As the New Year rolls in, governments across the globe are re-assessing and reapplying technologies in new and unique ways.
This is very much the case in Hong Kong where Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being applied across sectors of the economy and within most departments in the government.
But what are the implications, and how are they significant?
OpenGov Asia sat down with Dr Andy Chun, Council Member and Convenor of the AI Specialist Group, Hong Kong Computer Society to discuss AI and its purpose and necessity in Hong Kong.
Dr Chun is a seasoned senior executive and a broad technologist with over 30 years of experience in a wide range of industries, including finance, insurance, health, transportation, and education.
He is also an honorary Adjunct Professor at the City University of Hong Kong and the Regional Director of Technology Innovation at Prudential Corp Asia.
Surging interest around AI
There is a reason for the increased focus and interest around AI. Dr Chun noted that, as a technology, AI is maturing rapidly.
“We now have a much better understanding of what problems AI can solve and how to implement AI solutions, as well as more readily available AI tools and platforms at a lower cost.”
Citizens’ expectations have also changed.; the government’s online services are expected to be on par with that of commercial corporations in terms of ease-of-use and intelligence.
Government Initiatives Around AI in Hong Kong
The use of AI to improve public services is not new; almost a decade ago, the Hong Kong Immigration Department already used AI and machine learning in their Application and Investigation Easy System (APPLIES).
APPLIES is an on-line information system for processing applications for visas, permits, travel passes, registration matters relating to births, deaths, marriage and investigation cases.
AI helps streamline workflow and automate decision-making, by acting as an augmented intelligent tool for Immigration Department staff.
More recently, the government has committed over HK$100 billion to support key innovation and technology (I&T) areas, including AI.
Tens of billions are being invested into the city’s various technology centres, such as the Hong Kong Science Park, Cyberport, and the new Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park, where AI is a key focus.
In addition, significant funding is being channelled into supporting I&T and R&D in Universities as well as enterprises and start-ups in Hong Kong.
Last year the Government established a new Smart Government Innovation Lab to explore hi-tech products such as AI and relevant technologies, including machine learning, big data analytics, cognitive systems and intelligent agent, as well as blockchain and robotics from firms, especially local start-ups.
HK Nurturing AI on Many Levels
When describing how AI is being nurtured in Hong Kong, Dr Chun highlighted the Hong Kong Jockey Club as an example; their “CoolThink@JC” program systematically teaches computational thinking and coding across primary schools in Hong Kong.
The program was developed jointly with MIT in Boston. AI is also being integrated as part of Hong Kong’s STEM education for secondary schools.
At the university level, all universities in Hong Kong now have specializations in AI, machine learning, and data analytics. In fact, Hong Kong has five universities among the world’s top 100, giving it one of the world’s highest concentrations of top-quality research universities for computing.
In addition, two of the world’s leading tech start-ups – one an AI unicorn in face recognition, and the other a drone maker – were both started by academics and students from universities in Hong Kong.
Improving HKSAR Governmental Services Related to AI
Dr Chun noted that one area in which the HKSAR Government could do more on is in the creation of related guidelines, policies, and regulations to support the growing use of AI and other advanced technologies, such as in the areas of data privacy and ethical use.
“This is not to say the Government hasn’t done much,” Dr Chun stated. “Quite the contrary – Hong Kong has already done a lot.”
For example, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority recently released high-level guidelines and principles relating to AI and governance, accountability, fairness, transparency, data privacy, etc.
The HKMA also released an extensive whitepaper “Reshaping Banking with Artificial Intelligence” to help raise awareness as well as promote adoption of AI in the banking industry.
Last year, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commissions (SFC) also issued guidelines on the use of AI algorithms and robo-advisors.
In 2018, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data released a document on “Ethical Accountability Framework for Hong Kong.” Even though a lot of groundwork has been established, this area of AI development is still an evolving topic globally.
Dr Chun noted, “I’m sure more development will continue in the coming years”.
Misconceptions Around AI
While AI is widely regarded as a revolutionary technology that makes headlines constantly across the globe, there are still misconceptions around it.
“I think the key misconception of AI is that it is somehow ‘magical’ – that is, just by using AI, it will automatically learn and solve different business challenges.”
“There is still a lot of complex engineering work and experimentation behind the use of AI,” Dr Chun explained, “Companies looking for quick short-term gains will be disappointed. AI should be a long-term R&D investment.”
Another misconception about AI is that some companies do not realize there are many types of AI. Different problems will require different AI techniques, processes, and skillsets to solve.
Improving Human Lives with AI
When asked whether AI can nurture a healthier business environment on a large scale, Dr Chun noted that AI in the form of virtual assistants, helps humans perform mundane or repetitive work, so that we can focus on more interesting as well as stimulating problems.
This reduces some of the stress in the business environment and makes work more enjoyable. Companies are also using chatbots internally for various HR functions, to improve communication and transparency as well as better employee relationships.
The Rise of Chatbots
The world, and APAC regions, in particular, have registered a rise in the deployment of chatbots. Moreover, the conversation around them changed.
Dr Chun noted that the rise in deployment of chatbots was driven mainly by advancements in natural language processing and machine learning, as well as well-understood implementation processes that make chatbot development more manageable.
In addition, with cloud services and open APIs, the costs of developing and operating chatbots have greatly reduced.
The conversation around chatbots is constantly changing. With more chatbots deployed, people’s expectations have also changed, demanding conversations to be more context-aware, stateful and human-like.
Developing Citizen/Customer-Centric Designs
Dr Chun noted that customer-centric design is really about truly understanding who your customers are, developing empathy for their needs and pains, and creating products that are highly relevant and timely, and super easy to use.
“To do customer-centric design well, industry players and government bodies need to spend more time in seeing things from the customers’ or citizens’ point of view before thinking about technology.”
The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) and the Construction Industry Council (CIC) co-hosted SciTech Challenge 2020 on 19 November 2020 to allow promising innovators to develop market-ready solutions to cater to industry demands, and propel the construction sector into the digital era.
Node THL, an incubatee of HKSTP, was crowned champion of the Open Group for the active noise cancelling sensory technology at a construction site while HeightSecure Technologies won at the Student Group for the sensor to detect micro-vibrations of bamboo scaffolding in the competition.
Under the theme of “Sensory Technology for Construction”, SciTech Challenge 2020 brought together start-ups and students with potential users in the construction sector the first time to pitch their products and solutions. In view of accelerating digital transformation in various industries, the construction sector recognises the need to modernise operations to raise efficiency, productivity, quality and safety.
The CEO of HKSTP stated that the Park is committed to unearthing the best innovation and technology talent to propel Hong Kong’s business and society forward with their innovations. SciTech Challenge 2020 has provided prominent young entrepreneurs with the ideal platform to learn and collaborate with construction leaders, develop their ideas into ready-to-deploy solutions and support the industry for wider technology adoption in the future.
The Chairman of CIC said that one of the most important missions of CIC is to drive Hong Kong’s construction industry to embrace innovative thinking and culture, after establishing Construction innovation and Technology Application Centre (CITAC), CIC continues to accelerate the adoption of innovative technologies by different approaches, SciTech Challenge provides a great opportunity to inspire the construction participants for Construction digitalization.
The Chairperson of CITAC Board pointed out in the ceremony that Sensory technology is often considered as the first step for digitalising the physical environment, which forms the foundation for other technology development such as robotics as well as smart cities. That is the very reason why sensory technology for construction was chosen to be the theme of SciTech Challenge 2020.
This year’s competition attracted over 60 group applications from educational institutions and corporates. The contestants gained unique access and collaboration opportunities with leading industry players through a series of training workshops and webinars.
After rounds of screening, the eight finalists were selected to present their innovative ideas at the final presentation on 19 November 2020. This final challenge tested the level of enthusiasm and commitment of the contestants, as they competed for cash prizes and the chance to enjoy fast track to HKSTP’s Science and Technology Entrepreneur Programme (STEP) and win membership of Robotics Catalysing Centre.
More recently, “The 1st Greater Bay Area 5G Application and Innovation Challenge 2020” (AIC 2020) was jointly organised by Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), The Greater Bay Area (GBA) 5G Industry Alliance (The Alliance), Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) and a leading Chinese telecom concluded with an award ceremony at Hong Kong Science Park on 20 November 2020.
Centred on the theme of “Unleash the power of 5G – Build a Better Life”, AIC 2020 attracted 55 participating teams from Hong Kong, Macao and Guangdong. These teams including students, start-ups and innovators were encouraged to harness the power of 5G and offer innovative solutions in seven areas, to nurture talent and driving industry adoption for Smart City development in the GBA region.
The seven targeted areas are education, entertainment, finance, property management, logistics and transportation, healthcare, and industrial manufacturing.
A “magic” spray for turning objects into agile millirobots to deliver drugs precisely inside a living body has been developed in joint research led by a scientist from City University of Hong Kong (CityU).
This pioneering approach to creating millirobots hinges on the M-spray, a composited glue-like magnetic spray. A magnetic force can move an object around different surfaces after it has been sprayed with the M-spray. This technology has great potential for biomedical applications, including catheter navigation and precise drug delivery.
The research team is led by Dr Shen Yajing, Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at CityU, and is supported by the National Science Foundation of China and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong.
The research findings have been published in Science Robotics titled “An agglutinate magnetic spray transforms inanimate objects into millirobots for biomedical applications”.
Composed of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), gluten and iron particles, M-spray can adhere to the surfaces of one (1D), two (2D) or three-dimensional (3D) objects instantly, steadily and firmly. The film formed on the surface is about 0.1mm to 0.25mm thick, which is thin enough to preserve the original size, form and structure of the objects. The magnetic coating is biocompatible and can be disintegrated into powder when needed.
The team’s M-spray can stick on the targeted object and ‘activate’ the object when driven by a magnetic field, explained Dr Shen. Under the control of a magnetic field, the millirobots can change between different locomotion modes, such as crawling, flipping, walking, and rolling, on surfaces such as glass, skin, wood and sand.
What makes this approach special is the team can reprogramme the millirobot’s locomotion mode on demand.
A PhD student in BME and the co-first author on this paper explained that by fully wetting the solidified M-spray coating to make it stick like glue and then by applying a strong magnetic field, the distribution and alignment direction of the magnetic particles of the M-spray coating can be changed.
This reprogrammable actuation feature is helpful for navigation towards targets. The team demonstrated that the M-spray coated catheter can perform sharp or smooth turns. The impact of blood/liquid flow on the motion ability and stability of the M-spray coated catheter was limited, too, the results showed.
Task-based reprogramming offers promising potential for catheter manipulation in complex areas such as the oesophagus, blood vessels and urethra where navigation is always required.
Another important feature of this technology is that the M-spray coating can be disintegrated into powder on-demand with the manipulation of a magnetic field. All the raw materials of M-spray, namely PVA, gluten and iron particles, are biocompatible. The disintegrated coating can be absorbed or excreted by the human body.
In an in vivo test with rabbits for drug delivery, the team has demonstrated that the M-spray- enabled millirobot can reach the targeted region in the stomach precisely. Researchers disintegrated the coating by applying an oscillating magnetic field.
The controllable disintegration property of M-spray enables the drug to be released in a targeted location rather than scattering in the organ. The hope is that this construction strategy can contribute to the development and application of millirobots in different fields such as active transportation, moveable sensors and devices, particularly for tasks in limited areas of space.
Dr Shen and Dr Wu Xinyu from the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) in the Chinese Academy of Sciences are the corresponding authors of the paper. The other co-authors are Dr Shang Wanfeng from SIAT, and Dr Lu Haojian, Dr Liu Yanting, Yang Liu and Tan Rong, new graduates and PhD students from Dr Shen’s team.
A tech company under the Hong Kong Smart Government Innovation Lab recently announced that it has launched a new solution which is now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.
The incubatee’s Mobile Surveillance System is designed for the automation of security and minimisation of human resources. Rapid deployment can be scheduled to the user’s needs, and customisation is available for emergency monitoring and controlling.
With its high mobility and easy installation, operating 24 hours a day, it is available anytime and anywhere. Information from real-time monitoring appears on the tech firm’s AI Video Analytics software feed that is equipped in its Mobile Surveillance Systems.
This state-of-the-art software filters out important information via deep learning, aiding in the process of target investigation. The technical capability is designed for data collection, analysis by IoT, AI, and Big Data technology.
The solution was developed to be applied across various areas including City Management, Commerce and Industry, Environment as well as Housing.
The solution employs Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Analytics, Deep Learning, Internet of Things (IoT) and Video Analytics.
- Illegal Dumping Prevention: illegal dumping of industrial and domestic waste at over 80 danger-prone areas all over HK; Illegal bird-feeding.
Application Purpose: Collect evidence for prosecution; Use Deep-learning AI to detect the illegal dumping acts and give alert; recording footage of the vehicle used, people involved, and dumping patterns, captured the relevant video into the database.
- Rodent Monitoring
Application Purpose: prevention and control of rodents; rapidly deploy thermal imaging system to detect, count, and analyse rat population sizes and activities. After gathering the result, action can be taken.
Growing demand for automation
Digital process automation solutions and services offer crucial benefits to enterprises. These benefits include lowering inevitable losses, creating new opportunities, saving costs, and increasing the efficiency of business processes. The increasing demand for automation and the growing adoption of low code automation platform is expected to drive the growth of the digital process automation market.
The market also faces challenges such as compatibility issues with existing business process applications and services. The major factor that is said to be restraining the growth of the digital process automation market is data security and privacy issue as process automation deals with personal data of an individual. Various opportunities present in this market include increasing demand for streamlining business processes and integration of AI and ML.
The global digital process automation market is projected to grow from US$6.77 billion in 2018 to US$12.61 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 13.3% from 2018 to 2023.
The market size in APAC is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The digital process automation market is expected to grow considerably in APAC, due to the shift in the thought process of enterprises, from reducing operational costs to providing an enhanced customer experience.
About the Smart Government Innovation Lab
In 2018, the Government established the Smart Government Innovation Lab to explore hi-tech products such as AI and relevant technologies, including machine learning, big data analytics, cognitive systems and intelligent agent, as well as blockchain and robotics from firms, especially local start-ups.
The Lab is always on the lookout for innovation and technology (I&T) solutions that are conducive to enhancing public services or their operational effectiveness. I&T suppliers are encouraged to regularly visit the Lab’s website to check on the current business and operational needs in public service delivery and propose innovative solutions or product suggestions to address them.
The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) has announced it will offer two free online courses on artificial intelligence (AI) next year. These courses will be available on the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) platform.
According to a media report, the courses will begin in January 2021 under Professor Deepak Khemani, from IIT-M’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering. While students will be able to take the course for free, for an e-certification, they will need to pay a fee and clear an examination, which will be conducted by the institute. The certificate will be awarded by IIT-M in collaboration with the NPTEL platform.
AI: Constraint Satisfaction and Artificial Intelligence
This course is 8 weeks long and aims to teach learners AI-centric diverse problem-solving methods. The curriculum will include constraint networks, equivalent and projection networks, search methods for solving CSPs, lookahead methods, dynamic variable and value order, model-based systems, model-based diagnosis, and truth maintenance systems, among others.
AI: Knowledge Representation and Reasoning
This course is 12 weeks long and is designed for slightly advanced learners, who already understand formal languages, programming, and logic. The course is designed to train learners to become problem-solvers. The course curriculum includes proof systems, natural deduction, tableau method, resolution method, description logic (DL), structure matching, classification, default logic, autoepistemic logic, epistemic logic, and multi-agent scenarios, among others.
IIT-M recently began an online BSc programme in data science. It has seen a rise in demand for similar courses and the AI courses are mainly aimed at people who are working professionals or are pursuing another degree elsewhere. They can attend these courses part-time online and increase their qualification level. This programme is aimed at helping people acquire new skills and become job-ready.
The instructor, Prof Khemani, is an alumnus of IIT Bombay whose research focus is knowledge and memory-based reasoning. He said that a common opinion of computers is that they can do everything. The user states the problem, and the computer solves it – that is the broad goal of AI. It is a long-term goal and has not been realised yet. However, the availability of data, increases in computing power, use of AI solutions in fields like medical diagnosis, have brought it into the limelight. “[I] feel that it is important for students and specifically computer science students to opt for AI courses”, he said.
The course has garnered interest from various age groups, the majority of them are professionals. Prof Khemani noted that among the people who have registered, the oldest learners are over 80 years old and the majority are around 30 years of age. These courses are not designed to be a primary degree but a secondary one.
India is expected to become a global leader in the development of AI, which could add up to US $957 billion to India’s economy by 2035. The country hopes to stand out in the international community as a model of responsible AI use for social empowerment. The nation has robust plans to leverage AI for inclusive development, representing the country’s ‘AI for All’ strategy.
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) won three “Global Innovation Awards” at the TechConnect Business Virtual Summit and Showcase 2020 (TechConnect). This is the fourth year that PolyU research teams received the prestigious awards at the world’s largest multi-sector event for fostering development and commercialisation of innovations.
The TechConnect Global Innovation Awards identify the top 15% of submitted technologies based on their potential positive impact on a specific industry sector. Over 400 submissions were received this year including those from global top-notch universities and technology enterprises.
Only 13 were presented with the global awards designated for non-US-funded innovations across the world, and PolyU received three of them. Other awardees include global-renowned institutes such as The University of Melbourne and The University of British Columbia.
PolyU’s three award-winning innovations are:
Water Dispersible Autofluorescent Polymer Dots Comprising of Non-Conjugated Polymers
by Professor LI Pei, Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology
This new type of photoluminescent nanoparticles uses inexpensive nonconjugated polymers as building blocks and can display ultra-bright and multi-colour fluorescence upon excitations in both water and dry states. It also has excellent water dispersibility, low toxicity, high absorptivity, good photostability, and high quantum yield.
This innovation has various potential applications, including serving as bioimaging markers for in vitro cell imaging, autofluorescent nano-carriers for image-guided therapy, nanofillers in plastics for LED diffuser applications, fluorescent ink in anti-counterfeiting applications, chemosensors for heavy metal detection and structural health monitoring.
PolyUStimulator – Ultrasound Driven Piezoelectric Stimulator for Neuromusculoskeletal Rehabilitation
by Professor Yong-ping ZHENG and Dr Monzurul ALAM, Department of Biomedical Engineering
As existing electroceutical stimulators are bulky with a limited life span and pose transmission efficacy and safety concerns, wireless power delivery to electrical implants deep inside the body remains a critical challenge. The PolyUStimulator presents a battery-free, ultrasonically-powered, piezoelectric stimulator for functional muscles, nerves and bones. Ultrasound can reach deep into the body where conventional inductive energy cannot reach safely; it is also safe from radio frequency interference and is fully MRI and X-ray compatible.
This innovation can treat patients, ranging from neurological to orthopaedic conditions, who are paralysed or suffering from non-union bone fractures or neuromusculoskeletal pain.
A Time-dependent Machine-Learning-based Prediction System for Progression of Knee Osteoarthritis
by Mr Toby LI and Mr Justin CHAN, MPhil students under the supervision of Dr Chunyi WEN, Department of Biomedical Engineering (submission made under CLAIRE Clinical AI Research)
Early detection of knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is critical for early intervention to prevent disease progression and to reduce the need for salvage joint replacement surgery. However, there remains a lack of a reliable prediction method for disease progression and a user-friendly platform for patient self-management. As such, an artificial intelligence-based KOA screening system has been developed which predicts the risk of KOA progression at different time points in the future.
This innovation leverages multiple modalities of medical data, including tabular electronic health records and knee radiographic images for a comprehensive analysis which could aid clinical practitioners to perform efficient triage and construct personalised treatment plans. Moreover, a mobile application is being developed to measure and record relevant physiological data of the patients regularly, facilitating continuous tracking and self-management of the disease.
The Interim Associate Vice President (Innovation and Technology Development) of PolyU, congratulated the teams and remarked, these award-winning technologies span from benefiting human health to various industrial applications. The university’s efforts in research, development and innovation at PolyU not only spark a fundamental scientific understanding of the world but also focuses on shaping the world by addressing global unmet needs through innovation.
PolyU is currently showcasing its latest innovative technologies, including the three award-winning innovations, at the virtual summit. During the online event, PolyU participants are taking the opportunity to explore research and collaboration opportunities with major industry end-users, top multinational companies and academic institutions to apply the innovations and generate a positive impact to the global community.
A tech company under the Hong Kong Smart Government Innovation Lab recently announced that it has launched a new solution which is now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.
Disinfection and sterilisation process to kill bacteria, viruses and microorganisms are essential for surgical tools and healthcare linen before their use for medical procedures. The hospital steam boiler system operates around the clock and supplies steam to meet the sterilising and catering needs of the hospital.
The company’s solution was developed to uphold the performance of the steam boilers during the regular cleaning of fire tubes which is necessary to remove deposit build-up thereby enhancing heat transfer and reducing fuel consumption as well as preventing metal surface from corrosion.
The existing cleaning procedure involves considerable manual handling operations potentially leading to repetitive muscle strain injury and dust inhalation. In addition, the cleaning consistency and the health condition of the fire tube could not be validated readily.
The solution was designed to be applied in the Health sector.
The system employs the latest in Robotic Process Automation.
The company has developed an automatic cleaning and inspection solution for the fire tubes system of a steam boiler which can be easily mobilised and applied to boilers of different models and sizes in different hospitals and medical laundries.
The system can process the cleaning and inspection works without manual control by automatic boiler and fire tube positioning. During the tube cleaning process, firetubes deposits are vacuumed simultaneously whereas flaw detection of fire tube is carried out with a non-destructive testing method. The acquired data can be remotely accessed wirelessly. It presents the inspection results in graphical format with condition photos to facilitate the boiler life span estimation.
Growing for robots grows as a result of COVID-19
OpenGov Asia recently reported that the robotics market is projected to grow from US$76.6 billion in 2020 to US$176.8 billion by 2025; it is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.2% from 2020 to 2025.
Collaborative robots are becoming more affordable and easier to program for novice users, leading to the growing demand for collaborative robots across all industry segments. Service robots are increasingly being adopted for new applications due to various advantages such as increased productivity, streamlined processes, and greater workplace safety. The main advantage of using service robots is the reduction in the cost of operation and high ROI.
The COVID-19 pandemic will have a varying impact on different types of industrial and service robots. Traditional industrial robots are expected to be most affected due to a decrease in investments in major industries such as automotive and metals & machinery. However, collaborative robots are not expected to be as affected as this is a growing market and is used in a more diverse set of industries. Service robots are expected to be the least affected.
As drones, AGVs, disinfectant robots, and telepresence robots are now being widely used for applications such as disinfection of premises, monitoring temperature, personal assistance, and for automated delivery, a steady demand for these robots during the pandemic is expected. However, consumer-based service robots will be greatly affected due to the fall in disposable income as a result of the pandemic.
Param Siddhi, the high-performance computing-artificial intelligence (HPC-AI) supercomputer has ranked 63rd in the top 500 most powerful non-distributed computer systems in the world, according to a report released on 16 November.
The supercomputer was established under the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).
The AI system will strengthen the application development of packages in areas such as advanced materials, computational chemistry, and astrophysics. Several packages are being developed under the mission on the platform for drug design and preventive health care systems and flood forecasting for flood-prone metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Patna, and Guwahati. This will accelerate research and development in the war against COVID-19 through faster simulations, medical imaging, genome sequencing, and forecasting. A press release claimed it was a boon for Indian masses and start-ups and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), in particular.
It will aid application developers and the testing of weather forecasting packages by the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM). Geo-exploration packages will aid oil and gas recovery. There are packages for aero-design studies, computational physics, mathematical applications, and even online education courses.
The supercomputer with a Rpeak of 5.267 Petaflops and 4.6 Petaflops Rmax (sustained) was conceived by C-DAC and developed jointly with support from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
“It is a historical first. India, today, has one of the largest supercomputer infrastructures in the world. This is evidenced by the ranking that Param Siddhi-AI has received today,” Secretary, DST Professor Ashutosh Sharma noted. “I truly believe that Param Siddhi-AI will go a long way in empowering our national academic and research and development institutions as well as industries and start-ups spread over the country networked on the national supercomputer grid over the National Knowledge Network (NKN).”
He pointed out that with the infusion of Param Siddhi-AI, the scientific and technology community in the country will further be enabled and empowered to solve the multidisciplinary grand challenges of healthcare, agriculture, education, energy, cybersecurity, space, AI applications, weather and climate modelling, and urban planning.
The Param Siddhi supercomputer is built on the NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD reference architecture networking, along with C-DAC’s indigenously developed HPC-AI engine, software frameworks, and cloud platform. It will aid deep learning, visual computing, virtual reality, accelerated computing, as well as graphics virtualisation.
India is home to the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem, elite science, technology institutions like the IITs, robust and ubiquitous digital infrastructure, and millions of newly-minted STEM graduates every year. Therefore, the country is expected to become a global leader in the development of AI. Industry analysts predict that AI could add up to US$ 957 billion to India’s economy by 2035.
The government hopes to stand out in the international community not just as a leader in AI, but also as a model to show the world how to responsibly direct AI for social empowerment. The nation has robust plans to leverage AI for inclusive development, representing the country’s ‘AI for All’ strategy.