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HPC meets AI - a world of possibilities

Jennifer O'Brien | Sept. 29, 2017
Businesses can automate routine processes, improve business efficiencies, upskill the workforce and transform user experience.


Use cases

From the doomsday ‘science fiction’ use case scenarios (where robots create havoc and force robotic domination) to the real-world everyday uses, AI is a hot topic, and one that sparks conversation on all levels from the ethical and moral issues, to implications for upskilling the current workforce (and concerns over job losses), as well as the practicalities around how businesses can embrace this new form of technology.

And while attendees discussed some real-world applications that are likely to benefit from the AI computing transformation, many at the table admitted they’re still either considering the technology or slowly dipping their toe into the water as they continue to progress on their digital transformation journeys.

Indeed, it is a growing market that has enormous opportunities for business, even for the ones starting on the journey, according to Lenovo ANZ head of technical sales, Shayne Harris.

He said the intersection of HPC and AI is creating a vibrant new market and fueling the growth of AI platforms and products.

“Lenovo inherited a large legacy of high performance computing, which is effectively the engine for AI and many other things. One of the great things for us is we’ve been able to build on that over the last three years, which is a fantastic opportunity to talk to our wider customer network about,” he said.

“AI is being driven by the demand in the market and historically it has largely been science and technology, research and education, and now large industry, like banking and finance and energy, are starting to really delve into it. We’re starting to see that take place in the wider market.”

He said the wider large enterprise market is starting to realise the applications of AI and the efficiencies they can gain from that. It’s either one of two things: problems that can be solved in the organisation or the ability to make the organisation or business better.

“We are effectively the engine behind high performance computing and the engine that enables organisations to develop solutions using AI. We are just one of multiple parts of that engine. But for us, it is an important part. We are building this high performance computing platform to enable organisations to develop solutions for artificial intelligence. It is a massive ecosystem that’s only starting to get bigger really quickly now.”


AI gets real

Attendees agreed operational efficiencies present some of the biggest opportunities associated with AI. In other arenas, like healthcare and aged care services, meanwhile, AI can truly have an impact that goes beyond convenience and positively affects human lives.

Take for example The Salvation Army. Paul Berryman, head of IT, aged care plus support services, said AI is the use of machines to learn behaviours and make decisions and/or recommendations for humans. It almost always involves large and/or complex data sets, which would cause humans to take too long.


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