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IBM puts smart to work

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At the recent IBM Think conference in Las Vegas, it was outlined that the amount of data that gets generated everyday is not as important as the amount that is searchable and gets put to good use, writes TIANA CLINE.

The human race is generating more than 43 million terabytes of data every day. And in a world where there are more Internet of Things (IoT) objects than people, it’s more than simply making the technology smart: it’s about making online a secure space in order to build a smarter future for everyone.

“How much of the world’s data is searchable?” is the key question IBM CEO and chairman, Ginni Rometty, proposed at the inaugural IBM Think conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, last week.

IBM has revealed a number of new cloud technologies and capabilities, enhancements of its Watson big data platform, and delved deeper into the opportunities that artificial intelligence (AI) opens up for businesses seeking a competitive advantage.

Rometty highlighted the ability of IBM cloud for business to integrate artificial intelligence and blockchain. This, she said, was not necessarily a digitally intelligent platform, but a solution in a digital world, whether your cloud solution is private, public or on-premises.

IBM researchers are also developing blockchain crypto-anchors, tamper-proof digital fingerprints that can be embedded into products, or parts of products, and linked to a blockchain.

Rometty pointed out that a mere 20% of the world’s data is publicly searchable, while 80% belongs to individuals, making everyone “incumbent disrupters and AI is the competitive premise”.

IBM’s solution is to leverage digital platforms, embed learning in every process and empower people with digital intelligence. This then paves the way for AI.

“This is an era of man plus machine, not man versus machine,” saidd Rometty. “Outcomes are better when it is human and machine instead of humans alone or machines alone. One place to start is HR processes. We need to outlearn everybody else by putting smart to work.”

According to IBM, data is a competitive advantage and game changer, which means companies should only partner with trusted second parties, always be on the offense, and use AI to truly empower people.

“Only 4% of the world encrypts data, yet this is one of the most important things you can do. In this era, many companies can win and, if you ask why, it’s all about data. The people who show you that you can’t trust them should not have access to your data.”

At the conference, IBM released its new Power9 processor on the IBM Cloud, which is built for compute-intensive AI workloads, using Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs connected via a high-speed NVLink interface. This improves deep learning frameworks, helping data scientists to train more accurate AI models faster and, Rometty claims, can train AI faster than anything currently available on the market.

A new IBM Cloud Developer Console for Apple will provide tools like pre-configured starter kits, along with AI, data and mobile services for Swift. This will enable developers to link to IBM Cloud to build apps that are easy to code, fast to deploy and can be integrated with enterprise data.

“We’ve reinvented IBM for the era of data and it’s been about innovative technologies, industry expertise, and then always underpinned by trusted security. If all of us in the world could make smarter decisions, that’s worth $2 trillion. If you embrace a digital platform, embed it in a process, and empower people, that’s winning.”

* Tiana Cline is a freelance content writer, technology journalist and digital strategist. She likes cats, data science, long-form and violent video games. 

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Huawei Mate 20 unveils ‘higher intelligence’

The new Mate 20 series, launching in South Africa today, includes a 7.2″ handset, and promises improved AI.

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Huawei Consumer Business Group today launches the Huawei Mate 20 Series in South Africa.

The phones are powered by Huawei’s densest and highest performing system on chip (SoC) to date, the Kirin 980. Manufactured with the 7nm process, incorporating the Cortex-A76-based CPU and Mali-G76 GPU, the SoC offers improved performance and, according to Huawei, “an unprecedented smooth user experience”.

The new 40W Huawei SuperCharge, 15W Huawei Wireless Quick Charge, and large batteries work in tandem to provide users with improved battery life. A Matrix Camera System includes a  Leica Ultra Wide Angle Lens that lets users see both wider and closer, with a new macro distance capability. The camera system adopts a Four-Point Design that gives the device a distinct visual identity.

The Mate 20 Series is available in 6.53-inch, 6.39-inch and 7.2-inch sizes, across four devices: Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 X and Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS. They ship with the customisable Android P-based EMUI 9 operating system.

“Smartphones are an important entrance to the digital world,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG, at the global launch in London last week. “The Huawei Mate 20 Series is designed to be the best ‘mate’ of consumers, accompanying and empowering them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled life with their higher intelligence, unparalleled battery lives and powerful camera performance.”

The SoC fits 6.9 billion transistors within a die the size of a fingernail. Compared to Kirin 970, the latest chipset is equipped with a CPU that is claimed to be 75 percent more powerful, a GPU that is 46 percent more powerful and an NPU (neural processing unit) that is 226 percent more powerful. The efficiency of the components has also been elevated: the CPU is claimed to be 58 percent more efficient, the GPU 178 percent more efficient, and the NPU 182 percent more efficient. The Kirin 980 is the world’s first commercial SoC to use the Cortex-A76-based cores.

Huawei has designed a three-tier architecture that consists of two ultra-large cores, two large cores and four small cores. This allows the CPU to allocate the optimal amount of resources to heavy, medium and light tasks for greater efficiency, improving the performance of the SoC while enhancing battery life. The Kirin 980 is also the industry’s first SoC to be equipped with Dual-NPU, giving it higher On-Device AI processing capability to support AI applications.

Read more about the Mate 20 Pro’s connectivity, battery and camera on the next page. 

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How Quantum computing will change … everything?

Research labs, government agencies (NASA) and tech giants like Microsoft, IBM and Google are all focused on developing quantum theories first put forward in the 1970s. What’s more, a growing start-up quantum computing ecosystem is attracting hundreds of millions of investor dollars. Given this scenario, Forrester believes it is time for IT leaders to pay attention.

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“We expect CIOs in life sciences, energy, defence, and manufacturing to see a deluge of hype from vendors and the media in the coming months,” says Forrester’s Brian Hopkins, VP, principal analyst serving CIOs and lead author of a report: A First Look at Quantum Computing. “Financial services, supply-chain, and healthcare firms will feel some of this as well. We see a market emerging, media interest on the rise, and client interest trickling in. It’s time for CIOs to take notice.”

The Forrester report gives some practical applications for quantum computing which helps contextualise its potential: 

  • Security could massively benefit from quantum computing. Factoring very large integers could break RSA-encrypted data, but could also be used to protect systems against malicious attempts. 
  • Supply chain managers could use quantum computing to gather and act on price information using minute-by-minute fluctuations in supply and demand 
  • Robotics engineers could determine the best parameters to use in deep-learning models that recognise and react to objects in computer vision
  • Quantum computing could be used to discover revolutionary new molecules making use of the petabytes of data that studies are now producing. This would significantly benefit many organisations in the material and life sciences verticals – particularly those trying to create more cost-effective electric car batteries which still depend on expensive and rare materials. 

Continue reading to find out how Quantum computing differs.

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