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Chip Giants Propose a Way to Speed Up AI Training: Last week, researchers from Nvidia, Arm and Intel published a whitepaper detailing a proposed type of computer number format they say will offer significant improvements in training efficiency without major loss of accuracy. Historically, most AI training required allocating 32 bits of memory to store each model parameter with a high degree of precision. Many AI developers have switched to using 16 bits of memory per parameter, which reduces memory requirements and makes model training less computationally costly. Some researchers have experimented with reducing precision even further, down to as few as 8 bits, though this risks degrading accuracy. The new whitepaper presents a 8-bit floating point (FP8) specification for deep learning that Nvidia, Arm and Intel claim can avoid significant loss in accuracy relative to FP16 approaches. This proposed format, which could allow training larger models on the same amount of compute, could help address a key issue facing AI developers: compute usage in AI is growing at a potentially unsustainable rate. Nvidia, Arm and Intel announced they had made the FP8 format open and license-free with the hopes that it would encourage broader industry adoption.
A New Report on U.S.-China Tech Competition Gets D.C.’s Attention:A report published last week arguing that the United States is at risk of losing its technological competition with China has struck a chord with policymakers and other influential voices in Washington. The report was issued by the Special Competitive Studies Project, a bipartisan organization led by former Google head Eric Schmidt and Yll Bajraktari, who were both previously with the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. While SCSP is an independent organization — unlike the congressionally established NSCAI — the report nevertheless seemed to earn the attention of many political leaders and policymakers in both parties. A day-long SCSP summit held in Washington last week included appearances by Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, former National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Senators Schumer, Young and Rounds.
NIST Partners with Google to Design Dozens of Research Chips: The National Institute of Standards and Technology announced a partnership with Google to develop and produce up to 40 new chip designs optimized for research applications. NIST will work with partners from a number of universities to develop and tailor the chip designs to suit their needs, and will make the resulting designs open-source so they can be further adapted and refined by other academic or industry researchers. The chips will be manufactured by Minnesota-based SkyWater Technology, with Google paying for the initial setup costs and subsidizing the first production run. While the chips will be manufactured using SkyWater’s relatively antiquated SKY130 node, as the Register’s Tobias Mann notes, these types of simple chips can be helpful for testing out experimental uses. Designing and manufacturing chips for such niche applications would normally be prohibitively expensive for most academic and small business researchers, but NIST hopes that the project will bring down costs significantly.
In Translation CSET’s translations of significant foreign language documents on AI
Demand for AI Talent in China:Artificial Intelligence Industry Talent Development Report (2019–2020 Edition). This document, published by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in 2020 on the basis of job posting data and surveys, describes the country’s strong demand for — and insufficient supply of — artificial intelligence talent. The authors make several recommendations to increase China’s supply of AI talent and to ensure that AI training in universities prepares graduates with the practical skills valued by employers.
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We’re hiring! Please apply or share the roles below with candidates in your network:
Visual Communications Specialist: The Visual Communications Specialist will support the work of the External Affairs Team to raise the profile of CSET’s research through a variety of outreach activities such as graphics, multimedia, and publications. Apply by October 3.
Research Fellow — AI Applications: This Research Fellow will focus on helping decision makers evaluate and translate new and emerging technologies, particularly in the field of AI, into novel capabilities by separating real trends and strategic opportunities from technological hope and hype. Rolling application — Apply today.
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American Political Science Association: Director of Data Science Catherine Aiken presented a CSET working paper entitled “Persuasive AI: An Experimental Test of GPT-3’s Targeted Political Statements” with co-authors Data Scientist James Dunham and Senior Fellow Andrew Lohn at the American Political Science Association annual meeting last weekend in Montreal.
CyberScoop: Research Fellow Emily Weinstein weighed in on the lack of language capabilities at the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security in an article by Suzanne Smalley on BIS shortcomings in carrying out its mission.
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