Tuesday, November 15, 2016

IBM, NVIDIA partner for 'fastest deep learning enterprise solution' in the world

IBM tech

By Conner Forrest | November 14, 2016, 7:25 AM PST

IBM and NVIDIA recently teamed up to announce IBM PowerAI, a software toolkit that accelerates machine training for AI solutions and will boost IBM Watson's capabilities.

IBM PowerAI, a new deep learning software toolkit announced Monday, could help train computers for machine learning and AI tasks faster than ever before. The solution, a joint project from IBM and NVIDIA, runs on an IBM server built specifically for AI and uses NVIDIA NVLink as well.

According to a press email announcing the availability of the solution, IBM PowerAI is the "world's fastest deep learning enterprise solution," and it will "help train computers to think and learn in more human-like ways at a faster pace."

This new toolkit was designed to work with IBM's Power Systems LC lineup of Linux servers, specifically the IBM Power S822LC for High Performance Computing (HPC). That server has NVIDIA's latest GPU technology on board, which helps further its potential for use in deep learning and AI applications.

While this new product is geared toward "emerging computing methods of artificial intelligence" like deep learning, it also has implications for IBM's better-known cognitive computing project, Watson. IBM PowerAI will bolster Watson's enterprise AI skills by providing the platform with additional training.

"PowerAI democratizes deep learning and other advanced analytic technologies by giving enterprise data scientists and research scientists alike an easy to deploy platform to rapidly advance their journey on AI," Ken King, general manager for OpenPOWER, said in the email. "Coupled with our high performance computing servers built for AI, IBM provides what we believe is the best platform for enterprises building AI-based software, whether it's chatbots for customer engagement, or real-time analysis of social media data."

Of course, none of this matters if there aren't real-life applications for the technology. In the press email, IBM noted that technologies such as the deep learning this toolkit provides have been used for fraud protection in banks, facial recognition applications, and even in self-driving cars.

In the past, IBM Watson has been used in verticals like healthcare, legal, finance, retail, cybersecurity, and even fantasy football. So, it's possible that we will see IBM PowerAI in these fields as well.

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Existing IBM customers who have IBM's Power S822LC for HPC server can access IBM PowerAI immediately at no additional charge, the email said.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

IBM and NVIDIA recently partnered on IBM PowerAI, a new software toolkit, to accelerate deep learning initiatives in business.
PowerAI is meant to run on the IBM Power S822LC for High Performance Computing and exists as a separate product, but will work with Watson.
IBM sees these deep learning technologies as important to verticals like healthcare, finance, retail, and self-driving cars.

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