to create real value for our customers. It streamlines the processes, creates visibility and improves operations, helping drive significant cost savings and return on investment."

http://www.att.com

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