IBM Unveils NorthPole: An Energy-Efficient AI Chip Prototype

In the contemporary data-driven world, the quantum of data processed and transmitted globally every day is staggering. However, the energy requisites for such processes are significant, propelling the necessity for energy-efficient gadgetry. Recently, researchers led by Dharmendra S. Modha have unfolded a chip architecture, dubbed NorthPole, inspired by neural functionalities, showcasing superior performance, energy efficiency, and area efficiency in comparison to extant architectures. This revelation was published in the Science Magazine on October 19, 2023, marking a significant stride towards more efficient computational hardware.

NorthPole: Bridging Memory and Compute

Traditionally, computing has been processor-centric, maintaining a distinction between memory and computation. The NorthPole architecture endeavors to obliterate this boundary by eliminating off-chip memory, melding computation with on-chip memory, thus presenting itself externally as an active memory chip. Unlike its predecessors, this purely digital system facilitates customization of bit precision as per necessity, optimizing power consumption. NorthPole embodies a low-precision, massively parallel, densely interconnected, energy-efficient, and spatial computing architecture accompanied by a high-utilization programming model.

Benchmark Achievements

On benchmark testing with the ResNet50 image classification network, NorthPole demonstrated a 25-fold enhancement in the energy metric of frames per second (FPS) per watt, a five-fold improvement in space metric of FPS per transistor, and a 22-fold reduction in the time metric of latency compared to a comparable Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) utilizing a 12-nanometer technology process. Similar results were observed with the Yolo-v4 detection network, underscoring NorthPole’s superior efficiency even when pitted against architectures employing more advanced technology processes.

Addressing the von Neumann Bottleneck

The enduring “von Neumann bottleneck,” a hurdle impeding advancements in AI processing, stems from the disparate speeds between processing capabilities and the requisite memory for such operations in existing AI chips. NorthPole’s design effectively circumvents this bottleneck by integrating the memory component directly onto the processor chip, a feature highlighted as a critical step for facilitating robust neural network operations locally on devices.

Potential Applications and Future Endeavours

The NorthPole prototype, concocted in IBM’s Alamaden, California laboratory, heralds a new pathway, diverging from the conventional von Neumann architecture, as articulated by Dharmendra Modha, the principal architect of NorthPole. With its demonstrated prowess on standard benchmarks, NorthPole holds promise for a plethora of applications including autonomous surgery, operation of self-driving vehicles, and various robotics-related tasks. IBM Research has already initiated work on the subsequent chip employing the NorthPole design, a venture anticipated to unfold over the ensuing years.


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Crypto Innovations and IBM’s Role in the Evolving Payments Landscape

As the world of finance undergoes rapid digital transformation, the introduction of novel payment methods, including cryptocurrency and the much-anticipated Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC), is reshaping the industry. Prakash Pattni, in his recent analysis, highlights the challenges and opportunities this presents, especially for traditional banking institutions.

The rise of disruptive digital entrants has intensified competition in the payments ecosystem. With an array of choices now available to customers, from cryptocurrencies to CBDCs, traditional banks are grappling to retain their market share. The introduction of CBDCs, hailed as a significant step towards the digitization of national currencies, further underscores the urgency for banks to modernize their payment systems.

Regulatory bodies, recognizing the potential risks associated with the rapid integration of non-traditional players like fintechs and neobanks, are enhancing their oversight. Financial institutions, in response, are expected to adapt swiftly to these evolving compliance standards, ensuring the safety, efficiency, and resilience of their payment infrastructures.

Amidst these challenges, the need for seamless customer experiences remains paramount. Pattni emphasizes the importance of understanding the entire payment process, from the initial point of sale to the final transaction. With the majority of initial customer interactions now occurring through digital channels, the IT architecture supporting these transactions must be robust, secure, and efficient.

Enter IBM. The tech giant is offering solutions tailored for this new era. Their “Check Payments on IBM Cloud for Financial Services” is a testament to this commitment. Operating in a secure cloud environment, this service ensures compliance with financial regulations, addressing the needs of banks in an age where, despite the decline in daily check transactions, the overall value of processed checks remains significant.

IBM’s collaborative approach, working with over 130 tech partners and fintechs through the IBM Financial Services Cloud Council, further solidifies its position as a leader in this transformation.

In conclusion, as the payments landscape continues to evolve, driven by innovations like cryptocurrencies and the introduction of CBDCs, the onus is on both traditional and non-traditional financial institutions to stay ahead of the curve. Leveraging partnerships with tech giants like IBM, and ensuring a continuous commitment to digital transformation, will be key to navigating this new frontier.

Disclaimer & Copyright Notice: The content of this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice. Always consult with a professional before making any financial decisions. This material is the exclusive property of Blockchain.News. Unauthorized use, duplication, or distribution without express permission is prohibited. Proper credit and direction to the original content are required for any permitted use.

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Biden-Harris Administration Secures AI Commitments from Major Tech Companies

In today’s press release from the White House, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that it has secured voluntary commitments from eight more artificial intelligence (AI) companies to manage the risks associated with AI. This move builds upon the commitments from seven AI companies obtained in July.

Companies Involved

The latest round of commitments includes major tech players such as Adobe, Cohere, IBM, Nvidia, Palantir, Salesforce, Scale AI, and Stability. These companies have pledged to drive the safe, secure, and trustworthy development of AI technology.

Nature of Commitments: The commitments emphasize three core principles for AI’s future: safety, security, and trust. The companies have agreed to:

  1. Ensure AI products undergo both internal and external security testing before public release.
  2. Share information on managing AI risks with the industry, governments, civil society, and academia.
  3. Prioritize cybersecurity and protect proprietary AI system components.
  4. Develop mechanisms to inform users when content is AI-generated, such as watermarking.
  5. Publicly report on their AI systems’ capabilities, limitations, and areas of use.
  6. Prioritize research on societal risks posed by AI, including bias, discrimination, and privacy concerns.
  7. Develop AI systems to address societal challenges, ranging from cancer prevention to climate change mitigation.

Government Action

These voluntary commitments are seen as a bridge to forthcoming government action. The Biden-Harris Administration is in the process of developing an Executive Order on AI to ensure the rights and safety of Americans. The Administration is also pursuing bipartisan legislation to position America as a leader in responsible AI development.

International Collaboration: The Administration has consulted with numerous countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, and the UK, among others, in developing these commitments. This international collaboration complements initiatives like Japan’s G-7 Hiroshima Process and the United Kingdom’s Summit on AI Safety.

Previous Initiatives

The Biden-Harris Administration has been proactive in addressing AI’s challenges and opportunities. Notable actions include:

  1. Launching the “AI Cyber Challenge” in August to use AI in protecting crucial US software.
  2. Meetings with consumer protection, labor, and civil rights leaders to discuss AI risks.
  3. Engagements with top AI experts and CEOs from companies like Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI.
  4. Publishing a Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights and ramping up efforts to protect Americans from AI risks, including algorithmic bias.
  5. Investing $140 million to establish seven new National AI Research Institutes.

The Administration’s consistent efforts underscore its commitment to ensuring that AI is developed safely and responsibly, safeguarding Americans’ rights and safety, and protecting them from potential harm and discrimination.

Disclaimer & Copyright Notice: The content of this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice. Always consult with a professional before making any financial decisions. This material is the exclusive property of Blockchain.News. Unauthorized use, duplication, or distribution without express permission is prohibited. Proper credit and direction to the original content are required for any permitted use.

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IBM Launches “Granite”: AI Foundation Models for Business

IBM has unveiled its latest advancement in the realm of artificial intelligence (AI) for business: a series of foundation models named “Granite.” These models, designed for the platform, aim to harness the power of generative AI for both linguistic and coding applications.

Granite Models: A Deep Dive

Developed by IBM Research, the Granite models, specifically Granite.13b.instruct and, are built on a “Decoder” architecture. This underpins the capability of contemporary large language models to predict subsequent words in a sequence. With 13 billion parameters, these models are optimized for efficiency, fitting within a single V100-32GB GPU. Their design ensures reduced environmental impact while excelling in specialized business tasks such as summarization, question-answering, and classification.

The models are trained on a diverse range of datasets, amounting to 7 TB pre-processing and 2.4 TB post-processing, resulting in 1 trillion tokens. These datasets span various domains, including the internet, academia, coding, legal, and finance, ensuring the models are well-versed in industry-specific language and terminology.

Trust and Transparency: IBM’s Commitment

IBM emphasizes trust and transparency in its AI development. The company’s watsonx AI and data platform offers a comprehensive process for creating and testing foundation models and generative AI. This process encompasses everything from data collection to the deployment of models, with a keen focus on governance, risk assessment, bias mitigation, and compliance.

To ensure the integrity of the data used for training, IBM has implemented a rigorous governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) review process. Additionally, the company employs its “HAP detector,” a language model developed to identify and eliminate hateful and profane content. This is part of IBM’s broader strategy to mitigate the risks associated with generative AI.

Empowerment Through AI

IBM’s vision for AI in business revolves around empowerment. The company believes that organizations should have the autonomy to customize their models in alignment with their values, using the tools provided by the watsonx platform. Furthermore, IBM ensures that businesses retain ownership and control over their data and models.

The Road Ahead

While the Granite models mark a significant milestone, they are just the beginning of IBM’s journey in this space. The company has plans to introduce more models in various languages and is also working on other IBM-trained models. IBM has also announced its collaboration with Meta, offering early access to Meta’s Llama 2-chat 70 billion parameter model. Additionally, IBM will host StarCoder, a comprehensive language model for coding.

In the coming weeks, IBM will also launch new features in the studio, including the Tuning Studio and the Synthetic Data Generator. These tools will further enhance the capabilities of the platform, enabling businesses to harness the full potential of AI.

In conclusion, IBM’s introduction of the Granite foundation models and the subsequent tools and features signifies a new era in AI for business, with endless possibilities on the horizon.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is for informational purposes only and is the exclusive property of Blockchain.News. While we aim for accuracy, we make no guarantees regarding its reliability or completeness. 

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Trade Finance Platform We.Trade on the Brink of Liquidation, Report says, a trade finance platform, established as a joint venture among multinational firms, including 12 banks is on the brink of liquidation, The reports. - 2022-06-06T105702.944.jpg

The Irish startup has notably sent a notice of liquidation to its employees and it is calling for a creditors meeting next week where it may appoint a liquidator from one of the Big Four auditing giants, PwC.

The move to liquidate the startup stems from its growing loss records with the Independent reporting that the startup lost as much as $8.6 million (8 million Euros) in the 2020 financial year. Founded in 2017, We.Trade has garnered interest from the likes of IBM which joined the firm back in 2020 as it was expanding its blockchain strategy at the time.

There are as many as 12 banks that are part of the We.Trade joint venture, including HSBC, became the first banking institution to finance a trade using the Hyperledger Fabric. The inaugural interests from We.Trade stirred the startup to secure as much as 5.5 million Euros back in 2021, and the failure to secure additional funding has led to the complications stirring a liquidation at this time.

The We.Trade disintegration will not be the first of its kind in the blockchain world as Meta Platform Inc’s Diem Project was also unable to see the light of day due to excessive regulatory pressures with respect to its stablecoin creation plans. Earlier this year, the Diem project, which started out as Libra but later rebranded, announced its asset sale as it made a move to close shop and sell off its intellectual properties.

Silvergate Bank acquired the IP as Meta Platforms also sought avenues to pay off investors who had injected resources into the project from inception to that point.

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Union Bank of the Philippines to Enhance Crypto Trading & Custody Services

Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) plans to choose Metaco and IBM to enhance cryptocurrency trading and custody services, taking advantage of the Asian country’s rapid adoption of digital tokens.

Upon completion of this integration, UnionBank will improve the insurability of assets, how keys are managed and migrated through FIPS 140-2 Level 4 certified controls, the highest level of the U.S. government computer security standard

The bank’s head of blockchain, Cathy Casas, said the average Filipino could hold 3 ~ 5% of their personal assets in digital tokens such as bitcoin within five years, up from the current percentage. 1~2% or so.

Patrick Enjalbal, VP Customer Success managing director of Asia-Pacific region at Metaco said that:

“With the recent launch of our APAC headquarters in Singapore, we can ensure that we continue to offer best-in-class services to UnionBank and other clients in the region.”

Metaco is an enterprise cryptocurrency platform that protects, trades, issues, and manages digital assets. UnionBank integrates digital asset management services on IBM Cloud through Metaco’s solution.

Founded in 1982, UnionBank is one of the largest banks in the Philippines, with assets under management totalling $15 billion. As reported by blockchain.News on August 18, 2021, UnionBank announced that the bank has paired with Hong Kong-based Hex Trust to pilot digital assets custody service.

The UnionBank of the Philippines and Standard Chartered (StanChart) have created a proof of concept required in the issuance of a blockchain-powered retail bond. The blockchain platform intended for bond tokenization was co-developed by SC Ventures, StanChart’s innovation and ventures arm, and UnionBank on 2020.

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HSBC and IBM create successful multi-ledger CBDC demo

On Thursday, HSBC and IBM announced the successful test of an advanced token and digital wallet settlement between two central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, in a cloud environment. The experiment consisted of transactions between CBDCs, eBonds, and forex. IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric and enterprise technology provider R3’s Corda served as the basis of the distributed ledger facilitating the transactions.

The project was overseen by central bank Banque de France as part of a series of tranche projects to implement a digital Euro. Previously the French and Swiss central banks reported positive results on a pilot run of the digital Swiss Franc and Euro. Nevertheless, the two financial institutions issued caution on the subject, citing regulatory concerns.

Mark Williamson, managing director of GFX eRisk, partnerships & propositions at HSBC, said:

Interoperability across different distributed ledgers and technologies was key in demonstrating how to save time, reduce market risk and improve security for transactions between central banks, commercial banks, and in time our clients around the world.

Likhit Wagle, general manager of global banking & financial markets at IBM, added:

As central banks around the world begin to explore the potential for CBDC to bring greater transparency and security to financial transactions, this initiative provides a comprehensive roadmap.

Across the world, CBDCs are gaining traction in part due to their utility as a means to combat the rises of stablecoins, which, to some, represent a threat to the financial system. This month alone, Australian Reserve Bank’s Project Atom CBDC research uncovered numerous benefits. Around the same time, Kazakhstan’s central bank reported positive results on its CBDC pilot project. The Eastern Caribbean CBDC expanded to two other countries, and Russia is prioritizing the development of a digital Ruble.