When it comes to the further development of machine learning technologies, we dont just need data, we need computing power (datacentres). From a computing standpoint, a neural network is a sequential series of multiplied matrices. This means that we cant use regular datacentres. They must be equipped with special types of processors capable of rapidly multiplying these matrices (graphic, or tensor, processors).
Many companies currently prefer to build datacentres in the northern latitudes. Microsoft, which the WIPO Technology Trends 2019 Artificial Intelligence report calls a global leader in artificial intelligence, built a datacentre that will operate submerged in cold water, at a depth of approximately 36 m. Microsofts datacentre is a 12 m long submersible container located off of the Orkney Islands in Scotland (Under the sea, Microsoft tests a datacentre thats quick to deploy, could provide internet connectivity for years).
In this sense, Russia already has the enormous advantage of swaths of territory with permafrost and cold climates. Cheap electrical energy and fiber-optic cables are also a requirement. In order to implement the National Programme for the Development of Artificial Intelligence, Russia will initially need one or two datacentres equipped with tensor processors. According to Parlamentskaya Gazeta, in their article Digits Need the Cold (in Russian), some polar cities are already ready to build datacentres in the Arctic.
After these datacentres with machine learning processors have been constructed, their computing power needs to be provided to, among others, the professional community of independent developers, working both to address government objectives and run their own innovative experiments. Artificial intelligence will bring new tech projects to the Arctic, making it a point of attraction and uniting all of Russia under the common goal of developing the Far North. To be continued next Monday. Check back for updates!
Material prepared by:
Advisor to the President for Economy and Finance, JSC Business Alliance
PhD reseacher in Computer Science & Machine Learning