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U.S. Department of Energy Awards US$1.2M to Maximise Scientific Data over 5G network

The Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University US$1.2 million over three years to pioneer new artificial intelligence for 5G-enabled edge computing. The money will be used to help researchers maximise the scientific data that can be sent over 5G networks. This new global wireless standard already promises to dramatically enhance efforts in multiple fields, including environmental and atmospheric science.

By combining the newest breakthroughs in AI learning and low-power AI accelerators, our 5G research project will give scientists new capabilities for adaptive, responsive and smart distributed sensor networks.

Co-Director, Northwestern Argonne Institute of Science and Engineering

The existing 4G network was designed to send information back and forth between a data centre and a handset. The new 5G technology, which is currently being rolled out nationally, supports computing within the network, from the edge devices, such as cameras and weather sensors, to the radio towers between the edge and the cloud.

Instead of simply moving data, the new 5G network supports computation at every point along the digital continuum, from a sensor that measures a farmer’s soil moisture or a micro radar unit tracking and predicting the path of a storm to the radio towers where data is aggregated and then sent to the data centre.

Argonne has long been a force in this arena. Its edge sensing platform has led the industry in AI-enabled edge sensing for years. It was used by the University of Chicago’s Array of Things project to deploy more than 100 intelligent sensors throughout the city to better understand urban dynamics. Argonne’s edge platform will also be a key enabling technology for the laboratory’s 5G research.

With 4G technology, bandwidth is managed by the provider. With 5G, users can dynamically adjust their requests for the network, from bandwidth to latency. Scientists also can build out 5G wireless infrastructure in remote areas where no commercial service is available. Users can set up their own towers — small devices that might enable wireless services for several miles — allowing greater access to remote areas, or in partnership with tribal communities working on remote ecosystem monitoring.

5G supports dynamic adjustments to the radio frequencies used by the network. Leveraging AI to make real-time decisions, Argonne will explore new techniques for automated radio management that will depend on localised atmospheric conditions and the scientific goals for the distributed sensing. The goal of Argonne’s 5G project is to develop new algorithms for AI spanning the digital continuum to improve distributed scientific instruments that can use the new network.

By leveraging the latest AI central processing units in Waggle, such as the NVIDIA Xavier NX, Argonne will build a prototype 5G testbed where AI workloads can migrate from edge to cloud, based on the scientific needs.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, The Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) has also awarded computing time and resources to three new projects and one renewed project for 2021-2022, through its ALCF Data Science Programme (ADSP). The ALCF is a U.S. DOE Office of Science User Facility at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory.

The ADSP enables big data and artificial intelligence (AI) research that requires DOE’s leadership-class computing resources. The forward-looking allocation programme is designed to explore and improve computational methods for data-driven discoveries across scientific disciplines. It also focuses on scaling the underlying data science technologies to fully utilise DOE supercomputers.

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