IBM’s AI-HPC Combine for ‘Intelligent Simulation’: Eliminating the Unnecessary 

By Doug Black

November 16, 2018

A powerhouse concept in attaining new knowledge is the notion of the “emergent property,” the combination of formerly stovepiped scientific disciplines and exploratory methods to form cross-disciplinary intelligence that generates breakthrough insight. In computer science, we see vendors working to leverage the emergent property principle, building bridges across computing and analytical techniques in the pursuit of more powerful AI.

At SC18 this week in Dallas, IBM’s vice president of HPC and cognitive systems, Dave Turek – one of the brainiest and most engaging thinkers in HPC – met with us to talk about new tools from Big Blue that combine HPC and AI. One of them, referred to as intelligent simulation, using AI to accelerate HPC-powered simulations by reducing unnecessary simulation runs, bringing more focus to experimentation and getting to the right answer faster.

Turek’s point is that directing compute power in efficient ways is important – that focusing only on generating more processing power, no matter how amped up, only gets you so far. “The leaps high performance computing has made in computing power don’t always correlate to improved insights,” Turek blogged this week, “and we’re examining ways for researchers to apply advanced analytics to design better experiments.”

Dave Turek

IBM is working on integrating Bayesian probability, a 200-plus year-old mathematical technique that “analyzes what I know, and suggests what I should do next, thereby helping eliminating simulations that are unlikely to yield desired results from experiment designs,” Turek said.

Preliminary trials are showing results. The IBM team has worked with customers in pharmaceuticals, chemistry and materials science and has observed that Bayesian principles has reduced simulation runs by as much as 75 percent while increasing the accuracy of answers, according to Turek.

“In an era where Moore’s Law doesn’t have the kick it once had this is a dramatic result, and these techniques could be the path to radically reduced hardware cost and deeper insight by a combination of classic HPC and modern analytics techniques.”

Industry analyst Addison Snell, CEO of Intersect360 Research, who is familiar with IBM’s work in intelligent simulation, is impressed.

“This is a strategic direction we have heard from IBM and others, which we think will ultimately help shape the future of HPC,” he said. “While this level of AI-augmented HPC won’t be achieved this year or next, it is nevertheless worthy of exploration and research today.”

IBM plans to encapsulate the HPC-Bayesian capability in an appliance, Turek said, that can be installed adjacent to an existing cluster of other architecture.  The appliance will be pre-programmed, so researchers only need to tell the systems to exchange data, and the Bayesian appliance would design smarter simulation instructions for the primary cluster.

Turek added that IBM is working with Penguin Computing and Cray on this project. Big Blue plans to bring these capabilities to its existing suite of AI-driven products, including the IBM Power Systems AC922 server and IBM ESS storage, the building block of the Summit and Sierra supercomputers (ranked the nos. one and two, respectively, most powerful supercomputers) along with the IBM PowerAI toolkit.

Earlier this year at a conference of the American Chemical Society in Boston, IBM demonstrated a tool called IBM RXN that predicts the outcome of organic chemical reactions (it’s available on the web free-of-charge to use on the IBM Zurich system). Turek said professional chemists were invited to take part in a head-to-head competition with the cognitive discovery tool, and the tool beat the chemists “by about 4 to 1 in terms of accurately predicting the outcomes, and we were doing it in seconds,” according to Turek.

“In the context of HPC, this technology presents a unified approach to complement existing simulations with data-inspired analytics,” Turek said.  “And it can, in some cases, even displace classic mod-sim completely.”

In a related project also slated for integration with Power servers and PowerAI tools, IBM is attempting to lessen the pain of AI-related data prep, infamous for consuming 80 percent of researchers’ (and data scientists’) time. Referred to as “cognitive discovery,” the objective is to improve data ingest at scale using integrated tools that help stockpile catalogues of scientific data that are automatically converted into a “knowledge graph,” a visual representation of the data’s relationships.

Turek said the tools have enabled IBM researchers to build a knowledge graph of 40 million scientific documents in 80 hours, a rate of 500,000 documents per hour.  The tools ingest and interpret data formatted as PDFs, handwritten note books, spreadsheets, pictures and more.

The tools, in short, amass, organize and search more information than can possibly be grasped by the human mind in a world in which data, documents and knowledge are exploding exponentially.

“The tool is being designed to help bring order to chaotic data,” Turek said, “and contribute to establishing a corporate memory for all the HPC work an organization has ever performed, something of critical importance as employees retire or leave.”

He said the cognitive discovery tools have deep search capabilities against the knowledge graph that allow exploration of complicated queries and include relevance ratings of search results. The tools will be applied across business use cases to create vertical, domain specific applications, Turek said.

He presented a typical scenario in the energy discovery field – let’s say a geologist has been handed a rock sample that may indicate the presence of oil or gas.

“We say the human in this play is acting as an inference engine, and that inference engine is operating against a corpus of information the oil company has and is drawing a conclusion,” Turek said. “But how good is that, how complete is that, can we help there? So we said we’re going to take this corpus conversion tool and the knowledge graph generator and we’re going to suck in all of that company’s geological information, all of the published papers and non-published papers on geology related, or unrelated, to petroleum, and then we’re  going to go out to the public databases, so that now my corpus is much bigger and it’s also organized in the construct of a (searchable) knowledge graph.”

He also cited a hypothetical material scientist, who believes him or herself to be an expert in the field. Yet there are 400,000 material science papers published per year, a mountain of literature beyond human scale. And what if there is fertile ground for new discovery by blending material science and, say, biology (see above re “emergent property”). A tool that can collect and relate massive amounts of data across both fields could have great value, Turek said.

“A lot of what’s going on today in engineering and science is a synthesis of knowledge across domains,” he said. “So you may know everything there is to know about material science, but you may not know all that much about biology. Bringing those two things together may be quite critical.”

We asked Turek how the new tools, due on the market the first half of next year, relate to Watson, IBM’s natural language query and information cognitive supercomputer.

“Some of the technology will be embedded into Watson going forward,” he said. “But our go-to-market strategy will be independent of Watson because we’re putting a lot of emphasis on scientific kinds of information. And we’re going to target it to specific kinds of customers in the scientific space.”

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Insights from Optimized Codes on Cineca’s Marconi

February 15, 2019

What can you do with 381,392 CPU cores? For Cineca, it means enabling computational scientists to expand a large part of the world’s body of knowledge from the nanoscale to the astronomic, from calculating quantum effe Read more…

By Ken Strandberg

What Will IBM’s AI Debater Learn from Its Loss?

February 14, 2019

The utility of IBM’s latest man-versus-machine gambit is debatable. At the very least its Project Debater got us thinking about the potential uses of artificial intelligence as a way of helping humans sift through al Read more…

By George Leopold

ClusterVision in Bankruptcy, Fate Uncertain

February 13, 2019

ClusterVision, European HPC specialists that have built and installed over 20 Top500-ranked systems in their nearly 17-year history, appear to be in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings. According to Dutch news site Drimb Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE Systems With Intel Omni-Path: Architected for Value and Accessible High-Performance Computing

Today’s high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) users value high performing clusters. And the higher the performance that their system can deliver, the better. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Medical Research Powered by Data

“We’re all the same, but we’re unique as well. In that uniqueness lies all of the answers….”

  • Mark Tykocinski, MD, Provost, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Thomas Jefferson University

Getting the answers to what causes some people to develop diseases and not others is driving the groundbreaking medical research being conducted by the Computational Medicine Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Read more…

South African Weather Service Doubles Compute and Triples Storage Capacity of Cray System

February 13, 2019

South Africa has made headlines in recent years for its commitment to HPC leadership in Africa – and now, Cray has announced another major South African HPC expansion. Cray has been awarded contracts with Eclipse Holdings Ltd. to upgrade the supercomputing system operated by the South African Weather Service (SAWS). Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Insights from Optimized Codes on Cineca’s Marconi

February 15, 2019

What can you do with 381,392 CPU cores? For Cineca, it means enabling computational scientists to expand a large part of the world’s body of knowledge from th Read more…

By Ken Strandberg

ClusterVision in Bankruptcy, Fate Uncertain

February 13, 2019

ClusterVision, European HPC specialists that have built and installed over 20 Top500-ranked systems in their nearly 17-year history, appear to be in the midst o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

UC Berkeley Paper Heralds Rise of Serverless Computing in the Cloud – Do You Agree?

February 13, 2019

Almost exactly ten years to the day from publishing of their widely-read, seminal paper on cloud computing, UC Berkeley researchers have issued another ambitious examination of cloud computing - Cloud Programming Simplified: A Berkeley View on Serverless Computing. The new work heralds the rise of ‘serverless computing’ as the next dominant phase of cloud computing. Read more…

By John Russell

Iowa ‘Grows Its Own’ to Fill the HPC Workforce Pipeline

February 13, 2019

The global workforce that supports advanced computing, scientific software and high-speed research networks is relatively small when you stop to consider the magnitude of the transformative discoveries it empowers. Technical conferences provide a forum where specialists convene to learn about the latest innovations and schedule face-time with colleagues from other institutions. Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake, STEM-Trek

Trump Signs Executive Order Launching U.S. AI Initiative

February 11, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) today launching a U.S Artificial Intelligence Initiative. The new initiative - Maintaining American L Read more…

By John Russell

Celebrating Women in Science: Meet Four Women Leading the Way in HPC

February 11, 2019

One only needs to look around at virtually any CS/tech conference to realize that women are underrepresented, and that holds true of HPC. SC hosts over 13,000 H Read more…

By AJ Lauer

IBM Bets $2B Seeking 1000X AI Hardware Performance Boost

February 7, 2019

For now, AI systems are mostly machine learning-based and “narrow” – powerful as they are by today's standards, they're limited to performing a few, narro Read more…

By Doug Black

Assessing Government Shutdown’s Impact on HPC

February 6, 2019

After a 35-day federal government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history, government agencies are taking stock of the damage -- and girding for a potential secon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Quantum Computing Will Never Work

November 27, 2018

Amid the gush of money and enthusiastic predictions being thrown at quantum computing comes a proposed cold shower in the form of an essay by physicist Mikhail Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Unveils Shasta, Lands NERSC-9 Contract

October 30, 2018

Cray revealed today the details of its next-gen supercomputing architecture, Shasta, selected to be the next flagship system at NERSC. We've known of the code-name "Shasta" since the Argonne slice of the CORAL project was announced in 2015 and although the details of that plan have changed considerably, Cray didn't slow down its timeline for Shasta. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Case Against ‘The Case Against Quantum Computing’

January 9, 2019

It’s not easy to be a physicist. Richard Feynman (basically the Jimi Hendrix of physicists) once said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourse Read more…

By Ben Criger

AMD Sets Up for Epyc Epoch

November 16, 2018

It’s been a good two weeks, AMD’s Gary Silcott and Andy Parma told me on the last day of SC18 in Dallas at the restaurant where we met to discuss their show news and recent successes. Heck, it’s been a good year. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Reportedly in $6B Bid for Mellanox

January 30, 2019

The latest rumors and reports around an acquisition of Mellanox focus on Intel, which has reportedly offered a $6 billion bid for the high performance interconn Read more…

By Doug Black

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Looking for Light Reading? NSF-backed ‘Comic Books’ Tackle Quantum Computing

January 28, 2019

Still baffled by quantum computing? How about turning to comic books (graphic novels for the well-read among you) for some clarity and a little humor on QC. The Read more…

By John Russell

Contract Signed for New Finnish Supercomputer

December 13, 2018

After the official contract signing yesterday, configuration details were made public for the new BullSequana system that the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

SC 18 Virtual Booth Video Tour

Advania @ SC18 AMD @ SC18
ASRock Rack @ SC18
DDN Storage @ SC18
HPE @ SC18
IBM @ SC18
Lenovo @ SC18 Mellanox Technologies @ SC18
NVIDIA @ SC18
One Stop Systems @ SC18
Oracle @ SC18 Panasas @ SC18
Supermicro @ SC18 SUSE @ SC18 TYAN @ SC18
Verne Global @ SC18

Deep500: ETH Researchers Introduce New Deep Learning Benchmark for HPC

February 5, 2019

ETH researchers have developed a new deep learning benchmarking environment – Deep500 – they say is “the first distributed and reproducible benchmarking s Read more…

By John Russell

ClusterVision in Bankruptcy, Fate Uncertain

February 13, 2019

ClusterVision, European HPC specialists that have built and installed over 20 Top500-ranked systems in their nearly 17-year history, appear to be in the midst o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Reflections and (Mostly Hopeful) Predictions

December 19, 2018

So much ‘spaghetti’ gets tossed on walls by the technology community (vendors and researchers) to see what sticks that it is often difficult to peer through Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Quantum Update: Q System One Launch, New Collaborators, and QC Center Plans

January 10, 2019

IBM made three significant quantum computing announcements at CES this week. One was introduction of IBM Q System One; it’s really the integration of IBM’s Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can do. Animated. Backstopped by a stream of data charts, product photos, and even a beautiful image of supernovae... Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Bets $2B Seeking 1000X AI Hardware Performance Boost

February 7, 2019

For now, AI systems are mostly machine learning-based and “narrow” – powerful as they are by today's standards, they're limited to performing a few, narro Read more…

By Doug Black

The Deep500 – Researchers Tackle an HPC Benchmark for Deep Learning

January 7, 2019

How do you know if an HPC system, particularly a larger-scale system, is well-suited for deep learning workloads? Today, that’s not an easy question to answer Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Confirms 48-Core Cascade Lake-AP for 2019

November 4, 2018

As part of the run-up to SC18, taking place in Dallas next week (Nov. 11-16), Intel is doling out info on its next-gen Cascade Lake family of Xeon processors, specifically the “Advanced Processor” version (Cascade Lake-AP), architected for high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and infrastructure-as-a-service workloads. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This