AI for Science Town Hall Series Kicks off at Argonne

By Tiffany Trader

August 2, 2019

Last week (July 22-23), Argonne National Lab, future home to the Intel-Cray Aurora supercomputer, hosted the first in a series of four AI for Science town hall meetings being convened by Department of Energy laboratories. The meetings are aimed at soliciting and collecting “community input on the opportunities and challenges facing the scientific community in the era of convergence of high-performance computing and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.”

In alignment with DOE missions and the U.S. national AI initiative, the DOE community and their collaborators are being engaged to discuss broadly the opportunities that can be realized by advancing and accelerating the development of AI capabilities for science and science use cases.

Rick Stevens

“We’re asking the fundamental question: what do we have to do in the AI space to make it relevant for science? The point of the town halls is to get people thinking about what opportunities there are in different scientific domains for breakthrough science that can be accomplished by leveraging AI and working AI into simulation, bringing AI into big data, bringing AI to the facility and so forth,” said Argonne’s Rick Stevens in an interview with HPCwire. Stevens is co-chairing the town hall program along with Berkeley Lab’s Kathy Yelick and Oak Ridge Lab’s Jeff Nichols.

Each of the four town halls (held at Argonne, Oak Ridge, Berkeley, and in Washington, DC) encompasses high-level talks, application tracks and cross-cutting breakout sessions. The two-day Argonne event drew about 350 people, DOE and university researchers, primarily from the Midwest region, with about 150 people coming from other parts of the country (including broad lab participation).

The first day focused on application breakouts by science domain (e.g., chemistry, mathematics, materials, climate, biology, high energy physics, nuclear physics); on day two, participants were reoriented to cross-cutting topics, spanning fundamental math issues, software issues, data issues, understandability issues, uncertainty quantification, facilities, integration of simulation and AI, computer architecture directions, among others.

The town halls will result in an integrated report to be published by the end of the year, which will inform strategic planning, and help shape programs and budgets.

If the town hall format sounds familiar, you may recall that a series of exascale town halls was held in 2007, helping sow the seeds for the US Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Initiative (ECI) and Exascale Computing Project (ECP). Together these activities, with a focus on codesign, application readiness and “capable exascale,” are preparing the U.S. to stand up multiple exascale-class systems in the 2021-2023 timeframe.

Learnings from the AI town halls could conceivably lead to a more targeted, and potentially funded, policy not unlike how the exascale town halls helped establish a robust national exascale program.

“We’ve got this huge exascale program and we’re now asking the question, what’s the opportunity for AI in the science space, particularly in the context of DOE but also more broadly with NIH and other agencies,” said Stevens, Argonne’s associate laboratory director for computing, environment and life sciences.

Maintaining leadership in AI is the primary directive of the U.S. national AI initiative, launched by the White House in February. The announcement and subsequent OMB budget priority letters that went out to the agencies declared progress in AI as the number one priority across the agencies.

That AI initiative also challenged agencies to come up with plans, to determine resource levels, and make progress on managing their data. It laid out a very high level blueprint as to what the country needs to do maintain progress in AI and to complement in the academic and government sector what’s going on at the internet companies, Stevens told HPCwire.

The Chicago AI for Science Town Hall at Argonne National Laboratory

“Clearly there’s huge progress in the internet space, but those Facebooks and Googles and Microsofts and Amazons and so on, those guys are not going to be the primary drivers for AI in areas like high-energy physics or nuclear energy or wind power or new materials for solar or for cancer research – it’s not their business focus,” Stevens maintained. “We recognize that the challenge is how to leverage the investments made by the private sector to build on those [advances] to add what’s missing for scientific applications — and there’s lots of things missing. And then figure out what the computing community has to do to position the infrastructure and our investments in software and algorithms and math and so on to bring the AI opportunity closer to where we currently are.”

The overarching agenda for the AI for Science town hall program includes a set of “charge questions” aimed at surfacing the most compelling problems where AI could have an impact and identifying the requirements at the research and facility level needed to realize these opportunities.

We posed one of these questions to Stevens: What are 3-5 open questions that need to be addressed to maximally contribute to AI impact in the science domains and AI impact in the enabling technologies?

His top three:

+ Uncertainty quantification, i.e. model confidence — “When you’re doing cat videos, no one cares what your confidence interval is, where your error bars are exactly, but in a scientific, a medical application, you need to know that the answer is likely to be correct.”

+ The direction of AI architectures – “Are the architectures that are being developed to accelerate general AI research – are they in fact even what we need for the types of data and the types of networks and systems we need to build for applying AI in science?”

+ Injecting AI with ground truth – “Our first way of thinking about the world is in some sense, do we have a mechanistic model of it, a physical model to simulate? And most of the progress in AI involves non-physical modeling. If you think about natural language processing, there’s no physical model for that. If you think about computer vision, most of the kinds of things that people do with computer vision, there’s no physical model; there is no ground truth that you can generate from first principles. But in many scientific areas, we’ve had 400 years of progress, in physics and chemistry and biology and so forth, and we have a lot of physical understanding. How do we use that physical understanding combined with data to build AI models that actually internalize that physical understanding? In other words, having these models be able to make predictions in the world as opposed to in some abstract space.”

The AI for Science Town Hall series continues at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Aug. 20-21, 2019), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Sept. 11-12, 2019) and Washington DC (Oct. 22-23, 2019).

Link for more info: https://web.cvent.com/event/b03cf98d-d350-4f66-805a-1a19f03bdcf8/summary

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!

Army Seeks AI Ground Truth

April 3, 2020

Deep neural networks are being mustered by U.S. military researchers to marshal new technology forces on the Internet of Battlefield Things. U.S. Army and industry researchers said this week they have developed a “c Read more…

By George Leopold

Piz Daint Tackles Marsquakes

April 3, 2020

Even as researchers use supercomputers to probe the mysteries of earthquakes here on Earth, others are setting their sights on quakes just a little farther away. Researchers at ETH Zürich in Switzerland have applied sup Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPC Career Notes: April 2020 Edition

April 2, 2020

In this monthly feature, we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it’s a promotion, new company hire, or even an accolade, we’ Read more…

By Mariana Iriarte

AMD Epyc CPUs Now on Bare Metal IBM Cloud Servers

April 1, 2020

AMD’s expanding presence in the datacenter and cloud computing markets took a step forward with today’s announcement that its 7nm 2nd Gen Epyc 7642 CPUs are now available on IBM Cloud bare metal servers. AMD, whose Read more…

By Doug Black

Supercomputer Testing Probes Viral Transmission in Airplanes

April 1, 2020

It might be a long time before the general public is flying again, but the question remains: how high-risk is air travel in terms of viral infection? In an article for the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), Faith Si Read more…

By Staff report

AWS Solution Channel

Amazon FSx for Lustre Update: Persistent Storage for Long-Term, High-Performance Workloads

Last year I wrote about Amazon FSx for Lustre and told you how our customers can use it to create pebibyte-scale, highly parallel POSIX-compliant file systems that serve thousands of simultaneous clients driving millions of IOPS (Input/Output Operations per Second) with sub-millisecond latency. Read more…

ECP Milestone Report Details Progress and Directions

April 1, 2020

The Exascale Computing Project (ECP) milestone report issued last week presents a good snapshot of progress in preparing applications for exascale computing. There are roughly 30 ECP application development (AD) subproj Read more…

By John Russell

ECP Milestone Report Details Progress and Directions

April 1, 2020

The Exascale Computing Project (ECP) milestone report issued last week presents a good snapshot of progress in preparing applications for exascale computing. Th Read more…

By John Russell

Pandemic ‘Wipes Out’ 2020 HPC Market Growth, Flat to 12% Drop Expected

March 31, 2020

As the world battles the still accelerating novel coronavirus, the HPC community has mounted a forceful response to the pandemic on many fronts. But these efforts won't inoculate the HPC industry from the economic effects of COVID-19. Market watcher Intersect360 Research has revised its 2020 forecast for HPC products and services, projecting... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

LLNL Leverages Supercomputing to Identify COVID-19 Antibody Candidates

March 30, 2020

As COVID-19 sweeps the globe to devastating effect, supercomputers around the world are spinning up to fight back by working on diagnosis, epidemiology, treatme Read more…

By Staff report

Weather at Exascale: Load Balancing for Heterogeneous Systems

March 30, 2020

The first months of 2020 were dominated by weather and climate supercomputing news, with major announcements coming from the UK, the European Centre for Medium- Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Q&A Part Two: ORNL’s Pooser on Progress in Quantum Communication

March 30, 2020

Quantum computing seems to get more than its fair share of attention compared to quantum communication. That’s despite the fact that quantum networking may be Read more…

By John Russell

DoE Expands on Role of COVID-19 Supercomputing Consortium

March 25, 2020

After announcing the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium on Sunday, the Department of Energy yesterday provided more details on its sco Read more…

By John Russell

[email protected] Rallies a Legion of Computers Against the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Last week, we highlighted [email protected], a massive, crowdsourced computer network that has turned its resources against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe – but [email protected] isn’t the only game in town. The internet is buzzing with crowdsourced computing... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Conversation: ANL’s Rick Stevens on DoE’s AI for Science Project

March 23, 2020

With release of the Department of Energy’s AI for Science report in late February, the effort to build a national AI program, modeled loosely on the U.S. Exascale Initiative, enters a new phase. Project leaders have already had early discussions with Congress... Read more…

By John Russell

[email protected] Turns Its Massive Crowdsourced Computer Network Against COVID-19

March 16, 2020

For gamers, fighting against a global crisis is usually pure fantasy – but now, it’s looking more like a reality. As supercomputers around the world spin up Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Julia Programming’s Dramatic Rise in HPC and Elsewhere

January 14, 2020

Back in 2012 a paper by four computer scientists including Alan Edelman of MIT introduced Julia, A Fast Dynamic Language for Technical Computing. At the time, t Read more…

By John Russell

Global Supercomputing Is Mobilizing Against COVID-19

March 12, 2020

Tech has been taking some heavy losses from the coronavirus pandemic. Global supply chains have been disrupted, virtually every major tech conference taking place over the next few months has been canceled... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Rallies a Legion of Computers Against the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Last week, we highlighted [email protected], a massive, crowdsourced computer network that has turned its resources against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe – but [email protected] isn’t the only game in town. The internet is buzzing with crowdsourced computing... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DoE Expands on Role of COVID-19 Supercomputing Consortium

March 25, 2020

After announcing the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium on Sunday, the Department of Energy yesterday provided more details on its sco Read more…

By John Russell

Steve Scott Lays Out HPE-Cray Blended Product Roadmap

March 11, 2020

Last week, the day before the El Capitan processor disclosures were made at HPE's new headquarters in San Jose, Steve Scott (CTO for HPC & AI at HPE, and former Cray CTO) was on-hand at the Rice Oil & Gas HPC conference in Houston. He was there to discuss the HPE-Cray transition and blended roadmap, as well as his favorite topic, Cray's eighth-gen networking technology, Slingshot. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fujitsu A64FX Supercomputer to Be Deployed at Nagoya University This Summer

February 3, 2020

Japanese tech giant Fujitsu announced today that it will supply Nagoya University Information Technology Center with the first commercial supercomputer powered Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tech Conferences Are Being Canceled Due to Coronavirus

March 3, 2020

Several conferences scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, including Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC) and the Strata Data + AI conference, have Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Leading Solution Providers

SC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

AMD
AMD
ASROCK RACK
ASROCK RACK
AWS
AWS
CEJN
CJEN
CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
IBM
IBM
MELLANOX
MELLANOX
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
SIX NINES IT
SIX NINES IT
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL
WEKAIO
WEKAIO

Cray to Provide NOAA with Two AMD-Powered Supercomputers

February 24, 2020

The United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last week announced plans for a major refresh of its operational weather forecasting supercomputers, part of a 10-year, $505.2 million program, which will secure two HPE-Cray systems for NOAA’s National Weather Service to be fielded later this year and put into production in early 2022. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Exascale Watch: El Capitan Will Use AMD CPUs & GPUs to Reach 2 Exaflops

March 4, 2020

HPE and its collaborators reported today that El Capitan, the forthcoming exascale supercomputer to be sited at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and serve Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Unveils Latest Achievements in AI Hardware

December 13, 2019

“The increased capabilities of contemporary AI models provide unprecedented recognition accuracy, but often at the expense of larger computational and energet Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

TACC Supercomputers Run Simulations Illuminating COVID-19, DNA Replication

March 19, 2020

As supercomputers around the world spin up to combat the coronavirus, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is announcing results that may help to illumina Read more…

By Staff report

IBM Debuts IC922 Power Server for AI Inferencing and Data Management

January 28, 2020

IBM today launched a Power9-based inference server – the IC922 – that features up to six Nvidia T4 GPUs, PCIe Gen 4 and OpenCAPI connectivity, and can accom Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Joins the Fight Against the Coronavirus

March 6, 2020

With the coronavirus sweeping the globe, tech conferences and supply chains are being hit hard – but now, tech is hitting back. Oak Ridge National Laboratory Read more…

By Staff report

University of Stuttgart Inaugurates ‘Hawk’ Supercomputer

February 20, 2020

This week, the new “Hawk” supercomputer was inaugurated in a ceremony at the High-Performance Computing Center of the University of Stuttgart (HLRS). Offici Read more…

By Staff report

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