Taiwan: Home of GeForce!

At the keynote of NVIDIA AI Forum, NVIDIA CEO and Founder Jensen Huang called “Taiwan is the home of NVIDIA’s GeForce system”.

Video gaming is a US$100 billion industry and “GeForce PC gaming is the number one platform, nearly 200 million GeForce installed base,” declared Huang.

He announced the new NVIDIA Max-Q platform which lets gaming notebook makers produce faster, slimmer and quieter machines.

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Computex starts tomorrow!

Computex, Asia’s biggest technology show and one of the largest in the world, will kick off in Taipei tomorrow and end on June 3. Spread across Taipei World Trade Centre halls in Xinyi District and the Nangang Exhibition Center, this year’s show is themed “Building global technology ecosystems.

Dell, Intel, Microsoft, and NVIDIA are among the top global companies taking part in Computex this year.

Setting up in progress in TWTC Hall 1.

 

Softbank invests US$4b in NVIDIA

SoftBank Group has taken a US$4 billion stake in NVIDIA, according to Bloomberg.

This dovetails nicely with SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son’s aim to become the biggest investor in technology over the next decade.

NVIDIA’s stocks tripled last year and is surging again this year. The chipmaker is banking on driving the artificial intelligence (AI) trend with its powerful graphics processing units (GPUs).

Singapore to focus on 4 technology areas

Singapore will be focusing on four technology areas to build the foundation for its digital transformation. These are artificial intelligence (AI) and data science, cybersecurity, immersive media, and Internet of Things and future communications infrastructure.

At the opening of Infocomm Media Business Exchange at Marina Bay Sands Singapore Convention Centre, Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim noted that “they are exciting fields with bright prospects in their own right, and they have great potential to transform other industries and enhance people’s lives”.

Artificial Intelligence and Data Science
The nation has established AI.SG, a national programme with funding of up to S$150 million to boost Singapore’s AI capabilities.

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Keeping drivers safe

With all that rage of artificial intelligence (AI) powering driverless cars, the same technology can also be used to keep drivers safe. It can acts like a guardian angel and look our for danger (watch video above).

NVIDIA’s AI Co-Pilot technology uses sensor data from the cameras and microphone inside and outside a car to track the environment around the driver. When the AI notices a problem — such as the driver  looking away from an approaching pedestrian — it could sound an alert.

Deeper into AI

The keynote address at Google I/O yesterday showed that Google is much more than just a search company. It is becoming more artificial intelligence (AI). Google is specifically using deep learning to help in many areas of everyday life.

 

Here are some as shared on Google’s blog post:

Google Assistant can help answer your questions and find information—but it can also help you get all kinds of useful things done. Today we’re adding a few more:

  • Schedule new calendar appointments and create reminders. Starting today on Google Home, you can schedule appointments and soon you’ll also be able to add reminders. Since it’s the same Google Assistant across devices, you’ll be able to get a reminder at home or on the go.
  • Make your home smarter. We now have 70+ smart home partners supporting the Google Assistant across Google Home and Android phones, including August locks, TP-Link, Honeywell, Logitech, and LG.

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Farewell, MP3!

MP3, a word that has become synonymous with audio files, has become obsolete. The Fraunhofer Institute of Integrated Circuits that created the music format has terminated its licensing programme for certain MP3-related patents.

The move means that there will be no more development or support for this format. With its wide use, especially the innumerable audio files stored digitally, it’s likely to still be around for a while yet. 

Developed in the 1980s and 1990s, MP3 was popularised by the Apple iPod in 2001. It took up just 10 percent of file size, a massive advantage in the days when devices were sold in MB rather than GB.

 

China vendors corner India smartphone market

China-based vendors strengthened their grip in the India smartphone market, snaring 51.4 percent share of the smartphone shipment in Q1, according to IDC. They grew 16.9 percent sequentially and an impressive 142.6 percent over the same period last year.

In contrast, share of homegrown vendors dropped to 13.5 percent in the Q1 from 40.5 percent in the same quarter last year.

Overall, 27 million smartphones were shipped in Q1, a  14.8 percent growth over the same period last year. Unlike last year, shipment grew sequentially in the first quarter of 2017 by 4.7 percent recovering from demonetisation impact in Q4.

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Enhancing public safety

Motorola Solutions has unveiled highly advanced technology solutions to enhance the capabilities of nation-wide public safety networks at Critical Communications World 2017 in Hong Kong. These include mission-critical radio technologies, specialised software, mission critical broadband, command centre solutions, and future innovation concepts.

Growth in both mission-critical communications and mobile broadband technologies is fuelled by demand for end-to-end, interoperable solutions combining the most needed elements of voice, data and multimedia communication.

“Public safety customers in Asia Pacific are among the most technically advanced in the world and are continuing their rapid adoption of mission-critical mobile intelligence services and smart technologies. This is enabling them to filter and analyse the vast amounts data available today so they can make better and faster decisions to protect our communities,” said Iain Clarke, Corporate Vice President and General Manager, Asia Pacific, of Motorola Solutions.

From professional skills to utilities

Robots driven by artificial intelligence (AI) are replacing workers in various labour-intensive and service sectors but doctors, lawyers and even IT professionals are at risk of being made redundant. Or at least, certain aspects of each of these practices.

According to Gartner, smart machines and robots may replace highly trained professionals in tasks within medicine, law and IT by 2022 — that’s just five years more!

“The economics of AI and machine learning will lead to many tasks performed by professionals today becoming low-cost utilities. AI’s effects on different industries will force the enterprise to adjust its business strategy. Many competitive, high-margin industries will become more like utilities as AI turns complex work into a metered service that the enterprise pays for, like electricity,” said Stephen Prentice, Vice President and Gartner Fellow.

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Battle for the cloud

The battle for cloud dominance has intensified with key players all growing significantly in Q1. The worldwide cloud infrastructure services market grew 42 percent year on year to reach US$11.4 billion, according to Canalys.

Amazon’s AWS maintained its leadership, holding a stable global market share of 31 percent. It was followed by Microsoft, Google and IBM.

In terms of growth, Microsoft led with 93 percent while Google was up 74 percent, AWS 43 percent, and IBM 38 percent.

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Deep Instinct is Most Disruptive Startup

Hundreds of thousands of computers in 150 countries have been hit by the WannaCry ransomware. While users are scampering around trying to fix their computers, the top of mind question is whether this could have been avoided. And if artificial intelligence could have predicted and prevented such an attack.

At GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in San Jose, California last week, Israeli firm Deep Instinct won the Most Disruptive Startup category in NVIDIA’s Inception Award. The firm is the first to use AI to predict and prevent malware attacks.

According David Eli, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Deep Instinct, more than a million new malware threats are released daily, but most antivirus software focuses on known threats.

His firm’s graphics processing unit (GPU)-accelerated deep learning software detects malware in real time. Trained on hundreds of millions of files, the neural network learns to detect more threats and then uses its experience to predict new attacks.

“Winning this prize is the ultimate recognition from the deep learning industry because deep learning and NVIDIA are synonymous,” said Eli.

This is the inaugural year of NVIDIA’s Inception Awards, which recognises startups in three categories – Hottest Emerging, Most Disruptive and Social Innovation. Winners received significant cash prizes and graphics processing unit (GPU) hardware to further accelerate their activities.

Emerging out of stealth mode in November 2015, Deep Instinct’s patent-pending application of deep learning to cybersecurity results in cutting-edge capabilities of unmatched accurate detection and real-time prevention.

Leveraging the capabilities associated with deep learning, Deep Instinct provides instinctive protection on any device, platform, and operating system. Zero-day and APT attacks are immediately detected and blocked before any harm can happen to the enterprise’s endpoints, servers, and mobile devices.

“Deep Instinct relies on end-to-end deep learning for all its advanced malware detection and prevention capabilities. The deep neural network is trained on hundreds of millions of malicious and legitimate files. To handle such large-scale training, Deep Instinct developed its proprietary deep learning infrastructure directly on NVIDIA’s GPU machines,” said Eli.

“The powerful capabilities of NVIDIA GPUs enable us to perform our training at a substantially faster speed compared to CPUs: while training the Deep Instinct brain on NVIDIA’s GPUs takes a little over a single day of training, the same task on CPUs would take more than three months,” he added.

“We are thrilled to be recognised by NVIDIA for what we believe is a groundbreaking application of GPUs. Being able to leverage powerful technological capabilities to apply deep learning to cybersecurity empowers enterprises with unprecedented, real-time protection from the next unexpected attack,” said Guy Caspi, Chief Executive Officer of Deep Instinct.

7 months with an Android box

By Kelly Aime

Last October, I took the plunge and decided to check out an Android TV box. It was not a spur of the moment decision but one prompted by the constant changing and removal of channels by my cable TV service provider.

The worst part of the changes is that users are often at the losing end. Whenever, the service provider’s contract with a particular channel deemed less popular is up for renewal, there’s that likelihood that the contract will not be renewed. And users have absolutely no say at all — even if the subscriber’s contract is still valid and the subscriber still wants to keep the channel.

Being at the mercy of my service provider pushed me to try out an alternative which can been around for a while — the Android TV box.

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GTC draws the big guns!

As a sign of its coming of age, the GPU Technology Conference (GTC) held annually in San Jose, California since 2009, is no longer a niche event but one that is drawing the who’s who of the technology industry.

NVIDIA’s shift of focus from being a visual computing company to an AI company has certainly played a big part in the expansion of the conference. It has attracted around 50 sponsors and 150 exhibitors on top of more than 7,000 participants.

However, it’s not the number of sponsors and exhibitors but rather the quality that is worthy of attention. The line-up of technology firms includes luminaries such as Adobe, Alibaba, Amazon, Autodesk, Cisco, Cray, Dell EMC, DreamWorks Animation, IBM Watson, Lenovo, Microsoft, Samsung Electronics, Verizon Labs, VMware, and Yahoo Research.

With AI being such a prime mover of autonomous vehicles, it is also not surprising that leading names in the automotive industry were also present — BMW Group, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Honda Research Institute, and Mercedes-Benz R&D North America.

Amid the various booths showcasing VR technologies was one by NASA Ames Research Center, which showed a VR demonstration on Mars.

Toyota cruises with NVIDIA Drive PX2

Prime mover powered by NVIDIA Drive PX2.

Toyota, one of the world’s largest automakers and renowned for its high standards and priority on safety, has picked NVIDIA Drive PX for its autonomous vehicles. It will use the AI car computer platform to power advanced autonomous driving systems planned for market introduction within the next few years

Engineering teams from the two companies are already developing sophisticated software that will enhance the capabilities of Toyota vehicles, enabling them to better understand the massive volume of data generated by sensors on the car, and to handle the broad spectrum of autonomous driving situations.

“Toyota has worked on autonomous driving technologies for over 20 years with the aim of reducing traffic fatalities to zero as an ultimate goal, achieving smoother traffic, and providing mobility for all. Through this collaboration, we intend to accelerate the development of autonomous driving systems that are even more safe and capable,” said Ken Koibuchi, Executive General Manager of Toyota.

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Finally, the Big Bang for AI!

I am AI opening video at GTC 2017 keynote.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is not new. In fact, it has so many false starts over the past 60 years. The term went into hibernation for a long time.

Research into AI began way back in Dartmouth College in 1956 and was constantly associated with being the next frontier in the 1980s when mainframe computers ruled and supercomputers were a ginormous investment that very few could afford.

Despite the research put in over the years, the technology never quite took off and fell flat in many instances.

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Voila, Volta!

NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang announcing Tesla V100.

NVIDIA has pulled yet another trick out of its always-filled hat of technology goodies with the launch of Volta, the world’s most powerful GPU computing architecture. At his keynote address at GTC in San Jose, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang dubbed it “the next level of computer projects”.

Volta is created to drive the next wave of advancement in artificial intelligence (AI) and high performance computing.

The first Volta-based processor is the NVIDIA Tesla V100 data centre GPU, which brings extraordinary speed and scalability for AI inferencing and training, as well as for accelerating HPC and graphics workloads.

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The making of GTC

By Edward Lim

I am attending the GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in San Jose, California this week. It’s a massive conference with more than 7,000 participants from all around the world.

After decades of covering and attending conferences, I have noticed an evolution of sorts. Here are five things I’ve observed and really liked about this GTC.

  1. Rich content: Artificial intelligence is transforming our lives in many ways such as robotics, intelligent video analytics and driverless cars.  IDC has reported that 80 percent of all applications will be using AI by 2020.
  2. Tons of experiential booths: The who’s who of technology featured virtual reality applications across multiple industries, not just gaming,
  3. Smoothness of registration process: All it took was under a minute for those who’ve pre-registered to enter their n
    ames on a notebook computer and the tag is printed immediately.
  4. Power points everywhere: This is not the Microsoft presentation software but plugs that help to charge devices. In today’s age, we’ve become dependent on our smartphones, notebook computers and other battery-powered devices — all of which require power. Having the power points available across the facilities is an excellent and thoughtful move. And having points that incorporate USB slots and LAN connections? Wow!
  5. Candies, candies, candies: Admit it. There are times that we’ve yielded to the sleeping spirit while at conferences, especially after meals. Having a candy bar helps to provide the energy boost to keep participants awake.

With all these pluses, there is one area of improvement. There were many driverless cars on display. If only we can get to go for a ride in one.

Anyway, kudos to NVIDIA and the event organisers. I love GTC 2017!

NVIDIA to train 100,000 deep learning developers this year

Greg Estes of NVIDIA (left) addressing the global media at a press conference at GTC.

Interest in deep learning is growing so strongly that NVIDIA expects to train 100,000 developers this year — that’s 10 times more than last year —through its Deep Learning Institute (DLI).

According to research firm IDC, 80 percent of all applications will have an artificial intelligence (AI) component by 2020.

Greg Estes, Vice President of Developer Programs at NVIDIA, noted that there is a hunger for deep learning training. He cited the example of a DLI training at India Institute of Technology (IIT) in India where people came at 7.30am to try to sign up for a fully subscribed course.

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Singapore goes big on AI

Singapore is banking big on artificial intelligence to provide solutions in finance, city management and healthcare. The National Research Foundation (NRF) will be investing up to S$150 million over the next five years in AI.SG, a new national initiative that aims to develop Singapore’s AI capabilities.

“The potential gains from an enabler technology like AI are massive,”said Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information.

AI.SG will address major challenges that affect both society and industry. The investment in deep capabilities is also about riding on the next wave of scientific innovation and growing AI innovation and adoption in companies.