February 28, 2024

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HKBU and e-commerce giant break world record for fast and accurate AI training

According to a recent press release, a team of researchers at the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) have partnered with a team from a major multinational, China-based e-commerce and tech giant’s Machine Learning subsidiary to create a new technique for training Artificial Intelligence (AI) machines faster than ever before, while maintaining accuracy.

During the experiment the team succeeded in training two popular deep neural networks called AlexNet and ResNet-50 in just 4 minutes and 6.6 minutes, respectively.

Previously the fastest time was 11 minutes for AlexNet and 15 minutes for ResNet-50.

AlexNet and ResNet-50 are deep neural networks built on ImageNet, a large-scale dataset for visual recognition. Once trained, the system was able to recognise and label an object in a given photo. The result is significantly faster than previous records and outperforms all other existing systems.

Machine learning is a set of mathematical approaches which enables computers to “learn” from data, without explicitly being programmed by humans. The resulting algorithms can then be applied to a variety of data and visual recognition tasks used in AI.

The HKBU team is comprised of a Professor from HKBU and a PhD student from the Department of Computer Science.

The professor noted that the team had proposed a new optimised training method that significantly improves the best output without losing accuracy. In AI training, researchers strive to train their networks faster, but this can lead to a decrease in accuracy. As a result, training machine-learning models at high speed while maintaining accuracy and precision is a vital goal for scientists.

The professor added that the time required to train AI machines is affected by both computing time and communication time. The research team attained breakthroughs in both aspects to create this record-breaking achievement.

This included adopting a simpler computational method, known as FP16, to replace the more traditional one, FP32, making computation much faster without losing accuracy.

As communication time is affected by the size of data blocks, the team came up with a communication technique named “tensor fusion”, which combines smaller pieces of data into larger ones, optimising the transmission pattern and thereby improving the efficiency of communication during AI training.

This new technique can be adopted in large-scale image classification, and it can also be applied to other AI applications, including machine translation; natural language processing (NLP) to enhance interactions between human language and computers; medical imaging analysis; and online multiplayer battle games.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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