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Pete Beckman - Artificial Intelligence and the Digital Continuum

About the series

Talk Title: Artificial Intelligence and the Digital Continuum: The Future of Linking Scientific Instruments and Edge Computing to Advanced Computation

Talk Abstract: No longer does a chasm exist between scientific instrumentation and advanced computation. From the sensor to the laptop, from the telescope to the supercomputer, from the microscope to the database, scientific discovery is part of a connected digital continuum that is dynamic and fast. In this new digital continuum, data analysis and automated controls begin at the edge, at the sensor. Data are no longer just pushed up to the data center for later processing; instead, processing starts immediately. Geographically distributed sensor networks that include cameras, microphones, LIDAR, and weather and air quality stations can generate such large volumes of data that fast and efficient analysis is best performed by an embedded computer connected directly to the sensor. Artificial intelligence is making data analysis and automated responses possible across the digital continuum. SAGE is a National Science Foundation Mid-scale Research Infrastructure-1 project to build a national cyberinfrastructure for programable edge computing. The SAGE infrastructure allows scientists to write “software-defined sensors” by analyzing the data in situ, at the edge, at the highest resolution of data. Data from the edge computation are then transmitted to a cloud computing infrastructure where they can be archived and provided to the community as data products or used in real time to trigger computational models or dynamically modify subsequent edge computation. This new edge computing programming framework gives scientists a new tool for exploring the impacts of global urbanization, natural disasters such as flooding and wildfires, and climate change on natural ecosystems and city infrastructure. SAGE is deploying cyberinfrastructure in environmental testbeds in California, Colorado, and Kansas, in the National Ecological Observatory Network, and in urban environments in Illinois and Texas. Artificial intelligence will transform the digital continuum, changing programming models and how shared scientific facilities are designed and built. This talk will explore the digital continuum and the new kinds of intelligent scientific infrastructure on the horizon.

Bio: Pete Beckman is the co-director of the Northwestern University / Argonne National Laboratory Institute for Science and Engineering. In Pete’s 30-year career building scientific computing systems, his research has focused on software and architectures for large-scale parallel and distributed computing systems, from operating systems to networks linking National Science Foundation (NSF) supercomputer centers. Over the past 10 years, Pete and his team have explored cyberinfrastructure for the digital continuum, linking artificial intelligence (AI) and edge computing for scientific instruments to high-performance computing and cloud computing. Pete was part of the Array of Things project that launched Chicago’s edge computing and distributed sensing efforts to better understand air quality, traffic, and daily patterns of life in the city. Pete leads the NSF Mid-scale Research Infrastructure-1 SAGE project to build a nationwide cyberinfrastructure for AI at the edge to support a wide range of scientific explorations, including ecological research with the National Ecological Observatory Network, atmospheric science, and urban studies, and to improve our understanding of wildfire and flood prediction.


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