Norbert Hauser, Vice President Marketing at Kontron on the prospects for HPC and AI
The Corona pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation in all sectors. More and more machines are being integrated into the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This is generating ever greater amounts of data worldwide, which have to be collected, evaluated and distributed. As a result, innovative Embedded/IoT technologies are needed in both hardware and software - and this trend is rapidly gathering speed, not least due to the further expansion of 5G networks, the development of new applications around Industry 4.0, transportation and medical technology, intelligent Edge Computing, Machine/Deep Learning and the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
How do you see the future role of AI in Industry 4.0?
Norbert Hauser: Many technology companies around the world are facing the challenge of developing AI solutions that will simplify the implementation of Industry 4.0 applications and offer users concrete added value. The main drivers for the use of AI in production are the increase or improvement of productivity and quality. Concrete solutions such as AI cloud computing and AI accelerators are in demand. Practicality and total cost of ownership are the determining factors here.
What role does the development in the area of high-performance computing (HPC) play here?
Norbert Hauser: In short: a very central one. Many advanced applications, existing ones and even more so the ones to be developed in the future, require high-performance computing platforms. The requirements can be very different - depending on what is needed in the application: more computing power, higher data throughput, greater bandwidth, more storage capacity or even AI functionality. Many requirements can already be met with COM Express® Type 7. But the development continues: one of the leading, if not the leading standard for HPC, could become COM-HPC® - both for client and server applications. The specification for the total of five form factors has now been released by PICMG®.
In which application areas will COM-HPC® become decisive?
Norbert Hauser: The areas of application are versatile. The spectrum ranges, for example, from Edge servers to mobile Edge Computing for 5G/10G applications to AI solutions in industry, where more and more tasks are moving from the cloud to the edge. But COM-HPC® modules will also be used in the future in the medical sector, in stationary testers and mobile measuring devices or in autonomous vehicles that will be networked with GPS and AI functionality via 5G and will be driverless - in other words, everywhere where HPC is needed in the smallest of spaces.
What development will we see in real-time applications?
Norbert Hauser: 5G networks will also be used for wireless control and monitoring of machines and devices in industrial environments - especially where the lowest latencies are important. New industrial modules, boards and systems that can be networked in real time using TSN (Time Sensitive Networking) must offer the highest computing power for this. Standards are needed for simplifying communication between machines and between man and machine. There is a clear favourite here: The open standard OPC UA over TSN - cross-industry and manufacturer-independent - is the basis for successful digitalisation in the factory.
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