High Performance Computing in the World of Artificial Intelligence

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Feature Desk 

High Performance Computing (HPC) most generally refers to the practice of aggregating computing power in a way that delivers much higher performance than one could get out of a typical desktop computer or workstation in order to solve large problems in science, engineering, or business. It is the ability to process data and perform complex calculations at high speeds. To put it into perspective, a laptop or desktop with a 3 GHz processor can perform around 3 billion calculations per second. While that is much faster than any human can achieve, it pales in comparison to HPC solutions that can perform quadrillions of calculations per second. Recently Param Siddhi, the high performance computing-artificial intelligence (HPC-AI) supercomputer established under National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) of India  has achieved global ranking of 63 in top 500 most powerful non-distributed computer systems in the world.

One of the best-known types of HPC solutions is the supercomputer. A supercomputer contains thousands of compute nodes that work together to complete one or more tasks. This is called parallel processing. It’s similar to having thousands of PCs networked together, combining compute power to complete tasks faster.

Artificial intelligence (AI), the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings. The term is frequently applied to the project of developing systems endowed with the intellectual processes characteristic of humans, such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from past experience.

HPC and AI complement each other. The early adopters of AI took the best-known methods from the HPC community. For the HPC community, AI is a new tool that can help business leaders get more mileage from all the data they are collecting. AI is a needle mover for innovating faster on solutions, improving customer loyalty, and achieving cost savings or operational excellence that directly benefits the bottom line.

Within AI, deep learning is the fastest growing field and is being used to solve a wide range of problems. In very simple words, deep learning is an algorithm that simulates how a human brain learns to identify patterns by, for example, looking at images, hearing sounds or reading text. It is a powerful tool for analyzing tons of data in a very short time.

Choosing where to apply deep learning can vary from enterprise to enterprise. A simple way to start is to identify the value drivers for the business, also known as “following the money.” For consumer-facing businesses, sales and marketing are likely to be the main drivers. Using deep learning to make personalized promotions and improve customer service is a good place to start.

Customer interactions with products or services happen across multiple platforms like smartphones, digital assistants and social media. All of these touch points provide a ton of real-time data to enterprises. There is opportunity to combine all this customer data and use the capabilities of supercomputing centers to transform research into improvements of everyday products.

The future of AI and HPC holds incredible promise. It is the next industrial revolution. With the first industrial revolution, new inventions came about that couldn’t have been conceived of previously. Similarly, AI and HPC will result in new discoveries that we haven’t yet dreamed of. AI is going to transform HPC in every industry-from pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, and energy exploration to climate-weather forecasting, materials science and more.

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