Google’s DeepMind Has a Long-term Goal of Artificial General Intelligence

By Agam Shah

September 14, 2022

When DeepMind, an Alphabet subsidiary, started off more than a decade ago, solving some most pressing research questions and problems with AI wasn’t at the top of the company’s mind.

Instead, the company started off AI research with computer games. Every score and win was a measuring stick of success, and pointed to DeepMind’s AI going in the right direction.

Colin Murdoch

“Five years ago, we conquered the game of Go. This was a great moment,” said Colin Murdoch, the chief business officer, during a fireside chat on Tuesday at the AI Hardware Summit being held in Santa Clara, California.

Many years on, the gaming experiment has now turned into a much more ambitious AI effort to solve massive problems in areas that include protein folding, nuclear fusion and quantum chemistry.

The most notable DeepMind research project is AlphaFold, which can predict 3D structures of over 200 million known proteins. Protein folding is fundamental to the process of drug discovery, and DeepMind’s AI was used in the research of vaccines and medicines for Covid-19.

“It means we’ve gone from years to … minutes. We can now fold a protein in minutes,” Murdoch told the audience.

Murdoch also talked about DeepMind’s AI in nuclear fusion reactors. When building such reactors, plasma – which is very hot and volatile – needs to be controlled. Researchers have worked for a number of years to control plasma, but DeepMind has been able to use its AI research to control nuclear fusion and plasma.

In its quest to solve complex scientific problems, DeepMind hasn’t forgotten about everyday problems. Murdoch said that DeepMind researchers developed technology to optimize battery life of Android smartphones, which is one requested feature of smartphone users.

DeepMind’s priority is however much bigger than solving smartphone or datacenter problems – the organization has a long-term goal to create an “artificial general intelligence” system, which is more like a general-purpose AI system that can do routine human tasks. For example, robots with an AGI will be able to do routine tasks done by humans.

“With artificial general intelligence, you can play chess, tic tac toe. It could write an essay. You can answer questions. It can do more things we can do as humans,” Murdoch said.

Murdoch acknowledged that the company is trying to recreate the functions of a human brain, but clarified that the idea isn’t to create a sentient AI, which has been a controversial topic lately. A Google engineer earlier this year claimed an AI chatbot had gained sentience.

DeepMind’s efforts in areas like protein folding and nuclear fusion solve specific problems, and do not fall in the realm of brain-like functionality of solving general problems. But Murdoch said that natural language processing – where one can get cohesive responses by talking to computers in full or partial sentences – as being more aspirational to general intelligence of AI.

Large language models are able to do a better job of doing things like completing emails, summarizing transcripts and writing code, which are daily human chores, Murdoch said.

A portion of one of Google’s Cloud TPU v4 Pods (courtesy: Google)

“What we’ve discovered is often these models are able to do things that haven’t been heard of yet,” Murdoch said.

The natural-language AI models are getting complex, approaching close to 1 trillion parameters and expected to scale up even further. While that makes training AI models more accurate, it also requires more computing resources.

DeepMind is creating what Murdoch called an AI “model factory,” in which large AI models can be spun off into bite-sized versions depending on the task and computing needs. Some of those spin-off AI models can make it into DeepMind’s long-term artificial general intelligence plans.

Murdoch also said Google’s resources such as the Google Cloud and the TPU chips have been critical to DeepMind’s ability to execute research projects.

“We have a diverse array of hardware systems to match that diverse array of research programs,” Murdoch said.

Google’s TPUs – which are application-specific integrated circuits – have been particularly useful for DeepMind in training large scale language models. DeepMind uses a variety of CPUs and GPUs, but Google’s hardware roadmap helps DeepMind shape its research roadmap, Murdoch said.

 

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!

Quantum Computing Needs More Public-Private Collaboration Says QED-C

October 4, 2022

Last week the Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C) released a new report – Public-Private Partnerships in Quantum Computing – that calls for increased government-commercial collaboration, broadly describes Read more…

HPC Career Notes: October 2022 Edition

October 3, 2022

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…

Supercomputing Helps Explain the Milky Way’s Shape

September 30, 2022

If you look at the Milky Way from “above,” it almost looks like a cat’s eye: a circle of spiral arms with an oval “iris” in the middle. That iris — a starry bar that connects the spiral arms — has two stran Read more…

Top Supercomputers to Shake Up Earthquake Modeling

September 29, 2022

Two DOE-funded projects — and a bunch of top supercomputers — are converging to improve our understanding of earthquakes and enable the construction of more earthquake-resilient buildings and infrastructure. The firs Read more…

How Intel Plans to Rebuild Its Manufacturing Supply Chain

September 29, 2022

Intel's engineering roots saw a revival at this week's Innovation, with attendees recalling the show’s resemblance to Intel Developer Forum, the company's annual developer gala last held in 2016. The chipmaker cut t Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Shutterstock 242193979

Last Chance to Vote – AWS for Best Use of HPC in the 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards

AWS Once Again Showcasing its Reach Across Several Areas in HPC

Ten categories feature Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the 2022 HPCwire Readers’ Choice Awards. Read more…

Microsoft/NVIDIA Solution Channel

Shutterstock 1166887495

Improving Insurance Fraud Detection using AI Running on Cloud-based GPU-Accelerated Systems

Insurance is a highly regulated industry that is evolving as the industry faces changing customer expectations, massive amounts of data, and increased regulations. A major issue facing the industry is tracking insurance fraud. Read more…

Intel Labs Launches Neuromorphic ‘Kapoho Point’ Board

September 28, 2022

Over the past five years, Intel has been iterating on its neuromorphic chips and systems, aiming to create devices (and software for those devices) that closely mimic the behavior of the human brain through the use of co Read more…

Quantum Computing Needs More Public-Private Collaboration Says QED-C

October 4, 2022

Last week the Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C) released a new report – Public-Private Partnerships in Quantum Computing – that calls for incr Read more…

How Intel Plans to Rebuild Its Manufacturing Supply Chain

September 29, 2022

Intel's engineering roots saw a revival at this week's Innovation, with attendees recalling the show’s resemblance to Intel Developer Forum, the company's ann Read more…

Intel Labs Launches Neuromorphic ‘Kapoho Point’ Board

September 28, 2022

Over the past five years, Intel has been iterating on its neuromorphic chips and systems, aiming to create devices (and software for those devices) that closely Read more…

HPE to Build 100+ Petaflops Shaheen III Supercomputer

September 27, 2022

The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia has announced that HPE has won the bid to build the Shaheen III supercomputer. Sh Read more…

Intel’s New Programmable Chips Next Year to Replace Aging Products

September 27, 2022

Intel shared its latest roadmap of programmable chips, and doesn't want to dig itself into a hole by following AMD's strategy in the area.  "We're thankfully not matching their strategy," said Shannon Poulin, corporate vice president for the datacenter and AI group at Intel, in response to a question posed by HPCwire during a press briefing. The updated roadmap pieces together Intel's strategy for FPGAs... Read more…

Intel Ships Sapphire Rapids – to Its Cloud

September 27, 2022

Intel has had trouble getting its chips in the hands of customers on time, but is providing the next best thing – to try out those chips in the cloud. Delayed chips such as Sapphire Rapids server processors and Habana Gaudi 2 AI chip will be available on a platform called the Intel Developer Cloud, which was announced at the Intel Innovation event being held in San Jose, California. Read more…

More Details on ‘Half-Exaflop’ Horizon System, LCCF Emerge

September 26, 2022

Since 2017, plans for the Leadership-Class Computing Facility (LCCF) have been underway. Slated for full operation somewhere around 2026, the LCCF’s scope ext Read more…

Nvidia Shuts Out RISC-V Software Support for GPUs 

September 23, 2022

Nvidia is not interested in bringing software support to its GPUs for the RISC-V architecture despite being an early adopter of the open-source technology in its GPU controllers. Nvidia has no plans to add RISC-V support for CUDA, which is the proprietary GPU software platform, a company representative... Read more…

Nvidia Shuts Out RISC-V Software Support for GPUs 

September 23, 2022

Nvidia is not interested in bringing software support to its GPUs for the RISC-V architecture despite being an early adopter of the open-source technology in its GPU controllers. Nvidia has no plans to add RISC-V support for CUDA, which is the proprietary GPU software platform, a company representative... Read more…

AWS Takes the Short and Long View of Quantum Computing

August 30, 2022

It is perhaps not surprising that the big cloud providers – a poor term really – have jumped into quantum computing. Amazon, Microsoft Azure, Google, and th Read more…

US Senate Passes CHIPS Act Temperature Check, but Challenges Linger

July 19, 2022

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a major hurdle that will open up close to $52 billion in grants for the semiconductor industry to boost manufacturing, supply chain and research and development. U.S. senators voted 64-34 in favor of advancing the CHIPS Act, which sets the stage for the final consideration... Read more…

Chinese Startup Biren Details BR100 GPU

August 22, 2022

Amid the high-performance GPU turf tussle between AMD and Nvidia (and soon, Intel), a new, China-based player is emerging: Biren Technology, founded in 2019 and headquartered in Shanghai. At Hot Chips 34, Biren co-founder and president Lingjie Xu and Biren CTO Mike Hong took the (virtual) stage to detail the company’s inaugural product: the Biren BR100 general-purpose GPU (GPGPU). “It is my honor to present... Read more…

Newly-Observed Higgs Mode Holds Promise in Quantum Computing

June 8, 2022

The first-ever appearance of a previously undetectable quantum excitation known as the axial Higgs mode – exciting in its own right – also holds promise for developing and manipulating higher temperature quantum materials... Read more…

Tesla Bulks Up Its GPU-Powered AI Super – Is Dojo Next?

August 16, 2022

Tesla has revealed that its biggest in-house AI supercomputer – which we wrote about last year – now has a total of 7,360 A100 GPUs, a nearly 28 percent uplift from its previous total of 5,760 GPUs. That’s enough GPU oomph for a top seven spot on the Top500, although the tech company best known for its electric vehicles has not publicly benchmarked the system. If it had, it would... Read more…

AMD’s MI300 APUs to Power Exascale El Capitan Supercomputer

June 21, 2022

Additional details of the architecture of the exascale El Capitan supercomputer were disclosed today by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Terri Read more…

Exclusive Inside Look at First US Exascale Supercomputer

July 1, 2022

HPCwire takes you inside the Frontier datacenter at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tenn., for an interview with Frontier Project Direc Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

AMD Opens Up Chip Design to the Outside for Custom Future

June 15, 2022

AMD is getting personal with chips as it sets sail to make products more to the liking of its customers. The chipmaker detailed a modular chip future in which customers can mix and match non-AMD processors in a custom chip package. "We are focused on making it easier to implement chips with more flexibility," said Mark Papermaster, chief technology officer at AMD during the analyst day meeting late last week. Read more…

Nvidia, Intel to Power Atos-Built MareNostrum 5 Supercomputer

June 16, 2022

The long-troubled, hotly anticipated MareNostrum 5 supercomputer finally has a vendor: Atos, which will be supplying a system that includes both Nvidia and Inte Read more…

UCIe Consortium Incorporates, Nvidia and Alibaba Round Out Board

August 2, 2022

The Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCIe) consortium is moving ahead with its effort to standardize a universal interconnect at the package level. The c Read more…

Using Exascale Supercomputers to Make Clean Fusion Energy Possible

September 2, 2022

Fusion, the nuclear reaction that powers the Sun and the stars, has incredible potential as a source of safe, carbon-free and essentially limitless energy. But Read more…

Is Time Running Out for Compromise on America COMPETES/USICA Act?

June 22, 2022

You may recall that efforts proposed in 2020 to remake the National Science Foundation (Endless Frontier Act) have since expanded and morphed into two gigantic bills, the America COMPETES Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act in the U.S. Senate. So far, efforts to reconcile the two pieces of legislation have snagged and recent reports... Read more…

Nvidia, Qualcomm Shine in MLPerf Inference; Intel’s Sapphire Rapids Makes an Appearance.

September 8, 2022

The steady maturation of MLCommons/MLPerf as an AI benchmarking tool was apparent in today’s release of MLPerf v2.1 Inference results. Twenty-one organization Read more…

Not Just Cash for Chips – The New Chips and Science Act Boosts NSF, DOE, NIST

August 3, 2022

After two-plus years of contentious debate, several different names, and final passage by the House (243-187) and Senate (64-33) last week, the Chips and Science Act will soon become law. Besides the $54.2 billion provided to boost US-based chip manufacturing, the act reshapes US science policy in meaningful ways. NSF’s proposed budget... Read more…

AMD Lines Up Alternate Chips as It Eyes a ‘Post-exaflops’ Future

June 10, 2022

Close to a decade ago, AMD was in turmoil. The company was playing second fiddle to Intel in PCs and datacenters, and its road to profitability hinged mostly on Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire