Artificial Intelligence

A Parable: “The Blind GPUs and the Elephant”

Share this post:

“…Each blind man feels a different part of the elephant body, but only one part, such as the side or the tusk. They then describe the elephant based on their partial experience and their descriptions are in complete disagreement on what an elephant is.” – The Rigveda

This parable is helpful describing the problem that we are solving and context for the promising early results we have achieved in image recognition with deep learning. Despite initial disagreement, if these people are given enough time they can share enough information to piece together a pretty accurate collective picture of an elephant.

Deep learning is a widely used AI method to help computers understand and extract meaning from images and sounds through which humans experience much of the world. It holds promise to fuel breakthroughs in everything from consumer mobile app experiences to medical imaging diagnostics. But progress in accuracy and the practicality of deploying deep learning at scale is gated by technical challenges, such as the need to run massive and complex AI models – a process for which training times are measured in days and weeks.

For our part, my team in IBM Research has been focused on reducing these training times for large models with large data sets. Our objective is to reduce the wait-time associated with deep learning training from days or hours to minutes or seconds, and enable improved accuracy of these AI models. To achieve this, we are tackling grand-challenge scale issues in distributing deep learning across large numbers of servers and GPUs.

As a result, when we scaled to a large cluster with 100s of GPUs, it yielded record image recognition accuracy of 33.8% on 7.5M images from the ImageNet-22k dataset vs. the previous best published result of 29.8% by Microsoft.

Read more about our record image recognition accuracy on my article on the IBM Research blog.

More Artificial Intelligence Stories

How to Accelerate the Use of AI in Organizations

Open any business publication or digital journal today, and you will read about the promise of AI, known as artificial or augmented intelligence, and how it will transform your business. The fact is, AI will not only transform your entire business, whether you are in health care, finance, retail or manufacturing, but it will also […]

Continue reading

The Importance of Creating a Culture of Data

Using and exploiting artificial intelligence (AI), is a goal for many enterprises around the world. Of course, before you can begin working with the cognitive technology, a number steps have to be taken. For starters, AI requires machine learning and machine learning, requires analytics. And to work with analytics effectively, you need a simple, elegant […]

Continue reading

How IBM and Salesforce Are Challenging Traditional Business Models

Since unveiling our partnership with Salesforce in March, we’ve worked together to champion the impact of AI across all facets of business, helping companies across all industries make smarter decisions, faster than ever before. Today, at Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce conference, IBM’s Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty will join Salesforce Chairman and CEO, Marc Benioff, […]

Continue reading