Google’s and Nvidia’s AI Chips

Google

Google will soon launch a cloud computing service that provides exclusive access to a new kind of artificial intelligence chip designed by its own engineers. CEO Sundar Pichai revealed the new chip and service this morning in Silicon Valley during his keynote at Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference.

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This new processor is a unique creation designed to both train and execute deep neural networks—machine learning systems behind the rapid evolution of everything from image and speech recognition to automated translation to robotics. Google says it will not sell the chip directly to others. Instead, through its new cloud service, set to arrive sometime before the end of the year, any business or developer can build and operate software via the internet that taps into hundreds and perhaps thousands of these processors, all packed into Google data centers.

According to Dean, Google’s new “TPU device,” which spans four chips, can handle 180 trillion floating point operations per second, or 180 teraflops, and the company uses a new form of computer networking to connect several of these chips together, creating a “TPU pod” that provides about 11,500 teraflops of computing power. In the past, Dean said, the company’s machine translation model took about a day to train on 32 state-of-the-art CPU boards. Now, it can train in about six hours using only a portion of a pod.

Nvidia

Nvidia has released a new state-of-the-art chip that pushes the limits of machine learning, the Tesla P100 GPU. It can perform deep learning neural network tasks 12 times faster than the company’s previous top-end system (The TitanX). The P100 was a huge commitment for Nvidia, costing over $2 billion in research and development, and it sports a whopping 150 billion transistors on a single chip, making the P100 the world’s largest chip, Nvidia claims. In addition to machine learning, the P100 will work for all sorts of high-performance computing tasks — Nvidia just wants you to know it’s really good at machine learning.

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To top off the P100’s introduction, Nvidia has packed eight of them into a crazy-powerful $129,000 supercomputer called the DGX-1. This show-horse of a machine comes ready to run, with deep-learning software preinstalled. It’s shipping first to AI researchers at MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and others in June. On stage, Huang called the DGX-1 “one beast of a machine.”

The competition between these upcoming AI chips and Nvidia all points to an emerging need for simply more processing power in deep learning computing. A few years ago, GPUs took off because they cut the training time for a deep learning network from months to days. Deep learning, which had been around since at least the 1950s, suddenly had real potential with GPU power behind it. But as more companies try to integrate deep learning into their products and services, they’re only going to need faster and faster chips.

 

(via Wired, Forbes, Nvidia, The Verge)

 

A peek into NVIDIA’s self driving AI.

In a step toward making AI more accountable, Nvidia has developed a neural network for autonomous driving that highlights what it’s focusing on.

Sorta follow-up to my previous blog post: Is AI Mysterious?. Some of the most powerful machine-learning techniques available result in software that is almost completely opaque, even to the engineers that build it.

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We still don’t know exactly how AI works, the people at Nvidia still don’t know why the AI they built wasn’t following a single instruction given by its creators. Instead, it relied entirely on an algorithm that had taught itself to drive by watching a human do it.

It simply matches input from several video cameras to the behavior of a human driver and figures out for itself how it should drive. The only catch is that the system is so complex that it’s difficult to untangle how it actually works.

Nvidia is now working to open the black box by developing a way to visually highlight what the system is paying attention to. Explained in a recently published paper, the neural network architecture developed by Nvidia’s researchers is designed so that it can highlight the areas of a video picture that contribute most strongly to the behavior of the car’s deep neural network. Remarkably, the results show that the network is focusing on the edges of roads, lane markings, and parked cars—just the sort of things that a good human driver would want to pay attention to.

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Nvidia’s Convolutional Neural Network architecture for Self-Driving AI.

“What’s revolutionary about this is that we never directly told the network to care about these things,” Urs Muller, Nvidia’s chief architect for self-driving cars, wrote in a blog post.

Fascinatingly enough, this compares a lot to human intelligence where we don’t actually know how to describe certain actions we do, but we just do them.

This certainly highlights the fact that in the near future we might start seeing AI those are just like us or even Superintelligent. I highly recommend reading the book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom.

(Sources: Nvidia, MitTechReview, Nvidia Blog)

Is A.I. Mysterious?

Contemplating on the book I recently began, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom, the author clearly describes the future of AI as tremendously frightening and tells us in what ways AI will overpower human beings, until a point in the future where the humans will no longer be needed. Such kind of intelligence will be superior to human beings, hence coined the term Superintelligence. Nick, further mentioned in the initial pages of the book that such kind of invention would be the last invention humans would ever make, and the AI would then invent new things itself, without feeling the need of a human being.

Does AI possess a darker side? (Enter article by MitTechReview)

Last year, a strange self-driving car was released onto the quiet roads of Monmouth County, New Jersey. This experimental vehicle was developed by researchers at Nvidia, didn’t look different from other autonomous cars, but it was unlike anything demonstrated by Google, Tesla, or General Motors, and it showed the rising power of artificial intelligence. The car didn’t follow a single instruction provided by an engineer or programmer. Instead, it relied entirely on an algorithm that had taught itself to drive by watching a human do it. Getting a car to drive this way was an impressive feat. But it’s also a bit unsettling since it isn’t completely clear how the car makes its decisions. Information from the vehicle’s sensors goes straight into a huge network of artificial neurons that process the data and then deliver the commands required to operate the steering wheel, the brakes, and other systems. The result seems to match the responses you’d expect from a human driver. But what if one day it did something unexpected—crashed into a tree, or sat at a green light? As things stand now, it might be difficult to find out why. The system is so complicated that even the engineers who designed it may struggle to isolate the reason for any single action. And you can’t ask it: there is no obvious way to design such a system so that it could always explain why it did what it did.

Now, once again, such kind of experiments and research may seem obscure at the moment or may even be neglected by some people, but what if an entire fleet of vehicles start working in the manner they learned and ignoring the commands by a human.

Enter OpenAI: Discovering an enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence.

OpenAI is a non-profit artificial intelligence (AI) research company, associated with business magnate Elon Musk, that aims to carefully promote and develop friendly AI in such a way as to benefit humanity as a whole.

Hopefully, OpenAI will help us have friendly versions of AI.

 

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The artist Adam Ferriss created this image, and the one below, using Google Deep Dream, a program that adjusts an image to stimulate the pattern recognition capabilities of a deep neural network. The pictures were produced using a mid-level layer of the neural network.

This image sure seems kind of spooky. But who knows, there might be some hidden sarcasm in the AI that we are yet to discover.

Meanwhile, you can give it a try https://deepdreamgenerator.com/ .

 

 

Sources (MitTechReview, OpenAI, Wiki)

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Artificial Intelligence ready ARM CPUs (DynamIQ)

ARM processors are ubiquitous and many of the tech gadgets we used are powered by them, furthermore, the company is showing off its plans for the future with DynamIQ. Aimed squarely at pushing the artificial intelligence and machine learning systems we’re expecting to see in cars, phones, gaming consoles and everything else, it’s what the company claims is an evolution on the existing “big.Little” technology.

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Here’s a high-level look at some of the new features, capabilities and benefits DynamIQ will bring to new Cortex-A processors later this year:

  • New dedicated processor instructions for ML and AI: Cortex-A processors designed for DynamIQ technology can be optimized to deliver up to a 50x boost in AI performance over the next 3-5 years relative to Cortex-A73-based systems today and up to 10x faster response between CPU and specialized accelerator hardware on the SoC that can unleash substantially better-combined performance.

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  • Increased multi-core flexibility: SoC designers can scale up to eight cores in a single cluster and each core can have different performance and power characteristics. These advanced capabilities enable faster responsiveness to ML and AI applications. A redesigned memory subsystem enables both faster data access and enhance power management
  • More performance within restricted thermal budgets: Efficient and much faster switching of software tasks to match the right-sized processor for optimal performance and power is further enhanced through independent frequency control of individual processors
  • Safer autonomous systems: DynamIQ brings greater levels of responsiveness for ADAS solution and increased safety capabilities which will enable partners to build ASIL-D compliant systems for safe operation under failure conditions.

 

 

(source: ARM community, Engadget)

Machine Learning Speeds Up

Cloudera and Intel are jointly speeding up Machine Learning, with the help of Intel’s new Math Kernel. Benchmarks demonstrate the combined offering can advance machine learning performance over large data sets in less time and with less hardware.  This helps organizations accelerate their investments in next generation predictive analytics.

Cloudera is the leader in Apache Spark development, training, and services. Apache Spark is advancing the art of machine learning on distributed systems with familiar tools that deliver at impressive scale. By joining forces, Cloudera and Intel are furthering a joint mission of excellence in big data management in the pursuit of better outcomes by making machine learning smarter and easier to implement.

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Predictive Maintenance

By combining Spark, Intel MKL libraries, and Intel’s optimized CPU architecture machine learning workloads can scale quickly. As machine learning solutions get access to more data they can provide better accuracy in delivering predictive maintenance, recommendation engines, proactive health care and monitoring, and risk and fraud detection.

“There’s a growing urgency to implement richer machine learning models to explore and solve the most pressing business problems and to impact society in a more meaningful way,” said Amr Awadallah, chief technical officer of Cloudera. “Already among our user base, machine learning is an increasingly common practice. In fact, in a recent adoption survey over 30% of respondents indicated they are leveraging Spark for machine learning.

 

(via – Technative.io)

The Poker Playing AI

As we know that the game of Poker involves dealing with imperfect information, which makes the game very complex, and more like many real-world situations. At the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh this week, a computer program called Libratus (A latin word meaning balanced), an AI system that may finally prove that computers can do this better than any human card player. Libratus was created by Tuomas Sandholm, a professor in the computer science department at CMU, and his graduate student Noam Brown.

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The AI Poker play against the world’s best poker players. Kim is a high-stakes poker player who specializes in no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em. Jason Les and Daniel McAulay, two of the other top poker players challenging the machine, describe its play in much the same way. It does a little bit of everything,” Kim says. It doesn’t always play the same type of hand in the same way. It may bluff with a bad hand or not. It may bet high with a good hand—or not. That means Kim has trouble finding holes in its game. And if he does find a hole, it disappears the next day.

“The bot gets better and better every day. It’s like a tougher version of us,” said Jimmy Chou, one of the four pros battling Libratus. “The first couple of days, we had high hopes. But every time we find a weakness, it learns from us and the weakness disappears the next day.”

Libratus is playing thousands of games of heads-up, or two-player, no-limit Texas hold’em against several expert professional poker players. Now a little more than halfway through the 20-day contest, Libratus is up by almost $800,000 against its human opponents. So a victory, while far from guaranteed, may well be in the cards.

Regardless of the pure ability of the humans and the AI, it seems clear that the pros will be less effective as the tournament goes on. Ten hours of poker a day for 20 days straight against an emotionless computer was exhausting and demoralizing, even for pros like Doug Polk. And while the humans sleep at night, Libratus takes the supercomputer powering its in-game decision making and applies it to refining its overall strategy.

A win for Libratus would be a huge achievement in artificial intelligence. Poker requires reasoning and intelligence that has proven difficult for machines to imitate. It is fundamentally different from checkers, chess, or Go because an opponent’s hand remains hidden from view during play. In games of “imperfect information,” it is enormously complicated to figure out the ideal strategy given every possible approach your opponent may be taking. And no-limit Texas hold’em is especially challenging because an opponent could essentially bet any amount.

“Poker has been one of the hardest games for AI to crack,” says Andrew Ng, chief scientist at Baidu. “There is no single optimal move, but instead an AI player has to randomize its actions so as to make opponents uncertain when it is bluffing.”

(Sources: MitTechReview, The Verge, Wired)

Magic Leap – The Future?

Magic Leap is a US startup company that is founded by Rony Abovitz in 2010 and is working on a head-mounted virtual retinal display which superimposes 3D computer-generated imagery over real world objects, by projecting a digital light field into the user’s eye. It is attempting to construct a light-field chip using silicon photonics.

Before Magic Leap, a head-mounted display using light fields was already demonstrated by Nvidia in 2013, and the MIT Media Lab has also constructed a 3D display using “compressed light fields”; however Magic Leap asserts that it achieves better resolution with a new proprietary technique that projects an image directly onto the user’s retina. According to a researcher who has studied the company’s patents, Magic Leap is likely to use stacked silicon waveguides.

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Virtual reality overlaid on the real world in this manner is called mixed reality, or MR. (The goggles are semi-transparent, allowing you to see your actual surroundings.) It is more difficult to achieve than the classic fully immersive virtual reality, or VR, where all you see are synthetic images, and in many ways MR is the more powerful of the two technologies.

Magic Leap is not the only company creating mixed-reality technology, but right now the quality of its virtual visions exceeds all others. Because of this lead, money is pouring into this Florida office park. Google was one of the first to invest. Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins, and others followed. In the past year, executives from most major media and tech companies have made the pilgrimage to Magic Leap’s office park to experience for themselves its futuristic synthetic reality.

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The video below is shot directly through the Magic Leap technology without composing any special effects. It gives us an idea of how it looks through the Magic Leap.

On December 9, 2015, Forbes reported on documents filed in the state of Delaware, indicating a Series C funding round of $827m. This funding round could bring the company’s total funding to $1.4 billion, and its post-money valuation to $3.7 billion.

On February 2, 2016, Financial Times reported that Magic Leap further raised another funding round of close to $800m, valuing the startup at $4.5 billion.

On February 11, 2016, Silicon Angle reported that Magic Leap had joined the Entertainment Software Association.

In April 2016, Magic Leap acquired Israeli cyber security company NorthBit.

Magic Leap has raised $1.4 billion from a list of investors including Google and China’s Alibaba Group.

On June 16, 2016, Magic Leap announced a partnership with Disney’s Lucasfilm and its ILMxLAB R&D unit. The two companies will form a joint research lab at Lucasfilm’s San Francisco campus.

Google’s AI Translation Tool Creates Its Own Secret Language

Google’s Neural Machine Translation system had gone live back in September. It uses deep learning to produce better, more natural translations between languages. The company’s AI team calls it the Google Neural Machine Translation system, or GNMT, and it initially provided a less resource-intensive way to ingest a sentence in one language and produce that same sentence in another language. Instead of digesting each word or phrase as a standalone unit, as prior methods do, GNMT takes in the entire sentence as a whole.

GNMT’s creators were curious about something. If you teach the translation system to translate English to Korean and vice versa, and also English to Japanese and vice versa… could it translate Korean to Japanese, without resorting to English as a bridge between them? They made this helpful gif to illustrate the idea of what they call “zero-shot translation” (it’s the orange one):

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As it turns out — the answer is yes! It produces “reasonable” translations between two languages that it has not explicitly linked in any way. Remember, no English allowed.

But this raised the second question. If the computer is able to make connections between concepts and words that have not been formally linked… does that mean that the computer has formed a concept of shared meaning for those words, meaning at a deeper level than simply that one word or phrase is the equivalent of another?

This can mean that the computer has developed its own internal language to represent concepts it is using to between other languages.

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A Visualization of the translation system’s memory when translating a single sentence in multiple directions

A visualization of the translation system’s memory when translating a single sentence in multiple directions.

In some cases, Google says its GNMT system is even approaching human-level translation accuracy. That near-parity is restricted to transitions between related languages, like from English to Spanish and French. However, Google is eager to gather more data for “notoriously difficult” use cases, all of which will help its system learn and improve over time thanks to machine learning techniques. So starting today, Google is using its GNMT system for 100 percent of Chinese to English machine translations in the Google Translate mobile and web apps, accounting for around 18 million translations per day.

Google admits that its approach still has ways to go. “GNMT can still make significant errors that a human translator would never make, like dropping words and mistranslating proper names or rare terms,” Le and Schuster explain, “and translating sentences in isolation rather than considering the context of the paragraph or page. There is still a lot of work we can do to serve our users better.” Over time this will improve and it may be a lot more efficient.

 

Sources: (TechCrunch, The Verge)

AI Beats Tactical Experts in Combat Situations

The AI flight combat system dubbed ALPHA developed by a doctoral graduate of the University of Cincinnati was recently assessed by subject-matter expert and retired United States Air Force Colonel Gene Lee who holds extensive aerial combat experience as an instructor and Air Battle Manager with considerable fighter aircraft expertise in a high-fidelity air combat simulator.

 

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“I was surprised at how aware and reactive it was,” Lee told UC Magazine. It seemed to be aware of my intentions and reacting instantly to my changes in flight and my missile deployment. It knew how to defeat the shot I was taking. It moved instantly between defensive and offensive actions as needed.”

“ALPHA would be an extremely easy AI to cooperate with and have as a teammate,” UC researcher Kelly Cohen explained. “ALPHA could continuously determine the optimal ways to perform tasks commanded by its manned wingman, as well as provide tactical and situational advice to the rest of its flight.”

The details of Col. Lee’s showdown were published in the University of Cincinnati Magazine and the ALPHA AI itself was developed by UC offshoot Psibernetix, Inc. as an autonomous wingman to a human pilot. After ALPHA shot down a range of other AI opponents, Col. Lee jumped into the simulator against a “mature” version of the ALPHA code last October. Lee, who has trained thousands of Air Force pilots and has been taking on AI opponents since the early 80s, was unable to score a single kill against ALPHA on multiple tries. In fact, he was shot down every time.

In the long term, teaming artificial intelligence with U.S. air capabilities will represent a revolutionary leap. Air combat as it is performed today by human pilots is a highly dynamic application of aerospace physics, skill, art, and intuition to maneuver a fighter aircraft and missiles against adversaries, all moving at very high speeds. After all, today’s fighters close in on each other at speeds in excess of 1,500 miles per hour while flying at altitudes above 40,000 feet. Microseconds matter and the cost for a mistake is very high.

Eventually, ALPHA aims to lessen the likelihood of mistakes since its operations already occur significantly faster than do those of other language-based consumer product programming. In fact, ALPHA can take in the entirety of sensor data, organize it, create a complete mapping of a combat scenario and make or change combat decisions for a flight of four fighter aircraft in less than a millisecond. Basically, the AI is so fast that it could consider and coordinate the best tactical plan and precise responses, within a dynamic environment, over 250 times faster than ALPHA’s human opponents could blink.

 

(via Engadget, ScienceDaily)

Larry Page is secretly building flying cars!

Google Co-Founder is secretly working with the Silicon Valley startup, Zee.Aero which Larry Page has personally funded since it has set up shop next to Google’s HQ in Moutain View, California. The firm has also filed a patent for small electric vehicles that can land and take off vertically.

Page has invested more than US$100 million in Zee.Aero, according to the Bloomberg story. The company has nearly 150 employees and has expanded its operations to include an airport hangar in Hollister, California, where prototypes now are being tested. It also has a manufacturing facility at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View. Page’s involvement in flying-car projects has been kept intentionally secretive.

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When Zee.Aero launched, Bloomberg reports, employees were restricted to the first floor of the company’s two-floor building. On the second floor was Page’s multi-billionaire man-cave, consisting of, among other things, a climbing wall, paintings, and a SpaceX rocket engine, given to him by friend Elon Musk. Zee.Aero employees didn’t know who their funder was, but suspected he must be very wealthy. He was referred to as GUS, the guy upstairs. Soon enough, Zee.Aero ran out of room on the first floor, and Page’s man-cave was dismantled to make room. Zee.Aero has two prototype aircraft in a hangar not far from its headquarters. The electric vehicles take “regular test flights,” according to Bloomberg. In a patent filed four years ago, the company says Zee.Aero’s aircraft has vertical takeoff and landing capability.

Page also personally backed up the startup Kitty Hawk last year which began it’s operations just down the street from Zee.Aero.

At Kitty Hawk’s helm is Sebastian Thrun, head of Google’s self-driving car program and founder of Google X, the research division of Google, according to 2015 business filings.