Google ramping up AI in China, Nvidia's Titan V, Intel's hip-hop misstep

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Roundup Here's your quick guide to news in the AI world beyond what we've covered this week.

There were some announcements from China, and a few from the industry parties at the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), the largest academic AI conference, held last week in LA, California.

Google AI China Center – Google announced the opening of a new AI research hub in Beijing, its first center in Asia. Fei-Fei Li, a renowned computer vision researcher at Stanford University and chief scientist of AI and machine learning at Google Cloud, introduced this on stage during the Google Developer Days event in Shanghai.

China is serious about leading in AI and the government released its “New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan” detailing the importance of the emergent technology to its future.

Many Chinese researchers have won international machine learning competitions, like the ImageNet challenge - Fei-Fei Li’s best known project - and have papers accepted in prestigious academic conferences.

The rise of AI in America and China is often portrayed as an arms race, raising concern in the community. It’ll be interesting to see the competition heat up between Google and other Chinese companies like Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent in China.

Google’s AI China Center will focus on “basic AI research”. It has apparently hired some top experts already, and will be led by Jia Li, head of research and development at Google Cloud AI and Fei-Fei Li.

“Besides publishing its own work, the Google AI China Center will also support the AI research community by funding and sponsoring AI conferences and workshops, and working closely with the vibrant Chinese AI research community. The science of AI has no borders, neither do its benefits,” Li said.

China’s new AI strategy – Speaking of China and AI, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology published its latest plan to accelerate the development of AI from 2018 to 2020.

It highlights a few key areas, including: AI hardware such as neural network chips, smart robots, medical imaging, facial identification for videos (cough, cough, AKA mass surveillance), translation, drones, and manufacturing.

New Nvidia GPU – Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang launched Titan V, a GPU designed to be used together with your PC as a mini-machine learning workstation, during the private Nvidia party at the NIPS conference last week. It costs $2,999 and is based on the Volta V100 architecture but with less memory. Like the Volta, it contains 21 billion transistors, 640 Tensor cores, 5,120 CUDA cores, but has 12 GB HBM2 instead of 16 GB HMB2 and 652.8 GB/s total memory bandwidth instead of 900 GB/s.

The Titan V is for data scientists and machine learning researchers that need to crunch through large datasets and not really for gamers.

Intel waves its NNP chip around – Naveen Rao, who leads Intel’s AI products team waved its neural network processing (NNP) chip on stage during a party at NIPS.

But that’s pretty much all he did. Intel continue to insist on the power and speed of its NNP, but haven’t released any concrete hardware specs yet. There isn’t much to say here, but some other interesting points in the party include a performance by American rapper Flo Rida who reportedly asked the crowd: “Where my Intel ladies at?” and told them to "get down".

The Register are unsure how many ladies stepped forward, but partygoers did tell us that the bash was pretty tame and fun. Some people thought the booking of the dancers was inappropriate, but they told us that it was probably less to do with sexism in AI and more to do with sexism in hip hop culture. ®




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