Bringing AI to NCSA’s industry partners

12.12.18 -

NCSA Industry is the largest HPC industrial program in the world, and with over 30 years of experience, it is our goal to tackle corporate and government challenges with HPC solutions and innovation. We leverage NCSA's many areas of expertise by partnering with its renowned researchers. Dr. Eliu Huerta, a research scientist at NCSA, specializing in machine and deep learning applied to analyzing astrophysical events. Huerta is applying his research in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) to help industry partners leverage deep learning for their computational needs.

How are you involved with NCSA Industry?

We're working with NCSA Industry to help them attract new partners who are interested in applications of AI to address their computational challenges. Thus far, we have been asked to share our expertise in applying a variety of neural network models to handle image and time-series datasets. There is a great need to better understand how neural network models work, and scientific visualizations play a key role to address this issue.

How did you get started working with NCSA Industry?

Capital One was meeting with the Advanced Visualization Lab (AVL) at NCSA, and my name was mentioned in connection to my AI research. I had a brief conversation with Capital One about the range of AI applications we are exploring in my group, including the viz of neural networks. This work seemed to spark their interest and followed with an invitation to participate at the SparkAI conference, where I gave a talk and had the opportunity to network with many potential Industry partners. NCSA Industry Director Brendan McGinty also invited me to speak at the 2018 NCSA Industry Conference, which was a great venue to follow up on this initial interaction. We then arranged a meeting to expand on some of the ideas from prior conversations, and we look forward to further conversations and potential for greater collaboration in 2019.

Why NCSA?

NCSA is a research powerhouse in AI. Several groups at NCSA have been driving innovation on applications of AI across science domains. We're bringing that innovation to our potential Industry partners using our expertise to address their high end data analysis challenges. This work enables us to fulfill key aspects of the NCSA mission, namely, spearheading innovation in large scale computing, software, visualization and engage with industry to enable beneficial societal impacts. At the same time, working with Industry partners enable us to create new career opportunities for students and postdocs. It is a virtuous circle.

What can we expect going forward?

One of our goals is helping more industry partners make scientific breakthroughs that will enable them to improve their product and business. At the same time, we will continue to drive innovation at the interface of AI, high performance computing and scientific visualization. Existing challenges to mine and extract meaningful information from large datasets will only be exacerbated in years to come. Therefore, there is a pressing need to go beyond what AI can accomplish now, which is the mission of the NCSA Gravity Group.